Overview: Dear Santa,
I know I have a lot and I shouldn’t ask for more. But all I want is a Daddy that’s okay being a dad too.
I love my daughter, but I’m still a boy at heart. I know what I’m asking for is hard. Maybe even impossible. But I have to try.
Sebastian is happy with his life, but there’s something missing. A Daddy to call his own. When he goes on a blind date with a Daddy from his app, he never expects the whole thing is a set up. There’s no way this much younger guy is a Daddy, right?
Maddox has skeletons of his own. The last thing he wants is to be a Daddy right now, no matter how much he misses it. How much he craves it. But Sebastian needs guiding and his darling little girl touches a part of his heart he thought was long dead.
Can Sebastian earn Maddox’s trust and get the relationship he’s always wanted? 

 

Dear Daddy, Please Trust Me by Rheland Richmond Book Chapter One

 

 I couldn’t stop thinking about those words. Staring at them so long until you memorize them will do that to you. Which was why I’d barely gotten any sleep.

"Papa, can we put up the Christmas tree now?" My daughter’s voice brought me back to the present. I met those big brown, hopeful eyes looking at me in the mirror as I braided her hair, almost making me say yes.

But I shook my head and lowered myself so we were eye level. "Not yet, my love. What does Papa say?"

"No trees till after turkey day," she repeated my words, followed by a sigh.

"Exactly, bug." I kissed the top of her head and shared a smile with her in the mirror. "But how about after school, we go pick up this year’s new ornament?"

"I want pink," she said.

"I love pink," I agreed.

I had a lot of things to be thankful for, but none more so than my daughter, Aria. I’d fostered her when she was three, and her adoption had only become final last year, just under two years after she came to live with me.

Even on the days when my brain tried to remind me of everything I didn’t have, Aria remained the one perfect joy in my life. So why wasn’t the reminder helping today?

I shook that thought off and wrapped the thick braid with rubber bands, securing it in place before clipping the bow to it. "Perfect," I declared.

"Thank you, Papa." She smiled at me with those missing two front teeth that just made her look adorable.

"Okay, breakfast then school; come on." I held my hand out, Aria slipped hers into mine, and we walked to the kitchen together. On our arrival to the kitchen, Sarah already had breakfast ready to go. As usual.

"Morning, Sarah," I smiled at the older woman. She’d been my foster mom. The last foster mom I’d ever had. And the best. I’d stayed with her for two years until I went off to college. Sarah had been my very first taste of home. But what was better than those years of being safe and loved was that she’d given me a permanent home. Somewhere I could return to during the holidays from college. Even after there was no longer a check attached to me from the state.

And now she lived with me, even though it’d taken a lot of convincing. And of course this house with the detached guest-house out back. So Sarah got her privacy, but she was still close by, which I loved.

She was one of the first and very few people I ever truly considered family.

Aria dropped my hand and hurried over to Sarah’s side. "Morning, Grandma Sarah."

"Good morning, my princess. I have oatmeal for breakfast." I wasn’t surprised by Aria’s ‘yay.’ The kid loved oatmeal with brown sugar, peanut butter, and blueberries.

I kissed Sarah’s cheek on my way to the coffee maker for my second cup of the day. I always had my first before getting Aria up in the morning.

I doctored it to my liking with hazelnut creamer and one Splenda before going over to the table to join Aria. Sarah had covered Aria’s denim dress with what looked like an artist smock. And if I wasn’t mistaken, one that they’d painted together.

I couldn’t help the smile that spread across my face. This was the life I’d always dreamed of. Security and a family. One that no one could take from me, one that wouldn’t leave.

Is it really, Sebastian? Didn’t you envision it with a husband and Daddy of your own? The voice mocked me. But I ignored it. Those had been the foolish dreams of a young boy. Now I was old. What Daddy would want me, especially with a kid in the mix? There was no point wishing for something that would never be.

And yup, I meant Daddy, not in the second father for Aria kind of way. However, whoever that magical person was would have to be a dad in addition to being a Daddy. Like I said, the pipe dreams of a young boy.

So why did you even download the app at all?

The damn app. It was all my brother’s fault. Technically, Kendrick had downloaded it to my phone. But no one forced you to set up a profile. Or spend the whole night going through it. I’d even typed up my letter but lost the nerve before actually posting it.

