Tony stood at the foot of the stairs. What had just happened here? He would have taken her like an animal in rut. The moment she stepped into his arms and cried an urgency to claim her had driven every thought but possession. Not his style. Slow seduction with every move orchestrated brought great rewards. His body throbbed with desire and frustration. He wanted her beneath him while he pounded his way to completion.
Whoa! What had brought on these thoughts? He didn’t know her. He didn’t like her. There’d been a single meeting four years ago at Jim’s and Carrie’s wedding. Granted Lauren had changed, at least in appearance. Still he wondered if a runaway rebellious teen changed into a solid citizen. Not likely.
Sure her blonde hair no longer had blue and green streaks and didn’t flow to her waist. The nose and lip rings were gone and she didn’t wear skirts so tight and short little was left to the imagination. The first time they’d met she’d dressed like the hooker he believed she was. He’d been sorely tempted.
Still was. 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. But he couldn’t permit Lauren to have custody of the child. Not with the lifestyle he believed 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’d asked when Lauren would return, the answer was late. He definitely knew what that meant especially when the sitter refused to give him Lauren’s location.
The opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth sounded. He pulled the phone from his pocket. “Mark…You heard the message. Thanks…I wish I could…Matt or Jules can take my place…Tell them the teacher and the shopkeeper are hot…Good luck…Call me when you return.” 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 established wouldn’t do. He groaned. Visions of the hot babes he’d met the last time he’d stayed at the inn in
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 second one was in place the happier he would be. The moment the news about the accident and the deaths had reached him, the search for a nanny had begun.
"Tony Carlin calling for Mrs. Bunche.”
A moment later the pleasant voice 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 current available candidates.”
“One PM, I’ll be there.”
“Just to warn you. Since the nanny will be a live-in she must have her own room, one separate from the child. Most of our employees insist on either Saturday or Sunday off plus one other day during the week.”
The moment 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? When that day arrived the nanny would only be needed for evenings and nights. He found paper on the counter and made a to- do list. There was another option. He could let Lauren share custody.
He nodded. She could have the kid every weekend. A frown tightened his forehead. Was that a good idea? Might put a spike in her ability to earn a living. He leaned against the back of the sofa. Perhaps another arrangement was possible. Like the one she had fled from moments before.
Laughter reached him. Lauren appeared with the infant in her arms. She dropped a blanket on the deep blue carpet and crouched to straighten the cloth. She added toys and rattles.
“Watch him while I start laundry.” She ducked 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 of here by next weekend. I want to sell the condo and put the money in the bank 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 in a dark 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 allow you to drag a different man into his life every night.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I know how you earn a living. If you’re hurting for cash I’ll pay you for tonight and tomorrow night.”
“Excuse me.” She fisted her hands on her hips. “You know nothing. You’re making assumptions and that makes you an ass.” The words shot 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 infant 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.”
“His name is Jamie.” She whirled and walked away. Her black slacks fit perfectly showing her narrow waist and delectable rear. 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 where he wanted it.
The phone rang. He grabbed the receiver on the first ring. A man spoke. “See you tomorrow at eight.”
“There’s no need.” Tony hung up and chuckled. He would handle the situation when she learned she had no date. But the lady wouldn’t be disappointed.