NYT Bestselling Author A.L. Jackson has a sneak peek of her upcoming single dad, fake fiancée romance, Promise Me Always. Coming January 30th!
“Go, go, go!” Tessa jumped up and down, rooting on Remy who’d thrown the Frisbee and was currently rounding the bases.
I scooped Scout into my arms, and he and I raced toward the Frisbee that’d rolled out the right side of the baseball field.
Scout was bouncing all over, his laughter filling the air, my little guy kicking my sides like I was a horse. “Hurry, Dad, hurry, Remy is so really fast, and we gotta catch her before she gets all the way to home base.”
I dipped down to snag the Frisbee, holding tight to Scout as I tipped him upside down, making him holler and laugh uncontrollably while Tessa was shouting, “You’re almost there, Remy! Whoop, whoop! Team Remy-T Wreckers coming in for the win. Yeah, baby!”
Scout’s eyes went wide. “Go, Dad! We gotta catch her. Rocket speed!”
I shifted him, tucking his side to mine so he could stretch out his arms like he was flying, and I was supplying the rocket propulsion as we bounded back the opposite direction, a bunch of sounds bubbling out of my mouth as I found a lightness I hadn’t felt in a long, long time.
Remy rounded third base.
Tessa jumped up and down on the pitcher’s mound, waving her hands in the air and cheering on my kid. “Go, Remy, go!”
Both their faces were red.
Joy radiated all around.
Guessed it was my joy, too.
This feeling in the air that might have been the best thing I’d ever felt.
Scout kept himself rigid, still zooming through the air. “After burners, Dad!”
I increased my speed a fraction.
Remy screamed and laughed as she ran for home, my daughter soaring free when her steps were often laden with reservation.
Her load too heavy.
I made sure that we just missed her as she stomped onto the base.
“Ahh, dang, you’re too fast.” I feigned the grumbled complaint while my little girl squealed in victory and shouted, “I did it! I did it!”
Tessa ran her way, her arms in the air. “You did it! You are a rockstar, Remington Hendricks!”
They jumped, high-fiving each other with both hands.
“Oh, man,” Scout whined. “We got a tie. How do we even know who’s the best?”
I pressed my lips to the top of his head. “Means we’re all the best, little man.”
“That’s Rocketman to you,” he told me.
A chuckle got free, and Tessa was giggling nonstop, her smile so bright, happiness this glow of warmth that surrounded her.
She poked Scout’s belly where I’d shifted him upright. “Pure awesomesauce, I tell you.”
He jumped out of my arms and into hers.
She caught him like she was completely accustomed to pint-sized shenanigans. “There’s my Rocketman! You’re off to Mars!” she sang as she swung him around.
Peals of his laughter rang in the air, and Remy moved to hold my hand, grinning in a way I hadn’t seen her do in so long that I’d almost forgotten what it looked like.
God, I wasn’t even sure how to navigate through it when I kept getting struck with an urge to capture it.
Hold it and protect it forever.
“Okay, I think that’s my favorite game.” Remy was almost shy to say it, though it was adrenaline and glee rushing all over her face.
“So fun!” Tessa agreed.
Everyone was panting with the exertion, sweat slicking our skin, and we moved back to where we had the blanket set up in the shade.
Tessa flopped down onto her back on it, Scout still held in her arms. Remy flopped right down beside her.
Tessa rolled her head in Remy’s direction so they were staring at each other where they lie on their backs. “Thank you for being on my team.”
“Best team ever.” Timidity might have filled Remy’s voice, but joy shined in her eyes.
They just sat there for a second, smiling at each other, something special moving between them.
Scout climbed off Tessa, and he crawled to the cooler and tossed open the lid. “I spy with my little eye a blue Popsicle.”
Like he hadn’t spotted it earlier when we were passing out sandwiches and fresh-cut fruit.
He reached for one.
“You’re supposed to ask first, little man,” I told him.
“Is it okay, Tessa?” He beamed at her. I was pretty sure those full lips would be enough to swindle the last dollar out of a starving man’s hand.
I blinked at him. “Excuse me? What am I, chopped liver?”
Scout shrugged. “Tessa’s got my back.”
Tessa sat up, pressing her fingertips to her mouth like she was trying to keep back her laughter.
“What are you giggling about?” I asked, voice low as I climbed down onto my knees at the edge of the oversized blanket.
“I think I found myself a couple of new besties.” Her smile softened, pure affection as she glanced between the two of them.
Remy smiled, too, and fuck, my chest tightened.
I loved to see my little girl happy.
“I’ll be your best friend because you brought me a Popsicle,” Scout supplied as he grabbed a handful of them and started to pass them out.
“One for Daddy-Doo, one for Remy-Roo, one for Tessa-Too.”
My kid, he was a poet.
“Dad, you better kiss her if you’re gonna marry her,” Scout said so nonchalant as he peeled the wrapper and stuck the blue bullet into his mouth. “Because in a minute, she’s gonna have blue lips, and that’s gross.”
I knew we were going to have to get these displays of affection right, but my nerves decided it was a fine time to short-circuit.
To go zapping and zinging in all those places she kept bringing to life.
Shaking me down and tightening my guts in a flurry of want as I looked at the woman who watched me with such a tenderness that my spirit groaned.
“You’ve got love, Dad,” Remy whispered.
Soft encouragement that cut me to the quick.
My child’s belief filling me full after I’d lost it.
Warily, I crawled forward on my knees, already towering over Tessa where she sat on the blanket.
Curling my hand around the back of her neck, I drew her closer.
That feeling rising that I had to keep at bay.
But those blue eyes, they were so intense and deep and filled with this trust that spread like fingers through my senses.
The girl a lure.
Her lips barely parted as we sat there with an inch of space separating us.
My heart thundered too loud, and I finally drew her the rest of the way in and pressed my lips to hers.
Somewhere between firm and soft.
Breathing her in.
Torment and bliss.
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Connect with A.L.
A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.
Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, FIGHT FOR ME, CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART, FALLING STARS, and REDEMPTION HILLS novels. Watch out for her upcoming stand-alone, PROMISE ME ALWAYS, releasing January 30th!
If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.
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