Roman's Vow (Riley's Pride #4) - Sandra R Neeley

Chapter 1

The stylist stood behind her chair in the hair salon with her mouth hanging open as her hands gently gripped the shockingly thick, black curls that spilled from the man’s head and down past the middle of his back.

They weren’t really busy that day, and only had about half a dozen customers in the stylists’ chairs when the most beautiful man she’d ever seen walked up to the plate glass windows at the front of their salon and leaned against the glass, looking inside. He let go of the hand of the little girl who stood beside him and cupped his hands around his face against the glass to better see.

Seemingly satisfied with what he saw, he looked down at the little girl. They shared a meaningful look and he took her by the hand again, walked over to the door and pulled it open so they could enter.

There were three stylists waiting for a customer, and she was lucky enough to make it to the front of the salon first. She almost tripped over her own two feet, and actually shoved a coworker out of her way, but she was first. There was no way in hell anybody but her was going to take care of this man.

And now he sat in her chair as her horrified expression met his huge, blue eyes.

“You can’t be serious,” she said, her hands frozen in his hair.

“I am,” Roman answered. “Don’t you think?” he asked, and looked at his daughter.

Darcie looked critically at him. “Yeah. I mean, it’s pretty, but you can always grow it back after Mama comes home.”

Roman nodded in agreement and looked back at the mirror, meeting the stylist’s gaze. “Yep. I’m serious. And I’m sure. Cut it off. High and tight, with a little extra on top.”

“I don’t know if I can cut your hair off. It’s so beautiful,” the stylist lamented.

“Hair’ll grow back. Gotta look professional and respectable. Can you hurry? I promised my daughter some pizza. We’re having a special day because I’m headed out of town for a little while. Don’t want to spend too much of her day in here,” Roman explained politely.

“Umm, sure,” the stylist said, heartbroken that she’d have to cut all his glorious hair off.

“Do you want to maybe donate it?” one of the other stylist called from where she stood on the other side of the room, applying crazy colored chemicals to a woman’s hair between layer after layer of foil strips.

“To who?” Roman asked.

“To sick kids. A lot of people donate their hair when they cut it off. It’s used to make wigs for kids who’ve lost theirs due to cancer or other diseases that require chemo.”

“Yeah! Yeah, I can do that,” Roman answered, grinning happily because his hair would help somebody’s kid feel better.

His stylist dug through her station to find the requisite pony tail holder and donation bag for the hair, then she gathered all his hair into a pony tail at the base of his neck, and almost cried as she cut through it above the pony tail holder. It took her several tries to get it cut, and lots of sawing action with the scissors, but finally it was in her hand, held securely with the elastic band around it.

“How long is it?” her coworker asked.

“Fourteen inches,” the stylist answered as she measured it before dropping it in the donation bag and sealing it. “It was so beautiful,” she mumbled.

“Daddy?” Darcie asked, looking at Roman closely.

“Yeah, baby,” he answered, smiling proudly. He loved that Darcie had begun to call him Daddy. It made him smile every single time.

“I think your eyes are more blue, now. And your arms look bigger.”

“Ya think so?” Roman asked, looking at himself in the mirror.

“Yep. I think Mama’s going to like your hair short,” Darcie said.

Roman nodded. He shook his head vigorously to make the hair move around on his head. “I think I like it, too. Feels like I lost five pounds,” he said. “Might keep it this way.”

“Length’s gone, let’s go ahead and get you set with a high and tight,” the stylist said.

Roman watched as the girl began to shave away at the sides of his head, then the back. He looked down when she told him to so she could perfect his hairline and clean up his neck, and lifted his head again when she told him that as well. He sat quietly while she traded her clippers for scissors and began to cut and shape