Perfect Fling

Perfect Fling by Carly Phillips Read Free Book Online

Book: Perfect Fling by Carly Phillips Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carly Phillips
man said.
    Cole nodded. “I’m listening.”
    He owed Mike the respect due as Erin’s brother, but the decision had been made, and he refused to budge. As for Mike’s feelings on the pregnancy, well, Cole didn’t need to hear that either. Facts were facts, just like done was done. He couldn’t change things now.
    To Cole’s surprise, Mike settled in beside him in a chair, instead of remaining on his feet to give himself the tactical advantage.
    “You’ve been gone awhile so you missed the drama with my old man,” Mike said.
    Cole hadn’t expected this line of discussion. “Simon?”
    “No. Rex Bransom.”
    Cole raised an eyebrow, then suddenly recalled old stories about how Simon Marsden had adopted Mike when he was a baby. Unsure where Mike was going, all Cole could do was listen. “Go on.”
    Mike groaned. “Rex got my mother pregnant when they were dating. He was always the bachelor, the charming guy, but not the one anyone could really count on for the long haul.”
    “Like me,” Cole said, not missing the similarities—or the dig.
    Mike eyed him intently. “I’m hoping the jury’s out on that.”
    Cole appreciated even that much leeway.
    Mike leaned back in his seat. “Look, I know what it’s like to grow up feeling unwanted by my real father. It didn’t matter that Simon did everything right; those scars remained. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
    “I won’t be abandoning my kid,” Cole said emphatically. If he knew nothing else, he knew that.
    He loved his job. It was dangerous and it took him away from any semblance of a real life, or even the chance of one. But it was all Cole knew. And it suited him. None of that meant he wouldn’t provide for his kid.
    Mike inclined his head. “That’s a start. But it’s not everything.”
    Cole swallowed hard. “Erin.” He said her name before Mike could.
    “This is my baby sister we’re talking about. I know the hell my mother went through, loving Rex, or thinking she did.”
    “It’s not like that between me and Erin.”
    Mike scowled. “Somehow I think getting pregnant from a one-night stand is worse.”
    Cole opened his mouth to speak, but Mike held up a hand. “Look, much as I love my sister, I respect that she’s got to live her own life and make her own choices.”
    Cole narrowed his gaze. “But?” He heard the unspoken word.
    “But she needs to have choices to make.”
    “That’s between me and your sister,” Cole bit out tightly. He wasn’t about to be pushed into anything by her concerned brother.
    Not only was it none of Mike’s business, but the pregnancy had just been sprung on him. He wasn’t denying responsibility, but whatever he and Erin decided, it wasn’t Mike’s call.
    Mike rose to his feet. “She’s got an entire family willing to step up and help her. If you’re going to break her heart, don’t hang around.”
    The other man hovered over him, but Cole wasn’t intimidated and refused to rise from his seat or take the bait. “Wasn’t it you who just said bailing on a kid leaves lingering scars?”
    Mike glared at him. “It sucked but I dealt with it. All it took was the love of a good woman. Take a hike if you can’t handle it. Erin will find someone worthy of her to step up in your place.”
    Cole’s stomach twisted, and he glared at the man he had thought was a friend. “And now we get to the real point. I’m not good enough for your sister.”
    “
You
said it, man.”
    Cole set his jaw, willing himself not to launch into anything physical. “I suggest you leave before we both say anything more we might regret. I’m that baby’s father and I’ll be around in whatever capacity Erin and I decide. Deal with it.”
    Cole chose this moment to rise to his feet.
    “I’ll be watching over my sister, Sanders. And over you.” With that, Mike stormed off, leaving Cole alone to wait for Erin, his entire body tight and wired.
    It didn’t matter that half of what Mike said echoed things Cole had

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