Home > The Single Dad (The Dalton Brothers #3)(5)

The Single Dad (The Dalton Brothers #3)(5)
Author: Marni Mann

“Because I’m fifteen minutes late?”

I didn’t bother to look at my watch.

I knew exactly how late I was.

“Try thirty,” he replied.

“Dude, relax. I get an Everly pass.” I felt Stan begin to slow as he approached the entrance of the bar. “You can yell at me in person. I’m about to walk in.” I hung up and returned the phone to my pocket.

Stan pulled up to the front. “I’ll be in the parking lot on the east side of the building whenever you’re ready to leave.”

“Thanks, bud.”

I hopped out and made my way inside, seeing the crew had taken over the entire back corner. Dominick was the first to approach, man-hugging me the moment I got within reach.

“Thought you weren’t going to show,” he said as he patted me on the back.

“Jenner bitched about the same thing,” I said. “You guys know I wouldn’t ever bail. But once you knock up Kendall, you’ll learn that it isn’t always easy to get out the door on time.”

He pulled away and walked with me toward the tables they’d reserved. “Slow your roll. There’s no knocking up. We’re just getting in a shit-ton of practice.”

“Then, maybe it’s Jenner’s turn,” I said, moving over to my middle brother, hugging him the same way.

“What are we talking about?” Jenner asked.

“You and Jo having kids,” I replied.

“Please don’t put that into the universe,” he shot back. “We’re staying in the engaged phase for a while. If Jo gets the baby bug, we’ll steal Everly for a few days.”

“According to Eve, she’s no longer a baby.”

“That’s my girl, full of sass,” Dominick said.

I shook hands with Brett, one of our best friends, who happened to be the top entertainment agent in the country. I then moved on to his partners, Max and Jack, who were also agents, before finally making my way over to Declan.

“I brought you a little gift,” I said to him and took the napkin-wrapped cookie out of my pocket and set it on the table in front of him.

“What the fuck is this?” Declan asked, unwrapping it.

“Hannah made it.” I smiled. “You know, the girl you’re driving into the fucking grave.”

“Jesus Christ.” He held up his whiskey. “I need ten more of these just to deal with her. If she wasn’t a Dalton, I would have fired her ass a long time ago.”

For some reason, I doubted that.

I nodded toward the dessert. “Eat the cookie. Trust me, it’s one of the best you’ll ever have.”

He inspected the top and bottom. “You’re sure she didn’t poison it?”

“She doesn’t know I brought it for you.”

If she had, she would have set the whole tray on fire.

I wouldn’t tell Declan that. He didn’t need the ammunition to make her life even worse.

“Fuck me.” He moaned as he chewed. “You weren’t kidding. This is exceptional.”

“She’s good, isn’t she?”

“At least she’s good at something since it’s certainly not law.” He took a drink from his tumbler, washing down the sweetness. “Maybe she should become a baker. That sure as hell would save her a lot of headaches—headaches I plan to give her.”

“You know she’s going to be one of the top litigators at our firm.” I squeezed his shoulder. “And the moment she passes the bar, she’s going to give your ass a run for your money.”

“Bullshit.”

I smiled. “Don’t underestimate that girl, Declan.”

He waved me off. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, Ford.”

When Jack joined us, starting up a conversation with Declan, I took a quick inventory of the tables. All the guys had drinks, and a waitress wasn’t anywhere in sight. So, before I took a seat, I decided to head to the bar and place an order.

“What can I get you?” the bartender asked.

“I’ll take a—”

“Espresso martini,” a woman said, cutting me off.

Her voice was so savory and enticing that I found myself turning around to see what she looked like.

And, fuck me, I was taken aback by what I saw.

My hand reached for the edge of the bar, holding on as my eyes dipped all the way down her body.

Slowly.

And rose with no hurry at all, making sure I didn’t miss a single detail.

This girl didn’t just have a beautiful face; she had it all.

She was absolutely fucking stunning.

With curly, long, dark hair that framed her face like French doors. Icy-blue eyes. Thick, heart-shaped lips, and a dusting of freckles that sat high on her cheeks, light, like whispers.

Our gazes locked.

But I couldn’t help myself.

I had to continue viewing her body.

It wasn’t often that I got to see one as perfect as hers.

I almost moaned as I studied her—her dips and curves, her arches that were emphasized by her skintight red dress.

Why the hell is it so hard to breathe?

“I’m sorry,” she said, her hand gently touching my shoulder. “I’m not the kind of girl who cuts the line, I swear. I just couldn’t tell if the bartender was asking you or me. I promise I wasn’t being rude.”

Her words didn’t register.

I was far too lost.

The iciness of her eyes holding me.

The intensity that roared beneath her stare.

But aside from her irises, there was nothing frosty about this girl.

She was all warmth and fire.

Two things I wanted to feel.

Two things I wanted to taste.

Oh fuck.

The only thing that would tone down these impulses was a drink. I looked at the bartender and said, “I’ll take a whiskey, neat, and add her order to my tab.” I handed him my credit card.

“Oh gosh, you don’t have to do that,” she said. “Please, let me buy you a drink.”

Her hand was suddenly back on my arm—I couldn’t remember the moment it had left—and the feeling of her fingers was like a blast that shot right through me. The heat from each fingertip slipping through my shirt and heading straight for my fucking dick.

“Consider it a perk of cutting me off in line.”

Even her laugh was captivating.

She repositioned, leaning her back against the bar, now giving me a full view as she faced me. “Thank you. That’s very kind of you.” She pulled back her hand, covering her mouth while she yawned. “I can’t tell you how much I need this espresso. I’m beat.”

With her palm gone, I couldn’t take my eyes off her lips. “A long day?”

“A long year.”

I chuckled. “Shit, maybe you should order two.”

Her hair fell into her face, and she instantly pushed it back, exposing both shoulders. Shoulders and a collarbone that showed the tan line of a thin bikini strap.

Damn it, that was sexy.

“One drink should hopefully get me over this jet lag,” she said.

“Let me guess …” My words were only an excuse for me to stare harder, acting as though I could see through her. “Europe?”

Her smile was sensual, beautiful. “London … how did you know?”

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