Read Dream of You Online

Authors: Kate Perry

Tags: #Romance, #Women, #sexy, #love story, #Romantic, #fun, #sweet, #Contemporary Romance, #beach read

Dream of You (14 page)

BOOK: Dream of You
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"What? I don't seem maternal?"

"That's not it." He studied her.

"And now you're thinking that I'm getting too
old to have children." She glared at him. "Yes, children, because
I'd have three if I could, but at this point I'd take just one. I
won't be greedy."

"I wasn't thinking you were getting old. You
barely look thirty."

"My eggs are two hundred sixty-six in dog
years."

They sat in silence until he said, "Why
haven't you had a child by now if it's so important?"

"Because I didn't realize how important it
was until recently." Until she'd realized she wasn't happy working
eighty hours a week and that she wanted to create something really
important for once—something, or someone, who could change the
future instead of just make rich men richer. "But I have a
plan."

Rob smiled. "I'm both curious and frightened
to know what that is."

"Because you're a wise man." She looked up at
him. His lips were so close—it wouldn't take anything to kiss
him.

She wanted to so badly.

He wanted it, too—she could tell by the way
he returned her gaze with unwavering heat. He brushed a strand of
hair from her face, his thumb a soft rasp on her skin.

He leaned toward her...

And she jerked back. Rob had his principles,
and she didn't want to compromise them and have him resent her. So
she stood up. "You should go to bed."

He stood up with her, standing so close his
body's gravity tugged at hers, making her waver. "What about you?"
he asked.

"Are you inviting me?" she joked.

He touched her lips with a finger. "You don't
know how tempting that is."

YES,
HIM, her hormones screamed at
her. And she wanted it. She wanted it more than she'd ever wanted
anything.

Which was why she stepped away and said,
"Take me home?"

He looked surprised, but he didn't try to
change her mind. Good thing, because she'd have caved in a second
if he'd pressed the issue. But she had to think of the big picture,
and a one-night stand wasn't beneficial.

So she walked with him to his car and let him
drive her home, and he held her hand the whole way.

It made having to cab back to fetch her car
later so totally worth it.

Chapter Eighteen

 

"Sam?" Someone knocked on the doorframe to
the studio.

He looked up to find Jennifer peering into
the room.

"Just wanted to let you know the ratings from
last night were off the charts." She smiled like a happy shark.
"Good job."

"Thanks to you." He'd expected the
relationship counselor she'd booked to be boring, but the man had
actually been entertaining. They'd exchanged good, veiled banter,
and after the show the guy had given him his card and invited him
out for a drink. It was San Francisco, after all. Sam had just
thanked him and told him his attention was otherwise engaged.

"You've actually done a good job with this
segment, Sam," Jennifer said in wonder.

"Don't sound so surprised."

"Frankly, I'm shocked. I didn't think your
ego could take it."

"I hadn't either." He'd thought this show
would be all fluff and no substance. But then he'd started to get
fan mail where women told him his unique perspective on life and
love helped them change their lives for the better.

It was oddly touching.

Not that he didn't want to go back to his
sports show, but he wasn't in as much of a hurry.

Who'd have thought?

"I knew love would be good for you. Meaning
Lola," Jennifer clarified unnecessarily.

It was an immediate reaction to deny it, but
he couldn't. More surprisingly, he didn't want to.

Jennifer smirked at him. "No comment? No
denial."

"Not at all," he replied without
hesitation.

Gawking at him in wonder, she shook her head.
"Who'd have thought a tiger could change his stripes? Come in early
on Monday. I want to talk to you."

"Why?" he asked suspiciously.

"To discuss returning you to your old
show."

Triumph flared in his chest, but he didn't
let it show. He leaned back in his chair, arms folded behind his
head. "Only if I can stay on and do
Ladies' Night
once a
week."

"Deal," Jennifer said instantly, and then
scurried down the hall before he could say another word, her heels
a satisfied staccato on the tiles.

He grinned. Life was good.

He returned his attention to his lineup for
the evening. Jennifer's team had set up an author who'd written a
book on dating.

