This is book three in the Dangerous series. A Dangerous Interaction is book one, Why are we friends again? is book two.
Gabbie Akechi had just got off the phone with her dad who invited her back to the house for her younger brothers birthday, which would be this weekend. She was at school a state over for her baking. She had settled in, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to go back. Gabbie the headstrong sarcastic second daughter of Kit and Mitsuhide Akechi was finally on her own and loving every minute of it. School was going well, and she had settled into dorm life and was finally happy with her life.
Having been in the shadows of her older sister Rin all of her life, she was glad of this new start. She knew her parents understood her, most of all her dad, who had adopted them four years ago right before the first of the other kids were born. She had loved seeing her mom happy, and with a biological child she had wanted for so long, but the fact she had adopted four kids when she was nineteen made it, so she didn’t date at all. Then Mitsuhide entered their lives and was a whirlwind of things that, in the end, was exactly what the family needed.
Mitsuhide didn’t just enter their lives he stepped in and helped when their mother had needed help. Rin’s boyfriend had abducted her with the help of his father, and they had left her for dead in a frozen lake in winter. It was her mothers knowledge of the area and Mitsuhide’s quick action that had saved her sisters life. Gabbie was forever grateful, but at the same time, it had left her leery of men in general. She didn’t date. She didn’t even want to date. She was eighteen and happy to be on her own, sort of.
Only one man had ever made her feel like she could be anything other than alone. However, he was also like her uncle through her father. A member of his special forces unit. Masamune Date was many things in life, but he was one of the driving factors in Gabbie’s choice of fields to go into. Masa liked to cook. He would be over and make meals for the family every weekend so they would have real food to eat during the week. Gabbie had spent the time with him while he made them. She watched him in the kitchen, and she realized she did have a slight crush on him. Masamune only thought of her as a brat. She knew that.
“What’s up?” she answered her phone.
“Seeing if you are coming home for the weekend kiddo.” The deep masculine voice said.
“Masa.” she said, “I am eighteen now can you stop with the kiddo crap?” Gabbie said as she curled up on her bed.
“I guess if you really want me to Princess,” Masa said, and Gabbie knew he was smiling as he flirted without thought. She knew better than to think anything about it.
“Yeah, I am coming home. Dad just called me.” Gabbie said.
“You don’t sound too excited about the prospect of coming home,” Masa said with a hint of concern clouding his normally playful voice. It matched his personality perfectly. He could be discussing an upcoming mission with Mitsuhide that was completely serious and be down rolling on the floor playing with one of the babies or boogs.
“I, well, I am not sure,” Gabbie said. “I mean mom and dad have their hands full. Rin will probably be there. Me coming back, the house is going to be packed.”
“Still don’t like crowds, Princess?” he asked.
“Masa it isn’t that I don’t like crowds. I just like quiet so I can think and design,” she said. “I do have finals soon, and I have to figure out what I plan on baking for them.”
“Whatever you make will be fine,” Masa said.
“Whatever.” Gabbie said with a huff. She knew the man on the other end would think anything she made in the kitchen was good because the two of them were the ones stuck with the cooking. He handled the meals, and she did all the baking for every one of the events.
“If you don’t want to stay at the house because your parents might cramp your style you can crash at my place. You know the door is always open for family.” Masa said.
“Thanks, Masa but I don’t think that would be a good idea either.” Gabbie said.
“Why not?” he asked. “We can get a head start on everything for the party if you did. Actually, I think it is one of my better ideas. You should stay with me.”
“Let me talk to dad.” Gabbie said, and she could hear Masa smiling into the phone.
“Let me know,” Masa said as he hung up. Gabbie looked at the phone and stared off into space. Now she really didn’t think that going home would be a good idea. She knew she had to deal with her stupid crush on the man sooner or later.
“Boyfriend?” her roommate Jenna asked.
“What?” Gabbie asked as she looked up at her roommate.
“Was that your boyfriend?” Jenna asked.
“No, my uncle.” Gabbie replied. “Well, sort of. He really isn’t my uncle. He is my dad’s friend from work.”
“Oh,” Jenna said as she settled into her bunk across the room. Gabbie wondered what that oh meant. She didn’t think it meant much of anything when her roommate pipped up again, “Do you even have a boyfriend?”
“No.,” Gabbie replied. “No time.”
“You could always make time,” Jenna said with a giggle.
