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A selection from Must Like Kids

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“Children have a place and it’s anywhere I’m not.”

Even before the reporter’s eyebrows lifted, Alec McAvoy knew the words were going to come back to bite him in a place that would make sitting uncomfortable.

He laughed uneasily. “That’s off the record, right?”

“This is an interview, Mr. McAvoy. Nothing is off the record,” the woman interviewing him replied blandly, although he got the feeling she would be grinning broadly the first chance she got. She was young, new to her job and looking to make her mark as a journalist. He had just handed her a golden opportunity.

“Right. But you understand that I was just joking when you asked me if I liked kids? Of course I like kids. They’re great. Wonderful.”

Especially when they were quiet, preferably sleeping or strapped into strollers when out in public. This time he managed to keep the thoughts to himself.

“Joke or not, I find it a telling response coming from the head of a company that specializes in products for infants and children.”

To use the vernacular of the little ones to whom Best For Baby, Incorporated catered, Alec was in deep doo-doo.

No amount of backpedaling or flirting—and, yeah, he’d resorted to that before the interview was through—changed the end result. When the article hit the internet via American CEO magazine’s online edition, it contained his flippant remark. The reporter had included his explanation that it was a “joke.” Her use of quotation marks around the word only served to make it sound more insincere. But what elevated his statement from gaffe to truly damning was the reporter’s inclusion of an interview she’d conducted with Alec’s ex-girlfriend, Laurel McCain. No doubt Laurel had relished the chance to tarnish his reputation after their ugly breakup six months earlier. She’d wanted a ring and the title of Mrs. Alec McAvoy. He’d simply wanted out.

“Alec is uncomfortable around children,” his ex claimed in the article. “We were together for nearly two years, and I can count on one hand the number of times my children were included in our outings.”

No mention of the fact that she’d preferred it that way.

“Was I surprised when he was named the new head of Best For Baby back in January? Yes. Extremely,” Laurel went on to say. “Don’t get me wrong, Alec is a smart businessman, but as a mother, I always thought Best For Baby was about more than the bottom line.”

Within hours of appearing online, the story was picked up by a couple of high-profile bloggers. Mothers everywhere were appalled, outraged. It was shared on Facebook, tweeted about on Twitter and went viral.

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