Page 8 of Anybody's Dad

And the style is for a younger slimmer woman, Tessa thought. Or hadn't the woman noticed the deep braless-cut back?

"But what do you think of the color?"

Pink dress, red hair? Get a clue, Tessa thought.

"It doesn't do you justice," a masculine voice said, and both women turned.

Tessa's heart did a strange flip at the sight of Chase propped against the wide doorway, arms folded over his flat stomach. His slight smile, so very masculine and seductive, practically simmered in the air. God, he looked good, she thought, even in a simple blue T-shirt and very worn jeans.

"I beg your pardon?" Miss Dewberry said waspishly, and Tessa's gaze shifted between her source of sleeplessness and her immediate source of a headache.

"The color, I mean." He leaned back slightly and pulled a darker, more somber shade of the same dress from the rack and handed it to the woman. Tessa noticed it was a larger size. "This was made for you."

Miss Dewberry smiled, for the first time in centuries Tessa imagined, then swept into the dressing room.

Chase's gaze shifted to Tessa.

"Thank you," she said, then lowered her voice. "She was really beginning to wear on me."

"You look exhausted."

"I am." She collected the discarded garments, righting them on the hangers.

"Is that because of me?" he said with a grin.

Her eyes narrowed. "Yes. You and your imagined rights. What do you want, Mr. Madison?"

"For you to take it easy, for one thing."

"Me and my baby were doing just fine."

Until you, she was saying. His gaze slipped over her, the dark beige top and cleanly pressed slacks, but it was her face that showed her fatigue. Wisps of hair lay damp at her nape where she'd pulled the dark mass back in a wide bow. Shadows clung beneath her eyes, and a grayish pallor tinted her skin.

"Please leave my shop," she said, suddenly uncomfortable. She bent to retrieve a box of shoes, yet when she straightened, she staggered. Chase lurched, catching her, taking her weight.

She sagged against him, drawing her breath slowly, blinking, and Chase lifted her in his arms and carried her out of the dressing room area.

"I'm quite capable of walking," she said, squirming.

"You can hardly stand," came in a warning tone, and she scowled at him. Her assistant looked up and raced to them, opening the door to her office and letting him inside. "Can I get a doctor?"

"No." Tessa was annoyed that Dana addressed Chase, waiting for his command. The interfering man.

"Just water," Chase said, laying Tessa on the stuffed couch. He tugged off her shoes as Dana filled a glass from the cooler and brought it to him, then left, closing the door.

"I have to see to Miss Dewberry."

"That crabapple can wait."

"This is a business, Chase Madison, and I need hers."

She started to get up, but he pressed her gently back down, handing her the glass before pulling a chair alongside the sofa. He sat. "Drink." When she looked as if she'd rebel, he tipped the glass to her lips. She drank obediently. "Are you hungry?"

"I never had the chance to eat it," she said, gesturing to the meal on her desk, her breathing a little fast. Chase stood and scooped up the sandwich and fruit, bringing it back and setting it beside her on the sofa. "Eat."

"Eat. Drink," she grunted lowly. "Can't you do anything but bark at me?"

"Yes." His gaze swept her leisurely. "But I'll get to that later," he said in the sexiest voice God could create, and Tessa had to smile. He really was too handsome.

She bit into the sandwich half, moaning with pleasure, and Chase wanted to hear more of it, when he kissed her someday. The sandwich was gone in seconds, and as she reached for the other half, Chase leaned back in the chair, stretching out his legs. It amazed him how much he enjoyed just watching her. She was totally focused on her food, devouring it in minutes, drinking water, popping bits of fruit into her lovely mouth. He didn't think she remembered he was there until she frowned at the empty wrappers and looked around as if searching for crumbs. He chuckled and her gaze flew to his, a dull red creeping into her face. Tessa wiped her mouth with a paper napkin and shrugged. She wasn't going to make excuses for her appetite.

"Want me to get you more?"

"No, thank you. We're satisfied." She patted her stomach.

We. A package deal. Chase had racked his brains for a solution to their problem, but late last night, when only her fiery green eyes filled his mind, he realized that first he had to get to know her. Then they could do something about their child and the opposition they had.

Sitting here with her, taking care of her, felt so natural he wanted it to go on. However, the uncomfortable look on her face said she didn't want him around, ever. It stung, he admitted, and abruptly stood to refill her glass.