Irresistible Page 1

Author: Melanie Harlow

Series: Cloverleigh Farms #1

Genres: Romance


One morning. That’s all I wanted.

One morning to myself.

To sleep in. To sleep naked. To sleep with my bedroom door closed.

To wake up when I felt like it. To wake up and hear nothing. To wake up and do whatever the hell I felt like doing that morning—take a run or jerk off or go the fuck back to sleep.

“Daddy! Get up!”

This was not that morning.

Groaning, I rolled over onto my stomach and held my pillow over the back of my head. “Daddy’s not here,” I said, my voice muffled.

I heard giggling, then felt the mattress shift as one or more of my three daughters jumped onto my bed. Frankly, it was kind of surprising none of them had been here already. For months after their mother left, I hadn’t had my bed to myself. Sometimes it was eleven-year-old Millie with a stomachache. Sometimes eight-year-old Felicity with nightmares. Often it was four-year-old Winifred hiding from the monster beneath her bed.

Occasionally it was all three.

One of them jumped onto my back like I was a pony and tugged at my T-shirt. “We’re hungry.” Sounded like Felicity.

“Again? I just fed you.”

“It’s morning. You didn’t feed us since dinner last night.”

“It can’t be morning. It’s still dark.”

“That’s because you have a pillow over your head.” She giggled. “You were snoring too.”

“Can’t Millie get you guys cereal?”

“We don’t want cereal. We want pancakes.”

I sighed. “Can’t she make pancakes?”

“She doesn’t know how to use the stove. We need a grownup.”

A grownup. I was the sole grownup in the house. How the fuck had that happened? “How do you know I’m a grownup?”

More giggling. “Because you’re tall with big feet. And you have whiskers. And your name is Daddy.”

“I told you. Daddy’s not here.”

“Then who are you?”

I flipped over, tossing her onto her back. “The tickle monster!”

She squealed and squirmed while I tickle-tortured her, prompting Winifred to come running in and hop on the bed. “Me too!”

Winnie was the rare kid who actually wanted to be tickled, or at least she wanted the physical affection, and she scooted close to Felicity on her back, presenting her tummy like a dog who wanted to be petted.

I tickled them both for a second, then sat back on my heels and scratched my head. “You’re still in your pajamas. Is it Saturday?”

“Yes,” said Felicity.


“Your hair looks funny,” she told me.

“So does yours,” I told her. Recently she’d given herself a “trim,” hacking off the front of her hair in an attempt to create bangs like Mavis’s from Hotel Transylvania. She even wanted to be called Mavis for a while. The girls’ therapist assured me it was nothing to worry about and simply meant she identified with the character of Mavis, who also lived with her father without a mother in the house.

“You’re sure it doesn’t mean that she’s a vampire?” I’d asked. Felicity hadn’t bitten anyone yet, but she had taken to wearing black and asking if I could make her bed into a coffin shape. Talk about nightmares.

But the therapist had only smiled. “I’m sure.”

Millie appeared in my bedroom doorway in her nightgown. “Dad, I need a black leotard for ballet today and none of them are clean.”

“Damn. Are you sure?”

“Yes. I checked my drawer and my hamper. And that’s a quarter in the swear jar.”

I grimaced. That fucking swear jar was going to break me. “Did you check the dryer?”

“Yep. Not in there either.”


“That’s fifty cents,” said Felicity.

I poked her in the ribs. “At least my swearing is contributing to your math skills. Millie, did you check the washer? I know I put a load of darks in yesterday.” Which meant that I’d probably forgotten to put them in the dryer last night, and they’d have to be rewashed today.

“I didn’t look in the washer.”

“What time is ballet again?”

Millie rolled her eyes, an adolescent gesture I was already growing weary of. “Same time as always. Ten.”

“Right.” I looked at the digital clock on my nightstand. It was seven-thirty. “Okay, I’ll have it done by then.”

“And I need something for the bake sale this afternoon,” she added.

“What bake sale?”

Another eye roll, accompanied by a foot stomp. “Daddy! The fundraiser for the eighth grade trip to Washington, DC! I’ve told you about it a hundred times.”

I jumped off the bed and hitched up my flannel pajama pants. “Eighth grade! What the fuck, Millie, you’re only in sixth. That trip is two years away—no wonder I filed that under Forget This Immediately.” I went over to my dresser and grabbed a USMC sweatshirt, pulling it on over my T-shirt.

That earned me a heavy sigh. “That’s a dollar in the jar, Dad.”

“No, it’s not! I was only at fifty cents.”

“The F word is a whole dollar, Daddy,” Felicity informed me.

“Oh, right.” I paused. “You know what? It’s worth it.”

“So what am I going to bring for the bake sale?” Millie pressed.

“I don’t know. We’ll figure it out.” Somewhere between doing the laundry and getting your hair in a bun and feeding you all something that won’t rot your teeth or kill your brain cells and getting you to ballet on time and checking in at work and filling the swear jar and grocery shopping for the week and making sure each of you is getting enough time and attention to feel secure and loved and—I went over to the window and looked out—shoveling the snow that fell overnight.

Goddamn, it was only the beginning of February—Groundhog Day. And it was cloudy, which meant spring was supposed to come early (according to the lore), but right now it felt like spring was never going to get here. Winter in northern Michigan was always long and cold, with perpetually gray skies and knee-deep snow, but this one had felt particularly grueling. Was it because it was my first as a single parent?

The girls and I trooped from my first-floor bedroom to the kitchen, where I put on some coffee for myself, pulled frozen pancakes from the freezer for Felicity and Winifred, and scrambled an egg for Millie. They sat in a row at the breakfast counter that separated the kitchen from the dining room. There used to be a wall between the two rooms, but my friend Ryan Woods, who’d lived in this house before us, had remodeled the kitchen, making it more modern and open. In fact, we hardly ever ate at the dining room table. Mostly I used it to fold laundry.

“These taste like the freezer,” said Felicity, making a face at her pancake. “Don’t we have any muffins left over from Mrs. Gardner?”

“We ate them,” I told her, pouring orange juice into three glasses. Mrs. Gardner was the ninety-four-year-old lady who lived next door, a widow who’d become sort of a surrogate grandmother to all of us since we’d moved into this house last summer. She loved to bake and often brought over delicious homemade muffins or cookies, which never lasted long. In return, I made sure her yardwork was taken care of in good weather and her driveway and front walk shoveled in the winter. The girls weeded her garden, brought in her mail, and drew pictures for her, which she proudly displayed on her refrigerator door.

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