Alex laughed. He liked Maya. The thought hit him directly in the gut.
Maya smiled brightly, and he admitted that he was intensely attracted too. Now fast attraction—that he’d experienced before. But it had been a long time since even that had happened.
“I’m Dr. Alex Nolan. I’m on staff at Boston Children’s Hospital. I’m on their website if you want to look me up.”
Maya suddenly frowned. “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.”
“Googling pediatricians and finding out who you are after the mall the other day,” Maya said.
Alex raised an eyebrow. “Wouldn’t that be a little creepy?”
“Probably,” she agreed. “Maybe that’s why I didn’t do it.”
He laughed. “Well, to further decrease the creep factor, I do have a kid,” he said. “A daughter. Charlotte. We call her Charli. She’ll be ten next month. She’s very into superheroes, GR, and swords, and I know nothing about any of that. I liked the demonstration at the mall and thought I’d come check out your studio.”
“So you’re wanting to sign her up,” Maya said with a nod. “Okay, not creepy at all.”
“Uh…” Alex knew this was going to sound strange. “Actually I want to take the class myself.”
Maya frowned. “These classes won’t teach you about superheroes exactly,” she said. “They are kind of a combination of stage fighting and martial arts and self-esteem workshops.”
“I know.” He’d been on the website. Which is how he’d found out more about the studio. And where he’d stared at Maya’s photo before going in to look up more about her on the internet. Which was how he found out that her classes had won some local awards, she’d been a brilliant cop—who had not, incidentally, been fired for beating someone up—and that she regularly blogged about superheroes and their fandom and the psychology of that fandom. He’d bookmarked her page immediately.
“And the things you do in class sounds like the perfect bonding activity for Charli and me. I’ll take the class and then go home and teach her.”
Maya looked puzzled. “Why not just bring her to class?”
“She…” He swallowed. Charli would love Maya. Hell, if she saw Maya with those pointy-weapon-things, she’d want to be Maya.
But Alex had only seen Maya twice, and he’d already witnessed her get hit with a Bo staff, punched in the ribs, and cut with some kind of sharp hand weapon. Which reminded him that she’d been bleeding.
He looked down, but the bleeding had already slowed or stopped. Which was what happened when a person with normal blood got cut. But Charli didn’t have normal blood. She didn’t bleed faster, but she would bleed longer—because of the genetic mutation he had passed on to her.
He’d told her mother that Charli should be able to try whatever she wanted. But he’d also told her he’d keep Charli safe. If Charli took classes here, he would have to fill Maya and her staff in on the hemophilia and precautions and treatment…
“She has some special needs,” he said, cringing a little as he said it, knowing that Maya might easily jump to conclusions that were not at all correct. But it didn’t matter what she thought. This was the right thing for Charli.
But Maya didn’t even blink. “Okay,” she said. “I understand. Maybe…” But she trailed off while watching him thoughtfully without completing the sentence.
“Maybe what?” he asked.
“Maybe I could teach you and your daughter a private Super You class.”
He was surprised at her offer, but more—he was tempted. Which meant he had to say no. The timing for meeting a gorgeous, intriguing woman couldn’t have been worse. “I think a class with lots of other people, especially kids, would be better.”
Maya was direct. He liked that. And he could return the favor. “Because you look just as good in workout pants as you do in leather.”
Her eyes widened in surprise just a beat before her smile widened. “And that’s a problem?”
“It is when I’m trying to give all of my extra time and attention to my daughter.”
She studied him for a moment. “Okay,” she finally said with a nod. “And once you see the class, if you change your mind, she’s always welcome.”
Alex relaxed. “Thanks.”
“You’re not going to feel funny taking a class with a bunch of kids?”
“I love kids,” he told her.
“What about the tights and cape?”
“Tights and cape?” Alex repeated.
“The costume,” she said with a nod.
“Thought the participants all helped create their own character,” he said, realizing she was messing with him.
“Well, there’s no way in hell I would create a character that would wear tights.”
Maya’s gaze wandered over him, head to toe, before she said, Too bad.”
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