When your private life becomes public fodder, sometimes fate steps in with a helping hand.
Anderson Pace wasn’t a household name until his football career ended and his private life became tabloid news. With rumors running rampant, the last thing he and his wife, Erin, want is for the world to know he’s not as take-charge as they think… or that what they both want more than anything is to find her the perfect Daddy.
In steps Logan.
All Logan wants is to run his lodge and to find two loving people to share his life with. However, living in the middle of nowhere in Montana makes finding the right people difficult. Well, difficult until Anderson and Erin step off a private plane and land right in his lap.
Sometimes finding love is hard—and sometimes love lands right at your feet, and you just need to have the courage to hold it tight.
Author’s Note: While the cutest characters from the previous books in this series show up in this one as side characters, this sweet age play story can be read as a standalone.
“Oh my god, that’s Rory Flint.” Erin’s whispered fangirling would’ve been embarrassing if the obsession in question—the fabulous and slightly infamous actor Rory Flint—hadn’t just whispered to his companions too.
“Oh my god, that’s Ander Pace.” His companions were too busy trying not to laugh to be embarrassed.
Did two fans cancel out each other’s drama?
“He’s got the best ass in the NFL.”
That definitely hadn’t been what I was expecting to hear from the guy who’d been dubbed the sweetest actor in Hollywood.
Erin giggled, finally making the movie star realize he hadn’t been nearly as quiet as he’d thought he’d been.
“Oops.” His eyes widened, and he stepped back toward the man who seemed to be his bodyguard. “Purely for research, you know? There’s talk of a football movie.”
That wasn’t believable at all.
And clearly his wife and his… his something didn’t think so either, based on their snickers.
Erin giggled again then made an exaggerated motion, pretending to zip her lips, that had me rolling my eyes and groaning.
Which just had Rory’s eyes going wider.
He finally leaned into his male companion and tried to whisper again. “I can’t tell if he’s going to squish me or if he thinks I’m funny.”
The man took one look at me and then leaned down low, never breaking eye contact. He actually knew how to whisper, so I didn’t get to hear what he said, but Rory’s wide eyes turned from worried to surprised. “Really?”
The man had obviously been keeping up with the news better than the sexy actor had.
He gave a brief nod and a half shrug as he smiled at Rory. “I think so.”
Definitely not just a bodyguard.
I was starting to think the rumors about them… not the rumors about their house being shot up, the dirty rumors… were actually true.
So did Erin.
More giggles escaped and she pressed her hand over her mouth dramatically.
She’d been barely holding on to her grown-up side with all the stress over the past few days and the giggles said she was tired of being big.
Not that I blamed her.
I finally swallowed, wishing we had more time. “You’re going to pretend that you haven’t seen us and we’ll do the same.”
Erin’s hand slipped and words just came flooding out. “We didn’t get shot up, but we made the news too, and oh my god, the press is going nuts. We’ve never been in the spotlight like this and people are such assholes, but we’re not assholes, and I think your new boyfriend is hot. He’s yours, right? I mean, I’ve seen rumors and stuff, and I thought you were seeing that other guy, but—”
Why weren’t binkies in public socially acceptable for littles who talked too much?
They really should be, but since that wouldn’t work and I wasn’t supposed to put my hand over her mouth in public—some reporter declared that to be rude early in my career—I did what I always did. I kissed her and the words stopped.
Rory giggled again, but it was his wife that spoke this time, barely restrained laughter in her voice. “I’m starting to understand why you guys are always caught on camera kissing.”
Something about the way she looked at me reminded me of Mistress Heather from the club, and I had to fight the blush that was trying to creep over my face. Former NFL players did not blush when pretty women looked at them like they’d been naughty.
Erin giggled again.
She knew that look, too.
“I…” I had no idea what to say.
I’d have probably just stood there stupidly while Erin confessed our entire sordid history, but thankfully the man who’d been standing by the van didn’t have that problem. “The leeches are going to figure shit out if you all don’t get a move on.”
