FIVE days to go!
Who’s ready for some warm fuzzy baby scenes and steamy love scenes with a heavy dose of overprotective daddy and possessive alpha? Well, here’s an extended taste of what you’re in for with Orlando!
Slamming his hand on the steering wheel, Orlando could kick himself in his own nuts now for not having run a background check on Dani. What the hell had he been thinking? When Felicia called to tell him she’d just left the house and told him about how well the baby had taken to Dani so quickly, he’d been beyond relieved. Felicia sounded almost annoyed at how easy it’d been for Dani to calm him. He’d been certain he hit it out of the park with Dani. As soon as he’d gotten off the phone with Felicia, he’d shot Dani a text to tell her so and to explain he might be a little longer than he’d first thought. Almost two hours later he’d yet to hear back from her. She never responded to his texts, and he’d been calling her even before Byron had been released from jail. He’d called and texted several more times since, and once again as he drove, her phone went to voicemail. As a new babysitter, wouldn’t she know it’d be important to return the parent’s calls ASAP? She’d been so damn professional. Why the fuck wasn’t she answering or returning any of his calls? He must’ve called about ten times now. Orlando was trying not to panic, but the more time passed, and he wasn’t able to get ahold of her, the more he thought of how stupid he’d sound if God forbid, he’d have to call the cops or something. Nope, I didn’t run a background check. If we hadn’t hired her at the shop, I wouldn’t even know where she lives.
His stomach had started to knot up, as he sat in the parking lot of the county jail and each girl about Dani’s age walked out of the women’s side with their walking papers. It was a reminder of when he’d been in and out of trouble and how all of the girls he’d hung with could get into equally as much trouble as him, despite them not all looking or acting like thugs. Most of the women he’d seen walk out of the facility did look like obvious losers, but there had been a handful that looked as seemingly innocent as Dani did. That coupled with the fact that she wasn’t responding, and it dawned on him that he’d left his son in the hands of a practical stranger. Sure, he had her info from the employment papers she’d filled out for the shop, but that didn’t mean anything. He still knew so little about her, and he’d left the most precious thing in his life in her hands. Now he felt ready to lose his shit. Hitting speed dial, he called Felicia this time. She answered on the second ring, sounding all cheery. “Hey, there.”
“Hey, did Dani mention having to go anywhere today?”
Felicia was quiet but then responded. “No, she didn’t. Why?”
“I can’t get ahold of her. I texted her after I got off the phone with you earlier, and she never responded, and she’s not answering her phone. She didn’t mention anything at all?”
He heard her sigh as if she was trying to remember. “The only thing we talked about was her experience with kids and her going to school. Oh, her fiancé called her just before I left.”
For a moment, Orlando was pulled out of his worried thoughts, stunned by this. Fiancé? When did that happen? “He did? Do you know for what?”
“She said he asked her to check in. That he always does when she has a new client and she’s going over for the first time. I guess he was worried because she hadn’t. She was all cutsie with him, with her I love yous before she hung up. But that was it. I heard her apologize for not checking in and then assure him she was okay and that she’d call him when she was done.”
Shaking off the irrational unpleasantness this brought on, Orlando went back to worrying instead. More so because now he could rule out the other thing he’d begun to think: that maybe she’d forgotten her phone at home.
With nothing more to offer, he was off the phone with Felicia quick enough. He needed to try Dani again, and once again she didn’t answer. “Maybe her phone’s off,” he said, trying to talk himself down as he zoomed around car after car on the freeway. “Maybe her battery died, and she didn’t bring a charger, or maybe she’s so busy with the baby she’s just lost track of time.” He shook his head, banging the steering wheel again. “If that’s the case, this isn’t gonna work. I can’t have some irresponsible kid watching my baby.”
Ever since he’d begun to get annoyed at her lack of response to his texts or calls, he decided maybe she wasn’t ready for this kind of responsibility. She might sound like she knew her stuff, but she wasn’t actually licensed yet. He now knew after going over her application for employment at the shop that she was young. Too young. Just turned twenty-three! “What the fuck was I thinking?” He growled as he pulled off on his exit. Speeding through his neighborhood with his stomach completely balled up, he continued to reason with himself. There had to be a good explanation for this. “That’s it,” he said as his head went back to holding her yesterday. “Maybe she had to leave because of whatever it is she’s been dealing with. Maybe like yesterday at the shop something came up and Dani had run off again.”
It’d make sense that, in her haste and with the added out-of-the-norm responsibility of having to put the baby in and out of a car seat, she might forget her phone in the car, right? The slight relief of that possibility was fleeting when he skidded around the corner onto his street and spotted her car in his driveway.
“The fuck?” Maybe her phone battery had died, and she didn’t bring a charger. Still, he was so worked up, it pissed him off. Who forgets something so important in a situation like this? And if she didn’t forget it, why the hell wouldn’t she respond to his calls? The second he killed the engine in his truck, he jumped out, reminding himself to go easy on her. He was the one that hadn’t been there that morning when he was supposed to be. Skipping the stairs, he jumped onto his porch then punched the code to his door lock. He pushed the door open and rushed in, his heart spiking when he saw no one and there was complete silence. “Dani,” he called out as his mind went crazy, fearing the worst, and his strides got longer with every step he took. “Danica!”
Don’t forget to tell me what you think! I’ll be choosing a winner for my previous post and sending out an ARC to the winner and then choosing another one for those who share this one tomorrow! Go share share share and read Orlando a week early!