Tony stood at the foot of the stairs. What had just happened here? He would have taken her like an animal in rut. Not his style at all. Slow seduction with every move orchestrated brought great rewards. His body throbbed with need and frustration. He wanted her beneath him while he pounded his way to a peak of elation.
Whoa. Where did that thought arise? He didn’t know her. He didn’t like her. There’d been a single meeting four years ago at Jim and Carrie’s wedding. Granted Lauren had changed, at least in appearance. Could a runaway rebellious teen change into a solid citizen? He had grave doubts.
Sure her blond hair no longer had blue and green streaks and didn’t flow to her waist. The nose and lip rings were gone. She didn’t wear tight skirts so short little was left to the imagination. The first time they met she’d dressed like the hooker he believed she was. And he had been tempted.
He had to fight this insane attraction. Why had Jim allowed her to be named as one of his son’s guardians? From all he’d seen, she seemed to have a rapport with the boy he didn’t have. Babies had never been his thing. Still, he couldn’t permit Lauren to have custody of the child. Not with the lifestyle he felt sure she followed.
On Wednesday and Thursday evenings he’d called the condo. Both times the phone had been answered by a person claiming to be the sitter. When he asked when Lauren would be home the answer had been “late.” He definitely knew what that meant, especially when the sitter had refused to tell him where she was.
The opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth sounded. He pulled the phone from his pocket. “Mark…You got the message…Wish I could…Matt can take my place. Tell him the teacher and the shopkeeper are hot……Good luck…Call me when you get back.” He laughed. “I’ll be playing Daddy…Not sugar. To my nephew…Ciao.”
He broke the connection and sank on the couch. He would miss his best friend’s wedding but leaving here before his right to the baby’s custody was clear wouldn’t do. He groaned. Visions of the hot babes he’d met the last time he stayed at the inn in Vermont danced in his thoughts. While he was stuck here instead of scoring with one or both women, Matt would enjoy the pair. That was an event to regret.
No sense thinking about what might have been. He called the number of the agency he hoped would provide an instant nanny. The sooner one was in place the happier he would be. The moment the news about the accident and the deaths reached him, he had called.
“Tony Carlin here. Mrs. Bunch, please.”
A moment later the pleasant voice of the woman greeted him. “Mr. Carlin, I’m sorry there’s been no action taken on your request. You haven’t visited the agency to complete the paperwork so I can finalize the choices.”
“Why can’t I do this over the phone and through emails?”
“Agency policy. If you can stop by the office on Monday at one, we can complete your application and I can arrange interviews with our currently available candidates.’
“One PM. I’ll be there.”
“Oh, just to warn you. Since the nanny will be a live-in she must have her own room and a separate one for the infant. Most of our women insist on at least one weekend day off.”
When she stopped talking, he hung up. He had no choice except to accept the agency’s demands. How soon would the boy be ready for nursery school? At that point the nanny would only be needed for evenings and nights. He found a scrap of paper and made a to-do list. His brow wrinkled. There was another option. He could let Lauren share custody.
He nodded. Let her have the infant on weekends. A frown tightened his brow. Was that a good idea? Might put a spike in her ability to earn a living. He leaned against the back of the sofa. Maybe something could be arranged, like what she’d refused not so long ago.
Laughter reached him. Lauren appeared with the child in her arms. She dropped a blanket on the deep blue carpet and crouched to straighten the cloth. She added some toys and rattles.
“Watch him while I start laundry.” She dashed upstairs and returned with a basket. She entered the area near the door into the garage.
“We need to talk,” he said.
She peered around the wall. “I know.”
“I’ll be staying for the weekend. Since I must be at the office Monday morning, I’ll leave Sunday evening. You should plan to move out by next weekend. I want to sell the condo and put the money in trust for the boy.”
The look on her face puzzled him. She stepped toward the couch. “I don’t live here. I’ve stayed because it’s important for Jamie to be in familiar surroundings. I’ll ask my landlady if she minds having a baby in the apartment. I can move his crib and dresser there.”
“Wrong. I’m taking the boy to the city. I’ve arranged for a nanny.”
“Jamie. His name is Jamie.” She strode forward. “Did you forget we have joint custody? I refuse to allow my nephew to be shoved in a cell with a strange woman so you can forget he exists.”
Tony clamped his lips together and sought an answer. He didn’t trust her. He knew what she was. “I refuse to let you drag a different man into his life every night.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I know how you earn a living. If you’d like I’ll pay you for two nights.”
“Excuse me.” She fisted her hands on her hips. “You know nothing. You’re making assumptions and that makes you an ass.” The words spat like bullets.
The baby cried. Lauren scooped him into her arms and held him close.
“No, love, not today. Just Auntie.”
His sobs slowed. “Tee.” He buried his head against her shoulder.
Tony stared at his hands. He didn’t understand her anger. Couldn’t she admit the truth? Guilt for making the boy cry swamped him. “We’ll discuss this later.”
“Just remember I want what’s best for Jamie. If I must I’ll fight you.”
“I want the same for the child. If you fight I’ll win and you’ll be exposed.”
She whirled and walked away. Her black slacks fit perfectly, showing her narrow waist and curving over her delectable ass. His cock surged to attention. He rose and then sank back. He wouldn’t chase her and prolong the argument. He gulped deep breaths. No way would she win the battle over custody. He would have sole charge of the baby and he would have her body writhing beneath him.
The phone rang. He grabbed the receiver on the first ring. A man spoke. “See you tomorrow at eight.”
“There’s no need. Matters are handled.” Tony hung up and chuckled. He would definitely handle the situation when she learned she had no date. But the lady wouldn’t be disappointed.