The Billionaire's Unexpected BabyBy: Kira Archer
To my hubs, who never complains when he has to sleep on the couch because I’m so exhausted I snore the roof tiles off.
Brooks Larson was the luckiest SOB on the planet and he knew it.
He leaned against the railing of his yacht, took a large sip of ridiculously expensive champagne, and a deep breath of crisp ocean air.
Cole Harrington, Brooks’s partner and best friend since college, joined him at the railing.
“Hell, yes. We just closed one of the biggest deals of our career, making us disgustingly wealthy—”
“Which we already were,” Cole said.
Brooks ignored that. “And I’m floating around in this magnificent tub of luxury surrounded by gorgeous women. Is there anything better in this world?”
“Yes,” Cole said with a smile that made his friend’s heart clench.
Brooks followed Cole’s gaze to where Kiersten and Piper, Cole’s wife and baby daughter, were lounging in the shade on a chaise longue.
“Are you really happy?” Brooks asked.
Cole scowled at him, but Brooks shook his head. “No. I’m not being sarcastic or trying to be insulting. I really want to know. You’re married. You have a baby. You’ve promised to be with the same woman for the rest of your life and have produced a tiny, crying little human who has effectively trapped you into adult responsibility. Don’t you miss being…free? Having your own life?”
Cole snorted. “Nice way to describe my family. And your goddaughter. And yes, to answer your question, I really am happy. And no, I don’t miss being free. I am free. I do have my own life. My life is there,” he said, pointing to his wife and daughter. “Everything I ever wanted is right there. I just never knew it until I met her.”
Kiersten looked up at that moment and smiled at her husband and, for a brief second, a small twinge of what might have been jealousy wormed its way through Brooks. What would it be like to have someone look at him the way Kiersten looked at Cole?
He shook his head and pushed the thought to the back of his mind. No one would ever look at him that way, and he sure as hell never wanted anyone to.
“Well, I’m happy for you, but you keep all that monogamy over on your side of the boat. I’m happy playing in the singles pool. Speaking of which…” He nodded at the striking young woman sitting next to Kiersten. “Who is that?”
Cole was already shaking his head. “Don’t even think about it.”
Brooks leaned on the railing, his gaze intensifying. “Well, now you’ve piqued my interest.”
Cole groaned. “I mean it, Brooks. That’s Leah Andrews. She’s one of Kiersten’s oldest friends, and Piper’s godmother. She’s helping out with the baby this weekend until we find a permanent nanny. And you are not to touch.”
“Hey. Poker club etiquette doesn’t apply here. She’s not an assistant, girlfriend, wife, or sister.”
“You really need to let that go.”
Cole snorted. “She’s Kiersten’s friend. She will neuter you faster than you can squeal out your phone number.”
“Oh, come on. Surely the lovely Leah can make her own decisions. She’s not attached to anyone, is she?”
“I think she’s going to be a nun.”
Brooks raised an eyebrow. “A challenge. I like it. A nun? Really?”
Cole sighed and rubbed his forehead. “I don’t know. Maybe she only works with nuns. At a school or something.”
Brooks clutched his chest. “Oh my God, you’re killing me. Seriously? A Catholic school teacher? Does she wear a uniform?”
Cole punched his arm and Brooks grunted. “Ow. Okay, okay. I’ll lay off. Unless she comes on to me. I’m a gentleman, after all. Turning her down would be rude.”
Cole laughed. “I should let you go for her just to watch Kiersten chew you up and spit you out. You know how she feels about you dating her friends.”
Brooks sighed. “Yeah, yeah. Though I still maintain my innocence on that front.”
“Right, because everything about you screams innocence.”
Brooks flashed his best smile. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m a total angel.”