Baby's Daddy: An Enemies to Lovers Romance, page 1
An Enemies to Lovers Romance
Ex’s Best Friend Sneak Peek
Best Man with Benefits Sneak Peek
Copyright © 2019
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Mature audience only, 18+.
Created with Vellum
I could’ve spotted him in a crowd of thousands. The massive shoulders, the long strides that insinuated he owned the ground he walked on.
Cocky. So fucking sure of himself.
Damn him! Why was he back?
To screw up my life some more.
When I left work, I’d desperately—achingly—wanted a few quiet hours at home. That’s what I looked forward to: doing absolutely nothing. This adrenaline rush through my veins was not welcome.
I darted up the steps leading to my front door and flattened my back against it. Thank Jesus it was dark.
But God, it was Jax. I’d counted on Jax Decker staying away from me for as long as I lived.
But here he was, disappointing me. As usual. Why was I even surprised?
Even with the hoodie pulled low over his head and his hands shoved into the pockets of his jeans, there was no mistaking it was Jax sneaking into the house next door to mine. Like a thief. I squeezed my eyes shut and opened them again.
Nope. No ghost. It really was Jax. I really wished it were a ghost. I’d scream and shake and be done with it. This man, though—he was capable of putting his hand right through my chest and clawing at my heart.
I couldn’t see his face, but I didn’t have to. Jax and his body and his presence were emblazoned on my mind—and I’d tried hard to get him out of it.
But the jerk. He stayed. What had he done to me?
I winced as I bit my lip too hard, tasting blood. I peeked at an angle to stay out of his sight and rubbed my lip.
Jax Decker, the star running back for the Seattle Redhawks. My high school boyfriend, my first love. Sheesh. The shit I used to believe in.
Childish, stupid, teen love.
Jax disappeared into the house. I saw the light turn on in the living room, the window a bright yellow square. The curtains were drawn, so I couldn’t see inside. Lucky for me. Knowing me, if I could’ve seen, I’d probably sit out there all night watching him.
Get inside, stupid. Just pray he leaves before finding out you live next door.
I made my way inside my house and found the sitter, Janice, watching TV. I gaped at the screen. What was with Janice and her watching TV on mute all the damned time? She was weird.
“Hey, Janice. Sorry I’m late. We had eleven wedding cake orders, and things were kind of crazy.”
“No problem. I was catching up on my new favorite show, Sisters. Have you seen it?”
I bit my lip as laughter bubbled up inside me. “Seen it.” When Janice said “seen it,” she literally meant seen it. Because I knew she didn’t hear a single word. “Yeah. I was planning to. Didn’t get a chance.”
I handed her thirty dollars and smiled as she waved goodbye. I locked the door behind her and made sure all three of the locks were in place.
My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach.
“Dammit.” I slapped the heel of my right hand against my temple to smack the man out of my head. It didn’t work. I opened the bedroom door and peeked inside, where my daughter was fast asleep. Tiptoeing to the edge of the bed, I watched her as if seeing her for the first time. My eyes darted—begrudgingly—over her dark brown hair.
What if Jax saw Anna?
I didn’t want him anywhere near my child. Anna was uninterested in anything except unicorns and glitter, and she didn’t ask about her dad. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t a miniature, female version of him.
“Would it have hurt you, Jesus, to give Anna my red hair and green eyes?” I hissed under my breath as I pulled the light duvet up Anna’s shoulder. “Would’ve made things so much easier.”
My shoulders were stiff and my legs wobbly as I went into the bathroom to run the bath. I stripped, throwing my clothes into the laundry basket. I was about to get in the water when I decided I needed something to help calm me down. A drink.
I wrapped the towel loosely around my body, padded barefoot through the living room, and swung open the kitchen door with my shoulder.
A scream ripped from my lips, and I stumbled backward when I saw the dark, looming silhouette of a man in my kitchen.
“Whoa, whoa. Relax!”
If I was terrified before, I was rigid with fear now. My fingers slapped against the light switch, and blinding yellow light flooded the kitchen.
Shit, shit, shit. I know that voice. No, please don’t be—
“Sorry, I’m not a criminal. What—Liv?”
“Jax! Why are you sneaking into people’s homes?”
I tried to stop shaking. But this wasn’t fear. This was something else. I couldn’t put my finger on this exasperating emotion.
Happiness, mixed with a generous helping of sheer panic.
I didn’t want Jax in my kitchen! Oh god, please! Rewind and send him back to Seattle. I can’t deal with him. Not now. Not ever!
I waited for him to finish speaking while I gasped to catch my breath. But he gaped at me mutely. A strange, stiff look on his face. That hard clamp of his jaw? I remembered that vividly. He only had that expression when he was turned-on.
