Travis has done everything to keep his daughter safe. He's fought a long, hard battle in the courts to gain full custody and has finally found some breathing room. But that security comes at a heavy price.
Staying in a motel and living off his quickly dwindling savings is no way to raise a toddler, so when Liam steps into his life and offers him hundreds of dollars just to watch his dogs for a weekend, it almost seems too good to be true.
But when he finds out there is more to Liam than he ever thought, he has a hard decision to make. Can he and his daughter stay and be safe or will he need to leave?
Liam clipped the thin leashes to Lucy and Ethel’s collars with quick, precise movements. They were a tapestry of wrinkles and drool, with small black eyes and long, gangly legs they hadn’t quite gotten the hang of yet in their eight short months of life. He loved his Neapolitan Mastiffs greatly and appreciated them all the more for being a gift from an ally he had helped earlier that year. The man’s generosity had not been a surprise, but the two shiny silver puppies delivered to his doorstep had been.
The small parking lot was nearly empty as they jumped out of the back of his large SUV and landed solidly on the ground. Lucy, the younger of the sisters by four whole minutes and months of maturity, tried gnawing on her leash for a moment before a look from Liam stopped her instantly. He allowed some puppy-like behaviors from them at home, but he expected far more from them out in public. And at nearly one hundred pounds each, that was as much for the benefit of society as it was for his peace of mind.
The thin leather leashes were an annoyance in his hand as he entered the small upscale boutique. He disliked them greatly and only used them as a show for the humans to ease their worries. In reality, his dogs, and most others he had met, obeyed him because he was dominant and expected nothing less from them. The boutique was awash with rich sheer drapes in the dramatic colors of plum, indigo and emerald. His boss’s twin, Evangeline, had been a longtime customer and he’d been picking up her purchases ever since the first day. Once a month she would call the owner, a lovely redhead named Miranda, and they would talk endlessly about what was new and what was trendy in the world of fashion that they both loved. Before the girls had arrived, Liam would walk in like any other of Miranda’s customers. He’d brought them in when others were there shopping when they’d been just a few months old as well. But as his dogs had grown, he’d realized that how people reacted to them had changed and he’d started making appointments to pick up Evangeline’s purchases during Miranda’s lunch hour. The quiet and privacy suited him just fine as well.
Miranda gave him a bright smile from her seat behind the small glass case as he approached. “Mr. Glass, good to see you again sir. And your lovely ladies as well,” she said, leaning across to give each of his dogs a quick pat.
“I swear they’ve grown nearly a half a foot since I saw you three in here last month.”
Liam nodded. “That sounds about right, Miranda.”
His dogs took their places, sitting on either side of him as he began to peruse the earrings. “So who’s the lucky recipient this time?” she asked him, leaning forward to look at the selection as well.
“Those little diamond studs are new.” She pointed to the ones she meant and sighed wistfully. “They’re really beautiful.”
Liam smiled. They were nice-looking. She knew that he most often shopped for Evangeline, but the bright silver chain he wore was from Miranda’s shop as well. “My boss has annoyed Evangeline and has sent me out to apologize to her with jewelry while I’m getting the rest of her things.” He shifted his gaze to the emeralds but quickly moved away. They would be too dark against her coffee colored skin.
Miranda giggled. “Have something in mind already?”
He pursed his lips. Normally he’d have just grabbed the first thing he thought might fit the bill and then paid for it. It’s what he did for her birthday every year. But this time Samson had sent him out with the idea of apologizing to her, not an easy feat when the woman kept her grudges like she kept her fine chocolate—as close to her as possible and in a combination locked safe.
Nothing looked quite right and he was about to become discouraged when his gaze caught on a bright gold necklace with a trail of different gemstones winding down it like a river. The pinks, yellows, and purples would go beautifully with her skin and the diamonds were brilliantly clear. He tapped on the glass over that one and Miranda instantly pulled it out for him.
“Wow, it’s beautiful,” she said candidly as she stroked the largest of the stones at the bottom of the river, a beautiful yellow gem. “She’s going to love it.”
Liam nodded. “I think you’re right.” He pulled out the credit card Samson had given him and handed it over to her. He didn’t care about the price, didn’t even look at the little tag. Samson wouldn’t have cared and Liam wasn’t going to change his mind on the perfect gift for his alpha’s twin.