“I really don’t have the time.” Gabbie said as she reached for her light. It was still early, but she wanted to relax and watch something on her tablet before she went to bed. She did not want to have a conversation about boys with her roommate. She flipped her tablet open, and the lock screen was her and Masa when she turned sixteen in front of the cake they had made. She thought to herself, why did I have to get a crush on him of all people.
Masamune Date looked at the phone as he hung up. He had no idea why he offered to let her stay at his house. It had to be he understood to a point that she did need her space. Everyone at some time had been focused on Rin that she was overlooked a lot. He had tried to make sure she knew that she was important too, but he didn’t know if it was enough. He had always tried to think of her as a younger sister and take her under his wing when he found out she liked cooking as well. He was not supposed to think of her the way he did. Her hair had gotten longer the last time he saw her, the dark brown had become sun lightened, and it looked good against her pale skin. He knew for a fact he was not supposed to feel the way he did whenever she was around either.
From the first day when she took the strainer off the wall and hit him into the ground until both of them were laughing to the point of tears, he knew she was special. She was the daughter of two of his friends. He was allowed to be her uncle by proxy, he knew he could never be anything more than that.
He was twenty-six now, and his mind had turned to try and find someone he could be with for the rest of his life. All the guys had in the past few years as the pretty doctor had married his friend and coworker. All their minds had changed. Masamune wondered to himself why when he thought of the perfect woman for him, her face always popped up. Normally he accepted fate and rolled with the punches but this one time. He couldn’t. He wouldn’t. He really, really wanted to move on from her. He looked over to the bookshelf and saw the pictures he had up there. She was in almost every one of them. She had starred a major role in his life so far. It was time to change that role to something else.
He wasn’t sure what though…
“Did you talk with both of the girls?” Kit asked as she was trying to wrangle the baby to take his bottle.
“I did,” Mitsuhide replied as he was washing one of the twins in the tub with their other son.
“So?” she asked.
“So what?” he asked back.
“How did Gabbie sound?” she asked.
“Like she was thinking,” he replied.
“Thinking?” she asked.
“I don’t think she wanted to come home, babe,” Mitsuhide said as he stood in the doorway with one baby laying down in his arm and the other toddler wrapped up in a shark towel.
“Gee, I wonder why?” she asked with a laugh. “Where is Flower?”
“Downstairs with Kissi,” he replied as he fought to get the PJs on the boys.
“Did you tell them?” she asked, eyeing him.
“I did,” he replied.
“Mitsuhide, that is probably why. I mean seriously we have a kid every year, in some cases two.” She said.
“Kit, that doesn’t matter,” he said with a smile. “Our two perfectly capable headstrong daughters both have something on their minds. Though we are the cool parents everyone else wishes they could be, it is time for our girls to find their feet and find someone.”
“Someone?” Kit asked.
“Well, in Rin’s case, he has been in her face for years. It is time to give them both a little push. Rin will probably be staying with Yuki for the weekend.” he said with his devilish grin.
“Mitsuhide, do not interfere.” Kit said, changing her tone.
“I am not interfering,” Mitsuhide said, deepening his grin. “I am pushing.”
“Same difference.” Kit said. “And Gabbie?”
“Well, she had the same issue as Rin. He was there and in her face as well.” Mitsuhide said.
“Who?” Kit asked perplexed that she didn’t see her second daughter liking someone and not telling her.
“Sweetheart think.”. Mitsuhide said as he looked at his wife.
“I honestly have no clue Mitsuhide.” Kit said, wrinkling her nose.
“Masamune didn’t just come over to make sure we ate, honey,” Mitsuhide said, flashing his grin her way again.
“Stop with that look. I am already pregnant again.” She said.
“What look?” Mitsuhide asked innocently.
“Masamune?” she asked, and he nodded.
“Are all the guys in your unit hot for our daughters?” she asked.
“Rin, I can understand she looks like you,” he replied. “It is uncanny, to be honest. However, since I have you, they focused on the next best thing.”
“And Gabbie?” she asked.
“Is beautiful in her own way,” Mitsuhide said with a smile. “As the complete opposite of you, she is a dark beauty in her own right. If I was younger, I would like her too if I wasn’t her dad.”
“I guess you are right.” Kit said as she thought of her two girls and knew they both could and would turn heads everywhere they went in life.
“I know I am right.” he beamed at her.
“But really Masamune?” she asked. “You are okay with that?”
“I will deal with it if anything ever comes of it. She may break him into a million pieces.” Mitsuhide replied.
“This should be fun to watch.” she giggled.
“This is what parenting is all about.”