Chapter 1 – Man Scape
I liked sex. I fucking loved it. Who didn’t? I liked to remember having it, too. Especially if it involved getting a woman pregnant.
Which I supposedly did.
Not just anyone, but little Melly Harwood.
I had no idea who she was, but Ang, the office manager, made her out to be something like the Virgin Mary. Sweet, serene and absolutely, positively not sinful. Meaning I’d somehow corrupted and ruined her.
I didn’t mind the idea of corrupting or ruining a woman, or doing both at the same time, as long as she was into that kind of thing. But a baby? Fuck no.
Several office voicemails insisted I was responsible for making one.
It had to have been immaculate conception because I hadn’t fucked any woman in a long time. Yet I couldn’t tell Ang that. No way. I wasn’t sharing my sex life with a sixty-something who liked to remind me she used to change my diapers.
Who was this woman and why was she accusing me? Why was this mysterious and saintly Melly Harwood telling me I had to take care of my responsibilities?
Sure, I’d gotten a woman pregnant once. Accidentally. Over twenty years ago the summer after high school graduation. And I’d taken all the responsibility for that. Why would I start over with a baby now? I was forty fucking years old. An empty nester. Retired business owner. A free man ready to get out of Montana for a while. In fact, my flight to Scotland left in four days.
I was supposed to be relaxed in my newfound retirement. I had money and free time and it was time to enjoy both.
Until I got those messages. I always took care of my responsibilities. Always. I couldn’t be laid back, relaxed or leaving the country until this one was resolved.
That was why I was pissed as I stomped out of the library and called Ang. No way were my plans being derailed because of this, of a woman accusing me of something I sure as hell didn’t do. If she wanted something from me, like money, this was the worst way to go about it with me.
“Pearson Tree and Landscape Service,” Ang said through the phone in her upbeat and cheerful voice.
“Where is she?” I snarled.
“Who?” she asked, used to my moods. “Melly Harwood?”
“Of course, Melly Harwood,” I countered, as if I went after crazy women every day. “You know well enough I left you at the office twenty minutes ago to track her down. You said she’s the librarian. I’m at the library. She’s not here. Find her.”
“How can I find her?”
“Don’t play dumb,” I countered. “Use your gossip network or tea spilling club or whatever you call it and find her.”
Ang humphed through the phone then put me on hold because she couldn’t argue with the fact that she could find someone better than a detective or a bloodhound. Horrible jazz saxophone music filled my ear and I winced. How had I made my customers suffer listening to that?
Not my problem any longer.
Waiting, I paced back and forth across the library’s front entry. A woman with one hand leading a toddler and carrying a baby seat with the other approached. I opened the door for her, then went over to the book drop box. I tugged the slot open, shut it. Opened it. Shut it.
A minute later, she was back. “She’s at the vet with her dog Fred and–”
“I don’t care about her dog. I’m more interested in her pussy,” I muttered, the one I never got in.
“What was that?”
I sighed. Hard. “Nothing. What’s the address?”
She told me.
“Thanks,” I said. “And tell Deek to replace that God-awful hold music.”
I hung up and cut across town to the Hunter Valley Veterinary Clinic. The landscape company and the hold music were my brothers’ problems now.
The bell above the door chimed as I went inside the clinic. The scent of cleaning products and wet dog made my nose twitch.
A twenty-something man in light blue scrubs stood from a chair behind the counter. As he saw me approach with all kinds of pent-up aggravation, his eyes widened. He took a slight step back as he tipped his chin back to keep my gaze. That happened all the time. The trouble with being the size of a lumberjack. And actually being one.
“May I help you?”
A dog barked somewhere in the building. An orange cat jumped on the counter and the guy hooked it with a hand and tucked him into the crook of his arm in a football hold.
“Melly Harwood?” I asked.
“Room number three.”
Finally. I headed down the hall with one mission in mind. Find out what the fuck was going on. I was leaving town and I didn’t need this kind of entanglement… or headache. It was deja vu all over again. This time though, I wasn’t nineteen and I definitely hadn’t had sex with the woman.
