Tempting Love - Haley & Eddie (Crossroads #5)

By: Melanie Shawn

Haley had a little pep in her step as she made her way across the street. She could see Eddie and Emily through the large bay window sitting in the kitchen and eating; it made her heart flutter. Not only was Eddie sexy as sin, funny, smart, capable, and gorgeous, he was also an amazing father.

How in the world could any woman leave him? Willingly?

Not only had Lacey left, she hadn’t looked back. Haley hadn’t known Emily’s mom that well. She’d been away at college when Lacey had left both him and newborn baby Emily. From what she remembered and the things she’d heard, Lacey had always tended to be on the wild side of things.

Haley remembered walking home from school in fifth grade and seeing Lacey, who had been in high school at the time, hanging out of a truck, flashing her ta-tas for the world to see, screaming, “Spring Break! Woooo!” The kids Haley had been with all thought it was cool and funny. Not Haley. Even at the young age of ten, she could remember thinking, That girl’s got problems.

After knocking twice on the front door, Haley let herself in. “Hello, my favorite people!” she announced brightly as she stepped into the house.

“Haley!” Emily shrieked, jumping out of her chair and running at full speed as if she hadn’t seen her in years, when actually they’d done a jigsaw puzzle over at Haley’s house just that morning.

“Hi, pretty girl,” Haley smiled as Em flung herself into her arms.

“I get to stay up until ten o’clock,” Emily announced excitedly as she ran back to her seat at the kitchen table.

“Wow, that’s great.” Haley tried to keep her voice even and appear calm as she followed the excited girl into the kitchen.

It was more than a little tricky though, considering the fact that Eddie was sitting at the table directly in front of her wearing a black V-neck t-shirt that showed just a hint of the phoenix tattoo he had on his chest. Haley’s fingers itched to run along the outline of it.

Knowing she couldn’t stand there and drool, she forced her eyes up and—hello!—saw his eyes roaming up and down her body. She shivered from the sheer force of his gaze.

“Hey,” she said weakly as she lifted her hand in greeting.

“Hi.” His deep voice washed over her, and even though they were smack dab in the middle of a heat wave, a second chill raced through her.

“We’re having cheesy noodles and dogs. Do you want some?” Emily asked.

“Sure.” She wasn’t at all hungry. Well, for food anyway. But if she stood under Eddie’s heated stare any longer she was worried that she might start visibly shaking.

As she walked past Eddie, on the way to the stove to fill herself a plate, the combination of his cologne and soap drifted up in the air. Closing her eyes, she took in a deep breath through her nose and his intoxicating scent washed over her. It was so good, she wanted to bathe in that smell.

Damn, Haley thought as she forced her feet to keep moving, I’ve got it bad.

Emily sat on her knees at the table talking a mile a minute, contemplating all the things that they could do with her extra hour before bedtime. Haley was “hmming” and “oohing” in response to the excited musings, but she had to admit that she was really only half listening. Her body was hmming and oohing for its own reasons—Eddie’s presence!—so loudly that she couldn’t really concentrate on what Em was saying.

After grabbing a plate from the cupboard, she turned to find Eddie standing right in front of her.

Her breath caught in her throat and she clutched her plate to her chest. With a knowing glint in his eye and a small smile lifting at his lips, he leaned past her and set the dinner bowl on the counter next to the sink behind her. His movement caused his forearm to brush lightly against her hip, causing a tremor so strong, she was sure he must have felt it spread through her from the brief contact.

“Hey, Em?” Eddie’s deep voice vibrated through her entire body as she stared up into his gorgeous dark brown eyes. “Did you clean up your Barbies?”

“Oops,” she heard Emily say under her breath as she jumped up from her chair. Empty bowl in hand, totally unaware of the sexual tension so thick it could be cut with a butter knife, Em ran in between them, causing Haley to take a step backward, her lower back hitting the counter. She was only vaguely aware of the loud crashing sound of the plastic bowl hitting the sink as a flash of honey-blond hair flew out of the kitchen.

Haley stood in front of Eddie, staring straight ahead, eye level to his muscular chest, her fingers tightly clutching the ceramic plate she was holding. As he took a step towards her, closing the distance between them, he reached up, brushing a stray hair that had fallen in her face behind her ear.

“You look nice,” he said before his hand once again fell at his side. On its path down, his fingers lightly touched the strap of her dress tied around her neck. “Is this new?”

Haley’s lips were numb and a large knot had formed in her throat. “Yes,” she spoke softly as her eyes lifted to meet his.

“Do you have a hot date tonight?” Eddie asked in a low tone.