Dani grinned sheepishly. “I did, I’m sorry.”
“You’re forgiven.” Wiping his hand on a napkin, he moved closer to Noah. “Hey, dude, what are you watching on here?”
Noah held the tablet out to him, and Tyler squinted at the screen. “Who is this guy?”
“Mickey,” Noah said.
“Mickey, huh? Is he cool?”
Noah nodded, his gaze straying back to the tablet.
“Noah, why don’t we put the tablet away—”
Tyler glanced up at her and said quietly, “It’s oka
y with me. Besides, I want to know if Mickey finds all the sheep, don’t you, Noah?”
Could ovaries really explode? Because Dani was pretty sure hers just had.
ONCE THE EPISODE was over, Tyler let Dani take Noah’s tablet back. They had only watched about five minutes of the episode, but it turned out taking an interest in Noah’s favorite show had endeared him to the toddler. In fact, when Noah had offered him a slimy piece of muffin with an earnest expression on his sweet face, Tyler hadn’t been able to refuse.
He’d taken the soggy piece and pretended to put it in his mouth, chewing with closed-mouth gusto. Noah, delighted, tried to share some more, but Tyler said, “Oh, no thanks, buddy, you eat it. I’m full.”
He puffed out his cheeks, and Noah giggled, showing muffin-caked teeth, but instead of being grossed out, Tyler laughed along with him.
And then he’d caught Dani watching them, sipping her latte silently. Her expression wasn’t the same as the one from the hospital. That one had scared the hell out of him.
Instead, the warm look she gave him made him feel heroic.
It was a crazy notion, but he liked Dani and Noah. This morning had been fun, even with that scary part. He’d relaxed and opened up like he’d never done with a woman. Talking about his mom like that . . . Any of his friends would have given him all kinds of hell, but Dani had admired him for it.
It was a bit of an ego boost; he wasn’t going to lie. He’d had women admire him for his body, his face, or his charm, but no one had ever caught a glimpse of the guy beneath. At least, he didn’t think so, but there was an ease with Dani he appreciated.
Suddenly, Noah and Dani started giggling, and Tyler came out of his musings to find his sandwich gone. Staring down at the three possible suspects, he pursed his mouth. Bella stood under Duke as if trying to catch any scraps being dropped, while Shasta sniffed at Duke’s mouth.
“After all I’ve done for you, you steal my breakfast?”
Duke licked his chops in response.
“Shasta is just sad she didn’t get to it first. She’s notorious for snatching food off the table when my back is turned.”
“So you’re saying we both have dogs that are sneaky thieves?” he said.
Tyler picked up his second sandwich and took a bite, making happy noises as he watched the three dogs staring at him.
“Okay, now you’re just teasing them,” Dani said.
“Damn straight, think they can just take my sandwich—”
Tyler jerked his sandwich back just as a giggling Noah reached for it.
“You trying to swipe my food now, too?”
“Noah—” Dani started to say, but Tyler interrupted her.
“You’re gonna take the dogs’ side, huh? I see how it is.” Shoving the sandwich into his mouth and holding it there, he reached out to tickle Noah. The little boy squealed as Tyler’s fingers attacked his ribs.