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Authors: Brie Paisley

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BOOK: Temptation
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“Yeah. It does fit her nicely. To a T actually.” Viktor rocks her gently in his arms as he starts to hum. I sit on my bed just listening to him. He has a very nice voice. It’s manly, husky, and sexy.

No, not sexy. I need to remove that word from my vocabulary.

I shake my head trying not to think of the word sexy. Which is almost damn near impossible when he walks over and sits down beside me. He smiles at me and I quickly look away. His smile makes my stomach do strange things. And him being so close means I can smell his scent. That woodsy masculine smell that’s all him. At least I think that’s him. Surely they don’t sell this stuff. Maybe they do need to sell it, they would make a fucking killing if they did.

“You’re staring, Ava.”

I blink and look down at my nails. Shit. I was staring. I feel my face flush and I hear him chuckle. I shouldn’t have been staring at him. I know better than to go down this road. I will not allow myself to be hurt and left again. Viktor gets off the bed and walks over to the bassinet. I watch him, knowing he can’t see me, wondering if Gabbie will wake up as soon as he sets her down. But, of course, as soon as he steps away, she doesn’t even move. It’s like Viktor is the damn baby whisperer.

“You have to show me how you do that.”

“Takes practice. That’s all.”

“Practice? You have any kids?”

Viktor doesn’t say anything as he sits back down on my bed beside me. I’ve noticed he does that a lot when he doesn’t want to answer a question I ask. He sits very close to me. I shift away from him,
and that brings a smirk to his face. He knows what he’s doing. He knows he’s making me feel uncomfortable, especially with these new emotions overwhelming me.

“Ava, I came by to offer you something. Something I think you’ll say yes to.”

I frown, wondering what the hell he’s talking about. “Uh, alright. What’s this about?”

“I want you to come with me to Nashville.”

“What? Why would I do that?” My voice comes out as a squeak instead of my normal voice. Damn him, for making me feel this way. And that’s just with a question.

“Because that’s where I run my club. And I want you to work there.”

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea.” I tell him. I don’t think it’s a good idea to go to work with a man I hardly know. A man that I’m developing feelings for.

“Ava, listen to me. You need a job to take care of her,” he says as he points to Gabbie. “And you need a home to live in. I can provide you with both. All you have to do is come with me this weekend and check things out. If you decide you don’t want a job that pays extremely well, then you can come back here and live with your mother and father.”

I stare at him like he has grown two heads. This whole conversation is ludicrous. I shake my head as I say, “Viktor, I barely know you. I really do appreciate the offer, but I don’t think I can do that. What would I do with Gabbie while I went to check out this club? What kind of club is it again?”

“I’m sure your mother would be more than happy to watch Gabbie while you and I go to Nashville. I know you may not believe me, but you can trust me. I see you want a better life for your daughter. You want a place of your own to take care of her and give her everything she needs. You can’t do that while living with your parents and in this … this shit town. There are no opportunities here for you. All I’m asking is to come and check the club out. We can discuss anything you want after you have at least looked at the place.”

It doesn’t go unnoticed that he didn’t answer my question about his club and what kind of club he owns.

“Viktor?”

“I won’t take no for an answer.”

I let out a huff of air when I know I’ve lost this battle. Maybe he’s right. I do want to find a job and a house for Gabbie and me. I want to take care of her and give her everything she wants and needs. But, can I do that here? Viktor’s right about one thing. I won’t get far in this town.

“Fine. I’ll go with you to Nashville and check out your club. But that’s it.” I tell him and I hope he understands what I mean.

“Good. I’ll pick you up at five Friday and we’ll return Sunday evening.”

Panic races through me. Leave Gabbie for three days? I can barely leave her for three minutes. “Wh … what? You want me to stay the whole weekend? No, no way. I can’t leave Gabbie that long. If I do this, then we come back Friday night. I don’t care how late. Nashville is only an hour away from here.” I don’t know if he sees how much leaving Gabbie for that long makes me uneasy or not, but he does nod his head and agrees to my terms.

“I must go. I’ll see you Friday,” Viktor says as he walks over to Gabbie and whispers something to her. She whimpers in her sleep, but doesn’t wake up when he leaves.

I fall back on my bed, thinking what in the hell did I just do? I don’t know if this will be a good idea or not. I have three days until Friday. Maybe I can somehow get out of it. Thinking about being with Viktor, alone, scares me. Yeah, I’ll just cancel and tell him I changed my mind. But … I have no idea how to get in touch with him. I never asked for his cell number. Alright, I’ll just have to tell him when he comes over again tomorrow. I know this is a bad idea. I feel it. Or, at least I think that’s what it is. My head is telling me this is a horrible idea and I should stay as far away from Viktor as I can. But, the way my stomach is doing flips and the way my heart is racing, makes me wonder.

Why does he make me feel this way? I don’t understand any of this. I groan when I realize I possibly made another mistake by saying yes. It’s not like he gave me much of a choice either. That damn man is demanding and very persuasive when he wants his way, and I hate that I actually enjoy that. Which gives me another reason to have my guard up around him.
 

Friday

 

I can’t do this.

I cannot leave Gabbie even though mom has told me a million times it’ll be fine. I can’t be alone with Viktor. It’s not a good idea and who am I kidding? I can’t go to Nashville with him. I should just tell him when he gets here to go back and never return. Yeah, that’s a good plan. Only, the thought of never seeing him again makes me feel like I might vomit.

I look at the clock on the wall for the third time and it still says the same thing.

4:45.

