Why couldn’t he just let it go!

Max leaned against the wall, waiting for June and Aria to be finished. Trey would be by any minute to pick up June. He knew his friend wanted June to stop working so long and so late. Max didn’t blame him. He’d seen firsthand how hard pregnancy could be on a woman. June was handling it a lot better than Molly had. She didn’t have the severe sickness or the exhaustion, and seemed to be running on rocket ships or something.

The bakery had been her life up until Trey had been determined to get her to fall in love.

With Dale away and the women in town holding no appeal, Max knew without a doubt his feelings for Aria were driving him crazy. The guilt hadn’t gone away, and it pissed him off that he was still thinking about her.

She worked with June, and rarely looked his way even when he was in the shop.

He didn’t know why it mattered.

June and Aria finally appeared as they closed and locked the door. Trey walked over, pulling June into his arms, and Max chose that moment to step out from the darkness.

“I figured I could walk you home,” he said, looking at Aria.

“It’s fine. I can get home.”

“It’s really late. Please, let Max take you home,” Trey said. After a few seconds passed, Aria still didn’t look happy, so his friend finally conceded. “I can walk you if you want, and I can get Max to take June home.”

That wasn’t what he wanted. He could walk June home any day. With how early he got up, he could even walk her to damn work. This wasn’t about June. This was about him.

“No, don’t be silly. It’s fine. I can walk home with Max if that will make you happy,” Aria said, looking at June.

“I don’t want to worry. We’re going to have to leave earlier.”

“We will,” Aria said. “Promise.”

The two women hugged.

“Don’t worry. Molly will be back, and she’ll keep us in check,” June said.

Aria laughed, and then he was left alone with her while Trey walked away with his arms around June.

She turned toward him. “You don’t have to walk me home. I can get there without any help.”

“It’s late, and you don’t know what losers are out. Please, let me do this.”

He watched as she tucked her thick auburn hair behind her ears, and he was struck by how beautiful and rich the color looked.

“I know you won’t forgive me, and that’s a good thing. I don’t deserve it, but the least you could do is let me do the nice thing now, the right thing.”

He held out his arm, and she stared at him, then his arm before finally placing hers through his.

It wasn’t much, but it was something, and he’d take it.

Chapter Nine

One and a half weeks later

Molly watched as her children played around on the front lawn, laughing as they both kept slapping each other’s arms shouting they were it. Glancing up at the house, she nibbled her lip when she caught sight of Dale on the roof.

Since their vacation had ended, Dale had been putting his stamp on the house. He’d brought all of his stuff, and any of her threadbare furniture he’d started to clean up and repair. He’d brought a new sofa and beds for all of them. The ones they had were not going to repair easily, if at all. He’d repaired the table and the chairs.

It was strange waking up in his arms, having him at the breakfast table, and of course, preparing dinner for him. The kids totally loved him, but then he was their father. They’d yet to call him Dad though, and she knew it upset him at times.

She never brought it up, and never made the kids call him that, even though she referred to him as Dad or father.

“Are you okay up there?” she asked, calling up to him.

“He’s going to break his fucking neck,” Max said.

The kids squealed and rushed toward him, shouting “Uncle Max!”

She looked up at Dale and saw the pain on his face.

“It’s good to see you two. Now go play. I’ll join you guys in a minute. I’ve got to help your dad so he doesn’t fall down and break his neck,” Max said, moving toward the ladder and holding it in place.

“I’ll go and make drinks.”

“I’ll keep an eye on them.” Max stopped her from leaving. “They’re still not calling him Dad?”

“No, not yet.” She patted his arm, and entered the kitchen.

She picked up several toys along the way, placing them in the boxes she kept near the sitting room. She didn’t have much, but what she had she took care of. Her children never went without. She made sure of that.

Filling up the pitcher with some lemonade, she also put the kettle on the stove to boil and prepared three cups for coffee.

She had a serving tray and was about to leave when Dale came up behind her. She saw Max had brought the two kids into the back yard along with the ladder.

“Does he come around often?” Dale asked.

“He’d come and do some repair jobs to the house if I needed it. Max has been a friend.” It had surprised her that Max could be nice. What she remembered of him in high school, he’d never had the patience or desire to help anyone but himself.

“They’re happy around him.”

“It’s all new to them, Dale.” She turned in his arms, wrapping hers around his neck, playing with the hairs at the back. “It’ll all turn out okay. I promise. Just don’t rush it. They love you.”

“I know they do. I guess I’m just being impatient.”

There was a knock on the door, and Dale went to open it.

June and Trey had arrived. Molly made two drinks for June and Trey, then took all of their drinks outside and joined them out in the garden. Max was already looking at the barbeque. “I’ll grab some steaks and burgers. We’ll make a party of it.”

They took advantage of the last of the summer sunshine.

Dale and Max left to go and get burgers while she and June quickly made up some large cookies so everyone had something sweet for dessert. Trey was on babysitting duty.

“You’re still wearing his ring,” June said.

She stared down at the ring she couldn’t bring herself to take off. “It’s a beautiful ring.”

“Has he asked you to marry him?” she asked.

“No. He said he wouldn’t ask again.”

“You look a lot happier.”

“I feel happy. Everything seems … easier … better.”

“Have you told him your parents are trying to get in touch?”

Then the happiness was interrupted once again by the memory of her parents. They’d cut her out of their lives, but for a short time had helped her out with babysitting. Of course that had all gone wrong when she realized they were saying spiteful things about her kids being bastards. She’d cut off all contact with them, and since doing so had been much happier.

“I’ve not told him. We’re getting along fine, and there’s no reason to bring them into it. They’re only interested now because the entire town knows that Dale is the father. They couldn’t handle not knowing. They don’t deserve to know my babies.” She pulled out the cookies and placed them on a cooling rack, which she also used as a grill.

June came up behind her, wrapping her arms around her. It was a friendly hug. “You’ll always have me.”

“I know.”

“Do you think we should invite Aria?” Molly asked.

“I don’t know. She’s always rebuffed any invitation. I don’t think she likes Max all that much, and does her best to hide from him.”

“Max is a great guy.”

“Yeah, but that’s because we know him, and she’s only had to deal with the asshole that he can be.”

“Then we’ll leave it this time. No need to bring potential drama for the day.”

Dale and Max arrived home, and the barbeque was set up. Molly couldn’t contain her amusement as all three men argued over who should man the grill.

June sat drinking fresh orange juice

while Molly sipped at her coffee, admiring Dale. She felt relaxed, content, and calm.

“Aria is working out though,” June said.

“Yes. She showed me where I was going wrong with the brownies. I’m overmixing them and then baking them for too long at too high a temperature. She guided me through an entire batch of brownies, and when they were done, they were so good,” Molly said. “I feel like I achieved greatness.”

They talked about Aria, and finally the men agreed that, seeing as it was Dale’s yard, his barbeque, he had to man the grill.

Max took a seat, resting the back of his head in his hands. “This is the life.”

“I thought you said a good life is having a woman,” June said.

“Well, let’s just say that some women are not worth the time, the hassle, or the energy.”

Molly reached over, touching his head. “What have you done with Max?”

Tags: Sam Crescent Falling in Love Erotic
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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