Undercover Father, page 19
“He was going after him to the roof.”
Zane grabbed the arm of another firefighter. “There’s two men on the roof, both in security guard uniforms. Help Rafe, no matter what. Just make sure he gets down safely.”
The man nodded, then went after the others.
Zane turned to Megan and, surprisingly, put his arm around her shoulders. She hadn’t realized until then that she was shaking, too. “It’s okay,” he said, then let her go to crouch in front of the boys. “Your daddy’s okay. He’s really smart, and he’ll be back down really soon.”
“Sure,” Greg said. “Daddy’s real smart and brave.”
“You bet he is,” Zane said, then stood and faced Megan. “I think we met very briefly at the ball. In case you don’t remember, I’m Zane Holden. I had no idea that you and Rafe...” He lead her away from the building. “I’ve been friends with Rafe for a while, and I never expected him to take a chance again. It was rough, the past two years, but he’s finally coming back.” He smiled slightly. “I’m glad he met you.”
The siren stopped suddenly and the world seemed unnaturally quiet in that moment. Then the stairwell door flew open and the firemen were streaming out into the lobby. The captain was there, but no Rafe. Megan moved back near the doors with the boys, crouching with them and holding them to her side, but never taking her eyes off the exit.
Then Brad was there, held by two firefighters, his face flushed and bruised looking, his uniform torn. She hardly recognized him as the men all but dragged him past her toward police who had just come into the building. The door closed, the clang echoing, and no one else came out. Megan stared at the door, but it stayed closed. She looked up at Zane, who was talking to a policeman.
“Zane, where’s Rafe?”
He turned to her. “Megan, it’s—”
The door opened suddenly, and Rafe was there, stumbling forward, then righting himself. He looked around frantically, then saw the boys and her. The relief on his face was obvious as he came toward them. Megan stood when the boys pulled free and ran forward.
“Daddy! Daddy!” the twins shouted in unison, throwing themselves into his arms, hugging him as if there was no tomorrow. All Megan could do was watch the three of them.
A hand touched her shoulder. Zane. He spoke to her in a lowered voice. “He’s a good man, a very good man,” he said for her ears only.
Then Rafe was standing, looking at her, and Zane went toward him. “Hey, boys, how about you come home with me and play with Walker? And Anthony’s over at the house, too.”
Gabe hesitated, but Greg didn’t. “Can we, Daddy?”
Rafe nodded, kissed each of them, then said something to Zane that Megan couldn’t hear. The twins turned to her and waved. “Bye,” they called, as Zane took them toward the entrance of the building.
Megan leaned back against the wall, afraid to try and stand without support. Rafe watched her as the firemen and police moved around and past him. Then he came closer, stopping within inches of her. “What...what happened?” she asked, when all she wanted to do was hold on to him and never let go.
“McMillan was taking company papers, the hard copies. Causing problems. He’d go through the trash that hadn’t been shredded. All of our modern-day gadgets, and he finds out things he shouldn’t by going through trash. I thought Ellen, the receptionist, was helping him, but she is just a spurned girlfriend. She quit tonight when he broke things off.” Rafe laughed, a humorless sound in the almost empty area. “Tonight he tried to burn the papers when I found him, and threw them into Mr. Lawrence’s office. The drapes caught on fire.”
“You could have been hurt,” she managed to say, and hated the tears that were forming in her eyes.
He came closer, so close she could feel him exhale roughly before he spoke again. “Hey, you don’t care. You told me you don’t.”
She hugged her arms around herself, trying to stop the trembling deep inside her. “You...made a bet with that man. To—to melt the ice princess....” Tears slipped from her eyes, but she didn’t care about that now.
He touched her then, his forefinger brushing at the tears on her cheek. “How did you know that?”
“I heard you,” she said, twisting away from the contact and walking as quickly as she could in the opposite direction. The first doors she saw were those to the center, and she went inside. She’d told Mary she’d talk with Rafe, but suddenly she didn’t want to know anything. She didn’t want to hear him say that what she’d heard was fact. She couldn’t bear that.
But he was there, catching up to her near that crazy tree, and he had her by one arm, stopping her and turning her around to face him. He didn’t let her go. “That’s what all of that was about earlier—all that talk about last night meaning nothing? You heard me and that creep talking?”
“Yes.” The word was barely audible, but it stood between them.
“Oh, Megan,” he said, and he pulled her to him. “It wasn’t real. I was just going along with the guy to get closer to him. To figure out what he was doing and what he was up to.” Rafe held her tightly, her face buried in his chest, and she could feel the rapid beating of his heart. He was as nervous as she was at that moment. “I never meant it. I never, never thought you’d overhear that. I’m so sorry.”
She held on to him for support now as her legs went weak. “I heard you,” she whispered.
