House Calls:Callaghan Brothers, Book 3(9)

By: Abbie Zanders

Still, he seemed genuinely concerned. She wondered if he treated all of his patients like this. That thought was immediately followed up with one that said there would be a long line of broken hearts if he did.

She didn’t want to be joining them. He was a nice guy, trying to do a nice thing. Nothing more, no matter how often her heart skipped a beat when he looked at her like that. She wondered if he had been able to feel the irregular pattern when he had taken her pulse, flushing a dark pink at the thought.

Let him off the hook, her woozy mind urged, so he can get back to the party without feeling guilty. Yes, that would be the responsible thing to do.

“I don’t live alone,” she said, choosing her words carefully. Well, it was kind of true, at least as long as they weren’t limiting the conversation to actual people.

Michael looked at her with those amazing blue eyes, so clear and probing she cast her own downward in guilt. “Really,” she said quietly, “I just want to go home now. Please.” She hated the feel of the hot tears that burned in her eyes. She wasn’t an overly emotional person normally. But this day had been far too much, and she just wanted it to end before she had a breakdown and humiliated herself any further.

“Hey,” he said softly, laying his hand on her upper arm. “It’s alright, Maggie.” The shock of warmth sent shivers through her, but not as much as the concern in his eyes. Eyes that looked deeper than they should have. Eyes that were too genuine, too caring. Once again, she found herself turning away rather than face him.

“In any event, I don’t think you’re in any shape to drive,” he told her, and no matter how much she wished otherwise, she knew he was right.

“No, I’m not,” she agreed, “but I came with Sherri anyway.” She sighed, looking toward the room where the music still played. Sherri had been looking forward to this night for weeks. She would be devastated if she had to leave early. Maggie couldn’t do this to her, even if it meant spending next week’s food budget on a cab ride home. “Maybe you could call me a cab?”

“If you won’t let me take you to the hospital, at least let me drive you home,” Michael suggested.

“Oh, I really couldn’t ask you to do that,” Maggie said, her face reddening, her pulse quickening. “I’ve already ruined enough of your evening.”

He smiled again, that sexy lopsided smile that had her heart skipping a beat. “Technically you’re not asking; I’m offering. And I don’t mind. Really,” he added, when he saw her look of disbelief. “I’m not all that into bachelor parties,” he said. “They won’t even know I’m gone.”

She raised an eyebrow, wincing as she did. Such a small gesture should not hurt so much. Maggie made a mental note not to do that again for the next few days.

“Consider it my fee, if you like,” he added, a twinkle in his eye.

“You would consider driving me home payment for scraping me off the floor and saving me from even worse humiliation?”

“My fees are steep, I admit, but I’m just good enough to be worth it.”

Despite herself, she laughed softly. It was very difficult to resist him when he laid the charm on so thickly. And what would it hurt? He’d see her safely home and know that he did his good deed for the day, Sherri would get to stay and enjoy herself, and she would get home all that much sooner. Everybody won.

“Here,” he said, handing her a flannel shirt and sweats. “You’ll swim in them, but they should be easy to get into. I’ll just grab your things and pull the car around. Wait right here.” By the time she blinked again, Michael was already gone.

Maggie looked at the clothing he’d thrust into her lap. Definitely men’s, definitely huge, and – she lifted them up to her face and inhaled – definitely his. Slipping them on over the little bit that remained of her costume was much easier than trying to wiggle her way into the clothes she had worn earlier, she realized gratefully. Most of her right side was uncooperative – or just too damn painful to move much, and every time she looked down her head pounded like the devil was performing a particularly hearty rendition of Riverdance on it.