I realized he wasn’t even looking at my face. He was looking at my chest.
I glanced down and squealed, yanking the towel up to cover my bare breasts. “What the fuck, Jax!”
I turned my back to him briefly, trying to hold the suddenly too-small towel in place to cover my ass and my tits at the same time. “What’s wrong with you? You can’t barge in like this!”
“I’m sorry.” He whirled toward the back door, which Janice had probably left unlocked. Damn her! The mute-TV-watching freak!
Jax took a step toward the door, then looked back at me. “Wait a minute. Why are you in Brodey Hanson’s house?”
“I live here now. If it wasn’t clear from me walking butt naked into the kitchen.”
My eyes refused to pull away from his lips. The chiseled, full perfection of them. His sharp jawline. I wanted to scream to the heavens above when my gaze trailed over the thick, dark hair tousled atop his head.
Why, why, why?
“Wait. Are you Brodey’s—dammit, Liv, you married Brodey?”
That sounded like an accusation.
“Why are you here, Jax? What do you want?”
“I was going to ask Brodey’s dad for his phone number. I lost it.”
I scoffed. “You didn’t lose anything. You just didn’t want anything to do with your old friends, and, well, girlfriend.” I muttered the last word so he wouldn’t hear it.
“You know what? I’m sorry.” He lifted both hands in the air and cringed. “I shouldn’t have come here. This is really—I’m sorry.”
I glared at him as his eyes kept roving over my half-naked body.
He turned to the door again. I’d exhaled in relief when, to my annoyance, he turned around again. “Say hi to Brodey for me.”
I waited for that to make sense. Oh yeah. He thinks Brodey’s my husband.
I didn’t have the time to correct him. No will to either. My heart was hammering. My chest was rising and falling as I waited for him to get the fuck out of my house.
Instead, the over-confident asshole scanned my kitchen. His gaze halted over the artwork-covered fridge. “Oh. Is that?”
Jax pointed to a photo of Anna from four years ago. Anna was six in the photo and had won the poetry competition at school. I really didn’t want Jax to see it.
“Is she? Yours?” He pointed to the picture.
“Yeah, she’s mine.” I forced the words out of me.
“Well, say hi to her too. She’s cute.”
I didn’t say thanks. I didn’t care. I wanted him out!
Finally, he grabbed the door handle, and pulled the door open. He had one foot out when he turned around again.
“Oh, for Christ’s sake! Will you leave already? I’m half naked and you—”
“It’s just, don’t mention to anyone that you saw me. I’m trying to take a break. Incognito.”
I scoffed. “Yeah. Trust me, I know exactly why.”
His jaw clenched. This time, it was a flash of his infamous rotten moods I saw on his face. I lifted my brows in challenge.
He pointed to his dad’s house next door. “I’ll be there, and I’ll be alone, I guess. So you want to come over for a drink sometime? With Brodey!” he added way too loudly. “Of course, with him. I didn’t mean alone. I mean, I would never. I know you’re a married woman.”
“Jax!” I snapped, my molars about to be ground to a fine powder at his stupid rant. At the same time, my heart fought to stop fluttering. I couldn’t kill the little burst of glee inside me. I’d hoped I’d never see him again. But god, clearly I’d wanted to.
I stepped forward, yanking the back door open more and pushing the screen door out. When he finally stepped out, I forced myself to smile. I clutched the towel fiercely in my clenched fist at my chest. “The thing is, Jax. I don’t want to have drinks with the national playboy. And neither does my husband.”
I slammed the door in his face and locked it loudly. Then I did up the other two locks I’d never even used before. I was trying to send him a message: Stay out.
I would’ve been proud of myself, but I completely ruined my own achievement when I quickly peeked through the organza curtain at the window.
The long, sure stride of his insanely long legs. He was six foot five. His big body had once been so comforting, safe, and it had been mine. His glutes were hard and toned, snug in his gray slacks, his waist small and dominated by his massive shoulders.
Did he need to walk sideways through doorways to fit those boulders?
He still acted like he owned the world. Even though I’d literally just thrown him out of my house. Where did he get all that cocky, arrogant energy?
Born with it.
“Stop watching him,” I hissed into the silence and then grabbed the bottle of wine from underneath the sink. Now I needed it even more. I opened the cupboard to grab a glass then changed my mind. Popping the bottle open, I took a long, angry swig. My bare feet dragged on the wooden floor as I made my way to the bathroom.
In a daze, I slid into the bath, placing the bottle on the lip of the bathtub. The water was too hot, but my back was tense, and I figured it could only help.
