Firstborn by Carrigan Fox Read Free Book Online

Book: Firstborn by Carrigan Fox Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carrigan Fox
    “I’m sure that she’d be happy to offer an opinion.  She usually has many opinions,” Taryn laughed.
    “She should know, however, that I’m not completely ignorant when it comes to protecting myself.  I can manage typically.”
    “Certainly.  But this situation may prove a bit atypical.”
    “I will ask her.  She may even wish to volunteer herself.”
    Her tone seemed a bit suggestive, putting Will on a bristly defensive for a brief moment.
    “And if she declines, I can certainly assign another extremely competent security detail to you.”
    “That sounds fair.  And Ms. MaCall?”
    “This isn’t a lame effort to hit on your sister.”
    Taryn grinned into the phone.  “The thought had not even crossed my mind, Dr. Archer.  But I will make that particular point clear when I proposition my sister on your behalf.”  She patted herself on the back for the clever word play.
    He hesitated a moment, probably trying to figure out if she was being smart.  “Thank you, Ms. MaCall.”
    She dialed her sister as soon as the call disconnected.  “You’re in trouble,” she greeted with a laugh.
    When she finished highlighting the conversation, Jaclyn groaned, “He isn’t serious.  Is he serious?  Yes, I would recommend that he consider 24-7 security, but specifically asking for me?  That’s got to be a joke.”
    “I might have nudged him in that direction,” Taryn admitted.
    “And he agreed?”
    “Apparently, your Madame Chloe trick made an impression on him.”
    She remembered him studying her body every time she turned her back and responded dryly, “I don’t think it was the premonition that piqued his interest.”
    “Before you turn me down, you should remember that this would be an excuse to spend time with Mr. Dreamy Eyes.”
    “I have a shop to run, Taryn.”
    “And the little curl in the end of his hair?  And the sexy glasses?”
    “No, Taryn.”
    She sighed in resignation.  “I suspected as much.  I’ll call him back and assign another officer.”
    “No, I’ll take care of calling Dr. Archer.”
    “Okey dokey,” Taryn responded.  She had hoped that her sister would offer to speak with him.
    The sixteen-year-old sitting across from him now could use a haircut and some clothes that actually fit her.  But before she would be ready to let her mother spend money on her, she needed to learn to let herself be loved again.  She gnawed anxiously on the cuticles of her fingers while her mother sat beside her and elbowed her in an effort to make her stop.  It was a habit that the girl had picked up in the last few months, and she often chewed them until she drew blood.   It was a mild but disgusting form of self-mutilation that Dr. Archer was also eager to curb.
    She was a younger version of her mother, both wearing their once sun-kissed blond hair long to emphasize their large brown eyes.  The mother had lines around her eyes, but they shared the dark circles and the sunken cheekbones.  Neither appeared to have basked in the sun recently.  But why would they?  They were struggling to repair their relationship after they had buried the men in their family. 
    Will had dated Dianne’s younger sister in high school, and he had even attended Dianne’s wedding to her own high school sweetheart.  He had been seventeen at the time and had been given his first beer by the groom that night.  He remembered how happy they both were and couldn’t imagine the grief that followed the accident that had killed her husband and her teenage son.
    Finally, the daughter spoke up.  “I’m glad that you weren’t killed in the accident,” she whispered.  And although the words were directed at her mother, she could not pull her eyes away from her thoroughly chewed cuticles.
    Dr. Archer studied the mother’s expression, noting the instantaneous tears that filled her eyes when she answered, “Oh, Corinne, I don’t know what I would have done

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