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What do you do when your lights go out in the middle of the night and a stern daddy shows up to turn you on??? Please enjoy this free spicy book and keep an eye out for chapters posted daily. Big girls can be baby girls too.
Chapter 2, Luke
“I can’t stay with you!” She crossed her arms and scowled at me. “I don’t even know you!”
If the whole situation wasn’t so irritating, she might actually be kind of cute.
Even with the adrenaline of annoyance pumping through her veins, I could see that she was trying to control her shivering. She was cold, underdressed, and I’d be damned if she was going to stay in this house alone with no lights and no power.
No way, no how.
It was not in my Daddy DNA to let a little girl go unprotected.
I pretended that she was my sister and asked myself, What would work with Louisa?
First, calm her down. Make her feel safe, then she might actually listen to reason.
Louisa would probably let me know that, once again, she thought I was being an “overbearing control freak. A by-product of being raised by a dysfunctional, alcoholic father. I should check out an Al-Anon meeting.” Blah, blah, blah. Broken record that Louisa was, I could always hear her favorite lyrics playing out in my head.
I tried the soft approach with Gracie, nonetheless. “Look, I get that it’s weird, but I don’t want to leave you here like this. The only other option is splurging on $400-plus a night at the Tiger Lilly Inn. Why do that? I’m a friend of your best friend’s husband. You will be completely safe at my place, and even though you don’t know me, I can assure you I’m trustworthy.”
“That’s exactly what a psycho would say.”
Okay, she had a point. I smiled. “Do I look like a psycho to you?”
Her brow was unfurling, and she tapped her foot and started to shiver in earnest. At least I could tell that she was considering it. “I guess I can bring my pepper spray. And I’ll be locking the door.”
“Absolutely.” Although I was appreciating the view of her lush curves and the tops of her thighs, just kissed by the flimsy silk robe, I needed to get her into some warm clothes.
“Look, get dressed and pack your hair dryer so that you can get warmed up at my house. Might as well throw a few changes of clothes in your bag while you’re at it.”
* * *
How could packing an overnight bag take so long?
“Do you need some help up there?” I asked impatiently.
“I’m fine! And you don’t need to yell at me. It isn’t easy packing in the dark, you know.”
That’s it; she’s getting my help, whether she wants it or not.
I took the stairs two at a time. “Where are you?”
“I’m in here. I told you not to come up. I can do it myself.”
Less than half of her gigantic suitcase was filled with a jumble of clothing, and it seemed like the rest of her closet surrounded her on the floor where she sat. The lighting was dim, and I could barely make out what was what, other than it was all brightly colored fluff, sparkles, and lace gathered around her.
“Look. You are only going to be gone a couple of days. No need to bring your entire closet.”
“How am I supposed to know what to pack? Is it going to be sunny? Cold? I need to be prepared.”
“Oh my God. You are making me crazy with all these messy piles. Haven’t you ever heard of folding?”
What was actually making me crazy was the sight of her pink ruffled panties peeking out from beneath her robe, which were riding up from the way she sat cross-legged on the floor.
Ruffled panties like a little girl might wear.
Nah, I couldn’t be that lucky. If I showed her my domineering Daddy side right now, I’d frighten her off.
Frighten her off? From what? Doing her the favor of fixing her solar system? It wasn’t like she was dating material. She was best friends with my best friend’s wife. No future there. Not with the possibility of things going sideways and living forever with the awkward aftermath. That was a road better left untraveled.
“Let me help you,” I insisted. “My house is literally a ten-minute drive from here. If you need something later, we can come back for it.”
I made swift work of sorting her clothes by type: skirts, ruffle panties, lacy contraptions that had my imagination racing enough to make me hard, T-shirts, sweatshirts, leggings… “Good God, you have enough clothes in here for two weeks!”
At least they were now stacked into neatly folded piles, which I could then start placing into her suitcase.
“Like I said, I need to be prepared,” she said. “Can you come to the bathroom so that I can get my stuff from there? Then the last thing will be my laptop.”
We made short work of collecting the rest of her things: an equally ridiculous amount of lotions, potions, and hair accessories was apparently in order.
It struck me that, for a least a moment, Gracie’s initial distrust of me was nowhere to be found as we walked together through the dark house. She forgot herself and clutched tightly at my elbow in the dark.
I surprised myself by smiling down at the top of her head in response to her holding on to me. It was like realizing my body was thirsty only after finally remembering to drink water: an essential need was met that had long gone ignored.
And it shocked the hell out of me.
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