“What harm can a hug do? I want you to let me into Daniel’s life, Will!”
He gave a short laugh. “Let you into his life? With an occasional hug?”
“More than that. Any kind of relationship has to start somewhere. With a hug or two. I want to start. I need to, if this thing between us is going to be anything more than a quickie now and then. But you won’t even let me get a foot in the door!”
Will closed his eyes. Maggie didn’t know what she was asking. He knew that both of them were getting more deeply into this than he’d intended. He was finding that he liked her more. Admired her more. Respected her more. He wanted her in his life as a professional partner and as a lover.
Not as a wife. Not as a mother for Daniel. Dear Lord, he wasn’t ready to fill those roles again.
I love New York State’s Adirondack Mountains, where this story takes place. I love the wilderness grandeur of the mountains in winter, as well as the summer treats of sun and swimming on the shores of Lake George. Dr. Maggie Lawless seemed to belong in this setting. She is a strong character, who has known some struggles in her life, and I really felt she deserved her beautiful lakefront home and medical practice.
I felt she deserved Will Braggett, too, once she could get over her misconceptions about him. The big questions remained. With the extra attention his little son needed, did Will have enough to give? And did Maggie have the patience to wait?
Don’t you find it frustrating when two people obviously belong together, except that one or both of them can’t see it? Hold on to your hats, because this is going to be a bumpy ride….
A Mother for His Child
‘I’M STARTING to get nervous about the island thing.’
Laura Bailey curved one forearm below the tight swell of her pregnancy as she swung herself awkwardly from the examining table. She gave Dr Maggie Lawless an apologetic smile.
Maggie, who had been nervous about the island thing for months, nodded and clicked her tongue in sympathy.
‘Do you want to take another look at what I suggested before?’ Her tone was as persuasive as she dared to make it. ‘Just check into a motel for a few nights? You’re due on Monday and your cervix is as ripe as a plum. It shouldn’t be too much longer.’
Laura sighed, and the smooth, fair skin on her brow crinkled into a frown. She slipped her feet into a pair of flat-heeled but expensive-looking navy shoes. Her outfit was expensive, too—a navy tunic and pants combination that contrasted with her blonde hair.
‘I guess that’s what I’m going to suggest to Curtis,’ she said. ‘I didn’t want to—I still don’t—because I know he’ll think it’s about him…which, of course, truthfully, it is. In part, anyway. How will it be if I go into labour on the island in the middle of the night and he’s not well enough to help me get to shore? We have friends on standby, but if the baby’s coming fast…’
Maggie nodded again, took a surreptitious glance at her watch and winced. It was late, but she didn’t want to hurry Laura along. As the Bailey family’s physician, she was familiar with the conflicting issues that were tying this patient in knots at the moment.
Millionaire businessman Curtis Bailey had multiple sclerosis, and he wasn’t the type to give in to his disease. He was proud, independent and fought bitterly against any limitation to what he did. Living on an island in the middle of a lake demanded a defiant form of courage that Maggie had to admire, even though, as a doctor, it scared her.
‘Problem is,’ Laura was saying, ‘I’d forgotten what this feels like.’ Her vague gesture made it clear that ‘this’ was the pregnancy—the heaviness, the waiting, the nerves. ‘It’s six and a half years since I was pregnant with Lily.’
‘If you want to call Curtis now…’ Maggie offered.
But Laura shook her head. ‘He’s in Wayans Falls, running some errands, and then we have to pick up Tyler and Lily from ball practice. I’ll talk to him about it tonight. The other two both came around ten days late, so I’m sure there’s a little time.’
Maggie wasn’t as confident.
‘Tell Curtis to call me any time if he has questions, OK?’ she urged. ‘I’m on call all weekend.’
‘Thanks, Dr Lawless.’ Laura glanced through the wide windows looking onto the lake. The sweeping expanse of water danced with bright reflected light. Maggie could see the tip of the Baileys’ island, as well as the blue, contoured smudge of the lake’s opposite shore.
‘At least the weather is holding,’ Laura went on. ‘It’s supposed to be fine through Monday.’
‘Supposed to,’ Maggie echoed dryly.
‘Well, yes.’ Laura gave a little sigh.
Maggie ushered her out into the waiting room. It was empty. Her office manager, Marilyn, had already left for the day, and so had Janet, who handled billing and insurance. She closed the front door after Laura, blew a breath through her lips and lifted the thick hair from the back of her neck with both hands, enjoying the sensation of air on the tender skin there.
Last patient of the day. And, as was the case more often than not, she’d been running a half-hour behind for most of the afternoon.