That night when they made it home Daisy was wired with sugar from the ice cream sundae they let her eat.
“Bath time now,” Jordan ordered, pointing to the stairs.
“I don’t want a bath!” Daisy complained, stomping her foot, crossing her arms over her chest, glaring at him.
“Daisy Rae Howard in the bath now,” he demanded, putting a touch of his jaguar’s power behind his words. She glared at him but walked up the stairs to the hallway bathroom. Georgia laughed at him, patting his arm.
“Pulling out the middle name, are we?” she joked, stepping onto the bottom step. He sighed, scrubbing a hand down his face.
“I don’t use it often, but when she is hyper from sugar, she isn’t the best listener,” he explained, making Georgia laugh harder.
“What kid is?” she asked, patting his cheek and going upstairs to help Daisy with the bath. While she did that he got the laundry from the basement. They’d stripped the sheets off her bed that morning and he wanted to put them back on. Gathering the clothing from the dryer he placed it in the waiting basket and brought it to Daisy’s room. Making her bed was easy, he put on the sheets, then pillowcases, then her comforter. He tucked her snuggle bunny in so she could see it waiting for her in the bed.
“We are done!” Georgia announced, walking a towel wrapped Daisy. She still had a frown on her face but was walking on her own.
“Which pajamas?” he asked, opening her top drawer.
“I want my mermaid,” she answered. He pulled out the pajamas and a pair of undies.
“You get dressed and then we will read you a bedtime story,” he instructed, handing her the clothing he and Georgia left the room to give her privacy. They waited in the hallway wrapped up in each other waiting for her to announce she was ready.
“What did you want to talk to me about?” Jordan tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear.
“Let’s wait until Daisy is asleep,” she replied, kissing him to distract him. He let her, he would never say no to a kiss.
“I am ready,” Daisy called through the closed door. Jordan opened the door and with Georgia, they walked in to see Daisy sitting on her bed.
“Which book do you want to read tonight?” he asked, heading to her massive bookshelf.
“I want to read the first book in Bethany and Felix,” she answered, Jordan grabbed the book and settled on a chair. Georgia settled next to Daisy on the bed looking up at him expectantly.
“Okay, here we go.” He opened the book to the first page and read.
Bethany Smith loved dragons, all her life she had loved them. She loved red ones, green ones, blue ones. It did not matter what color they were; she loved them. For every holiday she asked for books, shirts, socks, toys, and movies about dragons. Her mom and dad owned a bookshop called Hidden Treasures. Every day after school her nana would pick her up and walk the two blocks to the store. Bethany always picked a book about dragons and curled up in her favorite gray chair to read until her parents were ready to go home. At home, she ate dinner and did her homework before reading her dragon books again. At night she dreamed of having a dragon as a friend.
Today was a special day, today she turned eight. After school, she and her friend Meg were going to the bookshop for her birthday party. Bethany walked into Mrs. Green’s second-grade classroom and smiled.
“Happy birthday!” Meg called, coming into the classroom. Meg had brown hair, blue eyes, and freckles across her face. She was also Bethany’s best friend.
“Thank you,” she said, sitting at her desk barely able to contain her excitement for her party.
“Are you still coming to my party tonight?” Bethany asked, sitting at her table. Meg sat down next to her.
The day went by slowly, Bethany looked at the clock a lot. Finally, the bell rang, Bethany rushed to her cubby and grabbed her red dragon backpack. Meg was right beside her packing up too. The girls left the classroom and ran out to the front of the school. Bethany looked for her nana. She saw her standing by the flagpole.
“Nana!” she shouted, taking Meg’s hand and running over to her nana.
“Happy birthday Bethany.”
“Ready to go, girls?” Her nana asked, taking each of their hands. Bethany and Meg told her nana all about their day as they walked to the bookshop. Stopping outside the store, Bethany looked up. Hidden Treasures used a dragon for their sign because she loved them so much. Opening the door, she heard the bell jingle, letting her mom and dad know people were coming inside the store.
“Welcome,” her dad called and popped his head out of the back room.
“Bethany! Happy birthday,” he said, and she gasped, looking at the decorations around the store. Hanging from the ceiling were dragon cutouts in all colors with glitter on them.
“Happy birthday!” her mom said coming around the counter to hug her.
“Thank you,” she said and hugged her mom back.
“Meg, I am so happy you could join us today,” her mom said, leading them to the backroom.
“Thank you, Mrs. Smith,” Meg answered and they walked into the backroom.
“Today is a very special day,” her nana began and handed her a large present.
“Thank you.” Bethany ripped open the paper and gasped, in her hands was The Book of Dragons. She remembered seeing it on her nana’s bookshelf and asked to read it. Nana told her she had to be older, now she was older.
Jordan looked up from the book to see Daisy passed out and Georgia’s eyes shining with love for him.
“I love hearing you read my books. Sometimes I get so invested in writing them that going back and rereading them is a struggle,” she explained, extracting herself from Daisy’s arms without waking her. Jordan took her hand and walked her down the hall to their room. He wanted to know what she wouldn’t say in front of Daisy.
“So what is this that you won’t tell me?” he asked closing the door and locking it. He didn’t want Daisy to interrupt if she woke up.
“Today when I was with Caroline she went inside for some lemonade and Scott cornered me. He’d been waiting in the woods until I was alone.” Jordan grabbed Georgia by the arms and looked her over trying to find any sign of him touching her.
“Did he do anything to you?” he demanded after he found no injuries on her.
“No. He said you ruined his life because when you were teens you two had a fight. His jaguar refused to shift after that for a while. He told me he wanted to take something from you since you ruined him. He is also headed back to jail for violating his parole and the restraining order. He is sick Jordan, the man was so thin and had fresh needle marks on his arms. He couldn’t have gotten clean in prison. I bet he got drugs smuggled in to him to keep the edge off,” she explained and Jordan sunk onto the bed. His worst nightmare was coming true. Scott was still sore about a fight they had eighteen years ago.
“Why did he run off?”
“Caroline came back out and Preston came around the corner with the arch we will fill with flowers. Preston shifted and ran after Scott, but he got away in his truck.” Georgia settled next to him taking his hands in hers.
“We need Greyson back with you again. We cannot let our guard down until Scott is back in jail,” he replied, lifting her hands to kiss them.
“Preston said the same. I will be busy with wedding stuff all week so he is going to have to come with me,” she explained, he chuckled at the thought of Greyson being dragged around for the wedding.
“What do you have planned?”
“I have my nail appointment, one last check with the caterer, I need to get the things for our favors, the picture frame for people to sign, and my dress from the dress shop. They took longer on the alterations than expected,” she shared, Jordan shook his head and laughed.
“Poor Greyson, he is going to be so tired.”
“He will stand in the background and be intimidating like always. I think he is harder to get to talk than Marcus and that was hard. He still doesn’t talk much, but you can see the love he has for Ellie.”
“Not all men talk like I do,” Jordan replied with a smile. He bent his head and kissed her. Georgia pulled him on top of her laying back onto the bed. Jordan followed, sliding his hands up under her shirt. Letting her distract him from the threat of Scott, he made love to her well into the night.
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