Promise Bound

Promise Bound by Anne Greenwood Brown

Book: Promise Bound by Anne Greenwood Brown Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anne Greenwood Brown
the tinny speaker. I snorted.
    “I couldn’t help myself,” he said.
    It reminded me of my first day swimming with Calder and the words he’d said: “It’s not freakin’ Ariel. Think
Silence of the Lambs
.” But no matter how hard Calder had tried to impose a horror story on me, at the time, all I could see were possibilities.
    There were three sharp knocks on Daniel’s door. “Openup, bro,” said a deep voice on the other side. “I’ve got beer and cheese curds.”
    Danny just stared at the door, not making a move toward it.
    “So …,” I hedged. “Do you want me to open it?”
    “Maybe you can just wait in the other room for a second,” Daniel suggested.
    “Are you kidding me? Why did you make me come over here in the first place?”
    Daniel shot me a nervous glance. “Just let me try to work it out on my own. If it sounds like I need help …”
    “Whatever.” I slipped out of the kitchen and into the bathroom on the opposite side of the kitchen wall. I leaned my back against the sink and picked the polish off my nails while Danny took some deep breaths. Then the security chain fell again.
    “Dude, home sweet home!” exclaimed one of the brothers, bursting through the door and dropping something heavy on the kitchen counter. “Awesome summer party hou—What. Is. That?”
    “What?” asked the other brother.
    I heard the refrigerator door open. Danny was playing it ridiculously cool. “It’s nothing,” he said. The sound of his voice was followed by a
crack
and a fizz. “Want a Coke?” he asked.
    “Like hell it’s nothing,” said the deeper voice.
    Footsteps fell across the kitchen floor. “Is that a baby?”
    “Of course it’s a baby,” Daniel said. “What did you think, I just decided to decorate the place in infant chic?”
    Awesome, Danny
, I thought.
Sarcasm should help a ton
.
    “I don’t understand,” said the second brother. “You living with some chick?”
    “No, I—” Danny floundered. “I—” The last strains of “Under the Sea” petered to a halt. I heard feet traveling across the floor, then Adrian cry out as he was lifted from the crib.
    “Oh, no,” said the first brother. “You didn’t. Oh, God, please tell me you didn’t.”
    Danny walked back into the kitchen. Adrian’s wail almost drowned out Daniel’s voice as he continued with his perfectly eloquent explanation: “I … I …”
    “Is that thing hers?”
    According to the bathroom clock, it had taken Danny’s brothers all of sixty-five seconds to connect the baby to Pavati. Not a huge surprise since they’d spent a year rehabilitating Danny after Pavati had dumped him for Jack Pettit.
    “After all that time deprogramming you?” the second brother asked. “I wasted the best year of my life.”
    Someone snorted and muttered, “Best year.”
    “You don’t know,” the voice continued. “What if that was supposed to be my best year? Maybe I could have been doing something great, and instead I spent it trying to get you over that bitch mermaid, listening to you bawling into your pillow every night, and now you’ve … Agh!”
    Something big and heavy hit the shared wall between the kitchen and the bathroom.
    The voice growled, “Tell me you aren’t this stupid, Danny.”
    “Dude …,” said the other voice.
    “Get your hands off me,” Danny warned. “Can’t you see I’m holding a baby?”
    That was my cue to leave the bathroom. Danny was on his own, but I drew the line when it came to Adrian’s safety. I had almost as much riding on his safe return as Danny did. If that meant diffusing his brothers’ assumption about Pavati (correct though it was), I’d bite the bullet.
    A second later I was in the kitchen. Danny’s shirt had three sweat circles going down his spine, and he was holding the back of his head with one hand and cradling Adrian with the other.
    “The baby’s mine,” I said. “Not Pavati’s. Danny’s letting me stay here with him, off and on.”
    “I

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