I almost stepped on Briar before I saw her.
Curled up on the floor next to Zoe’s bed, Briar was fast asleep, her hand curled around the bed frame next to Zoe’s head. The two of them snored softly in rhythm. I couldn’t help but smile at the sight. Zoe was a handful at bedtime. She never wanted to sleep. I think she was afraid she’d miss something big.
But I knew from experience just how uncomfortable the floor in Zoe’s room was. I couldn’t let Briar sleep all night there.
I leaned down and gently shook her shoulder.
Briar groaned and curled into herself.
Damn, that was cute.
And not something I should be thinking.
Annoyed at myself, I shook her shoulder a little harder.
She curled away from me again.
I was debating between leaving her or picking her up when she opened her eyes and gasped. She sat up and moved to put herself between me and Zoe before I could reassure her.
“Briar, it’s me,” I whispered. “I didn’t think you wanted to sleep all night on the floor.”
“Oh. King.” Her hand came up and pressed against the center of her chest. “You scared me.”
I tried not to notice how the movement pulled her shirt to outline her tits or the fact that she clearly wasn’t wearing a bra. Damn. Shaking my head, I muttered, “Sorry.”
I didn’t know if I was apologizing for scaring her or for my un-boss-like thoughts.
“Zoe wouldn’t fall asleep tonight.” Briar lurched to her feet and blearily brushed at her tiny sleep shorts that I definitely wasn’t looking at. “I guess I fell asleep waiting for her to fall asleep.”
I smiled and pivoted from Briar to Zoe’s softly snoring little body. “Yeah, I’ve been there. Some nights it’s just easier to let her sleep in my bed. I know she’s supposed to sleep on her own, but I just can’t do the back and forth all night long. I need to sleep too.”
“You’re a good dad.”
My eyes snapped back to Briar and I shrugged. “Some days it doesn’t feel like that. My publicist was just telling me a good dad would… Never mind. Anyway, you don’t have to sleep on the floor tonight if you don’t want to. You should get to bed.”
I took one last look at my sleeping daughter then headed for the door. I’d gotten a few feet down the hall when Briar’s quiet, “Wait,” stopped me.
I turned and found her standing behind me with her arms crossed over her chest. She bit her lip, then shook her head. “Please don’t let anyone ever let you think you’re not a good dad. You do everything you can for your daughter, and I’m not talking about monetarily. You put in the time. She knows you and loves you—wants to be with you. And that’s what makes you a great dad. Anyone who says otherwise has ulterior motives. Or they don’t know you.” Her cheeks turned pink as she looked away. “I’m not saying that I know you. Because I don’t. But I’ve seen all kinds of parents. And you’re definitely one of the good ones.”
“Thanks, Briar. That means a lot.”
And it did. Being a parent was so hard, especially since I was doing this on my own. I didn’t even have the best example from my parents—past or present. They’d divorced when we were in elementary school and then used us as weapons against each other. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw, or even spoke to, either of them.
“Right. Well. I should be getting to bed. Zoe gets up early.”
“Me too. Although I should’ve told you, I have a later call time tomorrow, so I get to have breakfast with you guys in the morning.”
Briar beamed. “Great.” She flushed and shook her head. “I mean, Zoe will be so happy to see you. She’ll be thrilled.”
I hitched a shoulder. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
“’Night,” I repeated, taking a step back in the direction of my bedroom.
And yet I lingered and watched Briar walk away in the opposite direction toward her room at the other end of the hall.
Not that I noticed how her tiny sleep shorts clung to her heart shaped ass.
Because that wasn’t something I would do.
Got to love The Nanny Factor.ReplyDelete
Nice romantic cover. I love the character name, BriarReplyDelete
Direct ME to ‘King’s Ton’! How could a girl turn down all that, and brains, too?ReplyDelete