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Daddy’s Love Child (The Boyfriend Diaries #6)
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I never expected to meet my dad’s boss while on my hands and knees.
Take Your Daughter to Work Day is supposed to be a learning event. I went with my dad to his office because I wanted to educate myself about what he does as a middle manager.
But like a klutz, I tripped and fell as soon as I got there.
My skirt flew up and you could see literally everything as I scrambled on my hands and knees.
It was over-the-top embarrassing, especially because it happened in front of my dad’s boss!
OMG, how did this happen?
Patrick Lancaster is growly, gorgeous, and soooo tempting with laser blue eyes; a broad, muscled chest; and hair as black as midnight.
He’s got long legs and a long something else too because the CEO got me pregnant that fateful day …
… and I had his baby.
My dad wants to keep it hush-hush because he’ll be fired if Mr. Lancaster finds out that I’ve had his love child.
But what if the billionaire boss wants more than a fling? What if Patrick wants his son … and ME?
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“Dad, really?” I ask, arching my eyebrows. “I’m a little old for this, don’t you think?”
Harold merely shakes his head seriously.
“This will be good for you Penny. You’re a senior in high school, and soon you’ll be heading off into the big world. I want you go to get a sense of what people do during office jobs before you throw your lot in with SexyFlow Salon.”
I grimaced a little.
“But I love SexyFlow, Dad. I know the name is a little weird, but Carmen dreamed it up and it’s right for our clientele. Sexy flow means that everything about you is “in the flow” that day: from your energy, to your health, to your hair. I love giving blowouts to different girls. It changes their lives and puts them in a good mood.”
Harold merely frowns while hitching his thumbs into his waistband. My dad is portly, and the gesture emphasizes the way his gut protrudes heavily over his belt. But I love Harold anyways because he only wants what’s best for me.
“Penny,” he starts again patiently. “You’re too young to know what you really want. You’re only eighteen, sweetheart, and you haven’t seen the world. It’s too early to commit yourself to a lifetime as a hairdresser when you haven’t experienced any other profession.”
“I know Dad, but being a hairdresser fulfills me. I like it, and I’m good at it too. They always give me the most difficult clients because they know I can get them to a hairstyle that makes them happy. That’s worth something, right? I’m somewhat of a “fixer” at SexyFlow. It’s flattering.”
Harold merely sighs and looks at the floor.
“I just want to give you every chance in life Penny. Your mom would have wanted me to provide as many opportunities as possible, and for you to see the world at least a little bit before you settle down here in Gainesville for the rest of your life.”
I throw my arms around my dad.
“I know, Daddy, but I love Gainesville. Sure, it’s a small town but I’m happy here. People know one another and are friendly with their neighbors. What’s wrong with that? Do you really want me to move to a big city where people walk around with earbuds in their ears all day, unwilling to make eye contact with other people? Do you really want me to re-locate to a place where the cost of living is sky-high, and where the food is bad too? At least Gainesville has its famous Gainsey Hot Dog, and you know I love those so much.”
Harold nods, a smile coming to his lips.
“I know, Penny. I’m just a doting dad, that’s all, and I want to give you opportunities. Your mom would be proud of who you are today, whether you stay in Gainesville or not. But just do this one last thing for me before graduation, okay? Come with me to Take Your Daughter to Work Day. You’ll get to see how office environments function, and who knows? Maybe you’ll like it. You won’t be on your feet all day, the way it is at the salon.”
I consider saying no because I have no interest in any type of corporate job, period. My dream since I was a young girl has always been to be a hairdresser. I love doing blow-outs, cuts, color, and learning all the new techniques shaping the industry. There’s a new method called a Japanese perm that uses heat to create curly hair, and I’m excited to start trying it with some of my more adventurous girls.
But I can tell that Harold really wants me to come to this event. Frankly, it sounds awful. I thought Take Your Daughter To Work Day was supposed to be for elementary-age children, and not women who are already eighteen. But it means so much to my dad, that I find myself nodding yes.
“Okay,” I say with resignation. “When is it?”
“Tomorrow,” he beams happily. “So you’ll come?”
I check my schedule.
“Well, I have school but I guess this is a special occasion where I can miss classes for a little bit. I’ll just be at your office for a few hours, right? That means I can make it back in time for History, and then onto SexyFlow after school for Lettie’s blowout.”
My dad smiles happily.
“Old Lettie Lyons won’t mind if you’re a little late to your appointment. She’s got nothing to do all day because she’s at least ninety. Hairdressing is for her more of a social affair rather than a chance to get her hair done.”
I nod my head seriously.
“Yes, that’s true, Dad, but see, you’re undervaluing what I do. You’re right, Lettie is ninety, and yes, she comes around every week for her appointment to chat with the ladies and socialize a bit. And yes, she’s been retired thirty years, so she doesn’t have much else on her calendar. But still, our appointment is important to her. It’s her chance to see her friends and neighbors, and to catch up on all the good gossip. It’s also a chance for her to get her hair done so that she feels attractive even at ninety, and for us to make sure she’s okay. After all, you know that Lettie’s son moved to Chicago years ago, and they only talk by phone once a month. We’re her guardians in a way. If she doesn’t show up, then we know to send someone to check on her.”