Draw Me Close

Draw Me Close by Nicole Michaels Read Free Book Online

Book: Draw Me Close by Nicole Michaels Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nicole Michaels
S-I-T-U-A-T-I-O-N.”
    â€œWell, looks you got it down now. But that is a tough one. Still proud of you.” Derek gave Tanner a wink. Lisa placed a giant baking dish of steaming macaroni on the table before heading back into the attached kitchen. Derek looked back to his son and leaned in close. “Hey, I had an idea. I thought we could go sledding tomorrow.”
    Tanner’s eyes flicked toward his mother for a beat before she turned and frowned, obviously overhearing the conversation.
    â€œOh shoot, Tanner just went sledding yesterday,” Lisa said as she walked over and set a plate of chicken fingers down on the table. “Lane and I took him down the road to that hill behind the grocery store. I should have thought you’d have that idea. Sorry.”
    Derek worked his jaw back and forth as he collected his thoughts. He rested his forearms on the kitchen table and leaned forward a bit, steeling himself. Do not react. Derek glanced at his son who looked sad. And guilty. That served to settle Derek’s frustration a little. The last thing he wanted was for Tanner to feel bad about what they’d done. Reaching out, Derek grabbed his son’s hand and gave it a quick squeeze.
    â€œHey, bud, no big deal, I’m glad you had a good time.” Derek forced a genuine smile.
    â€œI still want to go with you, Dad. Your hill in Preston is the best.”
    â€œDarn right it is. And there’s definitely no such thing as too much sledding, gotta pack it in when the snow hits.”
    Tanner grinned and that was enough to make Derek forget how much he wanted to strangle Lisa. She knew damn well that he’d always taken Tanner sledding when the weather permitted, had started the minute Tanner could fit into a toddler-sized snowsuit. In all those years Lisa had never accompanied them. Had never desired to stand out in the cold for any reason. Derek knew she’d purposely taken Tanner first yesterday just to try and rob him of that pleasure. It didn’t matter. She and this Lane character—whoever the hell this moron was—could never replace him in Tanner’s life. He was his father and that meant more than anything.
    Five minutes later when Lane walked into the kitchen, Derek could tell by the shocked and awkward look on the man’s face that he’d had no idea what he was in for when his girlfriend invited him over for dinner. Derek almost felt sorry for him as he stood and shook the man’s hand. He introduced himself and apologized for the surprise.
    â€œNo problem at all. It’s nice to finally meet you,” Lane said with an awkward smile. Seemed Lisa had managed to make every male in the room uncomfortable. Classic. Why did she have to do that? She could be sweet and nurturing if she wanted to. He’d seen it before.
    And “finally”? Lane’s words settled into Derek’s mind. How long had this guy been around? Derek wondered why Tanner had never mentioned him. Or maybe Lisa had kept the relationship from their son for a while. Good luck, man, Derek thought. You’re gonna need it .
    *   *   *
    â€œI really think this one brings out the warm tones in the tile on the backsplash. Don’t you agree?” Anne asked, her face scrunched up in indecision as she held a stained chip of wood next to a tile sample. It was early Saturday morning and they were choosing floor stain over coffee and doughnuts in Anne’s current kitchen. In fact, they’d been at it for almost an hour and Lindsey was all decisioned out.
    â€œI think you should go with your first instinct,” Lindsey said, pulling another sample chip to the forefront. “This one is not as dark. That was a concern you had initially.”
    Anne shook her head. “You’re right. I just can’t help thinking that Mike said he liked this one.” She pointed to a different stain sample.
    Lindsey sat back in her chair with a sigh.

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