There was another knock, and an intern popped
his head in. "Your wife is on line two."

Lola? Sam perked up, until he realized that
she wouldn't call herself his wife. The fact that he thought she
might showed how far gone he was. He smiled mockingly at himself.
"I'm not married. Maybe it's for someone else."

"No, she said you specifically." The college
boy frowned in confusion. "Her name is Chelsea?"

Hell. He was tempted to tell the intern to
field the call, but not only couldn't he do that to him but there
was the possibility Chelsea was cutting out on Madison again, and
Sam didn't want to leave his daughter uncared for. So he picked up
the line. "Chelsea?"

"How dare you bring your floozies around
Madison?" Her voice was ice, and he could imagine the matching look
in her eyes. He'd plenty of experience with it.

He debated how to handle this. He wanted to
poke at her, but that wouldn't help Madison, so he chose calm
instead. "Chelsea, I have my show in a few minutes. I'm happy to
let you finish your rant, but it needs to be quick."

"I'm going to call my lawyer," she
threatened, like usual. "I'm going to have you declared unfit so
you can't taint my daughter with your loose morals."

There was no way in hell he'd allow anyone to
come between him and his daughter. He waited for the urge to fire
back to roll through him, but there was just calm. Strange. Usually
he had to struggle to keep from strangling Chelsea.

"Don't you have anything to say?" his ex-wife
snapped.

"I'm sorry, Chelsea."

"What?"

He exhaled. "I'm sorry for whatever I did to
make you so bitter. I'm sorry I couldn't be what you needed."

Silence echoed heavy on the other end of the
line. Then she said, "Whatever you're trying isn't going to work,
you know."

"I'm not trying anything. I'm
apologizing."

"Are you drunk?"

"I'm at work," he said, throwing his arms up
in exasperation. "Give me a break here. I'm trying to be nice to
you."

"Why?" Suspicion lay heavy on the one
word.

"Because for better or worse, you're the
mother of my child, and Madison is the most important thing here.
Us being like this doesn't help her." He paused, wondering how far
to go. But then it had to be said, so might as well get it over
with. "And because the woman you called a floozy is the woman I
love."

"You don't know what love is," she said
bitterly.

He sighed. "I don't blame you for thinking
that."

"Don't think that this means I'm just going
to let Madison be around you so she can watch you make out with
your girlfriend."

He gritted his teeth at the implication that
he'd do anything to damage his daughter. But he knew this had
nothing to do with Madison, or really even him. "Of course you
wouldn't, Chelsea. You love Madison and don't want her hurt. You're
a good mother."

She sputtered on the other end of the
line.

He tried not to feel satisfied that he'd
managed to strike her speechless, but he lost that battle. "I'm
going on the air in a couple minutes. I'm happy to discuss this
more if that'd make you more comfortable with the situation, but
Lola is here to stay in the picture, and that's not going to
change."

"Fine," she snapped with a last vestige of
bitchiness and then hung up.

"That went well," he muttered as he set the
phone down. Then he got his head back in the game.

His guest wasn't due to come on until halfway
into the show, so he looked at the notes that he'd made about what
to start off with.

The moment he was cued to go on air, he
changed the game plan. "Welcome to
Ladies' Night
. As you all
know, usually we talk about relationships and dating and all those
thing you women love to discuss, but that makes us guys cringe." He
paused, smiling. "Tonight I want to talk about a byproduct of love.
Children.

"No, I'm not going to talk about making them.
I want to discuss raising them, because good parenting forms a
solid base for how your child relates to his or her future
partners. If you want your kid to be happy in love later, you've
got to consciously teach them about love."

He paused, thinking about his own dad, who'd
been absent so often. Shaking his head, he continued, "I have the
most smart, beautiful, amazing daughter. One day, when she's thirty
and I finally let her start dating, I hope she finds someone who'll
cherish and love her the way she deserves.

"But will she recognize that? I don't know.
My ex-wife and I haven't been poster children for good
relationships. My daughter is eleven, going on forty-two. Have we
scarred her? Is it too late for her to develop a healthy image of
love? You tell me. Caller one, Jackie from Pinole."

