Trapped(6)

By: Beverley Kendall



“Thanks, kid,” he says drily, bringing her down from her helicopter flight. She sticks her finger on his chin. She’s fascinated by his cleft.

He cocks an eyebrow after perusing me from head to toe. “I thought you were going to study?”

I look down at my navy-and-white polka dot sundress. “I am.”

He gives a low whistle. “In that?”

“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” It’s June and eighty-something degrees outside. My halter dress is downright conservative compared to what a lot of the other girls are wearing.

“I guess I’m used to seeing you in jeans and without so much skin showing. When’s the last time you wore a dress?”

I huff, feigning annoyance. “If that’s how you compliment a girl, your technique needs some refining. A Paige you look nice would have sufficed.”

Trent guffaws and follows me to the family room, which has been overrun with baby paraphernalia and toys. This is old hat to him, so I only point out her latest toys and a new book she’ll want him to read to her ten times before dinner.

In the kitchen, I remind him how long he needs to warm her bottle and what he should give her for snacks and dinner. By the time I’m finished, Bree is silent, her head resting on his broad shoulder, looking perfectly content to remain in his arms as she watches me get ready to leave.

Grabbing my notebook and purse off the kitchen table, I start down the hall to the front. I turn to face Trent once I reach the door. “Call me if you need me.” I blow my daughter a kiss and say, “You be good for Uncle Trent, pumpkin and I’ll see you later.”

“Study hard. No hanky panky,” Trent warns in his best disapproving dad voice.

“I won’t do anything you wouldn’t,” I answer with a wink. Which gives me enough rope to hang myself.

His deep, muffled laugh is the last thing I hear before I close the door behind me and meet oppressive heat head-on.

“Damn it’s bright,” I mutter, squinting against the glare of the sun. Another scorching-hot day in North Georgia. It’s a good thing I didn’t waste time curling my hair. My hair is thick and straight and would have fallen within seconds of coming in contact with the humidity-drenched air.

Along with car keys, I remove my sunglasses from my purse as I make my way to the car. The sunglasses go on immediately.

I exchange hellos with our neighbor, Mr. Jeffries, who’s washing his van in his driveway as he does without fail every week. He and his wife and two kids have lived next door to us as long as I can remember.

The ding of my cell alerts me to an incoming message. I fish the phone from my purse and notice I have two missed calls from Erin and a message in all caps from her that says, CALL ME NOW!!!

I roll my eyes. Miss Melodrama. I thought she was on her way to the fitting. The sound of a car door opening and closing pulls my attention to the car now parked in front of my house.

Seconds later the driver is striding toward me. The next thing I know, I’m staring into green eyes the exact shade of my daughter’s. I’m staring at the guy I haven’t seen in over a year. The same guy who accused me of cheating on him, demanded a paternity test, and then took off back to New York when I was ten weeks pregnant.

It’s Mitch Aaron Kingsley, my ex, and Brianna’s worthless, no-good, biological father.





Chapter 3

Mitch



She looks the same.

She had a baby almost seven months ago but you couldn’t tell to see her now. She’d always been petite—only five feet four inches—with a slim, nicely proportioned body and beautiful skin. That hasn’t changed.

She’s still gorgeous.

Shit.

For some reason I thought because of what she’d done, seeing her again wouldn’t feel like a punch in the gut. I’d hoped time and distance would have dulled the effect she always had on me. That the sizzling, white-hot attraction would be a thing of the past. My body tells me it isn’t, which is something I seriously don’t need or want to have to deal with right now.

But deal with it I’m going to have to. The most important thing I need to remember is that I’m not here for her. I’m here for my daughter. I also need to remember that it’s Paige who’s trying to cut Brianna completely out of my life. Legally.

I know, coming from me, that’s laughable considering what I did. But my daughter is still young and it’s not too late to make things right with her. Paige is another matter. Totally.

As I walk toward her carrying the shopping bag, sweat beginning to bead along my hairline and the back of my neck, she straightens, her hand still on the handle of her car door. She watches me from behind a pair of oversized sunglasses. The same pair I’ve removed from her face dozens of times to kiss her both hello and goodbye. I forcibly push those memories aside.

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