Filthy Beautiful Love (Page 28)

Filthy Beautiful Love (Filthy Beautiful Lies #2)(28)
Author: Kendall Ryan

Sophie trains her gaze on me and her challenging smirk tells me she knows exactly what game she’s playing. Bad little girl. She’ll be spanked later for trying to rile me up like this.

I raise an eyebrow in question and Sophie shuts off the spray of water and wraps a towel around herself, covering up all of those beautiful assets.

A shriek pierces the otherwise peaceful setting and all eyes dart over to the patio doors. Kylie is toting a screaming baby on her hip and a beach bag overflowing with diapers and baby toys in the other arm.

I cross the stone walkway and take the bag from her shoulder – no way I’m offering to take a screaming baby. A calm one, I might attempt, but not this thing. He’s taking lessons from a banshee, I’m sure of it. No other possible explanation for how he’d be able to reach those octaves, otherwise.

"Thanks. And sorry about Max," Kylie says, accepting my help.

"Not a problem. Is everything…okay?" I ask, lifting an eyebrow at the banshee, I mean baby, in question.

"He’s been like this for days. Cries nonstop. He’s teething," she explains.

"Then let’s get you a glass of wine. Anything I can get for the little guy?" I ask.

She shakes her head. "No, hopefully he’ll quiet down. I’m so sorry, I don’t want him to ruin the party."

"He’s not, Kylie. Not at all. Come, please, relax." I lead her over to the bar, where Pace and Collins have been parked all afternoon.

Pace rises to his feet, assuming the role of bartender. "What can I get ya?"

"Pace, Collins, this is Kylie. She’s the mastermind behind my charity organization."

Introductions are exchanged while Pace pours Kylie a white wine.

"Are you sure you don’t want something stronger?" Collins asks, smiling at the still wailing baby in her arms.

"I’m pretty sure my eardrums burst two days ago." She explains, for their benefit, that the little guy is teething.

"Let me take him," Pace offers, crossing around the bar and stopping before Kylie. "Do you mind?"

Her eyebrows shoot up her forehead in surprise. I’m just as shocked. Pace is a tomcat on the prowl, but even he’s not stupid enough to try and seduce another of my employees- especially not one who’s a single mother.

"You can try…" No sooner than the words are out of Kylie’s mouth and the baby’s in Pace’s arms – his crying stops entirely. The sudden silence surprises us all and we stand there, staring at Pace holding a baby.

"Hey little man," Pace says, bouncing the baby with one arm.

The baby stares blankly at my goofy brother, his giant blue eyes blinking against the sunlight as he takes it all in.

The baby grabs Pace’s sunglasses, pulls them from his face and begins chewing on the end.

"I’m so sorry, he’s got teething toys in here somewhere," Kylie says, rushing to dig through the giant bag at her feet.

"We’re cool," Pace says, sauntering away with the little guy.

"What is he, the baby whisperer?" Collins jokes.

We all shrug and Kylie takes a giant sip of her wine, her eyes on Pace and her son.

Pace spends most of the afternoon with the baby, holding him, bouncing him on his knee, swimming with him in the pool… and Max remains quiet and content throughout the entire thing – his wide blue eyes pinned on the man holding him the entire time.

"Is he usually like this with babies?" Kylie finds me and asks.

"This is a first," I admit.

She chews on her lip and watches them splash around in the shallow end of the pool. I have no idea what she’s thinking and frankly, I don’t want to know. Pace and Kylie would be a terrible idea.

Later we sit down to a perfect meal prepared by Beth, and Pace relinquishes his hold on the baby only long enough to eat, passing him over to Sophie so that Kylie can eat in peace. Pace may have been fine babysitting all afternoon, but nothing will stand in between him and the pile of ribs on his plate. It’s just as well, he’d probably eat the baby’s arm off by mistake.

The sight of Sophie with a baby in her arms does something strange to me. My heart flutters in my chest and I absently press my palm against it, trying to get it to beat normally once again. What the hell? Sophie’s babbling something to him, something I can’t quite make out, but her voice is whisper soft and sweet, unlike I’ve ever heard before. I decide that I like it. Quite a lot.

She sits down with him on her lap and feeds him little bites of crackers that she’s broken into tiny pieces. I never knew this could be so captivating, but for some damn reason, they have captured my absolute attention.

***

When Sophie and I crawl into bed that night, we’re both suntanned and lethargic from the afternoon spent entertaining.

"I’m glad our families met," she says around a yawn.

"Me too."

"What did you and my dad talk about?"

I guess she noticed that I commandeered him all afternoon.

"Mostly we talked about my work. A little bit about my family. Nothing too exciting. Just small talk," I lie.

I won’t tell Sophie, but I’d told her father that I’m madly in love with her. She’s it for me. I asked for his blessing and told him I planned to spend the rest of my life loving her. He stood there with a serious expression as though he was sizing up not just me as a man, but also my intentions. After a tense moment, he smiled and shook my hand and then welcomed me into the family. Our mid-day fuck was actually a celebratory fuck, she just didn’t know that.

"Let’s get some sleep, baby." I tighten my arms around her, hoping to stop any further questions.

Chapter Twelve

Colton

The following Tuesday at work, I get a series of phone calls from Kylie, then Marta and then finally Beth. I let them all go to voicemail and wonder if all of the women in my life have suddenly gone crazy. I’m meeting with my senior staff today, having a strategy session about trying to turn around the third quarter before the earnings report comes out next month.

When my phone flashes again, I glance down at the screen. The text from Kylie causes me to drop the stack of reports I’m reviewing.

Colton, answer your damn phone! Where are you?!

At the office, what’s up? I type out, annoyed.

You need to come get Sophie. Her sister passed away.

Staring at the words on the screen, I try and fail to comprehend their meaning. We’d just spent the weekend with Sophie’s family. Becca was fine. She was thin and complained of being tired, but she’d been fine. No. This had to be some type of mistake.

Excusing myself from the boardroom, I tap out a text to Kylie, confirming that I was on my way. I call Marta on my cell while racing down the stairs. There’s no time to wait for the elevator, not while my girl needs me.