The Irish Prince (The Billionaire Dynasties)(5)

By: Virginia Nelson


“Me too,” Waverley said with a grin. She was reaching for another rock when the door connecting Chelsea’s office to Aiden’s opened, and her parents came out. Her smile faded fast, squashed by the sight of the dark expressions on her parents’ faces.

Chelsea couldn’t hold her smile, either. His brief smile when he saw them faded, revealing a man shaken to the core. She knew he got anxious in situations where he wasn’t in control, and learning about a daughter he hadn’t known about for a decade would be enough to throw even a non-control freak into a panic, she guessed. For the sake of Waverley, though, she stretched her lips into what she hoped was a warm grin. “It was nice meeting you, Waverley.”

The little girl nodded and ran to her mother’s side.

“We’ll be right back,” Margo said. “I just need a moment to speak with my daughter.”

Chelsea didn’t miss the choice of words. Not our child. Well, Margo couldn’t be too fond of Aiden if she’d kept their kid a secret for so long.

Once they’d vanished out the door, Aiden dragged a hand through his dark curls.

The man was handsome, even when he was disturbed. It just wasn’t fair that he was that damn hot and that impossibly out of reach all at the same time.

Men like Aiden Kelley didn’t notice women like Chelsea Houston. Or, rather, they did notice them—for their usefulness in the business world, for their brains, for their ability to problem solve and deal with tricky situations. They didn’t notice them as women, which was kind of a bummer, since she couldn’t help noticing him as a man.

A very fine man, who would be a hell of a lot of fun out of his business suit.

Not that she would ever find out. In two weeks, she’d never see him again.

Speaking of…

“Mr. Kelley, I know this isn’t a great time, but I need to remind you—”

“We have to reformat my entire schedule.” He turned around and walked back into his office.

Okay, guess he expects me to follow him.

“Mr. Kelley, stop, I need to tell you—”

“Cancel all my meetings this week.” He sat at his desk and turned to his computer screen. “Any lunches. Any dinners. I can’t make them. I’m taking Waverley to the Grand Canyon. And I’ll need you to come along with me.”

She stopped cold. She knew nothing about kids, and traveling with her boss and his sudden child ranked really low on her to do list. She’d rather pluck out her own toenails.

Once she’d picked her jaw up from the floor, she said, “No. I can’t go with you.”

He tapped away on his keyboard. “Of course you can. I realize it’s outside the office, but it’s no different than any of the other duties you’ve accomplished during your tenure—”

“Aiden. I can’t.”

Her using his first name? That got his attention.

He turned away from his computer screen and looked at her. “Okay, Chelsea. Why can’t you?”

“Because, as already I told you today, I quit.”





Chapter Three


Chelsea

It took a real sucker for punishment to want to stay in the room and watch the awkward conversation between Aiden and his newfound daughter, but Chelsea was exactly that variety of fool. At least, she was until she became the topic of conversation.

Waverley stuck out her bottom lip, looking sulky, and her father said, “Your mother tells me you’re a rock hound. Would you explain that one to me?”

The kid rolled her eyes, shooting a glance at Chelsea as if to non-verbally ask, Are you seeing what I have to put up with here? Out loud, however, she just said, “It means I like to collect and categorize various rocks and non-precious gems.”

“Huh,” said Aiden, looking completely at a loss for a follow-up question. “So, uh, I saw you checking out Chelsea’s rock bowl. How would you feel about getting an up close look at some of those rocks by going to the Grand Canyon?”

Waverley shook her head vehemently and looked at her mom. “I don’t want to go on a trip with him, not even to the Canyon. I don’t know him, Mom! Why would I want to know him when he’s been too busy to come see me before this? Seriously, this is lame.”

He probably deserved that from her perspective, even if he hadn’t chosen to abandon her for most of her life. Thankfully, he bit back on his frustrations with Margo and instead focused on his daughter. “I’d really like to get to know you, though, Waverley.”

The child looked stubborn, and Chelsea didn’t blame her. “I’m not going to change my mind.” She looked away from both of her parents, as stubborn as her father. When she saw Chelsea, her face lit up, and Chelsea saw that same conniving smile that so often signaled Aiden knew what he wanted and wouldn’t be denied. “Hey, if I actually have to go to the Grand Canyon with you, does that mean Chelsea can come? I’ll go if she goes.”