"Hi Sam. My ex and I fought a lot, and my son
grew up to marry a nice girl, but I worry that they're
too
non-confrontational. You know?"

He nodded. "As though they're on the opposite
end of the spectrum?"

"Yes." She sighed. "Being a parent isn't
easy. You're always worried about the example you're setting and
that you're permanently scarring your child for life. They don't
tell you that before you get pregnant."

Chuckling, he took the next call. "John from
Livermore, you're on
Ladies' Night
."

"Sam, I gotta tell you, man, I never thought
I'd call in to a girls' talk show, but you rock, man. My wife made
me start to listen. She thinks I could learn a thing or two."

"Thanks, John." He leaned back. "We're
chatting about kids tonight. Do you and your wife have any?"

"Two." The pride was evident in his voice.
"Both girls. The estrogen in this house is frickin' suffocating.
But I'd do anything for my three ladies. My dad always said you
protect your own. You know what I mean."

"Yes."

"It was an eye-opener, having girls. It hit
me real hard one day when I caught my oldest watch me and my wife
fight. I gotta teach them how a man should treat his woman, just
like my dad taught me. It's a responsibility."

"I feel you, John. Thanks for calling in and
good luck with your daughters." He hung up and picked up the next
call. "We're discussing whether your parents' relationship dictates
how well you relate to future mates. Elle from San Francisco,
you're on
Ladies' Night
."

"This is my first time calling in, Sam, but
first I wanted to tell you how I enjoy your show."

He recognized that sexy voice. It sounded
like... Elle. L.
Lola
. He sat up, his whole being coming to
life. "Thank you,
L
."

"I'm your biggest fan. I listen every night.
It's like you're hanging out with me in my living room."

He grinned at the lilt of humor in her voice.
If he were in her living room, he'd definitely be hanging out,
though both of them would be naked. "What are your thoughts,
L
?"

"My parents had a happy relationship, right
up until my father died. Their story was like a fairy tale, where
they saw each other from across the room and got together despite
all the odds." She sighed dreamily. "Now I know I was lucky to have
that example, but I used to wonder if it wasn't a bad thing."

"How so?" he asked, genuinely curious.

"It made me set my sights for the unrealistic
goal of finding a Prince Charming."

The urge to declare that he wanted to be her
Prince Charming was shockingly strong. "And now?"

"Now I realize that it's good to have high
expectations. If you don't, you might settle for less than what you
deserve, just because you don't think you're worth it." She paused
briefly. "Recently I met someone who takes me to the moon and back,
and if I didn't have my parents' example I might not appreciate
what this man gives me."

His heart beat hard in his chest. She was
talking about him. He wanted to pound on his chest and crow like a
caveman. But he managed to calmly say, "What does your future look
like with this man?"

"It's too early to know where it's going to
go, but even if it ended today I'd be forever grateful for every
second with him."

"I'm sure it won't end," he said, trying to
sound normal.

"It won't?" There was teasing humor in her
voice. "You sense this?"

"I'm a relationship expert after all."

"I though you were Touchdown Taylor."

"What do you think my nickname means?" He
grinned when she chuckled softly.

"You sound like you're a good father, Sam,"
Lola said on the line. "Your daughter is lucky. I'm sure you're a
great example to her of how to live and love. Just like my mom was
for me."

"Your mother must be happy for you."

The tenor of their connection changed
instantly. Even in the brief silence, he could tell something was
wrong.

Then she said, "My mom was diagnosed with
early onset dementia ten years ago. She—most days, she doesn't
remember me, but I think deep down she knows I'm happy, and that
pleases her."

He didn't know that. Why didn't he know? He
heard her pain and wanted to take her in his arms. "I'm sorry about
your mother."

"I—I don't talk about it much," she said, as
if hearing his silent questions. She cleared her throat. "Well,
I've just brought your show down. Sorry. I'd tell a joke to get
things upbeat again but I'm afraid I'd cause the rest of your
audience to ditch, too."

BOOK: Dream of You
13.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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