“I know that,” Clay said softly. “But what if Will ends up the same?” He tapped one thumb on the file.
She brushed her thumbs over his fingers. “Then he will have made the same sad choices that Manny did, despite all your noble efforts and sacrifices.”
He gave her a sad smile, small and barely there, but it lit her heart up nonetheless.
“Clay, I’m so sorry for Manny and the pain he caused you and for the pain Will is causing you. I can see you think the world of these kids, all of them, and would stop at nothing for them. Maybe, between the two of us, we can make a difference for Will this time around.”
She searched his face again, eagerly looking for a spark of hopefulness. A glimmer of the calm determination she had come to expect from him. An idea struck her, fast and uncharacteristically bold.
“I’ll tell you what, when you go talk to Will about this joyriding event, and his consequences, let me go along with you,” she offered.
He cracked another sad grin. “So I’ll take it easy on him again? I think we’re past that point.”
“So do I. I was thinking more like we go as a united team effort. You know, strength in numbers.”
Capturing her hands in his palms, he pulled her off the floor and onto his lap. “I’d like that and appreciate it.” He gave her a broad smile, a true smile this time. “You have no idea how much that means to me, McKayla Buchanan. You just warmed my soul.”
Surrendering to a throbbing need that refused to be silenced, she lowered her face to his upturned lips, touching for a kiss she just knew would be delicious.
In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and baking, reading, spending time with friends, growing plants, playing chess, mah jongg, and wiggly word find puzzles and exploring the great outdoors. She lives in the heart of Appalachia in Western North Carolina in a charming old cottage with a menagerie of rescue pets.