I didn’t bother knocking on the closed door with the number three on it and burst in.
The action startled the woman who stood in front of a high metal exam table, a tiny dog standing on it. It was smaller than a cat. A Pomeranian? Teacup Poodle? I had no clue. Their heads swiveled and their gazes met mine in unison.
This was little Melly Harwood? She was a gorgeous redhead who I’d clearly startled because the hand on the back of the littlest dog I’d ever seen flew to her chest. She stared at me with wide eyes behind dark glasses.
Holy shit, she was fucking pretty.
Her mouth dropped open and all that came to mind were filthy thoughts of what I could put between those gloss-coated lips. Her hair was half up, half down and fell below her shoulders in soft waves. The fiery color contrasted with her pale skin.
The only thing similar between the she-vixen I imagined trapping random men and the woman in front of me was that she was little. Little Melly Harwood really was small.
I had no idea what I expected, but not… her. Not the petite, curvy thing in a pair of snug black pants and a soft, forest green sweater. I didn’t know much about women’s clothing, but I knew the color of the damned forest. A crisp collar of a white dress shirt showed at her neckline and the bottom peeked out at the sweater’s hem as if she was trying to be a little wild.
Her outfit was ridiculously conservative for someone in her early twenties, like she shopped at an old ladies clothing store. Somehow, the modest and trim fit only accented her curvy figure. How was it even possible that combo was sexy as hell?
Since when did I get hard for women close to twenty years younger?
Not women. Woman.
“Melly Harwood?” I asked, my voice gruff.
The woman blinked behind those glasses as she nodded.
Every single inch of her screamed sexy librarian. Shit, she actually was one.
That only made my fingers itch–and my dick twitch–to mess her all up. Get that hair all tangled from my hands as I held her in place as I throat fucked her. To get some of my cum splattered on those prim clothes so everyone knew she liked to be defiled.
If she wanted my attention, needed me to fuck her, all she had to do was ask. There was no need to accuse me of anything. I volunteered because if there was a woman who needed to get railed, it was her. I’d rail her as hard as she needed. Spank her ass for being naughty. Punish her so she wouldn’t do it again. Then make her come because she was a good girl for taking all of me so well.
I took a step back. Where had my mind gone? My need for her was instant and intense. Since when did I look at a woman and think defile and rail?
Throat fuck? Cum splattered?
I wasn’t sure if those thoughts made me fucking old or a creep.
My dick said neither, that I was a healthy, horny man who saw someone he wanted to get down and dirty with.
She didn’t look like she was pregnant, or the kind of woman who might try to trap me. Hell, she didn’t look like she’d ever had sex.
I stifled a groan at the thought because I never knew that fucking a prim, virgin librarian was an unfulfilled kink of mine.
“You messaged me,” I said finally. “Multiple times.”
Her wide eyes narrowed and she pushed her glasses up with one hand, the other on the tiny dog’s back. “I messaged you?” she asked, her voice soft, melodic, although laced with surprise, as if someone like her would ever get in touch with someone like me.
I nodded, crossed my arms. “Said I got you pregnant.”
Her mouth fell open again. Even wider this time. Shit.
“You got me… what?” she whispered the words as if she was too stunned to speak at full volume.
“Pregnant,” I repeated, waiting to tell her she was a very bad girl.
“I…um, think I’d remember if we had sex.” A furious blush stole across her cheeks and she glanced away, putting her fingers over her lips as if the words just fell out. The dog–more fluffy tan fur than substance–lifted his head and nudged her elbow, not wanting to be ignored, so her hand dropped to stroke his back some more.
Smart dog. I’d like to be stroked by that small hand. My dick was trying to punch through my jeans to get to that hand.
I cleared my throat. “Obviously, because when I have sex with you, neither of us will be able to forget.”
Yes. When, not if.
She didn’t come around the table to slap me, only blushed a little more, if that was even possible. “I think there’s been a mistake,” she said.
