“Okay, baby girl,” she murmured as she lifted the child onto her shoulder and gently patted her back. “Let’s get that gas out and then fall back asleep for at least twenty minutes. I need a shower.” Never, until three months ago, had she considered showers to be a novelty, a privilege, a damn-near euphoric experience.
For once, the bundle of adorableness decided to comply, belching loudly enough to make a grown man jealous and then promptly sighing and closing her eyes. She was so damn cute, Petra was tempted to just hold her like this, but reality called in the form of being clean for the date she’d managed to line up for tonight.
Gently placing the sleeping babe in the bouncy seat that was already parked on the bathroom floor, Petra quickly turned on the water and stripped down, ignoring the soft paunch she glimpsed in the mirror before climbing into the shower.
Sadie started crying five minutes later.
“Oh come on,” Petra complained as she rinsed conditioner out of her hair. “I need to shave. It’s been way too long. Birds are starting to look at my legs as possible relocation options.”
Sadie stopped crying.
Petra paused in the act of turning off the water. When the baby didn’t start up again, she picked up her razor, quickly lathered her leg, and got to work scraping off enough hair she worried the drain would clog.
Good thing she was able to get through the task, because she couldn’t wear long pants tonight even if she wanted to. She didn’t have any that were clean. Her choices were shorts or a skirt. Because she sure as hell couldn’t fit into the dozens of outfits she bought for Sadie. Working at a kids’ clothing store was probably not the wisest choice for someone who wasn’t good at self-control.
Clean and freshly shaved, she turned off the water and shoved aside the shower curtain, reaching for her towel.
And saw a man standing in the bathroom, holding her daughter in his arms, his body gently swaying to some silent beat.
Petra immediately summoned the magic, ready to shift into dragon form and scare the living daylights out of whoever the hell dared sneak into her house and pick up her baby girl and…
Her dragon, in stark contrast to Petra’s reaction, was doing a jig, a rather seductive one, at that. Why the hell wasn’t her dragon roaring in her head and demanding to come out so she could rip this guy’s limbs from his body?
The internal confusion gave the man enough time to turn to face her, and Petra’s heart stopped for a long moment, then kicked into triple overtime.
Oh. My. Gods.
And jeez, did he ever look good, holding her baby like that.
“Uh…” She finally tore her gaze away from the man she’d been fantasizing about pretty regularly ever since she sauntered away from him after the most amazing sex ever in the woods behind Gabe’s house. She snagged her towel and quickly wrapped it around herself, hiding her mom bod from view.
His gaze dropped south of the hem of the terrycloth. “Did I give you enough time to shave?”
Her face heated. “Uh…” Crap, was she incapable of forming words? Standing in the tub, water dripping from the ends of her hair, clutching the towel above her heaving breasts, she finally managed the concept of actual speech. “Wha-what are you doing here?”
He indicated the child sleeping on his shoulder. “Meeting my daughter. She is mine, isn’t she?”
Petra cleared her throat. “Um…yeah.”
He squinted down at the little girl. “She looks a little like me.”
“A lot, actually,” Petra said.
“What’s her name?”
His eyes widened. “Renee? That’s my mom’s name.”
“Did you name her after my mom?”
She shrugged again.
“How did you even know?”
Petra rolled her eyes. “Your grandfather was my uncle’s personal chef. We both spent plenty of time at the reeve’s mansion. You can’t tell me you don’t know a thing or two about me.”
“No, I can’t. But I never imagined you actually paid attention to anything about me.”
She huffed. “Can you leave so I can dry off and get dressed?”
He arched one dark brow. “We have a baby together.”