Two single parents and three adorable kids are about to have a summer they’ll never forget in J. Daniels’ heartwarming new novel in the Dirty Deeds series, and I have a sneak peek for you.
“Come here,” I whispered, waving Nathan into the room. Marley was already settling down again. He set the box down next to the changing table and got beside me. “She’s almost asleep.” I shifted Marley off my chest and went to pass her over, but Nathan took a step back. I fought a smile. “Take her. Here.”
“What are you doing?” he whispered back.
“I’m giving her to you so you can put her to sleep.”
“But you’re doing such a good job with it.” He gestured at his daughter. “And look at her, she likes you.”
I cocked my head.
“You do it. She’s going to start screaming if you give her to me, Jenna.”
“I don’t think she will. And I need to go use the bathroom anyway…”
His gaze hardened immediately. “Oh, my God. Liar.”
I dropped my head and laughed quietly into my shoulder. Nathan smiled.
“I’ll be right here. Come on,” I encouraged, stepping beside the rocking chair. “Sit down, I’ll pass her to you.”
Hands gripping his hips, he stared at me for another breath before he finally caved and stepped forward, mumbling incoherent words of protest.
“Fine. You want to see a kid freak out in two seconds?” Nathan took a seat in the chair and gathered Marley against his chest when I bent down and handed her over. He froze stiff when she stirred, then glared up at me with an unmistakable I told you so expression.
“Rock her,” I suggested. “And rub her back. She likes that.”
Keeping his eyes on me, Nathan pitched forward slowly, gaining momentum. His back remained rigid against the wood.
I whispered in his ear, “They can sense fear. Relax.”
“How am I supposed to relax? Look at her.”
On cue, Marley squirmed and stretched her legs like she wanted to stand. She was waking up.
I put my hand on top of Nathan’s and coaxed him to rub her back. My other hand gripped the chair and rocked it.
“You’re too nervous right now. If you calm down, she’ll calm down.”
Nathan cursed under his breath. He dropped his head back against the wood and forced his breaths to slow, an action that required a lot of effort, I could tell. We rocked together. My hand remained on top of his, moving us in gentle circles. When Marley cooed and snuggled closer, his gaze snapped to mine.
I grinned and whispered, “See?” I stepped back. “Keep going.”
Nathan stared at the top of Marley’s head as he rocked her. It was as if he was witnessing something he’d never seen before. I watched them from the doorway as minutes passed.
I knew she was asleep now. And I wasn’t sure if Nathan had any intention of putting Marley in her crib anytime soon, but I wasn’t going to suggest it. They were both more than content where they were.
And God, it was such a beautiful moment.