Doing it for him? Was she serious?
“Did your mom know?” The pitying look she’d given him had crushed him when he’d come home to visit and found that Patty had left the island.
“Not until much later.”
“So I wasn’t the only one you kept in the dark.” After all these years of not knowing why she dumped him. Of thinking that she’d realized how many men would be interested in her at college and beyond…that she didn’t want to settle for him. It had torn him up inside. But this…this seemed so much worse than all of that.
“I told my mom I’d decided to go to school in Barbados and that I wanted to visit my aunt before I went. She lives here on St. Victoria. She was the only one who knew, and I swore her to secrecy.”
“Why not tell me after you lost the baby?” Hell. Was he really standing here discussing a baby he’d never known about?
“I… I’d never answered your texts. By the time I stopped grieving, it just seemed…too late.”
The image of her crying on her bed made something twist inside of him. She’d been completely alone, dealing with something no one should ever have to deal with. She’d paid heavily for keeping her secret. He moved to stand in front of her. “I’m sorry, Patty.”
She glanced up, the track of one of her tears still wet. She shook her head, not saying anything, but her chin wiggled as if she was trying to hold back her emotions. He reached down and drew her to her feet, pulling her against his chest. He’d been standing there nurturing an anger he wasn’t sure he was justified in feeling. What would he have done if she’d told him?
He’d have come home. Would have walked through it with her. And that’s probably exactly why she’d kept it a secret. He tipped her chin back. “You should have told me.”
“Maybe. Probably.” She shrugged. “I was just a kid myself. And so were you. We were just starting to plan out our futures.”
Her nose still had that little uptilt that she’d hated so much. The one that he loved. Before he could stop himself, he kissed the tip of it, then reached to smooth her hair back. “I can’t imagine how hard that time must have been for you.”
“It was pretty awful. I was horrified when I found out I was pregnant, but then when I lost it…”
Hadn’t he just experienced something similar? Only instead of horror and grief, he’d felt anger, then loss, followed by…something else.
Her eyes glittered as a whole host of emotions tracked across her face. “It was your baby, Dax. He or she was there one moment, and then the next it was gone, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.”
They stared at one another for what seemed like an eternity. Her arms had gone around him at some point. Grief and something more insidious twined together as her soft curves pressed against him. As the heat of her body met his. Memories that should have been laid to rest ages ago swamped him, and despite his best efforts, he tightened his grip.
“Dax?”His name on her lips did him in, and without saying a word, he lowered his head and kissed her.
Log in or create an account to read the next chapter of "Second Chance with the Island Doc"
Every month we select a new title from one of our authors so that you can discover new stories, locations and genres for free.