His throat tightened as he tried to wrap his head around the fact that he was suddenly a dad. His own father had been a violent alcoholic so Kell had basically raised his brother after their mom died. He knew more about babies than Charlotte probably realized.

At the sound of a car door shutting, he threw open his front door and strode outside. He hadn’t thought she’d be back so soon, especially since she’d be bringing over so many things for Reece. He’d wanted to go and help but she’d been adamant that she deal with her parents by herself. Considering how stubborn she could be, Kell knew when to pick his battles. As long as Charlotte didn’t change her mind about moving in, he could give her space.

When he saw Monique, the blonde with legs a mile long he’d gone on a couple dates with get out of her two-door sports car he froze, his excitement dying. What the hell was she doing here?

She gave him a little half wave as she strode toward him. Wearing a black skintight mini dress and high heels, she was almost as tall as him. “Hey, Kell.” Her voice was practically a purr.

“Hey, what are you doing here?”

She shrugged. “I was in the neighborhood, thought I’d stop by.”

He glanced at the road, which was thankfully empty of vehicles. The thought of Charlotte driving up now made him feel sick. Before she’d left, the indecision in her gaze had been clear and he wouldn’t let anything get in the way of her moving in with him. As she was leaving to get their son she’d mentioned that her alcoholic sister was now living with her parents too so he had a feeling that her acquiescence to move in was part guilt, part not wanting Reece to be around her sister. He’d let Charlotte run from him a year ago because her world had crashed down on her head and he hadn’t wanted to add to her problems.

Now things were different. He wasn’t some fucking rebound or a way to make herself feel guilty.

“It’s not a good time.”

Monique placed a well-manicured hand on his chest, her expression pouty. “Why not?”

Kell bit back his nausea. He didn’t want anyone touching him but Charlotte. A few months ago he’d tried to purge her from his system by dating Monique, but it hadn’t worked. They’d gotten physical but he hadn’t been able to sleep with her. Not when he kept picturing Charlotte’s face. It had felt beyond wrong. “Because I’m seeing someone.”

Her blue eyes narrowed, the intensity of her anger surprising him. “Since when?”

“Since now. Why the hell are you here?”

She shrugged and curled her hand against his chest. He took her wrist and removed it as gently as he could. She still didn’t walk away. “Saw you at the Garcia party last night.”

He frowned, not remembering seeing her there. “You were invited to the party?”

She shrugged again in that annoying way of hers. As she did, a compact SUV pulled up to the curb outside his house.


“You need to leave. Now.” He kept his expression blank, trying to will the other woman to get the hell off his property. Right now everything with Charlotte was so tentative he didn’t want to screw things up before he had a chance to make his intentions clear. He knew she planned on sleeping in one of his guestrooms, but he planned on making that a short term thing. He wanted her in his bed and his life permanently.

Monique glanced over her shoulder, then glared back at him. “Fine. See you later.” With an obnoxious wave to Charlotte, Monique slid into her car and zoomed away.

Kell strode for Charlotte’s vehicle. He was surprised when she got out and rounded it, fury and hurt written on her face. She had her keys gripped tightly in a fist as she practically squared off with him. She wore the same jeans and green sweater, which did nothing to hide the outline of her generous breasts. “This isn’t going to work, Kell. I’m not going to introduce my son to a bunch of strange women.”

He tried to bite back his fury. Way to jump to conclusions. “That woman means nothing and she’s not coming back.”

Her jaw tightened as she stared at him, and all he could think about was kissing away that anger. Then she shook her head. “You can spend a couple hours with Reece, but this isn’t going to work. I knew it was a mistake when I said yes. We can’t—”

Unable to listen to one more word, he moved fast, covering the few steps between them in seconds until he was on her. His hand fisted in her hair, gripping the back of her head as he crushed his mouth over hers.

She let out a strangled moan into his mouth and for a moment he thought she’d shove him away. He wouldn’t blame her if she did. He was pushing too fast. When her fingers twisted into his shirt, tugging him closer, he knew he’d won for the moment. Sweeping his tongue past the seam of her lips, he didn’t give her a chance to resist. He kissed her hard and dominating, the way he wanted to fuck her. The need to take this woman, to slake his never-ending lust around her, was a primal, living thing inside him. From the moment he’d met her it had been like that for him. Unfortunately she’d been very taken. So he’d ignored her as best he could, but it had become damn near impossible when she was one of the sweetest women he’d ever met. Now that she was the mother of his child, his need to claim her was even stronger.