I wanted to relax, but if she was Melly Harwood, then she was the one who left a string of angry messages. How pretty and untouched she looked didn’t change that.
Her gaze narrowed, perhaps thinking I was crazy–the feeling was mutual–or as if she was trying to figure me out. Same difference. “Who are you?”
Her lips pursed in a very librarian-like way, as if disappointed. “No, you’re not.”
I’m not? “I sure as hell am,” I said, setting my hands on my hips. “Want to see my ID?”
Her green gaze raked over me from my steel-toed boots to the top of my head, which took a while because I was a big man. Six-five of lumberjack muscle.
“You’re not the Daniel Pearson I know. I’d never bother–”
I cut her off because… what? “How many Daniels do you–” I bit my lip, my words snagged because I figured it all out. I ran a hand through my hair, took a moment to stare at the ceiling tiles. “Fuck. I’m going to kill him.”
“My son. The other Daniel Pearson. The one who got you pregnant.”
The idiot! He’d done the one thing I’d drilled into him since he was twelve and started to get hair on his balls. No glove, no love. Never, ever, fuck without a condom. He knew the consequences from unprotected sex. First hand.
That didn’t mean he needed to have history repeat itself.
So she didn’t baselessly accuse me of anything, but I was still pissed and a hell of a lot jealous that Danny’d been the one to touch and defile little Melly Harwood.
One look and for some fucking reason I wanted that to be my job and only mine.
“Your son,” she repeated.
“Yes, my son. Daniel Pearson, Junior. The one your age who’s missed your messages because he’s in California fighting a wildland fire. The one who got you pregnant.”
She blushed some more and I watched it creep down her neck and beneath her collar. How far did it go? I wondered if that blush covered her large breasts–because they were definitely ample based on the way she was filling out that sweater.
In came the vet, in blue scrubs and a stethoscope around his neck. “Is this the baby daddy?” he asked, eyeing me, then going over to the dog to give him a pet on the head.
Clearly, he had a death wish. How many people had she told about her pregnancy? Did she blather it all over town?
Little Melly Harwood was over her blushing. In fact, while her head was tipped down toward the dog, she was looking up at me through her lashes. Was she biting her lip to keep from laughing?
Yes, she fucking was.
I growled and glared. This wasn’t fucking funny. I knew exactly the repercussions of this kind of situation. An accidental pregnancy derailed my entire life and I was finally… finally getting it back on track after over twenty years. And now when I was leaving town to get my sidetracked life back, now my son got a woman pregnant.
The vet missed it all because the stethoscope had been in his ears and was listening to the dog’s heart. Or whatever.
“Well, congrats,” he said after a minute, wrapping the stethoscope around his neck again, then ran his hands over the small dog. He looked like an eight inch cotton ball.
“I’d say Fred’s got another week and the puppies will be here. We’ll schedule the c-section at the front counter.”
“Puppies?” I asked, staring wide eyed at the tan tiny thing. His tongue hung out and he looked like he was smiling.
“That’s right,” Melly Harwood said. “I’m not pregnant. She is.”
I stared, confused, then I realized she was pointing at the tiny dog.
The dog was pregnant.
“Fred, the dog, the… what kind of dog is that anyway?”
“Fred, the Teacup Pom, is pregnant,” I repeated, just to make sure I was understanding things. I felt like I got hit by a falling tree.
“Fred’s a girl. It’s short for Frederica,” she clarified, as if that changed anything.
“The dog,” I said again.
I closed my eyes, ran a hand down my face. Remembered the messages Ang had taken and handed to me back at the office. You thought a little fun wouldn’t have consequences. Fine, fun was had. Now we face the consequences.
“THE DOG?” I practically shouted.
“Yes. Your son’s dog got my dog pregnant and I need his help paying for it all.”
Earl the big, lazy ass dog? The one that had been sprawled on a dog bed by the front window of the office snoring and farting when I left thirty minutes ago? That dog?
The one that needed to face the consequences. Not me.