Kissing Her Crazy

By: Kira Archer

“Yeah. Damn near gave me a heart attack. I almost didn’t catch you.”

“Sorry about that,” she mumbled.

Her cheeks burned, both in mortification that she’d dropped like a fly for no real reason and at the thought that he’d caught her. And carried her up to his hotel room where he had tucked her into his bed. Where he slept, probably naked as gorgeous hunks do. In her fantasies, at least.

She swallowed and tried desperately to get a grip. She was drooling over the poor guy like she’d never seen one before. Her gaze raked over him while she pondered that thought for a second. To be fair, she hadn’t seen one quite so well put together before. At least not close up. Still. She needed to chill the hell out.

He laughed, an easy going, happy sound that eased her embarrassment. There was something about him that was extremely comforting. Well, aside from the high school crush-like tingles running riot through her body. But instead of wanting to die from sheer humiliation because she’d passed out while her son had been in two feet of water, Elliot made it seem like a normal, everyday occurrence that was no big deal. He was very sweet.

Too sweet. Tyler was already looking at the guy with a mild case of hero worship that was only going to get worse.

“It was no problem at all, really. I had the hotel doctor come up. He said you probably have a mild case of heat exhaustion. He gave you some fluids and a little something to help sleep it off. You should be feeling much better in a few hours, but he suggested taking it easy and said to make sure you drink lots of water. Oh, speaking of which…”

Elliot hurried to the small fridge and pulled out a bottle of water. “Here you go. Drink up. Doctor’s orders.”

His light brown eyes had such a lighthearted twinkle in them Lena couldn’t help but give him a grudging smile.

“Yes, sir,” she said, cracking the lid off the bottle and taking a sip.

“Tyler was telling me you don’t really like the water. Pools and things, I mean.”

Lena’s cheeks grew warm. “Yeah, that’s a bit of an understatement.”

“Hmm. And you’re about to spend an entire week at a beachside resort, surrounded by them.”

Lena’s mouth went dry. “Yeah,” she managed to squeak out. She cleared her throat and tried again. “My best friend was supposed to be here to help with Tyler. Take him to the pool and the beach and basically wrangle him while I’m busy with wedding stuff.”

She repressed a shudder, barely. “But when I called her this morning, her flight had been delayed due to weather, so I’m not sure when, or if, she’ll make it. And Tyler wanted to swim so badly. There’s a view of the pools from our room, and it looked so fun. And I don’t want him growing up with the same issues I have, so I thought it would be okay if I took him down for a few minutes. But then he wouldn’t get out…”

Elliot took her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “No worries. I’m glad I was there to help.”

Lena tore her gaze from Elliot and focused on Tyler. Who was still playing video games and had been for who knew how long. It was past time for them to leave.

“Well, Elliot, thanks again. Really. We’d… We’d better be going. Tyler, clean up your mess, please.”

“Ahhh,” he grumbled.

“It’s not tragic, make it magic,” she said, using the little prompt she’d made up for him to get him to clean up. “Mary Poppins it.”

“Okay!” Tyler popped up and started snapping his fingers and running around like a loon while he picked things up and ran to put them away.

Elliot’s mouth dropped open a little, and Lena laughed.

“It looks crazy but it works,” she said. “I can’t make stuff magically clean itself up like Mary Poppins does, but he snaps and pretends it’s happening magically.”

They watched as Tyler snapped over an empty bag of chips and then scooped it up and shoved it into the trash as fast as he could. He was done cleaning up his mess in two minutes flat.

Elliot leaned against the couch with his arms crossed over his chest, watching the action. He turned to her and nodded. “Impressive.”

“Thanks.” Lena held out her hand to her son. “Tyler, let’s go, bud.”

“Okay, Mommy,” he said, sighing the sigh of a child being made to do something he didn’t want to do but knowing it was no use arguing. Good thing, too. He’d already gotten away with a lion’s share of mischief.

“Can I come play again?”

“Sur—” Elliot stopped and looked at Lena, eyebrows raised in question.

“We’ll see,” she said again, with a slight frown.

Tyler sighed. “That means no.”

“No. It means we’ll see.”

Though he was right. It meant no. At least in this case. She’d always hated it when her mother had used that phrase. But it was handy when she didn’t want to say no outright. It got her off the hook long enough that she didn’t have to be the bad guy. At the moment, at least.

“Well, I guess I’ll see you soon,” Elliot said, walking them to the door. “I think Oz and Cherice have a family dinner planned.”