God, what did I agree to? I sit with dad in the living room while he watches his sports. My leg bounces up and down, and the longer I sit and wait, the more nervous I become.

I thought I’d have a chance to tell Viktor I changed my mind. But he hasn’t come back since telling me he wanted me to see his club. He played that one out really well. I figure he knew I’d have second thoughts and change my mind about the whole thing. How he knew that, I don’t have a clue. I tried to remember what he told me what his club was, but I can’t remember for the life of me.

I look at the clock again and see only one minute has passed. Why am I so nervous about going with him? I have told myself over and over I’ll go, find out what his club is, and figure out what and why he wants me to work for him. I mean, he told me I’d make good money. And have a house. But, I can’t help but wonder if this is too good to be true. The last time someone told me things and promised me they would be there for me, well, he up and left me making me go into early labor. I also can’t just let him give me a house. I’ve always worked hard at getting the things I have now. This whole situation is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.

“Sweet heart, you okay? You’re pale.”

I look at dad and give him a small smile. “Yeah, dad I’m okay. Just nervous I guess.”

“What’s there to be nervous about? That Viktor is a good man.”

“How do you know that? You don’t know him. None of us do. I thought you didn’t like him?”

“I’ve been trying to get to know him, since he’s always here, and I can just tell he’s a good man. I’m your dad remember. I have father instincts and they tell me he has good intentions. And that he’ll take care of you. We’ve all seen that. I’m still a little skeptical, but I think he wants to do right by you. Why else would he do the things he does?”

“I know, but dad, we all thought Malcolm was a good guy too. See where that got me?”

“Ava, you can’t condemn every man for one bad one. You need to let go of that anger you have towards Malcolm. Even though I hate the way he left you and treated you, for all we know something might have happened for him to leave the way he did. You can’t compare Viktor and Malcolm. They’re two different men.”

I know dad’s right, but I can’t help but to have second thoughts about this whole situation. I have to protect not only myself now, I have to protect Gabbie. “I’m just nervous, I guess.” I say again to him hoping he’ll drop this whole dad knows best conversation. He finally relinquishes and turns to watch more of his sports.

I still can’t shake this feeling of unease. I get up and go find mom. She’s in the kitchen, as always, baking cookies. Gabbie is in her swing, watching her intently. I bend down and kiss her on her forehead and she gurgles at me. I wipe the spit off her chin and turn to mom.

“Who are you baking cookies for?”

“No one, honey. I just wanted the house to smell nice. Don’t you like the way the house smells after I bake cookies?”

I do, but my figure doesn’t. “You know dad’s going to eat them all. He always does.”

“Let him try. I’m going to hide them so he can’t.”

“I smell cookies.” Dad says as he walks into the kitchen with us. Gabbie coos out loudly and he leans down to pick her up.

“My pumpkin wants some cookies too.”

I lean against the counter as I watch mom and dad interact. “You know you can’t have these cookies. The doctor said you have to cut back on your sugar.” Mom tells him.

“I don’t think that doctor knew what he was talking about. Come on, Ella. I just want one.”

“Jeff,” mom says in a warning tone.

“Come on my sweet, Ella. Just one.”

Mom turns around with a wide smile and walks over to dad. I see she has one cookie behind her back. She whispers something to him and he laughs. He leans down and gives mom a sweet kiss and she gives him his cookie. Gabbie and I watch them. Only I understand how much my parents love each other. One day, Gabbie will know as well. Dad takes Gabbie back into the living room with him as he eats his cookie. Mom shakes her head, and goes back to making more cookies.

“Mom?”
“Yes, honey?”

“Are you sure this is a good idea? I mean what if something happens with Gabbie while I’m gone?”

“Ava, what are you so worried about? Your father and I know how to take care of a baby. We raised you didn’t we?”

“Yeah, I know that. It’s just …”      

She walks over to me and says, “You’re worried what might happen between you and Viktor. Honey, you worry too much about things you cannot predict. Everything will be fine. I promise you.”

I sigh and nod my head. She’s right. I trust my parents with Gabbie and I know nothing will happen while she’s with them. It’s crazy that mom knows how much I’m worried about being around Viktor. I barely understand it myself. He makes me feel things that I shouldn’t be feeling. Or at least I think I shouldn’t be feeling them. I never felt this way at all with Malcolm.

My stomach drops when the doorbell rings. I stand up straight and take a deep breath. I tell myself I can do this as I kiss mom bye and do the same with dad and then Gabbie. I walk to the door and I open it slowly. My hands are starting to sweat. When I see Viktor, he looks … well fuck. He looks gorgeous like he always does. He’s wearing a dark blue button down with black slacks. His black jacket and all the dark colors make his eyes stand out more than usual. He smiles at me and I give one back. Only, his looks confident and mine probably looks like I’m about to hurl.

“Are you ready to go?” he asks.

I nod and I turn to look at Gabbie one last time. Dad is zoned in on the TV, while mom bakes more cookies. They all seem fine with me leaving and I take that as my sign to go.

I startle as Viktor rests his hand on the small of my back and leads me to his car.
His closeness unsettles me but his gentlemanly manner of opening the car door calms me. I get in and realize this is the same car he used when taking me to the hospital. I watch him walk around the front of the car, and I wish I had thought to dress better. To be honest, I haven’t went back to my small size yet, and jeans and a T-shirt are about the only thing I feel comfortable in. I buckle my seat belt as Viktor gets inside and he pulls out of my parent’s driveway. I lean back on the seat looking out the window, wondering again what I’ve gotten myself into.

BOOK: Temptation
13.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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