By Anastasia Rabiyah
Published Nov 14, 2012
Word Count: 23,094
Jake, a twice divorced father, has given up on finding love until his good friend, Amory, finds herself suddenly single. The complicated romance between them is hot and lusty while they remain discreet when their combined group of four children are around. Amory has never been on her own and wants to prove to herself that she doesn’t need a man to survive. Jake needs her and a good mother for his girls, but trying to convince her to give in and stay with him isn’t going to be easy, especially with his jaded past.
“Don’t go,” Jake said, cupping his hand over the phone, and Amory knew she should leave. There was something dangerous and desperate in his eyes, the eyes of a man who looked like he was at the end of his rope with nowhere left to go but down. She knew that feeling; she lived with it every day. No one knew how unhappy she was. She didn’t talk about it, tried her best to cover it up for the sake of her children. And Jake always seemed to have a rough time in life no matter what he did. The guy had bad luck.
She and Jake had met out of innocent circumstance. His youngest daughter was on her sons’ soccer team the year before. They lived five minutes away from each other. He was twice divorced and struggling to support his two kids while juggling with huge financial debt left by his last wife who had turned out to be a deadbeat mom. And he was her friend.
“All right.” She sat back down on a mismatched seat at his worn-out dining room table. Their kids ran back and forth in the living room, playing as they always did. She waited, tapping her fingers nervously on her leg, while he finished the argument with his ex-wife. She could tell he was trying his best to keep his cool. His voice kept getting lower, more serious. Amory didn’t like arguments. There was enough of that when her husband was home.
A tingle ran through her. Jake was everything she shouldn’t want. A man who had gone down too many wrong paths, made too many mistakes in his life, and she doubted she knew all of them. Rough around the edges, with tattoos on both arms. She turned away when he smiled at her. She fought any kind of attraction she might feel for him, but it wasn’t easy. Amory loved the way he looked into her eyes when they talked, and how he always said thank you to her for watching his kids. Maybe it was the fact that he saw her, really noticed she was there. Her husband had long since stopped noticing which made her acutely aware that she didn’t matter.
Amory needed to get home and make dinner for that husband who hadn’t taken notice of her in over a year unless it was to demean her. She needed to be a good mommy, a good wife. If she kept at it, maybe things would change for the better. Fantasies about Jake were not a smart idea. Pinching the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger, she tried to shut them off and focus.
He ended the phone connection. “Thanks for staying. I wanted to ask if you could watch the girls for me Saturday. If I can get in the overtime, it would really help.”
“Yes, of course. No problem at all.” She bit her lip to keep from saying more like: I’d do anything to make you smile, to make life easier for you. To hold you and fix everything that’s gone wrong in your life. She wondered if by him holding her, maybe she’d feel a little better and be able to cope with her own issues.
It was ridiculous to think any of that were possible. She couldn’t fix him. He was broken. He was loaded with far too much extra baggage for any woman to take on. They would be afraid of all the responsibility. Maybe if he were rich; his rugged looks were good enough to make him attractive, but once they got beyond that, they’d run screaming. No easy spontaneous dates for Jacob Rath.
Most days he was dead tired from his day job—tired to the point of falling asleep at the dinner table. He’d have to arrange for a babysitter, hide the mess his girls always made. He was a tough guy-turned-daddy and left behind by the women he’d fallen for. Not the most desirable eligible bachelor. Not that she should desire him at all.
But she did...
This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 07 November, 2012.