The Favor:A Marriage of Convenience Romance(192)

By: Suzanne Wright

Sidling up to me again, Ashley cleared her throat. “Alicia, Kian would like to apologize for calling you Frodo.” She gently nudged her son. “Go on.”

“Sorry,” he bit out.

Alicia sniffed, releasing her father’s leg. “Apology accepted,” she said, as gracious and haughty as any royal.

“Now you apologize for hitting him,” I told her.

She looked like she might argue, but then she turned to him and said, “Sorry.”

“Fine,” he mumbled.

Her eyes narrowed. “You’re supposed to say, ‘apology accepted.’”

Instead, he snickered.

She looked at me, her eyes flaring. “Mommy, he didn’t accept my sorry.”

“He did,” Ashley cut in. “Didn’t you, Kian?”

He snorted. “No.”

Alicia clenched her little fists and leaned toward him. “Then I’m not sorry anymore.”

“And I don’t care,” he yelled.

“Because you’re a goof-trooper!”

I quickly separated the two. “You both have a choice. You can say one nice thing to each other, or you can say nothing at all.”

Unsurprisingly, they both snapped their mouths shut.

Carrying Cooper, Tucker crossed to us. “Kian, get over here and stop winding up four-year-old girls.” With that, he led his son away.

Ashley smiled down at Alicia. “You look so beautiful in that dress. Which princess is your favorite?”

Alicia’s face scrunched up, like the question was idiotic. “Me.”

Ashley’s lips parted. “Well of course.”

“Aren’t I the prettiest princess, Daddy?” she asked, either oblivious to or uncaring about the juice on her dress, the wonky tiara, the chocolate all over her face, and the fact that she only wore one shoe.

Dane nodded. “Of course you are, baby.”

She beamed at him and lifted her arms. “Kisses!”

Dane obligingly lifted her and accepted the many kisses she feathered over his face, leaving smears of chocolate all over him.

Addison wriggled in my arms. “I want to go see Ollie.”

“Me, too,” declared Alicia.

Dane and I lowered our daughters to the floor, who both then skipped away.

He turned to me, wearing his classic unimpressed expression. “Just how much chocolate do I have on my face?”

“Only a little,” I fibbed.

“It’s not nice to lie, you know,” he grumbled, wiping at his cheek.

I smiled. “You can’t fool me. I know you’re happy.”

His expression softened, and he looked both sober and gentle at the same time. “I don’t have a single reason not to be anymore, do I?”