I Love How You Love Me - Bella Andre Page 0,1

the sea breeze and the feel of the water rushing beneath the sailboat. Unfortunately, the sail had barely lasted fifteen minutes because her ex had gotten green around the gills and ordered the captain to take them back to shore.

A seagull swooping toward the water just a few feet in front of them brought her back to the present. Mason dropped his toy to point at it excitedly and she agreed, “It is very exciting!” even though the gull came up empty-beaked. But when Mason looked down at his hand a few seconds later and realized his toy was gone, his face crumpled.

Uh-oh. The last thing she needed was to be holding a crying baby when she finally met Dylan.

Grace quickly bent down, and her pre-baby suit skirt tightened even more around her hips as she picked up the rattle. Normally she would never give the toy back to Mason without washing it thoroughly first, but when he started to cry, she simply tried her best to shake off the dirt before he shoved it back into his mouth. She reminded herself that she’d eaten plenty of dirt growing up on a farm and had lived through it just fine.

Not, unfortunately, that the toy seemed to be making any difference as Mason let loose with a loud wail, then chucked the plastic rattle so that it landed with a loud bang on the wooden dock.

“Mason, sweetie, don’t cry. Please don’t cry.” She brushed a hand over his hair, then across his wet cheeks. “We just need to spend a few minutes here and then we’ll get you home for your nap.” But the more she tried to soothe him, the more Mason fussed in her arms.

“Everything okay out there?”

She looked up at the dark-haired man who had stepped out of the boathouse…and literally lost her breath. Dylan Sullivan was a million times better looking in person than he’d been online. And he’d been pretty amazing looking on her computer screen.

She’d wondered what a boat builder’s uniform was, and now she knew: T-shirt, worn blue jeans, and heavy work boots. The dark hair beneath his ball cap was a little too long and just unruly enough to make a girl want to drop everything to run her hands through it. But given that she had taught herself to be fairly immune to good-looking men, his movie-star looks alone wouldn’t have been enough to send her breath whooshing from her lungs.

It was the concern in his eyes as he took in Mason’s distress that completely undid her.

“Everything is fine, thanks.”

Mason turned to look up at her, then, and even though he couldn’t yet speak, she could clearly read his mind. I am not fine! Her son followed up his silent message with a far less silent one that echoed off the surface of the water in a shockingly loud way.

“Mason, sweet boy, everything’s okay,” she said again as she rocked and murmured, kissed and bounced, trying anything she could to shift him out of his crying jag. Dylan had walked several paces closer by this time, which only made her more flustered. “I just fed him before we came here, so he shouldn’t be hungry. And,” she added as she gave Mason a soft pat on his bottom to check the state of his diaper, “he’s dry and clean.”

“Does he want his toy back?”

She hadn’t noticed Dylan picking up the plastic rattle from the dock. When he held it out, she realized she’d never seen a man like him—so big and rugged and over-the-top gorgeous—holding a baby toy before. It did funny things to her stomach, sending it into flips and spins.

Miraculously, Mason stopped crying as he looked at Dylan. And then, suddenly, her son twisted in her arms and reached out. She assumed he was trying to grab the toy, but when he batted it away again, it became clear that he was really reaching for Dylan.

Her heart stopped in her chest. Actually just quit beating for a moment. Mason had never reached for anyone but her. But one look at this beautiful stranger and he was instinctively reaching out to be held?

Must run in our family.

Wait. No. That was crazy. She didn’t want to reach for Dylan. Didn’t want the gorgeous sailboat maker to pull her into his arms, hold her, and never let go. She was just tired and stressed and overwhelmed because she hadn’t had anyone else to lean on in so long.

Plus, it didn’t help that just