Mr. Irresistible(11)

By: Karina Bliss


“I’m back.” Kezia dropped the shopping bags. “Oh honey, you have worked yourself up, haven’t you?”

“Yeah, I have,” said Christian. He kissed his wife, relinquished the howling baby and turned back to Jordan. “Listen, muttonhead, this project is too important to jeopardize on the first woman who doesn’t find you irresistible.”

Patting the whimpering infant’s back, Kezia turned toward them, her expressive brown eyes wide. “This sounds serious.”

Ignoring the snorts from his two friends, Jordan saluted her. “At last, someone who gets it.”

“The day you settle down is the day I’m your chief bridesmaid,” Christian said.

Jordan frowned. “Not that serious.”

Kezia went into the kitchen and, with easy familiarity, found a teaspoon and gave Maddie her medicine. Only half joking, she asked, “Could she be ‘the one,’ Jord?”

Only half serious, he answered, “That depends—”

“On whether she puts out,” Luke murmured, and he and Christian laughed.

Jordan turned his back on them and spoke to Kezia. “We have a couple of…issues, I think you women call it, to work through.”

“She hates him,” Christian explained.

“She thinks he makes a habit of seducing married women,” Luke added.

Trying not to laugh, Kezia handed Maddie back to her father. “Stop exaggerating.”

Jordan crumbled some feta into the salad. “And then there’s the boyfriend.”

“Oh,” said Kezia faintly.

“So, yes,” he admitted expansively, picking up the knife and a bunch of basil, “a few issues.”

“Here’s another one.” Luke grabbed the discarded newspaper and thumbed to the classifieds. He shoved the engagement section under Jordan’s nose. Peter Walker and Kate Brogan are delighted to announce…

“Son of a bitch.” Jordan dropped the knife in the sink and stuck his finger under the running water, watching his blood swirl down the plug hole.

“This is serious, isn’t it?” Luke asked in awe.

“Nothing a plaster won’t fix.” Grabbing a paper towel, Jordan wrapped his finger, then turned to see Christian standing next to an old-fashioned pistol wall mounted behind glass. His friend reached for the little steel hammer beneath the inscription, In case of emergency, break glass. “Don’t even think about it,” Jordan growled.

“‘If a woman ever reduces me to your state, shoot me,’” Christian quoted. Jordan had said that a year earlier, when Christian had been in emotional meltdown over Kezia. He and Luke still argued over which of them got to pull the trigger when the time came.

“I’ll never be as pathetic as you were.” Jordan looped his arm around Kezia. “Have I told you how pathetic he was?”

“Many times.” She smiled across the room at her husband. “But I never get tired of hearing it.”

“You’ll keep, wife.” Christian’s gaze was full of lazy promise. Maddie started to cry again.

While her parents attended to her, Luke turned to Jordan. “So back to this column…What now, hotshot?”

“Did she mention the camp? No.” Jordan tossed the offending newspaper in the trash. “Problem solved.” His mind was still on the engagement. He should have told Kate about how Peter had spoken about her writing; she would never have tied herself to such a loser. “For Pete’s sake, give me that baby.”

He took Maddie and turned her so that her little belly pressed against his palm. With the other hand, he rhythmically patted her back as he started a circuit around the dining room table. He was the oldest of a large family, and two of his sisters had kids. But babies were his favorite.

Gently, he kissed Maddie’s flushed cheek. “Luke, go grill the steaks on the barbecue. Christian, make the dressing for the salad. Kez, pour yourself a glass of wine and put your feet up.”

Recognizing an expert, Maddie stopped crying and, with a tremulous sigh, closed her eyes. Jordan swung around the curve of the table and started back. All three adults were staring at him.

“Amateurs,” he confided to Maddie.

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