Rhythm n Blues
07 po melanau

Hot Single Dad(3)

By: Mia Madison



“What time do they have to go to bed?” Holly asks.

And that’s when I realize that soon it will be just her and me alone, and no kids to take my mind off how I feel about her.





CHAPTER 3


Holly




It’s going to be a nightmare living here, being so close to Reid. Why didn’t I understand that when I jumped at his offer of a job?

I spend as long as I can bathing Katie and Jack and putting them to bed, reading stories, and tidying up the playroom.

“Are you hungry?” Reid asks me, when I come downstairs. “I’ll make you something after I say goodnight to the kids, if you like.”

“It’s okay; I already ate.” And even if I hadn’t, I’d have lost my appetite for sure. I thought I’d love being here but this is different from seeing Reid at our house or going to his place for the twins’ birthday parties or something.

It’s just him and me, for a start. I want him, but I can’t do anything about that. He would think I’m crazy just for imagining him and me together. A guy like that. Oozing sex. Owner of a multi-million-dollar business. He can have anyone he wants.

Since he divorced Mercia, the gossip columns have had a field day speculating about his next relationship. Not quite as much as they go on about her likely new lovers. But still, enough to know I’m not in the running.

I should just get it into my stupid head. He’s not going to look at me that way—his friend’s daughter. I’m just the babysitter, conveniently free for the summer, a replacement for Iris.

He goes upstairs to see his children, and my stomach is in knots. I flick between the channels on the huge state-of-the art TV. Do men like him who jet off here, there, and everywhere on business even watch TV? I imagine he’s busy making money most of the time. I suspect he’s even busier than Dad, who is always dealing with one legal case or another and has been a bit of a workaholic since Mom passed when I was nine.

Am I getting in Reid’s way? I could just go to my room. My heart sinks at the thought of sitting in there every night, lovely though the decor is, with him somewhere in the house avoiding me as much as I’m avoiding him.

But then he’s back with a bottle of wine and two glasses. “Would you like some?” he asks.

“Sure. Yes, please.” I grab the glass like a safety blanket, something to hold onto. My knuckles are tight around the stem.

“Don’t worry,” he says, taking the seat opposite me. “I’ll be at the office most evenings and leave you in peace. Then you can do what you want once the kids are in bed.”

“Do you always work so hard?”

“Most of the time.”

“Even in the summer?”

“Then too. But that’s a good point. We’re going to Villefranche next month. Iris was going to come with us, of course, so I hope you will come instead.”

“Villefranche?”

“South of France. We have a place there on the hillside overlooking the Med.”

I want to ask about that “we.” Does he mean him and the kids or someone else? I want to know who else is going to be part of that “we” before I say yes. There’s no way I’m going to be able to watch him with some beauty in a bathing suit while I look after the kids. But I don’t know how to find out without asking.

And then he says, “It will be just us there. It’s my one time to get away from work. I pick up messages once a day, but otherwise, the company has to get along without me.”

“Don’t you worry about things going wrong?”

“So far they’ve managed for a couple of weeks every summer without anything too disastrous. Will you come with us?”

“Yes, okay. I can be Iris over there,” I say, though I don’t know how I’ll cope with Reid for two weeks with no respite. Still, Reid and the south of France. A house overlooking the sea that’s sure to be even lovelier than this two-story condo in Manhattan. I can’t help getting excited by the idea of that combination.

“You’ll have to dye your hair gray and put on a few pounds first,” he jokes. “Much as I love Iris, you’re nothing like her. And I’m guessing you look a lot more fetching in a bikini.”





CHAPTER 4


Reid




I can’t help teasing Holly. I love the way she blushes. It’s proving to be a challenge keeping my mind out of the gutter when I’m alone with her.

I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to stop myself taking things too far, beyond banter and into much more dangerous territory. At least in France, the kids will be around a lot of the time. The late evenings, though—after-dinner coffee and drinks on the balcony overlooking the water in the moonlight—that will be something else.

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