Bringing Home the Bad Boy

By: Jessica Lemmon



A few steps on the wooden dock, Evan opened his mouth to get Lyon’s attention when the blonde turned her head. His tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth for a second as his eyes traveled down her body and back up in disbelief.

Charlie?

She beamed up at him, squinting behind big, round sunglasses. “Hey.”

Barely dressed in a skimpy, hot-pink string bikini, her lush breasts were on display, her slim stomach and thick thighs bare and tanned. He realized belatedly he was staring at parts of her he’d never thought to admire before—and God, there was a lot to admire. She looked like a centerfold.

Her eyebrows rose the slightest bit as her smile faded.

Forcing himself to speak and stop being a creeper, he dipped his chin in greeting. “Ace.”

Her smile returned. “I was asking Lyon if he knew the names of the neighbors yet.”

Again, it hit Evan that when he was in the house, he’d thought Charlie might be a neighbor he’d like to get to know. Nothing much threw him anymore, but that displaced surge of attraction had. It still rumbled beneath the surface. Not good.

He redirected his attention to what he could handle—his son. “Hey, bud, what’d I say about getting too close to the water?”

“Dad. Charlie’s here.”

“Yeah, I see that.” She was all he could see at the moment. “And I’m sure she doesn’t want to be bothered every time she’s outside.”

“He’s okay.” Lounging, leaning on one elbow, she put a hand on Lyon’s arm.

He turned to his son, and away from Charlie’s incredible body, and crossed his arms over his chest. “Lionel.”

“Okaaaay.” Exasperated, as per his usual.

“Why aren’t you supposed to be down here?” Evan asked him.

“Because I haven’t had swimming lessons yet. But I can swim,” he insisted.

Lyon could doggie paddle. He couldn’t “swim.” Evan speared him with a look.

Charlie intervened. “When are your lessons?”

His kid stopped frowning at him and smiled at her instead. “Tomorrow!”

“Sounds promising,” she said, lightening the mood between father and son. It was new to have the tension erased. Maybe living nearer to her would have more benefits than Evan had first imagined.

“For now, stay off the dock,” he told his son. “The shore is fine, though.”

“Okay,” Lyon said, not sounding okay at all.

“Why don’t you bring your paper and markers out to the beach?” Maybe that’s what he should do. Despite the wall of windows letting in natural sunlight into his studio, Evan had been cooped up indoors all day. “I’ll get my stuff and join you.”

“I hate drawing.” Lyon dragged his feet. Evan felt his head shake.

He knew this, of course, but it hadn’t stopped him from trying to get his kid to show an ounce of interest in the very thing making Evan’s world go round.

“I’m gonna watch TV.” Lyon tromped up the dock, and Evan turned to Charlie, gesturing with an arm in the direction of his argumentative son.

“Ouch,” she said, but not out of sympathy. The tilt of her lips clearly showed amusement.

“First football, then superheroes, now swimming. How did Rae give birth to a sports nut?” She’d hated sports and Evan, at best, was ambivalent.

Charlie pushed her sunglasses into her blond hair and peered up at him, her hazel eyes scrunched.

“What are you doing out here, anyway? Playing hooky?” he asked. Like him, she worked from home.

He leaned a hip on the railing running along one side of the dock. She sat up, pushing off her elbows and bending her long, long legs to one side.

Incredible.

Again, it shocked him to notice. He’d always known she was attractive—far too attractive for that toad, Russell, she used to date—but he’d never noticed as much as he was noticing now.

“I work better at night.” She pushed the length of her hair off her shoulder where it slid like silk. “What about you? Shouldn’t you be illustrating?”

“I work better at night, too.” Not that last night had been productive by any stretch of the imagination.

“Why don’t you work at night then?”

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