Home > The Single Dad (The Dalton Brothers #3)(7)

The Single Dad (The Dalton Brothers #3)(7)
Author: Marni Mann

Therefore, I’d almost forgotten she had this talent and how she came with zero filter.

“Gabs, what are you trying to tell me?”

“You need to go jump that man before he goes home with someone else.”

I looked away from him, scanning the rest of the room so I wouldn’t be so obvious. But after a few seconds, I returned to his profile, watching his lips puff out as he took a drink. That mouth had certainly been made for kissing. Surrounding his lips were short, thick, dark, well-groomed hairs that continued up his cheeks and over his chin. Even though his almond-shaped hazel eyes weren’t on me, they were striking.

The moment the glass left his mouth, his hand brushed away the wetness from his lips.

A hand with fingers that were long, thin.

Perfect.

Yum.

“I’m starting to think this time difference is messing with your ability to see how scrumptious he is.”

“Oh, I see.” As I filled my lungs, more tingles burst through my chest. I turned, now looking at my best friend. “But I’m half dead, I’m here with my girls tonight, and my life is”—I took another breath, bringing myself back down to reality—“in this weird, in-between phase, giving me no position to really get my flirt on.”

She patted my cheek like a baby’s butt. “You’re sexy as fuck. You haven’t been laid in what … years? You have every reason to get your flirt on, especially now that you’re back for good and you can once again appreciate what LA has to offer, starting with that man over there.”

“You’re relentless.”

“No, I’m your voice of reason.”

“And you’re relentless,” I repeated. I took a moment to soak in this conversation, the fact that it was happening here, in person, and not over the phone. That I was at this popular, well-known bar—a place I’d never been before because the last time I’d really had a chance to hang in Los Angeles, I wasn’t of legal age. “Regardless, it just feels really good to be home.”

She tucked one of my big curls behind my ear as she said, “I was worried that wasn’t ever going to happen. That once you left your job, you were going to stay in New York.”

I had spent months debating on where I wanted to live. Even though I’d been traveling the world, New York was where I’d come back to at the end of each trip, a city I’d become familiar with.

But a city where my best friend and family didn’t live.

“I made the right choice,” I admitted, smiling.

“Yes, you did, and now, we’re going to celebrate with shots.” She looped her arm through mine and then said to Carrie and Natasha, friends who were deep in their own conversation, “Shots, shots, shots!”

Why was I not surprised that there were already eight shot glasses on the table?

Glasses I hadn’t noticed when I sat down because I hadn’t been able to keep my eyes off Ford.

“What’s in those?” I groaned.

“Tequila,” Gabby replied, “two for each of us.” With our arms still hooked, she raised her glass into the air and said to the group, “To Sydney, who’s going to see stars tonight.”

“No.” I shook my head but still held my tequila into the air, and we clinked all our shots together. “That’s a terrible idea.”

“Remember, I’m never wrong,” Gabs replied, air-kissing me before she downed her shot.

My throat burned as I swallowed the liquor, and I immediately reached for the lime that hung on the rim of the glass, my eyes watering as I sucked on the tartness.

“One more,” Gabby ordered, grabbing a full shot. “Come on, girls.”

“We have all night,” I told her. “Shouldn’t we be pacing ourselves?”

“Don’t worry, my little lovebug.” She twirled a piece of my hair around her finger before we downed our second shot. “I’m going to make sure this is a night you’ll never forget.”

I had no idea how she planned to make that happen, but just as my chest was starting to settle from the tequila, I heard in a gritty, tantalizing voice, “Need another martini?”

I hadn’t seen Ford change seats, sitting in the one on the other side of me.

And for some shocking reason, I hadn’t felt him.

But as I turned, meeting those hauntingly beautiful hazel eyes, my body instantly responded. “No.” I tried to find my breath, his new position sucking all the air out of me. “I’ve barely recovered from those shots.” I nodded toward the empty glasses.

His stare dipped, but not to the table. It lowered down my face, focusing on my mouth. “Shots aren’t your thing?”

“I’m more of a sipper than a chugger.”

He laughed. “That’s cute.”

Hearing those words from his mouth, in that deep, dark voice, was far from cute. It was like a moan vibrating across me.

His gaze, like a set of hands wrapping around me, was more intense than I’d ever felt.

“Interesting …” His eyes narrowed. “That earned me a smile. Why?”

The combination of the martini and shots was slowly dropping my inhibitions, especially as I glanced toward Gabby, who had moved to the other side of the table, closer to Natasha and Carrie, her facial expression urging me on.

“I don’t know.” I glanced down; all of this was too much. “I guess I like the way you sound.”

“My voice?”

I nodded as I was fixed on him again. “Yes.”

“No one’s ever commented on that before.”

I took a drink even though I didn’t need it. “It matches you—I mean, it fits your face, your …” I couldn’t think of what I wanted to say. Nothing was coming to me. I didn’t even feel like I was breathing. “Exterior.”

The corner of his lips lifted, a half-smile so devilishly attractive. “Exterior, huh?”

“If power had a sound, it’s you.”

He was sitting between both tables but chose to lean his elbow on the one closest to me. “My voice isn’t where I hold my power, Sydney. At least, not in my personal life. But I’ll tell you, it wasn’t a bad guess.”

My brain was spiraling.

My legs were already feeling weak.

“No?” I swallowed. “Then, where?”

He licked across his bottom lip and said, “Here.”

His mouth.

Because of the things he could do with it. The way he could use it to make a woman feel.

I’m dying.

“And here,” he said, holding his hands on the table.

I’d noticed his fingers long before this, and I didn’t doubt their strength.

Their talent.

Their ability.

“A refill,” one of the guys said to Ford, breaking our contact, placing a drink in one of his hands.

“Thanks, buddy,” Ford replied.

I almost gasped when his eyes found mine again, the feeling so overwhelming.

“Are you sure you don’t want another one?”

I shook my head. “I’m sure.” My martini was still half-full, and I brought it up to my lips. “It’s already working. I’m not tired anymore.”

In fact, I couldn’t feel anything.

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