All of Him: A Single Dad Collection
“The Baby Drop Off” by Kelsie Rae – EXCERPT
The call disconnects, and I shove the phone into my back pocket before opening the door and jumping out of my skin.
“What the hell?” I mumble under my breath, assessing the soft pink lump on my welcome mat. Squatting low, I tilt my head to get a better look. What the hell is a car seat covered with a pink blanket doing in my hallway? As I lean a little closer, a soft cry squeaks through the blanket, and I fall flat on my ass. You’d think it was the grim reaper with my overreaction, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around a kid being at my front door.
So, sue me.
The crying escalates until I’m looking up and down the hallway, afraid someone’s going to complain about the noise while praying they know how to make it stop at the same time.
With the sole of my sneaker, I nudge the car seat to rock it back and forth, but the motion doesn’t quiet the baby inside. As if the kid’s a ticking time bomb, I edge closer and slowly lift the blanket. Sure enough, a little human is tucked inside, its face red with anger.
“You okay, little buddy?” I ask cautiously, inspecting the rest of the car seat for any clues about who this kid is and why it’s on my doorstep. Tucked between the baby’s kicking legs and the side of the seat, a white envelope catches my eye.
Releasing a slow breath while giving myself a mental pep talk, I reach into dangerous territory and snatch the letter like it’s a damn viper. After I give myself a mental high five for my bravery, I slide my finger below the lid, pull the note out, and start reading.
In the diaper bag, you’ll find the papers that give up my rights as a mom. I’m signing her over to you… her dad. I also added her birth certificate and anything else you might need to get you by for a few days. I’m sorry to spring this on you, but I can’t be the mom she needs. Her name’s Adaline. Please take care of her, and please forgive me for screwing up your life. This was the only thing I could think to do. If you don’t want her, I added the adoption papers. Do what’s best for you and her… whatever that might be.
Scanning the message a few dozen times, my hands shake as the baby continues to wail from the car seat. Unfortunately, I’m too stunned to move a muscle. What the hell am I supposed to do with a freaking kid?
When the baby’s screams reach a decibel that could break glass, the door across the hall opens to reveal my neighbor, Tasha. Long, red hair that reaches her lower back, quirky purple glasses that frame her toffee colored eyes, and the sweetest smile you’ve ever seen.
Yeah, you heard that right. Sweet.
Which means she’s off limits, and I wouldn’t touch her with a ten-foot pole.
I don’t do sweet. I do dirty and hot. I do sexy and passionate. But never sweet.
“Only the Lies” by Elle Thorpe – EXCERPT
The clinic door banged open. “Did I miss him?” Bree panted, staggering over to join me at the window.
I shook my head. “Not yet. Should be any minute now.”
We both peered through the slatted blinds like the stalkers we were, neither of us bothering to acknowledge Damien, my boss and Bree’s boyfriend, when he struggled through the door a minute later, juggling coffee and breakfast for the three of us.
He dumped his armful of takeaway bags and trays on the reception desk, then leaned back on it, picking up the pile of mail I’d left there.
“Bree,” he said casually, “you do remember that I’m your boyfriend, right? I’m nice. Funny. Somewhat attractive? A lesser man would be devastated by your actions, you know.”
Bree looked over her shoulder and blew him a kiss. “You know you’re my number one, babe. But this guy…”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. Buns of steel.”
I dragged my gaze away from the parking lot that was still irritatingly empty of one oversized black ute and the oversized man who drove it. “Buns of steel? Really? You think that’s why we stare out the window each morning, waiting for him to drive in? It has nothing to do with that.”
He snorted. “Oh, really?”
I grinned. “Nope, it has more to do with the biceps, and the abs—”
“The man has a shirt on every morning, Cleo. How have you seen his abs?”
“Oh, we’ve seen them, all right,” Bree confirmed. “You can see them through his shirt. That’s how cut he is. And there was that one time…”
I let my head drop back on my shoulders and made prayer hands while I thanked the big guy upstairs. “The day he ran to work with no shirt on. That blessed day where the heavens opened and birds sang and—”
“Hey!” Bree squealed as Damien covered her eyes and dragged her away from the window. “I’m going to miss the show.”
“How ‘bout I give you a show of my own?”
Damien’s lips brushed Bree’s neck, and suddenly Bree was more interested in her man than being my wing-woman. I groaned good-naturedly when Damien dragged her back toward his office and closed the door.
“Patients will be here in thirty, Damien! I’m not covering for you!”
“Move my first appointment,” he yelled through the closed door. “I’m gonna need at least an hour.”
Bree’s laughter echoed back.