I think I’d do just about anything those eyes asked of me …!
by K.L. Grayson
Stay with me.
Three simple words.
One impossible request.
I’ve loved Allie McCallister for as long as I can remember. Her happiness and well-being mean more to me than anything else, which is why when the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself, I had to take it. Three months was such a short amount of time to be apart to provide the financial stability we needed to start our lives.
It wasn’t supposed to catapult my band to stardom, and it sure as hell wasn’t supposed to set off the chain of events that pushed my relationship with Allie to the brink. Our hearts were shattered, our love tested, and when everything fell apart she begged me to leave.
Eight years ago, tragedy broke us. Now we’re back in the same little town where we once dreamed of building our future.
She’s a divorced, single mom.
I’m a damaged country music star.
There are a hundred reasons for us to stay apart.
But all it takes is one look, one touch, one kiss to know our story isn’t over. Now I have to convince her to let me stay.
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“Can we talk?” Mason whispers. “Last time Mom said if I talk too much I would scare away the fish, but I get bored if I can’t talk.”
“What do you want to talk about?”
“Stuff.” He shrugs, his chubby hand reeling his line in. He tosses out another cast. It’s perfect for a little guy and when his lure hits the water he tilts his head and looks at me. “Are you Anna’s daddy?”
Crap. I knew this was coming. I take a deep breath and look for Allie because this isn’t the type of conversation I want to have without her. She’s now on the other side of the pond and when she sees me look at her, she waves.
My God, she’s beautiful.
I wave back.
“Are you?” Mason asks again, this time nudging me in the leg.
Looks like I’m on my own for this one. Honesty is always the best policy, right? Even with kids?
“Yeah, I was her daddy.”
He nods and looks at the water while I look at him. Say something, kid. Anything. When he doesn’t, I nudge him back.
“Do you want to talk about it? Do you have questions?”
Mason shrugs. “Maybe.”
“Okay,” I say laughing. “Well, you think about what you want to ask, and I’ll just sit here and wait.”
A few seconds pass before he looks at me. “Why are you Anna’s daddy, but not mine?”
“Well, because you have a different dad.”
“Richard,” he sighs. At that exact moment his line goes taut. “I got something!”
I set my pole down, wrap my arms around him, resting my hands over his, the way a father would with his son. Except Mason isn’t mine and I need to remember that. “Give it a little tug,” I say, flicking our wrists. The fish splashes out of the water and yanks the pole. “Nice and easy. Just like that. You’re doing great.”
I let him go but stay crouched behind him in case he needs help reeling the fish in, but he doesn’t. Allie hoots and hollers, her pole bobbing on her shoulder as she runs toward us. She makes it to our side just as Mason pulls out the tiniest bass I’ve ever seen and pride surges through me. Luckily the hook comes out with ease.
“You did great, buddy. Hold the fish up just like this”—I show him how to hold the fish and he reaches for it like a champ—“and I’ll take a picture of you and your mom.”
Mason holds up the fish, a proud smile on his handsome face and his mama’s arm around his shoulder. They smile for the camera and then Mason turns to Allie.
“Will you take one of me and Jam?”
Allie pulls out her phone while I kneel down. Mason situates himself between my knees and half sits on my leg with the fish dangling from his fingers.
“Say fish sticks!”
Mason and I laugh and repeat Allie. “Fish sticks!”
“Okay, little dude. Let’s toss him back before he dies.”
“We can’t keep him?” he says, walking toward the water.
“Why would you want to keep him?”
“To eat him. Duh.”
K.L. Grayson resides in a small town outside of St. Louis, MO. She is entertained daily by her extraordinary husband, who will forever inspire every good quality she writes in a man. Her entire life rests in the palms of six dirty little hands, and when the day is over and those pint-sized cherubs have been washed and tucked into bed, you can find her typing away furiously on her computer. She has a love for alpha-males, brownies, reading, tattoos, sunglasses, and happy endings…and not particularly in that order.