Donovan's Child

Donovan's Child by Christine Rimmer Read Free Book Online

Book: Donovan's Child by Christine Rimmer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Christine Rimmer
really well-made red velvet cake. What more is there to life?”
    â€œYou’re happy. I like that.”
    She gave him a bright smile, ate yet another dreamy bite of the wonderful cake. “You know, we really should go into that little town, Chula Mesa, one of these nights.”
    He swallowed, lowered his fork. His dark eyes shone. “We?”
    â€œYeah. You. Me. Donovan.”
    â€œDonovan.” Ben spoke flatly now. “Of course, Donovan.”
    â€œNo, really. I think it would be good for him, for all three of us, to get out of this house for a while. We could invite Anton and Olga, too. Make it a group outing.”
    Ben wasn’t exactly jumping up and down with excitement at the prospect of a night out with his boss. “Have you brought this up to him?”
    â€œJust that first night.” She made a show of rolling her eyes. “You remember how well that went.”
    â€œWhat can I say? You can’t make him do what he doesn’t want to do.”
    â€œBen, he needs to get out. He’s…hiding here. He’s made this house into his fortress—you know that he has. It’s not good for him.”
    Ben lowered his half-finished plate to his lap. “Listen to you. You’re getting way too invested in him.”
    â€œWhat’s wrong with that? You said it yourself, that first night. You said he needed someone like me around.”
    â€œI didn’t mean that you should make him into a…project.”
    â€œBut I’m not.”
    â€œAbilene. You’re his protégé. Not his therapist.”
    â€œWhich is a very good question. Does he have a therapist—a counselor I mean, someone to talk to? If he spent half as much time trying to figure out what’s going on inside him as he does in the gym downstairs, he’d be a much happier person. Not to mention, more fun to be around.”
    â€œNo. He doesn’t have a counselor.”
    â€œWell, he should. And he should get out. We should work together on this, you and me, make it a point to get him to—”
    â€œAbilene. Stop.” Ben set his plate down, hard.
    She blinked. “What?”
    â€œ I’ll go with you, okay?” He spoke with intensity. With passion, almost. “Into Chula Mesa, to Luisa’s. We can have a few drinks. A few laughs, just the two of us.”
    Just the two of us.
    Suddenly, the rich cake was too much. She set it down, half-finished, next to Ben’s. “Ben, I…”
    He sat very still. And then he smiled. It was not a particularly pleasant smile. “Not interested, huh?”
    â€œBen…”
    His lip still curled. But now, not in any way resembling a smile. “Just answer the question.”
    There was no good way to say it. “No. I’m not. Not in that way.”
    He let out a slow breath, and then smoothed his hairback with both hands. “Well, at least you didn’t say how much you like me. How much you want to be friends. ”
    â€œBut, I do. On both counts. You know I do.” She wanted to touch him. To soothe him. But that would be beyond inappropriate, given the circumstances. “But my liking you and wanting to be your friend…neither of those is the issue right now, is it?”
    â€œNo, they’re not. The issue is that I want more. And you don’t.” Now he looked openly angry. “It’s Donovan, right?”
    She gaped. “Donovan? Not on your life.”
    He grunted, nodded his head. “Yeah. It’s Donovan.”
    â€œBen. Come on. I don’t even like him.”
    â€œYeah. You do. You like him a lot.” He stood. “I think that you and I need to redefine the boundaries.”
    She hated that. But he was right. “Yes. I agree. I think we do.”
    â€œIf you want to know about Donovan, you should ask him yourself. If you want to go to Chula Mesa with him, tell him so. If you think he needs a shrink, say so. Say it to

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