Miracle for the Girl Next Door

Free Miracle for the Girl Next Door by Rebecca Winters

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Authors: Rebecca Winters
linking up so their serum can be tested against my PRA.”
    He frowned. “PRA?”
    “It means my serum has been mixed with a panel of sixty random donors to see the reaction to the antibodies. Mine is fairly low which is a plus. Kidney allocations are based on a mathematical formula. It awards points for factors that affect a successful transplant.”
    “What are the other factors?”
    “Age and good health. I have all those things going for me.”
    He reached out to grasp her free hand. “How often do you come here?”
    “Three times a week.”
    “That’s virtually every other day—” He sounded aghast.
    “It’s not so bad when you consider there’s no other way for my blood to get filtered.”
    “Why isn’t someone in your family driving you here and picking you up?”
    “I don’t want to be a burden to them.”
    He seemed to have trouble sitting there. “You’ve never been a burden to anyone in your whole life.”
    Unbidden tears filled her eyes. “I am now. Everyone works so hard at the farm. It’s bad enough that I can only do my part on the farm three days a week. There’s Nonna who needs taking care of now that she’s in a wheelchair and learning to talk again. Bianca has a baby and another one on the way, and Maria’s expecting for the fourth time.”
    Valentino squeezed her fingers gently. “I’ve upset you when I didn’t mean to. Every time we’ve been together, you’ve always had to leave. It has been so unlike the Clara I used to know, I’ve been at a loss. Because you didn’t explain your condition to me, I had to find out the truth for myself. Forgive me for bursting in on you like this?”
    His pained eyes were so imploring, she didn’t want him to feel bad. After the painful experience he’d had with his father the other morning, she didn’t want to add to it. “There’s nothing to forgive. I didn’t say anything because I’ve loved spending time with someone who didn’t know about my condition and treated me like a normal, healthy person. If anything, I’m the one who needs to ask your forgiveness.”
    “ Clara …”
    She smiled at him. “You wouldn’t be Tino if you hadn’t made up your mind to do something no one else would think of doing to get inside this room.”
    “How did all this start?”
    “You don’t want to hear all this.”
    “Let me be the judge of that.”
    She moved her head back and forth. “Are you sure?”
    Lines hardened his features. “You know me well enough to realize I never do anything I don’t want to do.”
    Perhaps that was true once. She had no way of knowing what he was like now, but, since he showed no signs of leaving her bedside, she decided to humor him.
    “After I got sick, I had to leave Lia’s to come home. The doctor sent me to a specialist, who diagnosed my condition. One thing led to another and I was forced to drop out of school.”
    A shadow crossed over his handsome features before he found her hand again and kissed the fingertips one by one. His touch melted her like a serving of gelato left in the hot sun. “I’m going to let you rest. Before I leave, is there anything I can do for you?”
    She knew it . Now that he’d learned about her condition, he was going to start treating her like all the others. In a matter of seconds she’d gone from being his fun-loving friend to invalid. He’d never held her hand and kissed it before. She couldn’t bear it now. Not from him.
    “Yes,” she said brightly, removing it. “Will you open my purse and bring me the book I brought to read? It’s on that table.”
    Within seconds the task was accomplished. He glanced at the title. “I’ve heard this is good.”
    “I hope so.” She took it from his hand. “Thank you.”
    Before he left, taking all the excitement with him, he put on his sunglasses and tied the scarf around his head. “Think I’ll still fool the paparazzi?” He flashed her a dazzling white smile, reminding her of the French fictional character

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