I lay there motionless in the water, staring at the vanity mirror. Eight neon-green sticky notes lined the sides of it. For the first time in forever, I didn’t get a rush of adrenaline watching the endless to-do lists stuck to every mirror in the house except for the one in Anna’s room. Maybe because the adrenaline had expended its monthly quota in the few seconds after seeing Jax.
I liked being overprepared and overscheduled. It was comforting to know what was coming at all times. I had zero patience for surprises. All so I could control what I wanted to deal with. I didn’t need any extra stressors poking holes in my life.
Jax showing up in Ashland was the last thing I needed.
I closed my eyes in an attempt to shut off my mind. But my closed eyelids suddenly became a live action motion picture with flashes from my past.
Jax chasing me on the school football field. Jax holding me all night as I sobbed after finding out my mom had ovarian cancer. Jax joining forces with me to launch an “investigation” to find my dad, who’d left before I was even born.
Then, of course, it got worse.
Jax above me. Jax inside me. Jax asking “Are you okay?” a thousand times as he took my virginity.
“Dammit.” I clutched my forehead between both hands and groaned. “I can’t do this. I won’t do this. Get him away from me.”
I looked down at the surface of the soapy water. The tops of my breasts and my knees broke the surface. I let my knees part wider and closed my eyes.
Well, I needed a distraction. And nothing worked better than this.
When my fingers pushed through the folds of my pussy to find the slippery nub of my clit, I gasped and jerked. It was already swollen and hot down there. I didn’t need to wonder why. Jax always had this effect on me. Even the last eleven long-ass years when I’d hated seeing his photos in magazines and newspapers, and of course on TV, I’d never been able to get rid of thoughts of him.
My hips bucked in a steady rhythm. I licked my lips and gasped as I worked my pussy. Hard. The streaks of electric lust burst through my navel and into my thighs. I wanted it to slow down. The need to get there and come was too fierce. I ground my hips onto my fingers, rubbing in hard circles. I squirmed in the bath. “Yes. Yes. Oh yes.” I bit into my upper arm to mute my craziness. “Oh yes, Jax.”
A hot remembered flash of Jax pumping up into my body as I stood against his bedroom wall. Jax watching me with desire as I pressed my lips against the capped head of his cock and then poked the tiny hole in its center with the tip of my tongue. Jax holding my head as he moaned, thrusting in my mouth. A hot, tangy spurt of his precum coating my tongue, my gums.
“Jax. Oh, Jax. Jax!”
My free hand clamped onto the edge of the tub. Water splashed all over the bathroom floor as I slipped under the water, chuckling when I came—like always—and shivering repeatedly.
My eyes snapped open. Jax had always swallowed my laugh in his mouth when I came.
The memories flooded me. I tried to rub my eyes, shaking my head. But it was useless. They went on, unstoppable.
Jax kissing me behind school. Jax kissing my cheek ten times back to back because I’d asked him to. Foolish, childish things. I’d been sixteen and madly in love with him.
I smiled as I recalled the look of pure heartbreak on his face when he’d deduced—wrongly—that I was married to Brodey. He didn’t have to know that I’d bought the house from Brodey’s dad.
And then, another image flashed in my mind. Jax hugging me at the airport. Kissing me fiercely. And then saying, “I’m not coming back to this shithole. Ever, Liv. I want nothing to do with this place.
I’d been too shocked to really fathom reality until two hours later, when I walked into my bedroom and stared at the bed we’d spent the night in.
He’d dumped me.
Liv is married. Liv is married. Liv is married.
My mind wouldn’t shut the fuck up.
I pulled a kitchen cupboard open. Then another. The only things I’d found in this so-called kitchen were two cans of beans. A packet of pasta. A pan with oil that reeked of rancid breadcrumbs. A loaf of bread that smelled fishy. Four packets of microwaveable popcorn. And peanut butter.
How does Dad live like this?
I pulled open the fridge, and the stench hit me before I could even make out what was in those two plastic containers. I coughed, doubled over, then slammed the door shut against the frothy green organisms growing in the containers. Apparently, Dad’s unending need to save electricity was still going strong. Did he have to leave yogurt in there, though?
When my publicist, Diane, had banished me back to Ashland, my shitty hometown, there wasn’t much time for negotiation. Diane never gave me the opportunity to argue. Man, she could rant. She’d stormed into my house in her bright red velvet heels and leather skirt. She’d thrown some of my clothes into a suitcase herself.
“Your pilot’s waiting at the airstrip. We’ll talk when I figure shit out.”
“I’m not going to Ashland. No. Absolutely not.”
“It’s your hometown. You’ll be able to spend time there without people tipping off reporters the moment they spot you. Second big plus, you don’t ever go there, so it’s the last place reporters will go looking for you.”