Right now, being alone was my choice, but once I put it up and experienced the deafening silence from all the Daddies ignoring my profile. Yeah… No. I wasn’t doing that.

So why did you write the letter? Wasn’t that the million-dollar question? Then again, a man could dream. I could dream about the life I’d always wanted. Although three out of four dreams coming true wasn’t bad.

"Papa, why are you sad?" Aria’s voice snapped me out of my thoughts.

"I'm not, doodlebug, just thinking." I smiled at her, hoping like hell that it was believable. "All right, finish up your breakfast so we can get going."

 
* * *

The moment I walked into my office, my brother was on me. "So did you do it? You promised."

"Can I at least sit down before you start hounding me?" I groaned, shaking my head at Kendrick.

"No. Because I know your chicken ass didn’t do it." Kendrick rolled his eyes, stood up from his desk, and crossed the room to mine. "I told Declan you wouldn’t. I should have bet on it."

"You’re an asshole." I flipped Ken off. But of course, my brother just laughed.

"And, again, you’re a chicken," Kendrick said from his new perch on the edge of my desk.

"You know, we already share an office. I don’t need you on my desk too." I gave Kendrick a pointed look that said, ‘drop it,’ which, of course, my brother ignored.

"And you’re doing a horrible job of changing the subject." Kendrick snorted.

"Fine. If I answer your question, will you at least let me boot up my computers in peace?" I sighed at my brother. Might as well get it over with.

"Depends on the answer you give, to be honest. If it only proves my point that you’re a big ol’ chicken, I make no promises." Kendrick smiled widely at me. Assshole.

I hung my head and cursed the day that Kendrick had saved me from getting beaten up at the group home. "I wish I could go back in time and disown you."

"No, you don’t. You love me." Kendrick smiled brightly. "And honestly, bro, I just want you to find what you’ve always wanted. Three out of four is not good enough when four is within reach."

Why did he know me so well?

"Just because you met Mr. Right in college, got married, and had my adorable niece and nephew, doesn’t mean we will all be as lucky." I tried not to sound like the green-eyed monster had taken up residence and was living rent-free in my head.

"Nope, not buying it. Sell that story to someone else," Kendrick said, shaking his head.

"What?" I huffed. "I tried, but apparently, a relationship is not for me."

"Oh please, we both know none of those vanilla-as-fuck guys were ever going to work out." Kendrick held my gaze. "Why do you always pick guys you know will never give you what you want?"

I looked away, going through the steps to unlock my computer and set up for the day. "Because I’m a dad and—"

He held up his hand, "Don’t even, please. Just no. Seriously, what does you being a dad have to do with the price of fish in the market?" Kendrick actually sounded upset.

I did a double-take and looked up from my screen. "Sorry, what? Fish?"

"You know what I mean," Kendrick snapped. "Stop using Aria as an excuse, please. What you do in the privacy of your bedroom has no bearing on being a good dad, and we both know it."

"Can you please stop calling me out?" I pleaded with my brother, but of course, there was no hope of that. Kendrick was just getting started.

"No, because I plan on Declan and me going on vacations with you and your beau when our kids start ditching us. I want the four of us to buy a piece of land and build adjoining houses when we retire."

I snorted at that, even though the words touched the part of me I tried to bury. "Uh, we don’t even live next to each other now. Besides, I can still live next to you by myself."

"But why do you have to? That’s my point." Kendrick gave me a look that said, ‘You know I’m right; why are you arguing?’

I huffed and leaned back in my chair, staring at the ceiling. "I wrote the letter." I didn’t look up to see Kendrick’s reaction to my admission.

"And?" Ken didn’t sound impressed by that. He wouldn’t until I posted it.

"And nothing. Can I at least get points for writing it?"

"You already know the answer to that." Ken rolled his eyes.

"Fine. Fine. If I post it, can I get back to work? This company does not run itself, you know," I said.

"Oh please, don’t even try and sneak in the too-busy excuse. That’s why we have all the well-paid programmers and coders." Kendrick nodded in the direction of the open space outside our office.

"You’re the worst," I grunted even as I twisted to the side to get my iPhone out of my pocket. I held it up. "See, I’m doing it. Are you happy?"