The man with the trimmed beard, who looked a bit like a dressed-up lumberjack, stepped forward and hugged the man that Rory seemed to be… doing something with. I wasn’t sure the news could be trusted in general, but I was starting to think they’d gotten something right this time.
“Call more, asshole. We want to hear how everything’s going.” The order from the man I thought was from the lodge we were staying at had the bodyguard smiling.
“You just want more gossip.” The bodyguard guy… had anyone said his name… smiled and couldn’t seem to resist teasing his friend even though they knew we could see.
“Damn right.” The lumberjack man scoffed. “Why else would I want to talk to you?”
Then he actually winked at Rory. “Keep him in line.”
There was definitely a lot going on in his personal life… and it wasn’t any of my business or Erin’s, so I kissed her again. That earned me a sigh and a cute pout from her—and more giggles from Rory.
As the group of three stepped toward the small regional airport terminal we’d just come out of, Rory looked at the lumberjack guy again. “If you think we have enough in common… you know… give her my number.”
Rory’s wife rolled her eyes and their companion was desperately trying to keep a straight face, but the lumberjack guy nodded, taking it all very seriously. “Deal.”
Erin’s eyes were as wide as plates. “Oh, really. I can’t keep secrets at all if I talk, but Anderson won’t let me talk in public, so it’ll be okay. Oh, and we’re not going anywhere for a while. The pictures, you know, so you don’t have to worry about it.”
Rory blinked, and as his companions ushered him into the building, he finally got his questions together. “What pictures? Are they interesting too? Are they hiding from people too? Is it about sex?”
Oh God, they matched.
Erin giggled, and I was a bit worried about what the man by the SUV would be doing, but he was trying not to laugh. Shaking his head, he finally got his snickering under control and was back to looking gruff and businesslike. “I’m Logan, and I’ll be escorting you two to the lodge.”
When I just nodded, he looked between us. “You should’ve kept the sunglasses on and stayed a bit more incognito.”
Erin pouted, not deterred at all. “But it was Rory.”
He scoffed. “You’re just as famous right now as he is. You need to be more careful until the leeches get distracted.”
That was all he had to say?
He clearly knew about the pictures and the drama, but the only part he seemed to care about at all was our privacy.
Erin nodded and looked like she was ready to curl up with her bear and her binkie. “Yes, Sir.”
I waited for him to respond or to say something about it. Usually we’d get a side glance at the very least before someone brushed it off, but he simply nodded like it was a perfectly reasonable response. “Good. Now let’s get you back to the lodge so you can finally relax. You guys must’ve been flying since early this morning.”
I had a feeling he wasn’t any more traditional than Rory Flint was turning out to be.
Maybe the lodge hadn’t been such a bad idea after all.
When we both nodded, he looked around. “Are these all your bags? I don’t want to forget anything.”
“This is it. The staff on the plane was very thorough.” The one good thing about flying in a private plane was that the service was top-notch. I know I should’ve loved it, but being watched by everyone and basically being the center of attention made me nervous.
If a football or a flogger wasn’t involved, I didn’t want to stand out.
“Good.” He studied our suitcases like he could see right through them. “Do we need to stop to get anything as we drive through town? You guys need to keep a low profile until Rory’s stuff comes out and distracts them, so once we get to the cabins, there will be no joyrides into town for shampoo.”
For some reason, Erin thought the gruff orders were cute. I could see how much she liked him as she shook her head. She even managed to keep her mouth shut so she wouldn’t blab everything that was going through her head.
“I think we have just about everything practical, but could we stop for groceries?” The cabin we were staying at was supposed to have a kitchen, so I wanted to make sure we were stocked up.
Logan nodded. “I stocked up on staples and regular groceries this morning. Make me a list for anything that I might not have thought of as we drive, and I’ll stop into the store as we go through town.”
He was right. My going into the grocery store right now wouldn’t be keeping a low profile… but I wasn’t sure listing out dinosaur chicken nuggets and noodle soup would be really easy to explain.
“Sure, thanks.” Trish and Mike had said he was discreet, but I was starting to think they’d left out a few things.
Discreet people were hard to deal with sometimes.
