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.Your love for writing well-researched and compassionate stories comes through on every page.”Her flush, she decided, could be explained by standing over a hot stove, although they both knew it had far more to do with how much his compliment meant to her.“Thanks.” She brought their plates over to the table.“I can take him while we eat.”“We’re good,” Dylan said, making it seem like the most natural thing to eat his dinner with a ten-month-old on his lap, just as he had last night at his parents’ house.“He’s usually already sacked out by this time in the evening.I think he was just so excited by having you here that he wanted to squeeze every ounce of playtime out of you.”“I know exactly how he feels,” Dylan said as Mason nuzzled his head closer against his shoulder and closed his eyes.He looked up from her son, his gaze quickly shifting from affection for the baby to heat for her.“It’s been a good night, hasn’t it?”“It has.” She made herself pick up her fork and twirl spaghetti onto it even though she didn’t think she’d be able to eat much with Dylan so close…and so male.“It’s nice having a friend to spend time with.”She half-expected him to point out that by now they had clearly transitioned from just friends.But Dylan, she was learning, rarely did what people expected him to.So after telling her that her spaghetti dinner might very well rival his Aunt Mary’s, he said, “Tell me about your folks.”She couldn’t stop the rush of anguish.“They’re both gone.”He put his fork down and reached across the table to cover her hand.“I’m sorry.”“I am, too.” The warmth, the strength of his hand over hers helped to ground her.“My mother got sick with lung cancer when I was in elementary school.She had never smoked, but her father had been a heavy smoker during her childhood.My father and I, we were both devastated, but he never missed a beat.He was there for me every single second.We had always been close, but we became an even tighter unit after my mom died.” She turned her hand palm up so that she could grip Dylan’s.“Two years ago, he was coming home from a baseball game when someone who had been drinking heavily at the same game drove through a red light.The paramedics said he died instantly, that he probably felt no pain.” But she had.Pain that could still spear her from out of the blue.“I miss him every day, so much, just the way I still miss my mom.But never more than when Mason does something new, like his first smile, or when he started to crawl.My father, my mother—they will never get to see those things.And Mason will never get to know his grandparents.”She didn’t know when Dylan moved close enough to pull her against him so that the baby was leaning against one broad shoulder and she was in the crook of the other.“They raised one hell of a woman, Grace.And you’re doing just as great a job with Mason.”“He looks like my father.The same eyes.The same silly grin.”Mason blinked bleary eyes open and reached for her then, and she knew she was going to pay the next morning for keeping him up so far past his bedtime, but she hadn’t wanted the evening with Dylan to end, either.Not when it truly had been a perfect night.So perfect that she didn’t think she could live with herself if she didn’t explain precisely why she was so intent on them being “just friends” after a kiss that had proved they could be so much more.“I know we’ve only just started to eat, but I need to put Mason to bed.But, please, stay and finish dinner.And if you wouldn’t mind staying a little longer, I’d like to answer the question you asked me last night.”“Of course I’ll wait, Grace.As long as you need me to.” He gave Mason a kiss on the forehead.“Good night, little guy.Sweet dreams.”Mason’s eyes fluttered open again, and when he puckered up his lips to give Dylan a good-night kiss—something he’d only ever given her before tonight—Grace’s heart flip-flopped inside her chest.From the look on Dylan’s face, she knew his had, too.CHAPTER TENRegardless of how difficult or crazy a day Grace might have had, Mason’s bedtime ritual always settled her down.Tonight, however, she had a feeling nothing was going to stop the flutters in her belly [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]