Tempting Love - Haley & Eddie (Crossroads #5)

By: Melanie Shawn


“I’m not that much younger than you.” Haley lifted her gaze to him, blue eyes sparking and her voice holding a hint of challenge.

Those eyes, clear blue like the Mediterranean Sea, haunted his dreams. Every night when he closed his eyes, he saw them. He could easily get lost for hours in her eyes.

Clearing his throat, he brought the subject back to much safer ground. “I should wrap up right around when Em gets out for summer break.”

Eddie was going to talk to Jason, who was now the president of Sloan Construction since his dad Bob, had stepped down last year, about working jobs closer to home this summer so he could spend more time with Emily. The last three builds he’d been on were in the Chicago area, and the commute could take up to two hours one way.

Luckily, he’d always had a lot of help with Emily. The Sloans were a huge resource. He’d been best friends with Riley Sloan since grade school. Now since Riley had married Eddie’s sister Chelle, a couple of years ago, he was actually his brother-in-law. But it wasn’t just Riley, Chelle, and Haley who helped out.

Nope. Riley’s brother Jason (who was Eddie’s boss) and his wife Katie, the oldest Sloan brother Seth and his wife Amber (who was Haley’s boss at Bella), Alex and his wife Jamie (whose son Joey was one of Emily’s best friends), and the youngest Sloan boy Bobby (who also worked at Sloan Construction) and his wife Sophie were like Eddie’s family, and they certainly treated Emily as one of their own.

And Emily felt like part of their family. She called them all ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’. There was rarely a weekend that there wasn’t some kind of Sloan family function. Whether it was a birthday or just a barbeque, the Sloans knew how to throw a party and they always included Eddie and Emily.

Which was just one more reason that he needed to keep his distance from Haley. Their lives were totally intertwined. He couldn’t risk things going wrong with them. It wouldn’t be fair for either of them or, most importantly, for Emily.

“That’s great. She’s been missing you lately. We all have.” Haley’s confidence seemed to wane as she ducked her head down. Her cheeks flushed red as she moved her food around her plate with her fork.

Eddie had to hold in a groan. She was killing him.

It was a slow and painful death. She was the perfect woman. Smart, sexy, sweet, talented, funny, honest, trustworthy. The only problem was…she was Haley. Haley Sloan. If being with her only broke one rule or even two, he wouldn’t bat an eye. If being with her even had an equal number of pros and cons on the list, he’d consider it. But she not only broke all of his rules; the list of why they would be a bad idea was a mile long.

Which was why he had no idea why he was asking, “Who’s all?”

Her blue eyes shot up to meet his. “What?”

“You said, ‘we all.’” For some reason, Eddie just wanted to hear her say it. He wanted to hear her say that she missed him.

“Oh, well, I just meant”—Haley cleared her throat and then surprised him by sitting up a little straighter—“that I miss you.”

There it was. What he’d wanted to hear. They silently stared at each other across the small wooden table for what felt like forever before Eddie felt his phone vibrate once again in his pocket.

Shit.

Standing, he said, “I should be home by midnight. Is that okay?”

Haley smiled but there was a hint of sadness Eddie knew hadn’t been there a moment before. “I’ll be here.”

He nodded and grabbed his keys off the counter. Just before he made it to the front door, he turned back around. “Hales.”

“Yeah?” She looked up at him, still seated at his kitchen table.

“I miss you, too.”

He quickly turned and headed out the door, but not before he’d seen the shock that had immediately covered her face. What the hell was wrong with him? He should kick his own ass for saying that. He’d always been so careful not to give anyone the wrong idea. He’d learned his lesson early on that giving a woman false hope ended badly for both parties involved.

So what had he been doing asking her a question to try and get her to reveal that she missed him and telling her that he missed her too?

He jumped in his truck and turned the key in the ignition, making sure that the air conditioning was on full blast. As he pulled out of the driveway, he decided that the more time he spent with Haley, the more his resolve was crumbling like a house of cards.

If he was going to keep his hands and other, more insistent, parts of his body to himself, then he needed to distance himself from her. No more sending Em to clean her room, take a shower, do the dishes, or any other of the hundred tasks he’d sent his daughter on to get a few precious moments of alone time with Haley Sloan.

That all needed to stop. Now.

If it didn’t, Eddie wasn’t sure he would be able to stop himself from doing something he couldn’t take back, something that would change not only his and Haley’s life, but Emily’s too.

He wouldn’t let that happen. No matter how tempting it was.





Chapter Three