Tempting Love - Haley & Eddie (Crossroads #5)

By: Melanie Shawn

As Eddie was just about to close the garage, he saw the front door of Haley’s house open and his hand froze on the handle. A twinge of disappointment twisted in his chest when he saw red hair shining in the sun as Krista stepped onto the porch. He nodded in greeting as Haley’s sister waved on the way to her car.

Damn, Eddie whispered under his breath as he pulled the heavy garage door shut. He seriously needed to get a grip on himself and his reactions in the Haley department. Since she’d returned from college four years ago, Eddie’s attraction, feelings, or whatever the hell it was that made him think about her constantly—against his will!—had become a serious issue.

He’d tried to deny it. Fight it. Ignore it. Nothing seemed to help. As in-control and self-disciplined as Eddie was, he seemed to have zero control and only a small thread of discipline when it came to Haley Sloan.

“Clean up your Barbies or no ten o’clock bedtime,” Eddie called out as he navigated his way around, what looked to be some kind of Barbie, G.I. Joe wedding that Em had set up on the stairway landing.

“Okay,” his daughter’s voice rang out from the kitchen.

At the top of the stairs, he found himself pausing and looking out the window that sat above the front door and had a direct line to another window—Haley’s bedroom window.

He could see her through the white wooden shades. She was looking at something. Studying it. Her head tilted to the side, and he couldn’t make it out clearly but he knew that she was biting her lip, the way she did whenever she was seriously considering something or concentrating. His body tensed in response to seeing her, the way it always did.

Forcing himself to move away, he pulled off his shirt as he stepped into his bedroom. He felt anxious. On edge. Irritated.

It seemed like he had perpetually been in that state since Haley had moved into the house across the street with Krista six months ago. Now, instead of seeing her around town, at Sloan family functions, and the one or two times a month she stayed with Em, he had the added torture of seeing her every day.

Add to that the fact that he now saw her doing things that up to this point, she’d only done as the star in his fantasies—but now—they were playing out in real time right before his eyes. For example, taking out the garbage in short shorts that left very little to the imagination, washing her car in tank tops she could easily have won any wet t-shirt contest in, or bending over to get her groceries out of the trunk in dresses and skirts.

Torture. It was pure torture.

Even when she wasn’t doing something that made his dick grow hard in .0002 seconds, he found himself watching for her, hoping to catch glimpses of her on her way to work, coming home from work, or—the worst—going out on dates with losers that Eddie wanted to pound into the ground.

It had been hard enough—literally!—when she’d started watching Emily for him and he’d see her in his home once or twice a month. Now, she stopped by a few times a week. She and Em colored, painted their nails, watched TV, and read books. Seeing her with his daughter did something to him. Made him feel things he shouldn’t feel and want things he couldn’t have.

Moving into the bathroom, Eddie reached in and turned the silver handle in the middle of the tiled wall. As the sound of water began rushing out of the showerhead, he stepped out of his jeans and into the stall. Shutting the glass door behind him, he stood under the hot spray and tried to clear his head of all things Haley.

But instead of that happening, flashes of her smile, her silky hair, her vibrant blue eyes flashed in rapid succession in his brain. He felt himself growing hard at the images.

Shit. He didn’t have time to take care of his growing problem. Plus, he didn’t need to. He was seeing Claire tonight. Hot, sexy, kinky Claire. She was more than capable of handling things in his growing area.

So why did Eddie still feel annoyed and irritated? Why wasn’t he more excited at the thought having hot, dirty sex? Why wasn’t Claire the one on his mind?

Hell, if he was honest with himself, he wasn’t even looking forward to seeing Claire tonight. And last month, he had felt lukewarm at best at seeing Erica. Then there was Trish a few weeks before that. He’d had to talk himself out of canceling.

Eddie used to look forward to his nights off. He had decided about six years ago that the only arrangement that made sense for his life was to have sex-only, no-strings attached affairs in other towns. These affairs were only with women who knew that was all it was now, and that was all it was ever going to be. Over the years, the women had changed but the arrangement, the agreement, had stayed exactly the same. It worked for him. He got what he needed physically and Emily’s life was not affected by it.

Nowadays though, he felt like he was just going through the motions. Sure, he was attracted to the women he saw, and some of them were actually enjoyable company. But he couldn’t remember the last time he’d looked forward to one of these nights.

Well, that’s not entirely true—the past six months he had. Because since Haley had moved across the street, she’d begun staying after he got home and they’d have a beer on the back deck or sit in front of the fireplace. A couple of times, they’d even watched a movie.