Your Forever Love (The Bennett Family #3)(6)By: Layla Hagen
I needn’t have worried because the band switches to a fifties tune, and Eric wiggles his eyebrows.
“Another dance?” he asks.
“I have moves,” he assures me in a voice full of delicious promise. “I’m not a catch, but that doesn’t mean I can’t throw and catch you.”
“Whatever you’re planning to do, keep in mind I’m wearing a dress. I don’t want to flash my thong for everyone to see, even if it is a gorgeous red from La Perla—”
“Stop talking about your underwear. I’m already picturing it, and that’s a slippery road.” Without further ado, he lifts me in his arms and proceeds to steal the breath from my lungs. He half lowers, half throws me to his right and then to his left. I keep my knees firmly together until my feet are back on the floor. By the end of the dance, my head is spinning.
“Oh, my God,” I say. “This was… I can’t believe you pulled that off.”
“Your lack of faith in me is insulting,” he says as we step away from the dance floor. “I should get back to my daughter.”
“You do that, and I’ll see both of you on Monday. She’ll love my office. I have samples all around.”
“Why are you being so nice to us?”
“I’m nice to everyone,” I reply a little too quickly. “But I like Julie. She and I will get along well.”
“So it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome?” His smile is priceless.
“You’re never going to let me forget that, are you?”
“I haven’t even started on the cobwebs. See you on Monday.” He gives me a quick nod before returning to his daughter, leaving me breathless and smiling. Going back to my seat, I help myself to a cookie, stealing glances at Eric. That man is eye candy. I can’t seem to look away from him, just as I can’t seem to stop myself from putting yet another cookie on my plate.
At least eye candy has zero calories.
“Dad,” Julie says on Monday, as we eat our breakfast. “I want to wear lipstick.”
I choke on my toast, looking at her across the table. “Wh—at?”
“I want a lipstick.”
“You’re too young.”
She folds her arms over her chest, already taking her fighting stance. My daughter is lovely, but when she puts her mind to something she’s more stubborn than I am. Folding her arms is the first step, frowning the second. By that time, I usually cower to her demands, but I will stand firm on this.
“Dad, I’m twelve.”
“I allow you to wear lip gloss occasionally, but you’re still too young to wear lipstick.” Yeah, I know the difference between the two. Comes with the territory of being a single father.
“Well, you’re not a girl. You don’t understand.” She sighs dramatically. “I want red lipstick.”
“Finish your sandwich, Julie.”
She verbalized one of my biggest fears: that she needs a feminine presence. I’ve always known this, but that doesn’t make hearing her say it out loud any easier.
It took me a long time to piece myself together after Sarah died. After the worst was over, and at the encouragement of friends and family, I started dating. It turned out to be a bad move. Women feigned to be interested in Julie in order to get a second date, so I stopped. Until my daughter turns eighteen, she will be my priority. It’s just the two of us, and that’s okay most of the time. Until she starts asking me about wearing lipstick. At twelve years old. Dealing with boyfriends will be a bloodbath.
“I’m done,” Julie announces when her plate is empty. “We can go.”
“Are you sure you want to come to the office with me? I can ask Ms. Blackwell to spend the day with you.”
Julie has two permanent nannies back in Boston, Ms. Smith and Ms. Blackwell, the latter who agreed to come with us from Boston to San Francisco over the summer. Julie isn’t thrilled about having round-the-clock nannies, but she understands it’s necessary.
“No, I want to see your office. It’s funny to watch you scare people.”