Authors: Vanessa Devereaux
spun around and around. A few people began pointing and laughing at her.
we should stop her because of the…”
grabbed Natalie’s hand, obviously sensing she was going to stop Emily from
it’s the people who want to mock her for having Down’s who are the ones in the
wrong, not Emily.”
was right. Emily hadn’t done anything wrong. She was just being herself.
come you know so much about all this? I mean having a child with special needs.”
think I’m an expert. When she was young I had no idea what I was doing, but
then I went along to a support group right here in Missoula and met other
parents of children with Down’s and they taught me so much.”
so admired this man. Taking on Emily all by
turned around and waved at them, beckoning them over.
better join her or she’ll be upset,” said Flynn.
got hold of Natalie’s hand and led her over to where Emily was still swaying to
took hold of their hands and made them dance with her.
shy and self-conscious, especially in a crowd, today Natalie lost every
inhibition as she swung around with Flynn and Emily, the three of them laughing,
probably being watched and having snide remarks uttered about their behavior,
but she didn’t care.
daughter giggled and she could see a little of herself and a little of Jon. If
only he could see them, even be here swinging around with them too. Flynn
squeezed her hand and she realized a tear had rolled down her cheek.
band switched to a slower tune and without warning, Flynn took Natalie in his
arms and pressed his body to hers as they twirled around. Even through their
coats she could feel the warmth of his body, smell his cologne, and yes, his
you,” he said.
being kind to my daughter when lots of other women I’ve known haven’t been.”
couldn’t be easy for him.
Not only as a single dad but one
dealing with a child with certain needs.
didn’t mind acting silly just now and I don’t know anyone else who would have
done that,” he continued.
it’s fun letting your hair down.”
she wanted him to kiss her again.
both looked toward her and she snapped a photo of them with her cell phone.
music stopped and Emily rushed over to them. “Look, pretty photo. I’m going to
keep it forever and ever.”
let Natalie’s hand slip through his. “Okay Ms. Malone, let’s go and buy that
knitting wool and then I think we should eat because I’m starving.”
stood on the sidelines as Natalie helped Emily pick out a knitting pattern. It
seemed she was going to help Emily make a hat and matching booties for Shane
was heaven sent. She had to be. Beautiful, intelligent, patient with Emily, and
yes, he hated to admit it, but she turned him on big time. His libido hadn’t
been in overdrive like this since he couldn’t remember when. During their dance
when they’d held one another, he’d wanted to whisk her off to the hotel room
and make love to her.
what color yarn do you want?” Natalie asking Emily that question jarred him out
of his thought about taking off Natalie’s clothes and kissing every inch of her
body. Shit, if he didn’t stop this fantasy playing out in his head he was going
to come right this second.
because it’s a boy,” said Emily.
shook his head. She was adamant about it just like she’d been with the calf.
have lots of blues so you pick which one you like best,” said Natalie
walked back and forth several times looking at the skeins on the shelf.
While Natalie was being nice and not hurrying
her, he knew his daughter too well. If Natalie didn’t insist she narrow down
the choices she could pick, it could turn into hours in the store for all of
them. He walked over to her.
think Lacey would like to see the baby in his color,” he said pointing to a
light blue yarn on the middle shelf.
crossed her arms, shook her head and stomped her foot on the floor
Honey please, don’t have an outburst and
make Natalie think she’s making a huge mistake hanging out with your dad.
have to pick one soon, honey because Daddy’s getting hungry,” he said.
want all the colors.” She stomped her foot again.
you can’t, you know that.”
about we pick two blues,” said Natalie. “This light one, and then the darker
shade here and blend them together.”
looked at Emily, putting his hands behind his back and crossing his fingers
that she wouldn’t give Natalie a hard time and ruin his chances with her.
that had been easy. He let out the air he’d been holding in his mouth.
need two skeins of each color and size 5 needles. Do you have any at home?”
grandma might have some but just in case she doesn’t, let’s buy them because we
don’t have a craft store in Timber Creek,” said Flynn.
pulled out his wallet, but Natalie stopped him by putting her hand over his.
is my treat for all the meals you’ve offered me, and getting my car out of the
don’t have to do that,” said Flynn.
his hand. Oh boy, that felt so good.
“Please, really I want to.”
do you say, Emily?”
you, thank you.” She threw her arms around Natalie’s neck and kissed her cheek.
A tear ran down Natalie’s face. Yeah, this woman might be ideal for both of
we stop by to say hello to Shane and Lacey?” asked Emily on the drive home.
that okay with you?” Flynn asked Natalie.
