And Then Came You

And Then Came You by Maureen Child

Book: And Then Came You by Maureen Child Read Free Book Online
Authors: Maureen Child
dark green T-shirt rose, giving him an all-too-brief glimpse of tanned skin.
    Naturally, he shouldn’t be noticing Sam—not the way he was, anyway. Dammit, he was engaged. To a woman who had the right to expect better. Jesus, was he really going to stand here and let his hormones drag him down a road he’d already crashed on?
    Sure, he knew better. But he couldn’t seem to help himself. Couldn’t seem to tear his gaze from Sam’s seductive dance. She wasn’t even trying—yet he felt a raging need crawling inside him.
    He unfisted his hand and laid it against the screen door. He couldn’t interrupt. Didn’t want to shatter this moment when she didn’t know she was being watched. When she wasn’t angry or defensive or ready to kick his balls into his throat. Just for this one moment, he wanted to enjoy seeing the woman he remembered. The woman who’d swept him into a sea of passion that had, eventually, drowned him.
    That thought doused whatever embers were flickering to life within. He made a fist and knocked three times. Hard.
    Instantly, she whirled around and her gaze fixed on him. Embarrassment and suspicion crossed her face in quick succession before her features composed themselves into a perfectly polite, perfectly poised, blank. She tossed the dishtowel onto the counter, glanced behind her, and then headed toward him.
    Loose limbed and graceful, even when her spine was stiff enough to snap, Sam Marconi was the kind of woman who could bring a man to his knees. But she’d done that to him once, as he vividly remembered. Wouldn’t happen again.
    “A dancing carpenter?” he asked, and could have kicked his own ass for getting things off on the wrongfoot. One thing to keep from getting sucked into a sexual haze—something else again to pick a fight with a woman who could make his life miserable.
    Her eyes narrowed. Jesus. He remembered that look all too well. Ready for battle and hunting for scalps. Quickly, he lifted both hands in surrender. “Sorry. Look, I’m just here to pick up Emma.”
    Emma. He’d spent the last two hours wandering around “downtown” Chandler, thinking about what his daughter might be doing. What Sam was telling her. Stupid, but it had felt like the longest two hours of his life. For the first time, he’d been locked out of something involving his daughter. For the first time, he’d known that someone else had as deep a claim to her as he did himself.
    And it wasn’t sitting well.
    Sam nodded, reached out and opened the screen door. “Come on in. I’ll get her. She’s out back with Jo and Mike.”
    Both of her sisters were there. Great. With the fortitude of a gladiator, Jeff managed to keep from groaning. But his features must have told her what he was thinking.
    Her mouth twitched. “Don’t worry. My sisters won’t kill you in front of witnesses.”
    “Comforting. What about your parents?”
    Sam inhaled sharply. “Papa’s so happy to get a chance to be with Emma, he’s willing to overlook you.”
    Briefly, Jeff mourned the loss of the older man’s respect. He’d enjoyed Hank Marconi. Enjoyed having a father figure who wasn’t steeped in years of guilt and family duty. “What about Sylvia? She ready to kill me, too?”
    “Mama’s dead,” Sam said, all light in her eyes dissolving.
    “God, Sam . . .”
    She stepped back as he stepped in. Shoving her hands into the back pockets of her jeans, she shrugged and tipped her head to one side. “Just before Emma was born.”
    He hadn’t known. Hadn’t kept tabs on her or her family. He’d wanted to put it all behind him. And he’d succeeded. Now, a twinge of grief snaked through him, for Sylvia, for Sam, for him. For all of them and for what might have been.
    “I really am sorry.”
    She nodded. “So’m I.”
    “I liked Sylvia a lot.”
    “She liked you, too,” Sam said, gaze fixed on him. “Which just goes to prove that even Mama could make a mistake.”
    “Ouch.” Her barb hit home and made the

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