I have just
enough time to jump in the shower when I get home before my sister calls to
reaffirm the night’s plans.
tenth time, Mare, yes, the room is ready.” I set my phone to speaker and toss
it on the bed, then focus on toweling off.
making sure,” Mary says. “Now, don’t be surprised if Teagan doesn’t respond to
you at first. Let her get a feel for the place, but be straight about the
ground rules. If she pushes back, be firm, but not too firm.”
too firm. Got it.” I scrunch the water from my hair, then wrap the towel
around my waist.
just saying, go easy on her. And try to come home around the same time over the
next few days if you can. It’ll give her a sense of structure.”
the speech you give to all your prospective foster parents?”
less,” she says.
I grab a
pair of boxers from the dresser drawer, then do a quick check in the bedroom
mirror and contemplate breaking out my trimmer. Hands down, the best thing
about civilian life has been growing my hair out. On my head, for sure, but
especially my beard.
you told me she wasn’t a kid.”
not a kid.”
I’m not going to treat her like one. If she can’t be trusted to operate the
microwave without supervision, she’s gonna have to find a new arrangement.” I
snag a pair of jeans and a clean black tee shirt from my closet. “I thought you
guys were heading over after work.”
“We are, as
soon as she gets here.”
here,” Mary says, but it comes out sounding like she’s trying to convince
advantage of the lull in conversation to get dressed. Figures the kid would
take her sweet time now that she doesn’t have to scramble. I busted enough
girls like Teagan on the force to know all their cheap excuses before they
spout ‘em. If she thinks she can force the rest of us to bend to her timetable,
she’s in for a rude awakening.
Jonah… Try not to scare her, okay?”
I pause in
the middle of pulling on my shirt. “Why the hell would I scare her?”
mean, try to look harmless. As much as you can.”
I have to
laugh. At six-foot-four and two hundred twenty pounds of muscle, I cut an
intimidating silhouette. Don’t think just because I was injured that I can’t
still kick ass and take names when the situation calls for it. I walk with a
slight limp that’s more pronounced when I’m barefoot, but I can run and jog in
fierce bursts before the pain catches up. Regular workouts help prevent muscle
tightness, so I make sure to get in weights and cardio most days of the week.
My doctor says I’m in the best shape of my life.
here,” Mary says. “We’ll be there soon, after we pick up the cake.”
cake?” I ask, but she’s already ended the call.
I head down
the hall to the guestroom where Teagan will be staying. It’s a great room with
a queen-sized bed, a nice view of the backyard, and plenty of light during the
day. The entire house is designed to impress. I often invite potential clients
over to see it, to get a feel for the kind of work my contracting firm’s
I wait for
Mary and the reluctant new addition to my household downstairs in the kitchen.
When I hear the rumble of a car engine, I get up and open the front door. Mary
climbs the steps with a store-bought birthday cake in her arms.
she?” I ask, taking the cake from her.
glances back at the car. “Just give her a minute.”
I bring the
cake into the kitchen where I set it on the table. When I return, I’m stunned
to find an angel in my foyer dressed in denim cutoffs and a white tank top.
I’d like you to meet my brother, Jonah Parkes. Jonah, this is Teagan Moss.”
speechless. My sister had said the girl was pretty, but pretty doesn’t even come close.
She’s drop-dead fucking gorgeous.
hair frames her face and falls in loose waves around her shoulders. Her wide
doll eyes are a deep chocolate brown, and I’m so fucking grateful that she
refuses to meet my gaze, because it means I can stare at her without making her
uncomfortable. She has the poutiest lips I’ve ever seen, and though it’s the
last place my mind has any right to go, I can’t help picturing those soft pink
lips stretched around my cock.
firm. I’m already rock fucking hard for this girl.
meet you,” I rasp, my voice thick.
nods, still refusing to look at me. It’s for the best. I slide my hand into my
pocket to pin the monster down. I’m a big guy with a dick to match, and the
last thing I want to do is scare the living hell out of her.
you show Teagan her new room while I get out some plates,” Mary says.
say. “Follow me.” I head for the staircase. When I glance back to make sure
she’s following, she’s closer than I expect, close enough to reach out and
pinch a lock of golden hair between my fingers if I wanted to—and goddamn, do I
I want to
do a hell of a lot more than that.
eyes meet mine for the briefest of seconds, and a second is all it takes for me
to come completely undone. All of my reservations about sharing my house with
this girl dissolve into dust. Teagan isn’t going anywhere. Not in a week, not
in a million years. My home is hers now. My house, my arms, my bed—especially
already thinking of her as mine and I haven’t even touched her yet.