"Not until I see you actually post." Kendrick folded his arms and stared me down.

"I’m doing it, okay? Gosh." I opened my phone and went to the Cuffd app. This was my first time using the app. But if the questions I’d answered while setting up were anything to go by, it fit me perfectly. It was a dating app that specifically catered to a range of kinks and fetishes.

"You know, the faster you do it, the quicker I leave you alone."

"Bite me." I stuck my tongue out at Kendrick.

"If you’re into that, I’m sure there’s someone on there just waiting to do it," he quipped and burst out laughing, clearly pleased with himself. Ken didn’t know just how close to the truth he was.

"Hardy. Har. Har. You’re so funny," I said, rolling my eyes at my brother.

"Wait, actually, let me see what you wrote first." Ken held his hand out for my phone. I took a second to read through what I’d typed again before handing it over—


Dear Santa,

I know I have a lot, and I shouldn’t ask for more. But all I want is a Daddy that’s okay being a dad too.

I love my daughter, but I’m still a boy at heart. I know what I’m asking for is hard. Maybe even impossible. But I have to try.

I want someone to take care of me. Who will cover me with a blanket if I fall asleep on the couch. I want him to tell me I’m a good boy and maybe spank me when I’ve been naughty. But I’m really, really good.

Santa, I want a Daddy that makes me feel special. That holds me when I’m sleeping. I hope he likes being the big spoon.

I know I’ve been super blessed this year, and I shouldn’t ask for more, but if you give him to me, I won’t ask for anything else. Well, for like a year…maybe two tops.

Oh, and P.S. Santa, it would be awesome if he’d want to take me and my baby girl out for ice cream.

P.P.S. Curling up together as a family and watching Hallmark movies would be perfect.

StillABoy_


I chewed on my lips and watched Ken read. Every word was superimposed on my brain, and if it was anyone but my brother, I would never let them see that. But we’d been through everything together since I was fourteen and Kendrick was sixteen. I literally trusted him with my life.

Ken held the phone out to me, "Post it now. I’m watching you to make sure that you do.

I took the phone from Kendrick and drew in a deep breath. I studied the picture I’d selected and sighed. You can’t lose ten pounds in the next five minutes, so post it.

"There, it’s done. Happy?" I closed my eyes and drew in the deepest breath, then held it before releasing. Don’t panic. Don’t panic.

Fuck. All I could see was my profile there with no one even bothering to answer. How embarrassing would that be? Fuck. I shouldn't have let Kendrick talk me into it.

Like you didn’t want him to. Okay, so maybe a part of me had but still, shit. It was out there.

"Snap out of it." Kendrick’s voice and his hand on my shoulder pulled me back from the edge of panic. "Breathe, bro, honestly." I opened my eyes and found myself looking into Kendrick’s honey-colored ones. "You’re a catch, and I know the right guy is just waiting to meet you. Hear me and believe me when I say this."

I sighed. Of course, Kendrick had to say that; I was his brother. Besides, I got why Kendrick couldn’t relate to me being insecure. At six feet tall, my brother was lean and cut to perfection. Not to mention the light brown skin, the close-cropped dark hair with waves, and recently, the beard that made his husband drool like someone on a juice fast staring at a burger. My brother was a certified hottie in every sense of the word. Hell he’d once gotten mistaken for that actor Omari Hardwick and the resemblance was close… so yeah.

"Yeah, right." I really hated being mopey, but at five…okay, so maybe ten pounds overweight, being older than a boy should be without a Daddy, and having a kid… The Daddies would not be beating down my door any time soon.

And even if one managed to come through, he wouldn’t stay. No one ever did.

Kendrick has. So has Sarah.

"You’re lucky." I smiled, even as guilt consumed me for the bout of jealousy I’d felt toward my brother. He deserved the happiness he’d found with Dec. I would never wish anything but joy for him… But where was mine?

If you were normal… Nope. I closed down those thoughts. I’d spent way too much time and money in therapy on that shit.

Shout-out to my parents, whoever they were, for that.

"Stop thinking so hard and get to work." Kendrick patted my shoulder. "Trust your big brother." He grinned at me. "Have I ever steered you wrong?"

I snorted. "Fine, but I won’t hold my breath. People don’t want me." I tried for levity, but I knew I didn’t hit the mark when Kendrick’s smile left his face.

