The Playboy's Proposal (Sorensen Family)(9)

By: Ashlee Mallory

This can’t be good. She only called when she wanted something. Henry picked up the phone. “Hey, Morgan.”

“Henry, I need a favor.” Just as he’d thought. “I have to catch a flight tonight to Orlando and my nanny has a family emergency, so she can’t stay with Ella. Can you take her? It would just be until Monday.”


“I don’t know…” It was one thing to have his niece for an overnight visit, but this was four days. Four nights. That was a lot of responsibility. “Don’t you have a friend or someone she would feel more comfortable with?”

“Jess and her family are leaving for Yellowstone on Saturday. It’s you or I’m going to have to cancel, which would be a logistical nightmare. Look, Ella is in a summer day camp on the weekdays until five thirty, meaning you’d only have the evenings and the weekend to keep her entertained. I wouldn’t be asking this if there were any other options.”

He didn’t have to ask whether this had something to do with work. There was nothing else in his sister’s life but her career as a motivational speaker and her four-year-old daughter, Ella. Sometimes he worried that despite having sworn to never become like their mother, she was getting awfully close to becoming a mirror image of Margaret Brighton.

He sighed, knowing that there was really only one answer here. “What time should I come get her?”

She gave him the details before ending the call to dash home to get Ella’s things together. Henry didn’t mind having his niece hang out with him and had actually enjoyed the time she’d slept over before—again, because Morgan was away somewhere for work. He’d even played a game of Candyland for the first time in his life.

He pressed his assistant’s extension. “Marion? You’re going to have to reschedule my four thirty meeting.” He considered the current contents of his refrigerator, which, according to his memory, consisted of hummus, brie, caviar, and maybe a bag of carrots. He should probably head out early, get some kid-friendly options. Including Skittles, which Ella had thought the greatest junk food ever when he’d bought some last time, even if they had to keep it their little secret since his sister was trying to raise a sugar-free kid, or some such nonsense. “I’m actually going to cut out of here in another hour. If there are any emergencies, send them to my cell phone, otherwise I’ll handle it tomorrow.”

“No problem. And don’t forget, you and Becks have that meeting with AirPro Athletics first thing in the morning.”

As if he could forget. The clients who needed to believe that Henry was merely misrepresented in the media. That he was a man of strong moral fiber and responsibility. A man who understood their vision.

Hell, selling things was his expertise. He could sell this.

He could sell anything.

He had to be the worst uncle in the history of the world. Henry couldn’t imagine what his sister was going to say when he talked to her later tonight. The only reason she didn’t know where they were now was because she’d written the name of Ella’s pediatrician and his phone number on the long list of contacts she’d left for him. Thank God Dr. Barnett’s office had an after-hours clinic versus taking Ella to the ER.

A Skittle up the nose? Now he was really busted.

Ella didn’t seem to be all that affected by the fact her nose was bulging on the left side thanks to the offending piece of candy, or by the more strenuous breathing sounds she made with the reduced air capacity.

It scared the crap out of Henry, though.

Where was the damned doctor? He looked at his phone. Twenty minutes past their appointment. There was a scuffling sound outside the room, like someone was flipping through pages, then the door opened.

“Hi, I’m Dr. Sorensen and I’ll be—” But whatever words were going to follow stopped as the good doctor looked up.

The madwoman who strode into his place like Godzilla the other night was standing in the doorway. No slippers, at least. Her hair was combed and pulled back into an uninspiring ponytail this time. Her clothing wasn’t much of an improvement from the pj’s either. She wore light green scrubs that successfully hid any curves from the discerning eye, hideous white sneakers, and the usual white lab coat, probably thrown on to convince her patients she really was a bona fide doctor. From what he could tell, her face was devoid of any makeup, not even a hint of colored ChapStick on those full lips.

Was she allergic to wanting to look pretty?

Her overall packaging was completely unflattering—something he couldn’t understand as a man whose whole career was putting forth the best package that consumers would clamor to get. Entirely unflattering…except for those dark-fringed, spectacular blue eyes that had widened in horror as she recognized him.

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