Grill Me, Baby

Grill Me, Baby by Sophia Knightly

Book: Grill Me, Baby by Sophia Knightly Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sophia Knightly
Maki’s cuisine could be as delicious as his. She might cook with precision, but he cooked with passion. Paolo was intrigued to taste her cooking, but not nearly as much as he craved a taste of her . 
    As he got into his car, his cell phone rang with his home number in caller ID. “ Hola , Claudia,” he barely got out before he heard her labored breathing. 
    “Ay, ay, owweee. This is it! I think the baby’s coming! Come home now!” she cried, panting loudly.
    Paolo felt the blood drain from his face. As the oldest of five children, he had heard what his mother had gone through in childbirth and he didn’t want to think of Claudia suffering that way.
    “I’m on my way,” he said through clenched teeth.

Chapter Eight
    Paolo stormed into his apartment as if a bull was chasing him. “Claudia, where are you?” he called out. “Are you okay? Is it the baby?”
    “No, it’s your food,” Claudia retorted as she struggled to sit up on the sofa. “Of course it’s the baby! I thought you’d never get here.”
    “Are you still having contractions?”
    “Yes!” she exclaimed, wild-eyed. “I just had another one a few minutes ago. They don’t feel like the Braxton Hicks ones I’ve been having on and off.” She rubbed her swollen belly in a circular motion and then stopped and winced. “Here it comes again.” She took shallow panting breaths while her white-knuckled hands held the sides of the sofa cushion. When it subsided, she cried, “The baby is going to come if we don’t leave now! ¡Vamonos al hospital! ”
    “ Sí , let’s go.” Paolo carefully helped her up, steadying her with an arm around her shoulders.
    “Wait! I need my hospital bag.” Claudia pointed to a blue canvas carry-on next to the front door. “It’s over there.”
    “We’ll get it on the way out. Lean on me.” 
    Claudia supported her bulging belly with one arm as she linked her other arm with his and held on tight. 
    When they got to the door, Paolo hoisted the hospital bag onto his shoulder. “What do you have in there? Rocks?”
    “You never know what you’ll need in the hospital,” she said, suddenly sounding giddy. Her mood shifts were puzzling to say the least. “Magazines, playing cards, cute outfits for baby and me to go home in, pictures of my family to make me strong. I’ve been collecting things here and there. Aiyee!” Her body went rigid against his side. “Here comes another one!”
    Paolo watched his little sister’s face turn red as she panted rhythmically, her cheeks puffing up with exertion. “Have you been timing them?” 
    “Yes, but they’re not coming regularly yet.”
    “Hang in there, nena .” Sweating bullets, he waited until Claudia’s contraction subsided and then led her outside. “Lean on me while I lock the door. Forget about walking, I’ll carry you. We need to get you to the hospital ASAP!” 
    The moment he hefted Claudia in his arms, she turned awkwardly and grabbed his neck. A sharp spasm shot from the right side of Paolo’s neck down to his shoulder. Ouch , that hurt. Adding to her tall and athletic figure, Claudia had put on at least another thirty pounds of baby weight. Normally, he could have carried her with no problem, but this morning he had woken up with an annoying crick in his neck from sleeping on the couch. Paolo forced himself to ignore the shooting pain as he took the front steps of the building, two at a time. 
    Claudia had said she felt the baby coming! He silently prayed for her baby to take a little longer.
    Michaela hummed as she sprinkled a liberal amount of chopped cilantro, basil and mint leaves around the grilled yellowtail snapper. Her headache was gone and she was feeling better, in spite of her hangover this morning. The clinking of pots and pans and the frenetic pace of her staff pleased her. Ironically, chef was French for boss and Michaela loved being the ringleader of her domain. 
    “Why are you smiling, Michaela? Is that a drop of

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