Between boot camp and two TOD's in Iraq, my buddies Max, Gavin and me have been through some serious hell. So the last thing I ever expected was to find the biggest challenge of my life back home.
My girlfriend died. I couldn't even attend her funeral, let alone tell her goodbye or that I'm sorry I wasn't there like I should've been.
But she left me a gift. The best and scariest one I could've ever asked for. One I didn't think I could handle...until the day I saw her tiny blues looking up at me in that airport. Chloe.
Now here I am, raising my baby girl-with the help of my two best friends. Things couldn't be better. Until she walked into my life.
All I wanted was a nanny. Someone to take care of my girl when I couldn't. What I didn't count on was Addison, the brown-eyed temptress with a body of sin, and everything I didn't need, but suddenly wanted.
He answered on the third ring. “Hey, Gav. You busy?”
My face warmed at the sound of Collin’s voice.
“Um, yes. But I need to speak with Gavin, please.” Keep breathing, keep calm. You’ve got this.
“But I need to talk to you first.”
I clenched my teeth. “May I talk to him, please?”
I threw my head back against the couch and groaned. “Why not?” If he was going to be short with his answers, I would be short with my questions.
“Need to talk to you about something first. Told you that.”
Could’ve sworn I heard the words Needs to eat your pussy is more like it in the background, but my mind was scrambling like the eggs I’d cooked for breakfast.
“Shut up, asshole,” Collin barked.
I spun a loose string around my finger. “What did you just say to me?”
Total déjà vu.
The wind slapped against his speaker. “Are you driving?” I unraveled the string from my finger and bounced my knee. “Because in the State of Illinois, it’s illegal to drive and talk on a cell phone unless it’s hands free.”
“Damn it, no. She’s putting that shit in her mouth.” He grumbled something else, and the sound of baby giggles tugged on my already floppy heartstrings.
I couldn’t help but smile as I thought about Chloe. I’d only been around her twice, but I kind of missed the little thing.
“Not driving. Just playin’ at the park.”
Playing at the park. Why did the image make me grin? Collin pushing Chloe in her swing, her little baby legs bouncing up and down as he did.
“Why are you calling Gavin anyway?”
“None of your business.” My smile fell. “Can you just put him on?”
“I told you I needed to talk first.”
I rolled my eyes. “Fine. Then talk.”
“Gonna take you out tonight.”
Shock pulled me into an upright position, and I stood so fast that a pile of clean towels fell to the
floor. “Um, take me out?” I scrambled to pick them up.
“Gonna apologize. Again. Buy you food, return your sweater too. If you have plans, then cancel them.”
“Uh, no. Don’t think so.” At the simple thought of seeing him again, my stomach clenched in both excitement and unease. “You’re not going to pull that in-charge bullshit on me. And besides, what makes you think I want to see you anyway?”
“You don’t wanna see me, sweetheart?”
I slapped my hand over my eyes. Sweetheart? Seriously? “No. I don’t want to see you, pumpkin. Not when you got me fired from my job the other night with your ultimate-fight-club thing.” I blew out a quick breath. “Besides, I just…can’t.”
“I need a better reason.”
“Are you serious right now?” What was with this guy and his incessant need to be an asshole?
“Dead serious.” He laughed. “I’ll be by your apartment at six to pick you up. Dress casual. Gonna take you to dinner, and then we’re gonna talk. You’re going to get a free meal and an apology. Can’t get much better than that, am I right?”