Love Accepted (A Lilac Romance Book 6)
Copyright © 2019 Pamela Ferguson
Published by Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications
Pete Warfield opened the dishwasher door, the stink of dirty dishes blasting him in the face. What had he been thinking, volunteering to help care for his nephew’s infant son? He didn’t know anything about babies. He poked around the food-crusted plates and sticky glasses. What did a basket of baby bottle nipples look like?
“Do you see it?” Reo Warfield, his nephew’s young wife, called from the living room. Her three-month-old son Sean squawked in the background.
“Looking.” Pete hoped his voice had the polite tone he reserved for customers at the garage. He scowled. If Jack had listened to him and taken over the Warfield family business, none of this would be happening. Jack would be here in Lilac where he belonged, taking care of his ailing wife and new baby. Pete would be home with his feet up, watching auto racing. Instead, Jack was off in L.A., getting trained to do a job that could get him killed.
Where was the sense in that? Didn’t anybody listen to reason anymore? Whatever happened to steady employment and staying put? He’d lived his entire life in Lilac and had no regrets.
He fished a green-and-white plastic box with holes from the dishwasher and carried it into the living room. “This it?” He stared at the carpet. Thank God, his own father was dead and buried. Seeing his grown son playing nursemaid would kill him.
He heard the rustle of fabric and glanced up as Reo settled a cloth over her nursing son.
She inspected the basket and scrunched up her nose. “It’s dirty.”
She settled back into the recliner and sighed. “Jack was supposed to run the dishwasher before he left. Are there clean baby bottles?”
“Those little jars hanging on the Christmas-tree-looking thing?” He’d never seen a kitchen with so many gadgets. The counters were covered.
She nodded. “When Sean’s done, I’ll need to express milk.”
He held up a hand. “Too much information.” He’d made only one condition before agreeing to help take care of the baby. No diaper changing. Maybe he should’ve added a few more items to the list.
Reo stroked her son’s tiny fist. “This is difficult for you, isn’t it?”
Tread lightly, Jack had warned him before leaving. She hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since we brought the baby home.
He shrugged. “Piece of cake.”
“I hate being a burden. I’m a schoolteacher. I’m used to doing everything for myself.” She put the baby to her shoulder and patted his back. “I really appreciate you being here.”
“Stop.” Poor kid. First baby and no mother here to help. His jaw clenched. Just thinking about Reo’s mother Carly Day could set his blood to boiling under normal circumstances. And what was happening now was definitely not normal.
“Jack’s only gone for a month. Good one.” She cooed at the sound of Sean’s burp. “Sunny said she might be able to stop by and help later today when she gets off work.”
“Sunday used to be a day of rest.” His garage was the only business on Main Street that still closed on Sundays.
“Must’ve been before I was born. Just kidding.” She pointed towards the kitchen. “Would you bring me one of those clean baby bottles? There should be plastic lids drying near the Christmas-tree-looking thing.”
“You making fun of me?”
“The only helper I’ve got? Not a chance.” Her lips eased into a tired smile. “Postpartum back pain doesn’t last forever. I start physical therapy this week.”
“Just get better.” He turned towards the kitchen, his gaze narrowing on the small wooden cross hanging beside the doorframe. He wasn’t much of a praying man, but this situation could get him back to church.
“Put that basket of nipples in the dishwasher and run it, please,” Reo called after him.
He cast a longing gaze at the dark television screen. “Yes, ma’am.”
The kitchen door swung shut behind him. Snowflakes swirled outside the window above the sink. Text if you need help, Jack had told him. I’ll call back immediately. Pete retrieved his coat from the peg and dug his phone out of the pocket. Jack should just be arriving at the airport in D.C. What would he tell his nephew? Sorry, I made a promise I can’t keep. He slipped his phone into his pocket. He’d stick it out.
As it was, he’d shocked his employees at the garage when he’d said he was taking a month off. Everybody knew he never took vacations. And this wasn’t really a vacation. He planned to step out and swing by the garage whenever Sunny or Buck came to Reo’s house to relieve him. Even Kelly, the woman he was dating, had promised to drop in between real estate appointments. Maybe helping with the baby wouldn’t be as hard as he thought.
He opened the cabinet under the sink and searched for the dishwasher detergent.
“Ouch!” Reo yelled. “Pete!”
Read Love Accepted to find out what happens next.