“You spied on your own daughter?” Brows furrowed, Cal glared at me in disbelief.
I shrugged. I might not be very good at showing affection, but there was little I wouldn’t do for Hannah, even if she didn’t know that. And looking out for her was an ongoing, high-priority mission that sometimes required covert tactics.
“How else would I know what’s going on to protect my little girl?”
Cal nodded in acknowledgement, and I saw the reluctant approval in his eyes. Besides, I knew for a fact he’d done the same kind of thing for his daughter before she got married. Probably still did. A man didn’t stop looking out for his little girl just because some guy put a ring on her finger. Marriages ended. Fatherhood was forever.
“So. What did he say?”
“There were a couple of guys, nothing too serious until this last one.” Stephen Barrington. Even his name chapped my ass.
“She never told you about him?”
Shaking my head, I stared at the glass in my hand. “No. Probably because Hannah knew I wouldn’t approve of the sniveling, pathetic lump of dog shit.”
“No man will ever be good enough for your daughter,” Cal said with a fellow father’s wisdom.
“Maybe not. But this guy was a piece of work.” My lip curled in disgust. “Wealthy candy-ass with soft hands and one of those fancy degrees, had everything handed to him on a silver platter. Never earned a damn thing on his own, including a VP position in his daddy’s company.”
“Financial security is not a bad thing.” Devil’s Advocate, thy name is Cal.
“No. But it turns out he was just stringing Hannah along. He already had a fiancée on the side, one with blood as blue as his, one more socially acceptable.”
Cal’s features hardened. “Hannah deserves better than that.”
“Yes,” I agreed. I made sure the Ivy League poser knew it, too, once Hannah was safely on a plane back home. Not personally, of course. All I’ll say about that was that when you became a Ranger, you became part of a brotherhood that spans the continents. And the older you got, the larger that network became. Hannah didn’t know it, but she had a whole goddamn army watching her six.
“She doesn’t deserve this, either,” I muttered.
“She’s a good girl. You’re all she has, Angus.”
“And what happens when I’m gone?” I asked, letting some of the frustration out as I slammed the glass back down onto the table. For the thousandth time I wished my daughter had a decent man to look after her. That’s what she needed. A man strong enough to handle my little kitten and treat her like the amazing woman she was.
“Christ, it never gets easier, does it?”
“No,” Cal agreed. Being a parent never got easier. Sometimes it got harder. For a few minutes we pondered that in silence, each feeling the bone deep sorrow that comes with knowing your kid is hurting and not being able to do a damn thing about it.
“Ethan’s a good man, Cal,” I said finally. “You raised him right. He’s going to come out of this all right. All he needs is a good woman.”
Cal blew out a breath. “Easier said than done, my friend. They’re not all like Hannah, you know.”
And just like that, everything changed. It was like in those cartoons I used to watch as a kid, where a light bulb suddenly went on above someone’s head. The two of us exchanged a glance. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I said slowly.
Doubt clouded Cal’s eyes, but for me, things had never been clearer. I allowed a slow, wicked grin to curve across my face. “I just hope my grandbabies don’t have your God-awful red hair.”
Copyright © 2017 Abbie Zanders.
Written by Abbie Zanders.
All rights reserved.