Betrayed (Whiskey Nights #4)

By: Suzannah Daniels



I opened the medicine, read the directions, and measured out the correct dosage in the syringe. Joseph had calmed down, and I squirted a little bit on his tongue. Noticing that something was different, he began working his mouth. Once he had swallowed that, I gave him the rest, and again he began smacking his lips while sticking his fingers in his mouth. I grabbed his hand. “Swallow the medicine first,” I said. Once it was down, I released his hand, and he tuned up to cry.

I glanced at the nail clippers, but there was no way in hell I could use them on a sleeping baby, let alone one that was squirming.

Not knowing what else to do, I closed the door, walked around to the driver’s side, and slid behind the wheel. I began driving, hoping he was one of those kids who fell asleep while riding.

Thirty minutes later, I decided it wasn’t going to happen as Joseph continued to squall.

Spotting a community playground, I pulled in and parked. I quickly exited the car and retrieved him from his car seat. “Come on, buddy,” I whispered, taking him in my arms. “It’s okay.” He sputtered as he tried to catch his breath, his hand gripping my dress shirt. He quieted and pulled against the fabric of my shirt as he lowered his head and rubbed his face across my chest. “Are you sleepy?”

I lifted him higher on my chest, and he laid his head down on my shoulder. Patting his back, I walked toward a long row of swings, and I sank into the one on the end, loose pebbles crunching under my feet. I rocked him back and forth, my feet never leaving the ground as I glanced up at the chains and hoped they were sturdy enough to hold my weight.

The playground wasn’t busy, and I only saw two other kids on it. They looked like sisters, and they were climbing on the monkey bars, swinging with great enthusiasm as they called to their mother to watch.

Joseph grew still, and I realized he was asleep, his breathing deep and steady. For the life of me, I didn’t know how women did it. I’d only been with Joseph for a couple of hours, and I was flat out exhausted and more than ready to turn him back over to his mother.

Shit, no wonder Jessica looked so rough.

While working at Flex Appeal, I would often spot people who were working out, ready to step in and help them if they tried to lift more weight than they could handle. I felt a little like I was spotting for Jessica, helping her when things had gotten out of control. But unlike spotting at the gym, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew nothing about children and had no desire to have any.

And no wonder.

This little twenty-pounder had kicked my ass.

He lifted his head, but his eyes were still closed. Without warning, he turned his face toward mine and burrowed into my neck.

With a soft sigh, he settled back down, and for the briefest moment, I wondered what it would be like to have a son.





Chapter 3

Lifting Weights



Paxton



I was used to lifting weights. What I wasn’t used to was holding on to a tiny bundle, terrified that if I made the slightest movement, he would wake up from his peaceful slumber, open his tiny mouth, and emit screams loud enough to cause shock waves across the country.

I didn’t know how many hours I had sat in my parked car, this pint-sized being nestled against my chest, but the sun had long since set. My arms ached from sitting motionless, and I had the strangest recollection of playing freeze tag with Cade and Evan when we were growing up. Cade and I would often talk Evan into being it while we ran in circles around him. Sometimes, I would let him tag me, just to make him feel like winning wasn’t totally impossible, and Cade would torment me by making me wait an eternity before he would finally unfreeze me. The game usually ended with Evan giving up, and it took all of five minutes before Cade and I found a new way to torture our little brother.

But right now, Joseph was the one handing out the torture. Or to be more exact, it was his mother. I slowly shifted in the seat, attempting to alleviate the pressure on my spine, when my phone rang.

Please be her.

Moving slowly, I picked the phone up from the dash and answered. “Hello.”

“Paxton?”

“Yeah.”

“I can’t make bail. I’m going to talk to the judge on Monday to see if he will release me on my own recognizance.”

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