Home > The Single Dad (The Dalton Brothers #3)(6)

The Single Dad (The Dalton Brothers #3)(6)
Author: Marni Mann

“Call me intuitive.”

“Ohhh, then you already know I only just got back this afternoon.”

“Of course I do. But keep talking.”

She laughed. “I was there this time for three months, so to be honest, I’m not sure if it’s today or tomorrow or if my feet are on the ground or still in the air.” She sucked in a mouthful of air. “But your eyes are telling me I’m very much here …”

“You’re here.” I ran my thumb over my lips, wishing they were covered in her scent. “And this isn’t a dream … even if it feels like one.”

First, she gave me a smile, then a slow bite of her bottom lip.

“Your espresso martini,” the bartender said, placing her drink on the counter.

She reached for it and held it in her hands, her eyes returning to me.

“So, you land in LA and head straight for a bar. I like your style.”

She pointed toward a group of girls who were only feet away. “It’s my best friend’s fault. I’ve been gone for the last several years—not just in Europe, but all over. She dragged me out with some other friends to celebrate my return.”

“A wise decision on your friend’s part.” My stare dipped once more. “You landed in the right place.”

A redness moved across her cheeks that even lowered to her chest.

She said nothing for several seconds, finally voicing, “I’m Sydney.” Her fingers extended.

I clasped her soft skin in my hand. “Ford.”

“Your whiskey, neat,” the bartender said.

Our hands separated, and I clasped my drink and held it in front of hers. “To accidental encounters, Sydney.”

Her teeth pierced her lower lip again. “I like that. Cheers.”









“Are you following me?” I said to the delicious man at my side as we attempted to part from the bar.

Except, apparently, we were going in the same direction, his pace matching mine, our arms almost close enough to touch.

The last few minutes I’d spent with him was a blur of tingles and pulses.

Even now, just walking next to him, I wobbled in my heels, simply from his smile and presence.

I didn’t know where he had come from, but, my God, I was overtaken by him.

By his handsomeness.

His charm.

His eyes that felt like they could penetrate right through my skin.

“Only if you want me to,” he replied, his stare backing up his offer, one that was strong enough to make me shudder. He pointed in the direction where we were headed and added, “My friends and family are over there.”

I followed his finger to where a group of guys, dressed similar to Ford, took up two tables in the back. And of course, the next table over was where my girls sat.

“So are my girlfriends,” I told him. “Looks like we’re going to be neighbors.”

We reached the back of the bar, and he said, “Let me know when you’re ready for a refill, Sydney.”

He gave me a final look, one that felt like a wave, starting at the top of my head, swishing all the way to my feet, and then he took a seat.

I hurried over to Gabby, where there was an empty chair next to her.

“Um, hello? Who was that hottie you were just talking to?” she asked the second I sat.

“Shh,” I whispered. “I don’t want him to hear you.”

“You do realize we’re in the middle of a bar? And the music is loud? And he’s surrounded by a ton of friends? I’m positive he can’t hear us.”

“And he’s less than three feet away—yes, I realize all of that.”

Because even though three feet separated us, I felt like he was still in front of me, his stare owning me.

Little sparks moved through my body, like I was plugged into an outlet.

“Fine, I’ll whisper,” she said, only slightly softer than before. “Again, who is that hottie?”

Gabby and I had been best friends since high school, and now, we were roommates. She was also the main culprit for dragging me out, which was exactly how it had looked when she pulled me off the couch and forced me into this dress.

Who is he?


“An accidental encounter.” My heart sped up as I said those words—his words. Ones that were so perfect that my pulse continued to rise. “I cut him off in line at the bar. I hadn’t meant to, but I can’t lie; I’m almost glad I did. That man is whoa. Whoa on just every level.”

“Agreed, girl, but daaamn, I can’t figure out why you’re here when you should be three feet over there, sitting on his lap.”

I stole a quick glance in his direction. His profile faced me, giving me a view of that incredibly sexy beard and those full lips and that square jaw and those broad, muscular shoulders.

My God.

He must have felt my gaze because he turned toward me, causing me to look away before I got caught.

I did everything in my power to keep my eyes on Gabs while I said, “We met. We exchanged names. He bought me a drink.” I took a deep breath. “That’s it, nothing more. Definitely no lap sitting.”


But just like I wasn’t the girl who would rudely cut ahead of him, I also wasn’t the kind to straddle him in the middle of a bar.

And even if I was feeling aggressively out of character, I was in no position to straddle anything other than dreamland tonight.

I hadn’t even been back in LA for twelve hours. My clothes still hadn’t arrived from the boxes I’d shipped, and I currently didn’t even have a bed. I would be sleeping with Gabby or on the couch for the foreseeable future.

“Well, I have to disagree,” she said. “It looked like he was about to ravish you.” She waved her hand in front of her face, like she was hot. “The chemistry, girl. Oh my God, the chemistry.”

I sipped my martini. “Really?”

“His eyes were on the verge of knocking you up.”

I laughed. My best friend was so over the top sometimes. “Ford is extra swoony—I can’t deny that. But I assure you, the only thing growing inside me is a heavy case of jet lag and a wicked need to take off these heels and find myself a pillow.”

“His pillow.” She put her arm around my shoulders and turned me toward him, saying in my ear, “Even his name is sexy.”

My eyes briefly closed. “I know.”

“Do you know what I see when I look at him?”

“I can’t wait to hear this.”

She squeezed my shoulder. “Handcuffs. Dirty sex. Waking up in the morning with his face between your legs.” She lowered her voice, finally whispering, “That man has dominance written all over him.”

I wondered if she could sense how sweaty I was getting.

How it only added to the hotness Ford had already built.

“You can tell that just by looking at him?”

“I possess that talent. You should know this by now.”

I’d only seen my best friend a handful of times over the last four years. All of our conversations had taken place over the phone—through text or FaceTime. Even then, our schedules made our time limited, so we had to squeeze in all the important details in just a few minutes.

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