Maxwells Smile

Maxwells Smile by Michele Hauf Read Free Book Online

Book: Maxwells Smile by Michele Hauf Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michele Hauf
he said. “As thanks for the excellent meal.”
    “Oh…” She was about to protest that she could leave the dishes until after he left, but the feel of his strong, solid form standing next to her, their arms brushing, was not something she wanted to dismiss so quickly. “All right then. Is your thumb okay?”
    He waggled the bandaged digit. “Your lasagna saved the day. I might have been a goner if you hadn’t fortified me with food.”
    Performing his usual after-supper duties, Maxwell cleared the table, and as she placed the last of the dishes beside her on the counter, gave her a wink. Where had the kid learned that? Ah, yes. Sam’s winks were apparently infectious.
    “Sam, after you and Mom are finished, can you help me with a few more details on the DVD drive?”
    “Sure, buddy.”
    “Yes!” Her son raced upstairs toward his bedroom.
    “You have an interesting connection with Maxwell,” Rachel said as she soaped up the plates. “He likes you.”
    “I like him. It’s amazing how quickly he recovered from surgery, but as he explained, it was laparoscopic. I actually did go home and look that one up. Guy could learn a lot hanging around that kid.”
    “He has to return next week for a follow-up visit, but yes, kids are very resilient.”
    “Most of them.”
    She sensed a sadness fall over Sam, but didn’t want to question him. Perhaps he’d known a child who hadn’t been so resilient. Best to keep first dates light.
    This is not a date, Rachel. Don’t forget, he’s here on business .
    Well, sort of a date. Why can’t you allow yourself to have some fun?
    Because every time she started liking a guy, she’d think Great, now I’ve found a dad for Maxwell . But her heart knew it shouldn’t be about finding her son a father, it should be about finding a man she could love. Yet the argument that Maxwell could use a dad was never far behind, and that always muddled everything and made it too complicated, so she generally abandoned the whole quest. She wasn’t desperate for commitment, but she would never pass up a real relationship with the right man.
    “I’m sorry about the other day,” Sam said, breaking into her thoughts.
    “What happened the other day?”
    “You know, when I kissed you.”
    “Oh.” He was apologizing for a kiss. Swell, Rachel. Real relationship? What a crock.
    “I sense you need to take things slow. Maybe you’re a little confused.”
    “Confused? About a kiss? What kind of a woman do you think I am?”
    “I think you’re a gorgeous, smart woman who is in a league much higher than my own, that’s what I think.”
    “Really? You know how ridiculous that sounds?”
    “Not from my perspective. And you have a kid.”
    As if she was ever going to forget the one detail that would forever damn her dating prospects. Time to draw up the walls again. Her foray into trust wasn’t getting her where she wanted to be.
    “Don’t worry about it. There’s nothing to be sorry for.”
    They worked side by side over the sink in stunning silence. Until Sam placed the last dried plate on the counter and abruptly stated, “All right. I just gotta know. Where does Maxwell’s father fit in? Since you’re not Mrs . McHenry?”
    Well, that was direct, but she had to give him credit for daring to ask. Most men waffled around the subject for far too long.
    “I’ve never been married. Had Sam when I was twenty. Maxwell’s father—well, it’s not right to call him that. He’s more the sperm donor. We dated almost a year, but we’d already split up by the time I learned I was pregnant. And when I told him, he said it wasn’t his spiritual path to be a father.”
    “Is that so?”
    “Yes, and I was, and still am, cool with that. He was a fine man and I respect him. We just had different outlooks on life and family. Maxwell and I have done well on our own. Better, I suspect, than if I’d married the guy just because, you know?” She was rambling. But best to have it all out there

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