Authors: Maya Sheppard
Shayne had draped his arm lightly around Marah’s shoulders and he felt the timbre of her heartbeat speed up and become much harder. He looked at her and saw the fear on her face. Stopping, he stood in front of her and placed both hands on her shoulders.
“Marah, you’re petrified. Your reaction is normal – your ex-husband mistreated you and you probably found out in the most horrible way possible.”
At those words, Marah’s face crumpled and she began to cry. Shayne pulled her against his chest, absorbing her grief. He rocked her gently, as his shirt grew damp with her tears. After several minutes, she stopped crying.
She sighed, saying, “I have never cried like that ever since I found out. This is the first time I’ve done so.”
“I think we’re closer to your place than mine. It’s getting really cold out here, and I’d hate to see you get sick. Can we have some hot chocolate at your house?”
“Sure. I can make something hot to eat as well,” Marah said. She allowed him to drape his arm over her shoulder as he shared his body warmth with her. She felt safer in his presence. In her house, she made hot cider for him and hot chocolate for her. Before she started dinner, she called Daisy’s sitter and asked her to bring her daughter home.
Once dinner was ready, the three of them ate – Daisy, surprisingly, remembered Shayne and was immediately comfortable in his presence.
“Mommy, is he going to be living here?” Daisy asked with wonder in her green eyes.
“No, honey. It’s going to be you and me. I need to get to know him better and he needs to get to know me better,” Marah said.
“Punkin, would you like me to be your mommy’s friend?” Shayne asked.
Daisy grinned, her trademark dimples making their peek-a-boo appearance in both of her rounded, smooth cheeks.
“Yes! I do! I like you!” This came out in a loud, high-pitched voice as Daisy made her feelings known. “Mommy, will you promise that he can be your friend? Please?”
Marah swallowed her food, thinking.
She has it right – he needs to be a friend first before anything else.
“Baby, you’re right. He needs to be my friend first. I just want to make sure I’m making the right decision for both of us.”
“Daisy, I will do everything I can to make sure your mommy makes the best decision. Okay?” Shayne said.
“Okay. Mommy, I’m ready for dessert,” Daisy announced.
“Okay. It’s hot fudge pudding. Be careful, because it might still be hot,” cautioned Marah.
After she and Shayne had cleaned up the kitchen, she took Daisy to the bathroom and put her into a tub of warm water. After bathing her, she helped her brush her teeth.
“Mommy, can Mr. Shayne read to me?” Daisy asked.
“Do you want him to read to you? If you’d like, sure. Stay in bed and I’ll get him,” Marah said.
Shayne followed Marah to Daisy’s room and squatting in front of the book case, he helped Daisy pick a book. She clambered into bed and he read to her, using different voices for each character. Once he was done, Marah gave Daisy a soft kiss and tucked her in. Shutting the light, she and Shayne returned to the living room.
Shayne took Marah’s hand in his own as he pulled her against him. He felt his heart thundering in his chest.
“So, what does she think of me?” he asked.
“You’re the first man she’s asked to read her bedtime story to her. She seems to think you’re a safe person,” Marah said.
“Children do have that sense, you know. If she’d picked up that i have ill intent toward you or her, she wouldn’t have allowed me near either one of you. Marah, I think she’s answered your questions,” Shayne said.
Marah looked at Shayne, surprised. “Questions?”
“You’re wondering if I’m going to cheat like your ex did. You’re wondering if you and Daisy are safe around me. Daisy figured it out in one evening – yes, you are. Marah, I want a relationship with you. Are you ready?”
Marah nodded and said, “Yes. I am.”
If you liked this story, read the other titles in the
Sweet Love & Kisses series.
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