WILDER:The Mountain Man's Babies(26)

By: Frankie Love

I try to wipe away any signs of recognition or swooning at the sound of his name off my face.

“Who’s Deacon?” Clara says with that same mischievous tilt of her lips.

I glare at her.

“Vaguely,” I say to my mom.

“Didn’t you used to have a crush on him?” my mom says with a teasing lilt in her voice.

I hold my finger up to keep Clara from making any more comments.

How does my mom know about my crush? Was I that obvious? Or maybe it’s because everyone in the neighborhood had a crush on him at the time and she’s just assuming I was one of them.

“Probably. I was thirteen. I had a crush on everyone,” I say, hoping I sound as nonchalant as I do in my head.

“I talked to him yesterday when he first arrived in town.”

He’s been here an entire day and I’m only now seeing him?

“What did you guys talk about?” I ask, trying to pry more information out of her.

My mom puts her elbows on the table, looking out the window toward the house his brother now owns. “Poor thing got divorced a while ago. His wife left him and the baby in order to go party.”

My eyes open wide. Luckily she doesn’t notice.

That’s so horrible. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to leave Deacon to go party, or for any reason, actually. And who leaves their baby? Deacon and his child are better off without her as far as I’m concerned. While I do feel bad that Deacon had to go through all of that, I can’t say I’m too upset about him being single now. Maybe I actually stand a chance with him …

I shut that thought down again. Best not to get my hopes up.

“He has a job here in town,” my mom continues. “He’ll need a babysitter he can trust. I volunteered you for the job. I hope that’s okay.”

Clara glances at me, a playful twinkle in her eyes. It’s not hard to tell what’s on my mind, I’m sure.

My heart leaps into my throat. Me babysitting for Deacon? The man responsible for all my sexy teenage dreams, the only man I imagined giving my virginity to. I don’t think there’s a number high enough to count the amount of times I pictured myself in his house, on his bed, spread open for him. What it would feel like to kiss him, to have him inside of me. What do his sheets smell like? What does his skin feel like?

Could I really stop myself from acting on the feelings I’ve had for him since puberty?

I’m bombarded by so many questions that my mind starts spinning. I push my plate away, my appetite gone.

“That’s fine,” I say. “I could use the extra money.”

Clara leans over and whispers in my ear so my mom can’t hear her. “And a good lay.”