"Do you think Mommy will like her surprise?"
AJ smiled down into his little girl's upturned face. Her bright sapphire eyes glittered with excitement. His smile erupted into a grin just because of her.
"Of course she will." He squeezed Maya's hand as they strode up the brick walkway to Justus's white frame Victorian home. "Would you like to do the honors?"
Maya giggled. She pressed her small index finger against the doorbell. Chimes sounded in the air. "I can hear it, Daddy."
"Good, let's hope Uncle Justus can, too."
Moments later, the door opened. Justus ushered them into his den. Lucas Jones sat on the middle of the leather sofa. Xbox controls rested in his hands. He jutted his head in a quick nod as the game completely held his attention.
"Kids." Justus shrugged.
AJ nodded with a smirk. Justus shifted under the weight of his cousin's stare. Then, he smiled. "Bobbie is here."
"I gathered as much," AJ said. "Are you sure this is okay?"
"Are you kidding?" Justus picked up Maya and sat her on his shoulders. "Lil Bit Junior is the apple of my eye. She's welcome here anytime."
He set her down and she joined Lucas. The preteen gave her a rundown of the game and promised to let her try in a few minutes. Pleased, Maya watched every move he made.
"Just think, we could be looking at history in the making." Justus chuckled as AJ frowned.
"Not yet. She's still my little girl."
Maya looked at AJ and smiled. "Daddy, I'll always be your little girl."
Maya's statement stayed with AJ throughout his drive home. It warmed his heart. His agitation at Jason's return faded. The stranger would only be a threat if AJ allowed him to be. And right then at that moment, AJ promised himself his preoccupation with Jason Morgan was over. The family that could have been Jason's belonged to AJ and that wasn't his fault. Jason chose to be an ass to Keesha. AJ was blessed that she allowed him to pick up the pieces. They had a good family. That's the way it would always be.
AJ made plans to show Keesha exactly how much he appreciated their life together.
Non-alcoholic champagne chilled at the bar. Rose petals created a path from front door to their bedroom. Soft music hummed from the stereo speakers. Her speechless response was enough for AJ. He continued with his slow, planned seduction.
[The first e-mail only chapter follows.]