His lips twitch, and his arms unfold from his chest, opening wide for me to fall into them. Which, of course, I do. I’m not ashamed that I’m still very much a daddy’s girl.
“We aren’t getting your brother a hooker. They’re too classy for his ass.”
I laugh and hug him tighter when his gruff chuckles vibrate through his chest.
“What’s wrong with my girl?” he asks, pulling me back and looking into my eyes.
“Nothing. Just a little cold. I’ll be fine . . . with some sleep!” I yell towards Nate’s bedroom. And, of course, dissolve into a coughing fit that has my overprotective father narrowing his eyes.
“Go on back to bed, little princess. Let me deal with your brother. I’ll have Mom come up and check on you.” He gives me a strong hug and spins me toward my room. Then, almost like my words just hit him, he says, “And no more talk about moving out. Not happening.”
Seriously. He’s told me since I was a little girl that I would never leave his house because I was his little princess and, if he couldn’t watch out for me, then all the dirty, thieving, no-good men of the world would get their hands on me.
To say that growing up with Axel Reid as a father was a little . . . tough, would be an understatement. Don’t get me wrong. I love my daddy. But he is protective with a capitol P. Possessive of “his girls,” which is what he calls Mom and me—to the point where he would probably kill a man who looked at us cross.
I love him . . . but sometimes, I want to strangle him.
That being said, I know that, if I ever needed someone in my corner, no questions asked, that person would be my daddy.
I shuffle back down the hall. Now that I know that Nate will be handled and the rush of trying to kill him has started to fade, I realize just how bad I feel. I came home early yesterday from what was supposed to be a girls’ weekend at Lyn and Lila’s apartment with them and Maddi Locke. We had the best weekend planned of makeovers—and by that, I mean me dying and cutting their hair—junk food, and a Gossip Girl marathon. It wasn’t an hour into the night when I felt like I had been hit by a truck.
Maddi made sure I got home okay, and I crashed instantly.
I drop down into bed, pull the covers over my head, and try to ignore how bad my body hurts.
“What’s wrong, Dani?” Mom whispers a little while later after walking into my room and closing the door softly behind her.
I can still hear Daddy yelling at Nate from down the hall, but at least the damn porn sounds have finally stopped.
She sits down, and her cold hand presses against my forehead. “Sweetheart, you’re burning up. Tell me what’s bothering you.”
“I’m okay, Mom. I just need to sleep,” I mumble and burrow deeper into the pillows.
“What you need is a doctor, little princess,” Daddy grumbles from the now open doorway.
“Go away,” I groan and try to ignore them so I can go to sleep.
“Go away my ass,” he snaps.
I hear him bend down and kiss Mom before whispering to her low enough that I can’t understand him. Another kiss—gross—and the sounds of him walking away.
I finally start to drift off with my mom’s soothing touch rubbing my back and she begins to hum softly. Of course, that is short-lived, because not even two minutes later, I’m being wrapped up like a burrito cocooned in my blanket and lifted off the bed. I don’t have to open my eyes to know that Daddy is getting his way. The scent of leather and cinnamon hits my nose, and I hear his rough complaining.
“Go away, you said? I didn’t know you could read my mind, little princess. I’m going to take you away . . . right to the urgent care clinic.”
What did I tell you? Protective to the nth degree.
“Whatever,” I grouse with a small smile and allow myself to fall back asleep, knowing that he will take care of me.
A few hours later, I’m back in bed with a scowling father standing over me and holding my medication. Scowling because he knows that, if he hadn’t pushed the issue, I would have laid my ass in bed all weekend and gotten worse.
The plus side, though, was the promise from the doctor that the cough medicine would have some pain relievers in it and I would be feeling better shortly.
I swallow the pills and then reach out to take my cough syrup from him. His frown deepens when I start coughing instantly. Come on though. You try to take that crap like a champ. It’s disgusting.
“Sleep,” he shoots out roughly. He sets the empty medicine cup down on my nightstand and proceeds to tuck me in like I’m five again. Every inch of my body up to my neck is covered, and the blanket is pulled tight as he tucks it around me.
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