That was one of the reasons I loved Erin so much. I never had to guess what she was thinking or worry about what she wasn’t saying. She told me everything and always had. She was absolutely perfect for me, and I’d known that from the first time I’d met her.
“Alright, let’s go before people get curious.” Logan looked around suspiciously at a handful of people who were coming up to the front of the tiny airport. I couldn’t decide if he was trying to protect us or if he was just suspicious by nature, but I kind of thought it was cute.
No one ever questioned if I could take care of myself or if I needed to be protected.
It was nice.
Logan had the bags stowed in the back of his SUV and us in the back seat in no time. When we were driving away from the airport, he glanced at us in the rearview mirror. “Do you need paper or do you want to text me the list?”
Yes, the list.
Erin might be ready to be little, but I was ready for a nap.
We’d been running on fumes for the past few days and knowing we were finally away from all the drama had everything hitting at once. “I think…”
I looked over at Erin, who was digging through her magic bag that always had everything in it. As she pulled out a small pad and pen, I looked up at Logan. “I’ll write it down.”
Ignoring the fact that some of the stuff was clearly food for a kid, I wrote down a list of her favorite little foods. I had most of her favorite toys and things like her crayons. That was one of the reasons we had so many suitcases, but everyone seemed to think it was normal for celebrity-ish people to look like they were moving… and even Logan hadn’t thought it was crazy for us to show up with four big suitcases.
As I made the list, Erin snuggled closer and rested her head on my shoulder. I gave her forehead a kiss and whispered low. “You can take a nap if you want.”
She slept like the dead, so even if we stopped along the way, she wouldn’t notice.
The yawn that escaped had me chuckling. “But I should… I needed to…”
She needed to sleep.
“We’ll work on what to do next later.” We had a thousand decisions to make, but they could wait for us to relax and let things settle down.
I got a smile, and she nodded as she took a long, deep breath and her body started to go boneless against me. Logan was quiet for a few minutes, but when it was clear she was out for the count, he chuckled. “I’ve never seen anyone fall asleep that fast.”
I had to smile. “She’s always been like this.”
“She looks exhausted.” Logan paused for a moment before he glanced in the rearview mirror again. “It looks like you guys have had a long few days.”
Yep, he knew.
“Yeah, hopefully, it will quiet down soon.” I wasn’t counting on that, but people seemed to like hearing me say it.
Logan snorted. “They’ll get distracted by something bright and shiny fairly quickly. Rory’s got something that will draw their attention away from you guys. I wouldn’t worry if I were you.”
No one we’d talked to had been this laid-back.
“You’re not going to ask any questions?” I took a breath and focused on how Erin felt pressed against me. “About if I cheated on her or what I was doing?”
I hadn’t even gotten a dirty look from the guy.
Hell, none of them had given us weird looks.
Logan actually rolled his eyes. “First of all, that is not a woman who feels like she’s been cheated on.”
He had a point there, but no one had looked at it logically so far, so I was kind of surprised.
“Second, Trish and Mike were very vague about why you needed to have some privacy for a while, but it wasn’t hard to look you up, and while I don’t travel much, I know that club.” He shrugged. “So while it’s none of my business, I don’t think you cheated and she’s exhausted, not mad.”
Relief flooded through me.
I shouldn’t have cared that he didn’t think I was some kind of weirdo cheating asshole, but for some reason I did. “Thanks.”
I wasn’t sure for what exactly, but he just gave me another nod, taking it all in stride. “We’ve got a bit of a drive if you want to take a nap too.”
That sounded incredible, but I shook my head. “I’m good.”
I’d fall asleep eventually, but my head was going in too many circles for my brain to actually relax. I’d learned a long time ago that sooner or later my body would shut down and make me sleep, but until that point, I just had to ride it out.
Logan made another rude, disbelieving sound. “And the moon is made of green cheese.”
I couldn’t help but quietly laugh as I tried to be still for Erin. He was gruff and gave off a wouldn’t take shit kind of vibe, but something about him said he wouldn’t be easily shocked and he wouldn’t back down.
Maybe Montana was going to be better than I’d thought.