He’d even gone so far as to place his hands on the surface to push himself from the chair before he realized his intention. What the hell was he thinking? He hadn’t a notion what to do once he reached her.
Embrace her? Try to atone for the father he wasn’t?
No. He needed to stay where he was.
When she got close he felt like he’d taken a punch to the gut. The nearer she came, the more her cornflower blue eyes shone with unmistakable happiness.
Since he usually went out of his way to avoid her, he didn’t know why he would incite such delight. Whatever the reason, the sight of her childish glee melted a chunk of hardness inside him. To be honest, she’d been taking solid chinks out of it since the day she’d appeared on his doorstep.
He didn’t know what he’d do the day she finally broke through the wall. And break through it she would. Not even a cold blackguard such as himself could lock this sweet child from his heart forever. Besides, she was his daughter. His attachment to her went beyond mere affection.
His worry stemmed from something deeper. Dread that allowing her into his life would bring her nothing but misery. Maybe now, to a child, having him as a father held some appeal, but as she grew and finally learned who her father was, she would come to hate him.
Even if his future held nothing else, he couldn’t find it in him to turn her away. Though he might only have the scamp’s affections for a short time, every moment of despair when she finally spurned him would be worth it.
She eventually reached the edge of the desk and instead of staying on the side nearest the door, she didn’t stop until she stood beside his chair.
Tenderness warming over his nerves, Gabe pushed the chair back. “May I help you?”
Downright terrified at what her answer might be, the calm of his voice surprised him.
Instead of answering with some crazy childlike request, she set her dolls on his desk—disregarding the papers that fell to the floor with her efforts—and crawled onto his lap. Her response had him frozen stiff in the chair.
She started to toddle on his knees and his arms quickly encircled her waist, afraid she would lose her balance and fall to the floor. At his gesture, she snuggled closer to his chest until her mop of curls rested just below his shoulder.
Her easy display caused his throat to tighten. Unable to restrain himself, he tightened his hold and found himself enjoying the feelings of tenderness as they worked their way through him.
graduating from Lurlene McDaniel’s young adult books. Currently, Addie Jo reads any genre that has a great emotional story that keeps her reading into the early hours of the morning.
cuddled up with a good book, or writing her next story.