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“HEY, DAD, do you believe that sixty-three percent of the men in this survey say they don’t have sex as often as they’d like?”

Michael’s sixteen-year-old voice preceded him into the den, where Lucas Rayburn sat, having just made one of the most difficult decisions of his life. He stared at the boy who was almost a man, and felt his heart constrict. God, he loved the kid.

“Daaad. He-llo?”

“Yes, Michael. I believe that.”

Green eyes focused on Luke as Michael plopped his nearly six-foot body into the wing chair, rolled the magazine he held and tapped it on his knee. “What’s wrong, Dad?”

“Nothing. Why?”

“You usually rib me about my project.”

“With good reason. I’m still wary of a year-long term paper on the sexual practices of the average American.”

“Hey, the new English teacher said we should choose a topic we’re interested in. It’ll make learning the research skills easier. Julie Anne’s doing hers on the rights of adopted children.”

Luke’s smile disappeared abruptly at the mention of the topic Michael’s best friend had chosen for her paper.


“I’ve decided, Michael.”

He watched his son grip the chair arm hard. “And?”

“I’ve thought about your request. A lot.” The words stuck in his throat, but Luke got them out somehow. “We’ll contact your biological mother.”

Michael swallowed, his youthful Adam’s apple bobbing. “That’s great.”

Great? It was obscene, that’s what it was. The fact that Michael had asked, weeks ago, to find the woman who’d given birth to him stunned Luke at first. Now it just hurt. He tried hard to keep his face neutral and concentrate on what was best for Michael.

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