Hot Single Dad(4)

By: Mia Madison

And then he says, “It will be just us there. It’s my one time to get away from work. I pick up messages once a day, but otherwise, the company has to get along without me.”

“Don’t you worry about things going wrong?”

“So far they’ve managed for a couple of weeks every summer without anything too disastrous. Will you come with us?”

“Yes, okay. I can be Iris over there,” I say, though I don’t know how I’ll cope with Reid for two weeks with no respite. Still, Reid and the south of France. A house overlooking the sea that’s sure to be even lovelier than this two-story condo in Manhattan. I can’t help getting excited by the idea of that combination.

“You’ll have to dye your hair gray and put on a few pounds first,” he jokes. “Much as I love Iris, you’re nothing like her. And I’m guessing you look a lot more fetching in a bikini.”



I can’t help teasing Holly. I love the way she blushes. It’s proving to be a challenge keeping my mind out of the gutter when I’m alone with her.

I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to stop myself taking things too far, beyond banter and into much more dangerous territory. At least in France, the kids will be around a lot of the time. The late evenings, though—after-dinner coffee and drinks on the balcony overlooking the water in the moonlight—that will be something else.

And then I remember, like a punch in the gut, some guy of Holly’s that Frank mentioned last year, but thankfully never since. Is he still on the scene? Suddenly, no matter how ill-advised it is to poke around asking questions about her love life, I have to know.

“No boyfriend pining for you here when you go away to France? I thought your dad said you were bringing someone home last holidays?” Why don’t I just shut up? She probably thinks I’m like an annoying uncle—the kind that says “aren’t you married yet?” and “haven’t you grown?”

“That didn’t work out.”

“Oh.” I hope she dumped him. I can’t imagine it was the other way around.

“He thought it would be a good idea to date another girl from my dorm as well as me. As if I would be too stupid to find out.” She rolls her eyes.


“Exactly.” She takes a sip of her wine. “I found out just in time. I don’t know what it is with guys in college. So many jerks. It’s like they were giving out certificates for it and they were all trying to get a higher grade average than each other.”

“There were plenty of assholes around when I went to college, too. I don’t think it’s a new thing. I was probably one of them.”

She smiles. “Maybe they’ll all grow out of it. But I’m not betting on it with that bunch.”

“So, no one captured your heart, then?”

“Not even close.”

I don’t know why that makes me happy. I’m as much of a jerk as I always was, I guess.

I should do some work, like I’d normally do in the evening when the kids are in bed, but I don’t want to drag myself away from Holly.

With Iris living around the corner, she was never here for more than a few minutes after I got home, so adult conversation has been lacking around here since… well, since forever, because Mercia was rarely home either.

It’s a wonder my ex got pregnant at all. It wasn’t on her agenda. I suspect her birth control pills failed because she threw up one day, but she always said it was my fault, as if I got her pregnant deliberately. That was just the start of the list of things that she blames me for.

But it’s not just that I like having someone over the age of five around to talk to. I like having Holly here, because she’s Holly, even though I can’t seem to think straight when it comes to her.

“The kids are really excited having you here.” I tell her. “Jack wanted to make sure you’ll still be here in the morning when I kissed him goodnight. I promised him you would be.”

She laughs. “They’ve grown so much since I saw them last. It must be six months or something. Is this their last summer before school?”

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