Miracle Under the Mistletoe - Page 40

Molly hurried to the door, pausing only long enough to tell Jayne what was happening. Sean led her over to the officer in charge of the search and rescue team and explained that she was willing to try to reach the woman. Molly nodded when the man explained the situation once more, emphasising how difficult it was going to be to get to the apartment.

‘I understand,’ she said, her heart thumping. ‘I’d still like to give it a shot, though.’

‘Are you sure, Molly?’ Sean asked softly as the officer went off to speak to one of his team. He took hold of her hand and gently squeezed it. ‘Nobody will blame you if you decide not to go ahead.’

‘We can’t leave that poor woman on her own if the baby’s coming.’ She dredged up a rather wobbly smile. ‘I’ll be fine, Sean. Don’t worry about me.’

‘I can’t help it. I couldn’t bear to think of anything happening to you, Molly.’

He gave her fingers another quick squeeze then let her go when the officer came back. Molly forced herself to concentrate as he ran through a list of instructions aimed at keeping her safe. She knew it was important that she listened to what he was saying but it wasn’t easy to remain focused. Sean cared about her, really cared about her. It had been clear from the tone of his voice that he had been telling her the truth just now and she wasn’t sure what to make of it. All she knew was that it changed things, gave her a reason to hope, although she wasn’t ready to admit exactly what she was hoping for. That was a step too far. Or, at least, it was at the moment.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

THE SITUATION WAS even worse than Sean had expected. Once they were inside the building, it soon became clear just how much structural damage had occurred. The stairs leading to the upper floors had collapsed, leaving behind a pile of rubble in their place. The fire crew had managed to clear a narrow passageway which Molly would have to scramble through to reach the first floor. Although sturdy metal props had been erected to help support the upper section of the building, he was very aware that it could collapse at any second. The thought of Molly risking her life was more than he could bear and he drew her aside.

‘I can’t allow you to go up there, Molly. It’s far too risky.’

‘I have to go. We can’t leave that poor woman on her own while her baby is born.’ She shrugged. ‘I’ll be fine, Sean. After all, they wouldn’t allow me to try it if they thought I’d be putting myself in danger, would they?’

Sean knew she was right, although it wasn’t much comfort. He shook his head. ‘I still don’t like the idea. If anyone’s going up there then it has to be me.’

‘How? You’re too big to get through that gap, Sean. Why, even I’m going to have difficulty so you definitely won’t make it.’

‘I suppose so.’ Sean sighed as he was forced to concede defeat. ‘All right, but you’re to promise me that you will turn back if you encounter any problems.’

‘Cross my heart.’ She drew an imaginary cross over her heart with her fingertip and he laughed.

‘You do realise that I’m going to hold you to that, Sister Daniels?’

‘Of course!’

She treated him to a smile before one of the crew came over to ask if she was ready. Sean sucked in a tiny breath of air, feeling ripples of heat running through him. Molly had smiled at him the way she had used to do and it felt wonderful to be on the receiving end of all that warmth again.

There was no time to dwell on the thought, however. One of the search and rescue team was attaching Molly to a safety harness. Once he was sure that she understood how it worked, he handed her a two-way radio receiver and led her to the bottom of the gap, showing her where to place her foot to begin her ascent. Sean’s hands clenched as he watched her start to scramble up over the rubble. The surface was very unstable but somehow she managed to find the necessary hand and footholds. Within seconds she disappeared from sight, leaving him feeling more anxious than ever. She was on her own now and he didn’t like that idea, not when he wanted to be there to protect her.

Sean froze as the full impact of that thought hit him squarely in the chest. He wanted to protect Molly from harm and not just for now either. He wanted to be there for her for ever and ever more.

* * *

Molly was out of breath by the time she made it to the top of the passageway. It had been a difficult climb but, thankfully, the first floor appeared to be relatively undamaged. She unfastened the safety harness then picked her way around the chunks of plaster that had fallen from the ceiling until she came to the apartment. The door was wide open and she hurried inside, her heart sinking when she found the woman slumped on the living room floor.

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