Breaking the moment, Charlotte shoved at him, wrenching her head back. “What was that for?”

“That woman is nothing to me and no woman is going to be in our son’s or my life now except you. I don’t want any woman but you,” he growled, unable to stop the admission. Her eyes were wide and definitely surprised. Still gripping her, he loosened his hold and slid his hand around to cup her cheek and neck. He could feel her pulse pounding out of control.

“Kellen, this is a mistake,” she whispered, suddenly looking exhausted.

God, he loved it when she said his full name. He wasn’t sure if she meant the kiss or her coming there, but he didn’t care which. Neither were. He knew it. She just needed time to see it herself. Dropping his hand to give her a little space, he looked over her shoulder into the interior of the vehicle. He could see the outline of the car seat, but it was turned away from the window. Excitement and nervousness punched through him in equal waves. He couldn’t believe he was about to see his son for the first time. “Is he in there?”

At the question, Charlotte’s entire face softened. She nodded. “Yeah. Sleeping.”

His heart beat faster at the thought of holding his son. “You managed to pack all your things in this vehicle?” The mini SUV had decent storage but he’d expected her to have a lot more stuff, especially for a baby.

She snorted, the sound irreverent and totally Charlotte. “No. My dad is hiring someone to bring over everything. They should be here in a few hours, but…” She trailed off, biting her lip.

That was when he realized what she meant. “No buts. You said you’d try this temporarily.”

“I know, I’m just worried you’re not prepared. Reece doesn’t sleep through the night yet and—”

“I practically raised my brother.” Kell had been ten when his brother had been born and his mother had died a year later. He knew all about kids.

Rubbing a hand over her face, she sighed. “Okay, let me get him out of his seat.”

He waited impatiently on the curb as Charlotte pulled the small, sleeping baby with a thick mass of dark hair from the car seat. She cuddled him close to her chest, her expression soft as she watched their son.

Their. Son.

He moved closer, hovering behind her to get a better look at Reece and his heart melted. The sight of Charlotte holding Reece made it difficult to think straight for a moment.

“He’ll probably be out for another hour. He ate right before we left,” she said quietly.

As if to prove her wrong, those little eyes snapped open and Kell’s breath caught. Not that he’d ever worried about Charlotte lying about the paternity, but he knew right then and there, without a doubt, that this was his son. He saw those same eyes every day he looked in the mirror.

The little boy looked at his mother, then him, then back to her. His tiny mouth opened and he let out the loudest cry Kell had ever heard. The sound pierced the quiet neighborhood as his face turned bright red. It also pierced his heart and made him feel useless to hear his son upset. A small being shouldn’t be able to make that kind of sound.

Charlotte just snorted. “He’s hungry again. Greedy little thing. I’m going to feed him inside.” With that, she carried Reece up his driveway and into his house.

Kell wanted to follow immediately but he sagged against the vehicle and tried to catch his breath. Knowing that he had a son and actually seeing the little boy were two different things. Unable to fight the grin on his face, he started gathering bags from the back of the vehicle. He wondered how soon it would be before he got to hold the little guy. No matter what, he was going to be the kind of father that he’d never had.

* * * * *

Charlotte slipped on a pair of comfortable yoga pants and a nursing tank top before heading out of the guestroom to find Reece and Kell. Kell had told her to shower and sleep and she’d decided to take advantage. Her family hadn’t been much help with Reece because they’d dealing with her sister’s antics, so getting even a small break was like heaven. She’d been able to shower, shave and actually put on a little makeup, making her feel like a woman again instead of just a mom. Kell had been so eager and excited to hold Reece it had been easier than she’d imagined to give them alone time.

The men her father had hired had dropped off Reece’s bedroom furniture and all of her clothes a couple hours ago. She still had to unpack some boxes and hang up her clothes, but they truly didn’t have much. Luckily Kell didn’t have a lot of furniture in either guestroom so their moving in wasn’t an issue.

When she’d left DC she’d sold all their furniture and purged almost everything she’d owned with her husband. She’d needed a fresh start and hadn’t wanted any reminders of her life with him. He’d hurt her enough with his lies and cheating. She deserved better. More importantly, so did her son.