"They didn’t want you. That’s on them. Besides, this whole chosen family gig has been working out for us so far." His voice was insistent, and that finally got a real smile from me. Because he was right. It had started with him and me, and then we had Sarah, Declan, Aria, and the twins, Sean and Zara.

I was about to reply when a ping had both of us looking down at my phone.

"Well, that was quick," I murmured.

"Didn’t I tell you that big brother knows best?" Kendrick wore a very smug smile.

 
* * *

The first profile that sent me the ‘Have you been naughty or nice this year?’ was a nope almost immediately. Okay, so I know I wasn’t showing my full face on my profile, but honestly, the guy could at least leave something to the imagination.

Just no. Without reading further, I knew he wasn’t the I’m going to settle down soon guy. Maybe that was a horrid assumption, but…well…junk pic.

The next guy wasn’t so bad; he was older than me, quite handsome in that salt and pepper way. Our kinks matched up pretty well, although he was looking for more of a twenty-four-seven dynamic. Even though I didn’t want my Daddy only in the bedroom, I also didn’t want a Daddy all the time.

So I left that one there… Well, at least two people had swiped right on me.

I went back to coding the new level I was working on for Chef Craze, one of our best selling apps. I was adding a new bonus, a Christmas level that would be going live in the next couple of days and run right after Thanksgiving to the new year. I just had to work on the finishing touches.

When my phone got a notification, I noticed immediately. Like you’re not keeping an eye out. It was the second notification from the app in a matter of hours.

I picked up my phone and went straight to the Cuffd app. There were two more Daddies this time. The first one caught my attention because the guy’s face was in profile, but what I could see of his face was stern. I almost swiped ‘no,’ but then I scrolled down to the next picture. It was like someone caught him off guard because his head was thrown back in laughter, the long column of his throat exposed. I kind of wished I could see his eyes, but they were covered by dark sunglasses.

The two pictures had me intrigued, so I kept on reading. His occupation was mechanic. It wasn’t one of the questions, but the information was there. Mechanic. Why did I find that so very, very hot? My brain supplied an image of a white undershirt, stained with grease, coveralls that hung low on his hips. A glimpse of that delicious V when he stretched.

Mmmm. Yummy.

But what really had me smiling was the About Me section. The last line finally had me responding.

I’m a strict but loving Daddy. I love to cook for those I care about. Trust and loyalty mean everything to me. All I want is something serious that lasts a lifetime.

My hand hovered over the green button for nice, then the red for naughty. But then I noticed you could go straight into chat.

StillABoy_: Hi

I gnawed on my lips. Fuck, was that a dumb way to start a convo. Maybe I should type something witty. Thank you, brain, for going blank. I imagine this was what it was like when you passed a note in high school, asking ‘Do you like me, yes or no.’ Not that I had any experience with that.

But then I received a response, and my heart began to beat faster in my chest. Calm down, Sebastian. It’s only a chat.

MadtheMechDaddy: Hey there. I hoped you’d reply.

He had? What did I say to that? And why were my palms suddenly sweaty?

StillABoy_: Oh good.

Dammit, that sounded stupid. Was it too abrupt? Fuck… I decided to add to it.

StillABoy_: I haven’t done this in a while… Okay, not really ever. So I may get a little awkward.

MadtheMechDaddy: :) I won’t hold it against you. I’m a bit rusty too.

StillABoy_: Lol. Thank you.

I followed that up with a smiley face of my own.

StillABoy_: :) Oh really? So is this your first time on here?

MadtheMechDaddy: Yeah. A friend told me about it.

StillABoy_: My brother told me about it.

MadtheMechDaddy: Another thing we have in common.

I raised a brow.

MadtheMechDaddy: Okay, so that was maybe pushing, but I plead rusty.

I chuckled. I liked that he didn’t take himself too seriously. Some Daddies did that.

StillABoy_: I won’t hold it against you.

MadtheMechDaddy: Oops. Got to go. I’m at work. But I’d love to talk to you later. Maybe tonight?

StillABoy_: I’ll look forward to it.

I suddenly couldn’t wait for tonight. Even if nothing came of it, well…there were still tingles racing down my skin. A Daddy, who seemed pretty nice, actually wanted me.