A Family for Christmas

A Family for Christmas by Mary Eason Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: A Family for Christmas by Mary Eason Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Eason
she should have told Jack about Sammy years ago.
    “Momma, I finished up everything on my plate. Can we put up Gran’s tree now?”
    Somehow, she managed to let go of her misgivings for the moment. She smiled down at her son. “Sure. Right after I take a shower.”
    “Ah, Mom.” Sammy turned and sulked back into the kitchen. The way he walked, his mannerisms, all became mounting evidence of Jack’s paternity. She’d seen that same pout on Jack’s face whenever he didn’t get something he wanted.
    “I’ll only be a minute, I promise.”
    Rachel showered and dressed as quickly as possible, trying not to prolong Sammy’s grief any longer than necessary.
    As she headed for the living room, she heard Sammy talking to someone.
    Rachel hurried down the hall. Sammy was far too trusting, even though she’d warned him about talking to strangers. But in the country, there wasn’t much danger to be concerned about. This wasn’t the country.
    Rachel rounded the corner and found Michael sitting next to Sammy on the floor in front of the hall closet. Liz’s old Christmas tree and decorations lay scattered around them.
    “Sammy, I thought you were going to wait for my help.” She wasn’t really surprised that he hadn’t. Sammy was as strong willed as they came. Just like...she dismissed that thought in an instant. She was sick of comparing her son to Jack.
    Michael got to his feet and gave her a hug. “Sorry, Rach. I walked in just as he was reaching for the tree. I kinda helped out a little.”
    Rachel shook her head and smiled at her brother. Michael was just a big kid at heart. Still, she had to wonder what would bring Michael here at this time of the morning when normally he would be heading into the office.
    “Honey, why don’t you untangle the lights for us? Michael, you want some coffee?”
    Her brother recognized her attempt to keep Sammy out of whatever bad news she knew he had come to bring her.
    “Sure, coffee sounds terrific. Good luck with those lights, sport.”
    Sammy simply grinned up from his task of digging through boxes of decorations.
    “That’ll keep him busy for hours.”
    Rachel poured two cups of coffee. “So what’s up?” She tried to sound casual, but failed miserably.
    “Jack came to see me last night.”
    Her hand shook, spilling coffee onto the counter. Michael didn’t miss a thing.
    “When?”
    “Does it really matter? How did he know I was even here, Michael? Did you tell him?”
    Michael took the coffee cup from her hand before she could spill it as well. “Of course not, but I’d say someone definitely did. It was no accident that Jack showed up here in Austin. He knew you’d be here. Did you tell anyone about coming here?”
    “No, only you, and Mom and Amanda.”
    “Do you think Amanda tipped him off?”
    Rachel considered the possibility for only a second before dismissing it. “No, Amanda would never do that.”
    “Well, someone definitely did. And he’s furious with you. What happened last night?”
    “Nothing—”
    “Don’t give me that. I know he confronted you about Sammy because he told me so.”
    “Then you know what happened,” she told Michael wearily.
    “Rach, for crying out loud, accept the inevitable. You have to find a way to tell Sammy the truth before this goes any further and he ends up getting hurt. Or worse, hating you for keeping him from his father.” Michael kept his voice low, for Sammy’s sake.
    She flinched at her brother’s directness. Michael hadn’t deliberately wanted to hurt her, only to force her into facing the truth. “What did Jack tell you?”
    “This doesn’t have to be a battle between the two of you, but you have to accept the fact that you didn’t do the right thing by Jack or by Sammy. This is your chance to set things right. It’s time, don’t you think? Jack is Sammy’s father and he needs to be part of his son’s life. And you have to allow that.”
    “Michael, you know how Jack is. He won’t settle for

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