I’m in no rush to get back to the motel.”
turned off the main road and headed down a road with one lone house. He pulled
into the driveway and Natalie saw
written on the mailbox.
hadn’t even turned off the ignition when Emily got out of the truck and ran
toward the house carrying the bag with the knitting wool in it. Natalie heard
her not taking her finger off the doorbell, and then a pretty young woman with
a loose fitting top stood in the doorway. Emily threw her arms around her and
put his hand in the small of Natalie’s back as they walked up the pathway to
the front door.
I’d like you to meet Natalie
She’s from Florida but looking to buy a house around here.
my sister-in-law, Lacey.”
shook her hand.
“Pleased to meet you, and come in,” said
immediately pulled Natalie into the living room and pointed at a photo in a
frame. “Look, it’s me in a pretty dress.”
She’d obviously been a bridesmaid at her
uncle’s wedding. A tear formed in her eye again when she saw how beautiful
Emily looked in the dress and her hair piled on top of her head. She had the
happiest smile on her face.
cousin’s in here,” said Emily rubbing
bet you’re getting excited,” said Natalie.
and a little nervous too.
Do you have children?”
I do and here she is.
That was the truth. She’d been made to give up this girl who had a wonderful
view of the world and people and…
we got knitting wool and Natalie’s going to show me how to make a hat and boots
for the baby,” said Emily opening up the bag.
my, blue, and Shane’s convinced it’s a girl.”
a boy,” said Emily.
pulled a face.
you guys want to check out the nursery? I’ve been working on the artwork for
want to, I want to,” said Emily
led the way with Emily pulling the hands of both Flynn and Natalie.
the teddy bears stenciled on the wall and a changing table that had already
been placed in the corner, Natalie felt suddenly depressed. Although she’d been
in high school when she’d gotten pregnant, she’d wanted the baby so much. She’d
wanted all the joy that went along with it, but had listened to her mother and
all the reasons why she shouldn’t keep the baby. She bit her lip, doing her
best to fight back the tears, thinking that she might never have a chance at
another pregnancy again.
a graphic designer,” said Flynn.
put drawings on my wall too,” said Emily. “Can we go see Uncle Shane on the way
he’s gone into Hamilton on sheriff’s business,” said Lacey.
I stay to see him when he gets back?” she tugged on Flynn’s arm.
I’m no longer the number one guy in my girl’s life,” he said.
have a better idea, why don’t you stay for dinner and stay overnight? You can help
me put together the mobile for the crib. And it will give your dad an
opportunity to introduce Natalie to the nightlife in town.”
let me stay with them,” said Emily tugging on his arm again.
I guess me and Natalie will have to entertain ourselves tonight,” said Flynn.
had that sounded like the best thing she’d heard in months?
been playing matchmaker?
knew she loved having Emily stay over. She’d been kind to his daughter since
the first time she’d met her. But somehow he got the feeling she’d seen the way
he’d looked at Natalie while they’d been visiting. Did he have
I’m smitten with this woman,
over his face? It had been so long since he’d had this bubbly nervousness in
the pit of his stomach that he’d almost forgotten what it felt like to be this
attracted to someone.
tried his best not to think too far ahead just in case she was here one day,
gone the next. However, each hour he spent with Natalie, he grew more attached
to her. He’d dropped off an overnight bag for Emily and now he was on his way
to the motel where Natalie was staying. He’d told her to wear something casual.
He’d thought about taking her to the steak restaurant just a few miles out of
Timber Creek, but finally decided on the bar and restaurant right in the heart
of town because it was music night and lots of local folks would be there so
she might get to know some people. She’d feel more at home and hence instead of
looking for a vacation home, make it a permanent one. Yeah, Timber Creek wasn’t
overrun with attorneys so one more wouldn’t hurt.
knocked on the door of her motel room and when she opened it he realized she’d
not listened to his words about being casual. Here he was in his jeans and
denim shirt and she’d put on a dark red wrap around dress that clung to her
thighs and breasts too.
heart raced, and yes, he’d be honest, his cock twitched too just thinking about
spending the evening with her.
not what we call casual around these parts,” he said. “But you look beautiful.”
you. Let me just grab my purse,
I’ll be right with you.”
leaned against the door jamb as he waited and watched her put on her jacket
before swinging the purse strap over her shoulders.
thought you might like to see our local bar,” he said closing the door for her.
“It’s not all about drinking. The food’s great, and on Saturday nights they
have live music.”
got into the truck and Flynn turned up the heater before he pulled out onto the
main road. He didn’t want her thinking Montana was too cold.
Emily loves Lacey and your brother.
And your other
brother too,” she said.
she does. Her gran too, and they love her which makes me feel a lot happier.
She’s not easy at times, but they all have lots of patience with her.”
must have been difficult for you raising her without the help of a wife.”