Patrick's Promise (Cloverleaf #3)

Patrick's Promise (Cloverleaf #3) by Gloria Herrmann Read Free Book Online

Book: Patrick's Promise (Cloverleaf #3) by Gloria Herrmann Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gloria Herrmann
chest. Patrick had towered over her compact frame, and he couldn’t help but wonder how she would feel next to him…under him even. He swallowed back the unexpected wash of desire. Guilt had found a way to creep in, causing a sudden battle of conflicted emotions.
    “Daddy!” Connor shouted. He ran toward Patrick when he entered the house. As he spotted Connor’s blonde hair and blue eyes, he saw Beth, and his guilt cut him a little more deeply.
    “Hey, buddy.” Patrick scooped him up and carried him toward the kitchen, in search of Finn and Mary.
    “We’re in here,” Mary called out from the dining room. Patrick came in to see Finn and Mary seated at the table. Finn munched on some graham crackers, and seated next to him was Mary sipping tea. “Just finishing up a little snack, aren’t we?” Mary looked over at Finn as a giant, crumb-covered smile appeared on the little boy’s face. Mary turned back to Patrick, who was still carrying Connor, but the little boy was now resting his small head on Patrick’s shoulder. She had a serious look in her eyes that told him that she needed to speak with him later, when the children weren’t around.
    “Well, I will go load this guy into the car. Finn, you almost done, buddy?”
    “Yes, Daddy.” Finn hopped off his chair and sped toward Patrick.
    Mary followed them out to the car and waited patiently as Patrick secured each child in their large booster seats. Closing the door, he turned to her. “What’s up, Mom? Everything okay?”
    “Well, son, today was kind of an interesting one. The boys were asking questions about their mother,” Mary said softly. Patrick felt as though he had been punched in the gut. It wasn’t as though he had kept Beth’s death a secret, but the boys hadn’t been able to fully understand or miss something they had never known.
    “What happened?” he asked, leaning against his SUV. His gaze searched his mother’s, and there was sadness behind her eyes.
    She offered him a tight-lipped smile before speaking. “Well, we had been having a really lovely day, as usual. I noticed that Finn seemed a little down, though, so I asked him if anything was the matter. He asked why he didn’t have a mommy.” Mary’s voice grew weak as emotion started to choke her.
    “Oh, Mom,” Patrick said as he took her in his arms.
    Pulling back, Mary looked up at him. “It makes sense that they would wonder. Rachel and Maggie had stopped by earlier, and I’m sure the boys are hearing them talk about babies all the time now. I know that Mel is excited and probably talks about it with them.”
    “These are the cards we were dealt. There isn’t a whole lot we can do,” Patrick muttered.
    “I just feel bad for those little boys. Beth really would’ve enjoyed them, and they are the highlight of my day.” Mary’s eyes were red as she wiped away the tears that streaked her cheeks.
    “I’d better get them home. Thanks again, Mom.” He hugged her once more before getting into his car. It bothered him to see his mother hurting, but he was used to the pain; it was with him every day.
    Patrick started the engine and headed home. He lived only a few blocks away. When they arrived, he let the boys out of their seats and trudged into his home. Immediately, he was bombarded by how much this house was filled with Beth’s essence. Everything from the decor to where things belonged, he hadn’t changed a thing. Of course, when the boys came home from the NICU, Beth had already set up where all their baby stuff was to go. As they grew older, Patrick figured out where to put things and had tried to organize their lives as closely to how Beth would have wanted it. But the home was still hers—exactly how she had left it. Patrick still had her clothes hanging in the closet, though they no longer held her scent. But he didn’t have the heart to donate or throw them out. How was he ever going to be able to move on? Sneaking thoughts of Amber crept in, and he couldn’t

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