Over the last few weeks he had avoided running with Nick. Though no longer Joe’s partner on the force, and busy with fostering Mark, Joe’s best friend still made time to check on him every day. Joe knew Nick cared about him and he felt ashamed of the way he’d treated Nick over the last few months. But to run in the open spaces with the one person who could see right through him was a challenge he couldn’t rise to. Joe had been so close on acting on the attraction he had felt for Nick. He’d been closer to him than anyone in the world for a long time. Best friends for so long and sometime lovers, Joe had entertained thoughts of turning their relationship into something more serious when Mara had happened. Mara with her soft skin, deep brown eyes, and her promise of a family. He had made a choice, and never regretted it. The decision had been a good one. Mara had been his other half for nearly four years, and at the end of last year they had celebrated her becoming pregnant. She’d had difficulty conceiving but fertility treatment at a new office in town, had been their savior. The day Mara announced she was pregnant was the best day of his life.