Font Size:  

“Yes, sir, we’re clear.”

“Good. Hang out while I call your cohorts in.” Cupping his hands over his mouth, he shouted, “All right, you’re done. Get over here.”

While they waited, Meyers said, “I know it’s none of my business, Sarge, but I heard the black eye Sergeant Sparks has is from you. Why’d you hit him?”

Well, hell, the kid had him now.

“Honestly? He was being a dick.”

Meyers laughed and with a definite twinkle in his eyes chided, “Now, you shouldn’t hit your friends, sir.”

Tyler grinned sheepishly. “You’re right, I shouldn’t have. I don’t recommend throwing punches at your friends when they piss you off. It’s something I gotta learn not to do, too. The point is, you need to learn from the mistakes of your elders and strive to be better. Which means we don’t bully people just because we need to feel better about ourselves.”

As the other boys gathered around, Platt shot Meyers a dark scowl. Meyers’s jaw clenched, and for a second, Tyler wasn’t sure Meyers would follow through, but he surprised him.

“I’m sorry I was a jerk, Platt. I didn’t mean it; I was just pissed,” Meyers said, relaxing.

Tyler thought Platt was going to draw it out, but instead he nodded, a small smile on his face as he held his hand out to Meyers. “All right, but the next time you try to dis all of this, I am going to sit on you.”

The other boys laughed, and Meyers grinned as they shook hands.

“Let’s go inside, and we’ll find Jeremiah, who will receive an apology from each of you. No exceptions, got it?” No one argued. “After you.”

Tyler fell into step behind them, pulling out his phone once more, and saw a new text from Dani.

Okay. You bring a pizza and movie, and I’ll make cookies.

Here’s hoping you get more than a cookie. The thought popped unbidden into his head, and he couldn’t help laughing at himself. As much as he’d changed over the last few weeks, he still had a bit of the old Tyler in him. The one who hadn’t gotten laid in a while—had barely been kissed, actually—and he was starting to feel the withdrawal.

I wouldn’t expect too much tonight. The last thing you want to do is be getting it on and have Noah walk in on you. Scar the kid for life.

But it wasn’t just about the sex. They had hardly had time to figure out how they’d work without drama, parents, or friends getting in the way. Noah was one thing, he and Dani were a package deal, but it seemed like every time Dani and Tyler started to grow closer, something would put distance between them. It wasn’t them; he had the feeling with no interruptions, they’d have a really good time together, as he’d experienced the few times they’d been alone.

Building something real was new territory, though, and he just hoped he wasn’t going to royally fuck it up.

THAT NIGHT, JUST as Dani was closing the door to Noah’s room, there was a knock at her front door. Bella and Shasta barked and howled, and she shushed them sternly as she ran past. She had been looking forward to going out with Tyler all week, and when she’d almost had to cancel, she’d been really disappointed. She hadn’t wanted to be the one to ask him to come over

, especially when she had been the one to suggest keeping him and Noah separate.

She hadn’t needed to, though. And even if Noah woke up, she wasn’t worried. Her son adored Tyler already, but as someone who introduced him to puppies, not as a potential dad.

No, it’s you having all the fantasies about the three of you living happily ever after.

The thought wasn’t completely off base. She had to admit, the big Marine holding her baby in his arms as he cut up a stack of pancakes for him was one of her favorite images. The ease with which Tyler fit in, even briefly, left her nearly floating with hope, and it was exhilarating but terrifying at the same time.

Especially since she was pretty sure she’d already fallen for him.

She opened the door without looking through the peephole, excitement radiating through her body as she expected to find Tyler and Duke on the other side.

Instead, Angel stood on her porch step, his red-rimmed, watery eyes looking back at her under the pale porch light.

Shasta stood behind her; she could tell by the dog’s guttural growl.

“Hey, Dani. You miss me?” he asked.

“What are you doing here?” Panic made her voice squeakier than usual. “How did you get my address?”

“Oh, I got a buddy who can find just about anyone. Relax, why are you so tense?”

Articles you may like