Whisper of Attraction(8)

By: Melanie Shawn

So why in the hell was he sharing personal information with Brynn Daniels?

His phone buzzed again and Brynn’s wide green eyes lifted to his. “Is she okay?”

“She’s fine. She just started a new school and she doesn’t like it.”

Brynn’s smile made the tightness in his chest relax. “Oh, that can be tough. How old is she?”


Her eyes softened and now the feeling in his chest was unfamiliar to him. It was a warm, tingling sensation.

“Thirteen is rough. Ryder, my son, is thirteen. And I’m a counselor at the high school so I talk to kids her age all the time. Does she live around here?”

“Chicago. She’s going to Mercy Prep.”

“Wow.” Brynn appeared genuinely impressed. “That’s a great school.”

“I know. All she talked about was how much she wanted to go, and now that she’s there she hates it.”

Stop talking, Axel told himself.

“If she’s going to Mercy Prep that means she’s really bright. Sometimes it’s the gifted ones that are the trickiest to raise. Intelligence and emotional maturity are two very different things and it can be difficult to remember that.”

Axel knew that Brynn had a master’s degree in psychology, so he shouldn’t be surprised by her insight. But he was.

“I’m sorry!” Brynn apologized. “I tend to speak out of turn. My son hates it. He declared the house an ‘analysis-free zone.’ Sometimes I just can’t help myself.” Her shoulders bunched as she lifted her hands in a what-are-you-gonna-do gesture. “I love to help people. Anyway, the water pressure…” She turned her back to him as she listed details about the rental.

He was glad that she was no longer looking at him because he needed a moment to regain his composure. She’d just melted his heart that had been as frozen as Han Solo in carbonite.

I love to help people.

She wasn’t just saying that. He could see that she meant every word.

If Axel hadn’t met her, seen her, spoken to her himself, he wouldn’t believe that Brynn Daniels was real. She was beautiful, and yet seemed completely unaware of it. Smart, she had a master’s degree. Hardworking, she had a full-time job at the high school and also counseled people online. Resilient, she was a teen mom who hadn’t let that slow her down. Not to mention she had the combo punch of being adorable and sexy.

She was a unicorn. A once-in-a-lifetime woman.

And there wasn’t one damn thing Axel could do about it.


“This is the living room,” Brynn waved her hand, spokesmodel style, as she gave the same tour she’d given a couple dozen times to tourists renting out the apartment.

“And this is a Murphy bed in case you have company.” She lifted her arm and tugged on the wall unit.

I can’t believe he saw me naked. I can’t believe he saw me naked. I can’t believe he saw me naked.

That sentence was playing over and over in her mind as she struggled to ignore the fluttering in her stomach. She tried telling herself that the uneasiness she was experiencing was the leftover macaroni and cheese that she’d warmed up for lunch earlier, but she knew better. Her butterflies were her body’s response to the man that was making the cozy apartment feel much smaller than it ever had before.

She pushed the bed back up into the wall and walked across the room and through the door that was directly across from it. Reaching up, she tugged on the string that hung from the ceiling fan and light to illuminate the tiny room.

“And this is the bedroom.”

A queen size patchwork quilt covered the bed that sat in the corner of the room. It had been plenty big enough for her, but thinking of Axel in it made it look like a twin bed.

Axel’s presence was more than just his impressive height and muscular frame. He filled the room with an overwhelming dose of testosterone that had her body shaking like she was a 1950s teenage girl seeing Elvis for the first time.

“Over there is the bathroom.” Her voice had a slight quiver in it as she motioned to the open door next to the antique dresser across the room.

She scooted past Axel and her breath hitched as she walked into the kitchen waving her hand over the two-person dining table that sat along the wall. “And conveniently you have a dining room and kitchen in one. It’s very handy if you need to grab a soda during dinner,” she joked, miming a reach for the fridge while she stood near the table.

Her nervous laughter at her not-so-clever joke filled the small space as she headed back into the front room.

“And that’s the grand tour.” She held her arms out as she spun in a circle.