“Well, listen to what I’m telling you,” he said, his voice a rumble in his chest. He held her away and looked down into her face. “I never thought I’d say this again to anyone in my life.” His hands moved to frame her face, his thumbs moving slowly on her cheeks, brushing at the tears. “I love you. I can’t believe that I found you, and I’ll do anything to keep you right here.”
She heard the words, and for a horrifying moment, they made no sense to her at all. Then they settled into her soul, and she understood all that she had to understand. He loved her. Mary had been right. If Megan had left, if she’d walked away from him and from the boys, she never would have known.
“Did you hear me?” he asked, his voice hoarse and slightly unsteady. “I love you, Megan Gallagher.”
She reached up to touch his face, to feel the slight bristling of a new beard under her fingertips, then she skimmed her forefinger down to his throat and the pulse that beat wildly there. She felt his heart beating, and it echoed hers. Then his hand covered hers and drew it back. He looked at her bare ring finger.
“Rafe, I couldn’t marry Ryan, because I love you,” she whispered.
He didn’t come any closer, but she felt his grasp tighten as he pulled her hand to his chest. “There’s something else you need to know.”
She literally stopped breathing for a moment. “What?”
“My name’s Rafe, but my last name is Dagget.” Now she remembered that Zane had called him that before. “Diaz is my mother’s maiden name.”
She didn’t understand. “What?”
He held up one hand. “Just listen.” She did, and when he stopped explaining she shook her head.
“I posed as a security guard as a favor to Zane. I owe him. He was there for me when...when I needed someone. He pulled me out of a pretty deep hole.” Rafe ran a hand over his face as he exhaled harshly. His wedding band was gone, but she wouldn’t ask about it. Not yet. Then he framed her face again. “And you brought me back to life,” he whispered roughly.
No, he’d given her life, one she’d never known before. Dagget or Diaz, a guard or a CEO? It just plain didn’t matter to her, and she told him that. “I love you, whoever you are.”
His touch on her stilled and his eyes grew wary. “And the boys? I know how you feel about kids, but they’re part of my life. One of the best parts.”
She blinked at the tears that refused to stop, going from abject misery to total jo
His relief was almost tangible, and it made her smile. Really smile. That was when he drew her against him and touched her lips with his, to whisper, “When you smile at me like that...that’s my miracle.”
Two months later
RAFE’S HOUSE IN Houston was quiet and shadowed, with soft sounds of laughter mingling with the patter of rain on the windows.
“It’s raining,” Megan murmured. “That’s bad luck, to have rain on the day of a wedding.”
Rafe looked down at her, his hands braced on either side of her shoulders, and marveled at them together, alone, here. “Superstition,” he whispered, dipping his head to kiss her quickly.
She sighed, resting her hand over his heart. “Oh, my,” she said suddenly. “Joey, the cat. He’s out in the rain at the loft.”
“He’s okay. Zane said he got him yesterday, and he’s finally staying with them,” Rafe said, and pulled her back toward him.
She stopped him. “The time?”
He turned and looked at the clock by the bed. “Seven.”
“Oh, no, the wedding! We’re going to be late. We can’t be late.”
He looked at her, so breathtaking in the simple white dress with its soft neckline and thin straps. He held out his hand to her and said, “Ready?”
“Oh, yes,” she replied, and they hurried out of the house and through the light rain to his car.
Within ten minutes they were at the small church, running up the steps, going through the door. They looked at each other, damp but happy, and smiled, then hurried inside. The organ was already playing, and as they approached the open door to the chapel, they could see that the guests were all seated.
Zane and a very pregnant Lindsey were on the aisle with Walker. Carmella had the twins with her, and they turned to grin when they saw her and Rafe. Then the music swelled and Megan and Rafe looked down the aisle.
The front of the chapel had been draped in flowers, and a white carpet overlaid the wooden floors of the old church. The minister stood at the front, facing the guests, then spoke in a voice that carried all the way back to where Rafe and Megan hovered.
“And now, dear guests, let me present Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lewis.”
Mary and Robert, the bride and groom, turned to their guests, holding hands. Mary was wearing a lovely ivory dress, Robert a perfect tuxedo that accentuated his white hair. Brittany was on one side, and Brittany’s husband, Matt Terrell, on the other. Their son, Anthony, was in a tuxedo, too, standing by his father.
Megan slipped her hand into Rafe’s and leaned close to her husband as the guests applauded. “I bet it was a nice wedding, but not as nice as ours,” she whispered, then kissed his cheek.
He looked down at her, moving back from the door to make way for the bride and groom coming up the aisle. “Ours was perfect,” he said. It had been at the Houston house, with the boys, him and Megan, Zane and Lindsey, Mary and a few other friends. “Absolutely perfect.”
Megan looked up at him, and he knew that they’d only stay as long as they absolutely had to, because all bets were off when Megan smiled....
* * * * *
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Copyright © 2013 by Mary Anne Wilson
Originally published as WHEN MEGAN SMILES
Copyright © 2004 by Mary Anne Wilson
All rights reserved. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3B 3K9.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
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