With: Jody Holford
Megan Carter’s spent the past five years nannying for a pint-size boss—the adorable Charlie—while also navigating her full-size boss, his somewhat grouchy, way-too-methodical dad, Adam. Now that she’s finally moving on, helping Adam find her replacement should be easy...except he doesn’t want another nanny. He wants a wife.
Adam’s been burned by love in the past, so of course he believes finding someone who can be a partner in raising his son is all that matters. Too bad the woman helping him search is the biggest believer in love at first sight and happily-ever-after he’s ever met.
Even as Adam’s funny, charming, and—who would have thought it?—super-hot side starts to come out, Megan knows that without love, a family would never be complete. But convincing Adam of that might be harder than she thought.
She might not be a princess, but Megan Carter fully planned on getting her fairy tale. From the time she was a little girl, she’d had her career fully mapped out, and today was the day her pumpkin turned into a coach. Right after she got her coffee. Pulling open the freezer above the fridge, her stomach dropped. No coffee. “How can you not have coffee?” she scolded herself. Because she usually started her days at the main house, where she drank Adam’s coffee while making breakfast for his son, Charlie. Megan didn’t take days off from her full- time nanny job, but Adam was bringing his son to school today so she could interview for a teaching position in the Brockton Point School District. Her interview wasn’t for three hours, and there was no way she could wait that long to put caffeine in her system. Adam and Charlie weren’t expecting her this morning, but going without coffee was more ridiculous than busting in there to get some.
Heading down the stairs beside her over-the-garage apartment, Megan sang her own version of the once- popular Black Eyed Peas song. Today was going to be a good day. When she reached the heavy oak door of the one-story brick colonial, she stopped mid-verse. Adam and Charlie didn’t need her weak attempt at song before seven a.m. With a smile that felt etched into her cheeks, she let herself into the house as she had every weekday morning of the last five years. The high-pitched beeping reached her before the smell of something burning. Hurrying through the foyer and down the hallway to the kitchen, she found her boss bare-chested, cursing, and chucking a blackened piece of bread into the sink. He sucked his forefinger into his mouth while Megan’s jaw dropped open without her knowledge. Five years she’d lived in his home and it had never occurred to her that underneath his perfectly pressed dress shirts and ties was a sculpted chest with a light dusting of dark hair that led all the way down to his--
“What are you doing here?” Adam’s hooded gaze locked with hers, which wasn’t hard, since she’d been staring.
She closed her mouth. Opened it. What’s wrong with you? Speak. The beeping continued. “I, uh...I couldn’t sleep. Excitement. And I’m out of coffee. Thought I’d come see if you needed some help.” Megan pressed her lips together and kept her eyes wide,
refusing to let them wander.He looked at the machine, which held a full carafe.
Frowning, Adam walked out from behind the large island that sat in the middle of the room and down the hall that led to the bedrooms. Megan zipped around the counter and over to the toaster oven, pressing the reset button, smiling. She’d made her fair share of burned toast. She grabbed a mug and was pouring the deliciously scented brew when Adam returned a moment later with a T-shirt covering his upper half. It looked a little funny with the dress pants he wore, but it was a lot less distracting. And probably more professional. Not that covering his six-pack—she really never suspected that—would erase the image from her brain anytime soon.
“You made it stop shrieking. Thank you. When you said you needed the morning off, I didn’t expect you to come rescue me,” he said.
Megan sipped her coffee, not minding the burn on her tongue. She sighed in pleasure but cut off the sound when she saw Adam watching her with a strange expression.
Taking another swallow, she set her coffee on the counter as Adam grabbed the bread. Without the incessant beeping, the quiet of the morning echoed in her ears. Where was Charlie?
“I didn’t think I’d be rescuing you. Not that you’d let me even if it were needed. But you having caffeine rescued me, so thanks. Is Charlie up yet?”
Adam glanced at her as he slid the bread into the toaster oven. She opened the fridge and saw that he’d already made Charlie’s lunch. Smiling, she grabbed the carton of orange juice. Charlie started every morning with orange juice and toast. This month anyway. Last month it had been Cheerios and apple juice. Adam opened one of the white cupboard doors and grabbed a mug for his own fix of caffeine.
“No. Thought I’d let him sleep while I packed his lunch and got breakfast. I went to steam my shirt and forgot about the toast.”
“It happens. I can take over here if you still need to do your shirt,” she said.
Adam passed Megan a small glass for the juice. She accepted it and the funny buzzing in her stomach. She usually saw her boss in the mornings as she came in, and he left for work absurdly early. They exchanged minimal pleasantries as she did what she’d done this morning—make a beeline for his coffee pot. By the time Charlie got up most days, his dad was almost always gone.
When he walked by her, Megan caught the fresh scent of his shower gel and inhaled deeply without thinking. He stopped and frowned at her, his brows furrowing over his dark green eyes. Megan coughed, trying to cover up the fact that she’d just tried to smell her boss. Who, a lot of the time, she didn’t even particularly like. Her excitement over the interview was making her crazy. Literally.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
She stepped back. “Yup. I’m good. Great. Go do your shirt. I’m on toast.”
When he walked away, she groaned quietly. I’m on toast? She really should have forced herself to sleep in this morning. Or stayed in her own space. When she’d taken the job, just before her twentieth birthday, she’d been thrilled to have her own apartment, despite its tiny square footage. It was an adorable little place, and Megan was happy that when Adam got home each night, she had more than just a bedroom down the hall to retreat to. This morning, however, it had just been too cramped to contain the energy shimmering over her skin and in her blood.
Being Charlie’s nanny had been the perfect job while she’d pursued teaching. But now, she was ready to make the transition. Mostly. As she put a thin layer of jam on Charlie’s toast, she focused on how excited she was about the future and not how hard it would be to leave him at the end of the summer. She’d been caring for him since he was two years old. Adam might be her boss, but Charlie was her family.
“Leaving won’t change that. It’ll be fine,” she said, putting the knife in the dishwasher. It was already emptied, making her wonder what time Adam had gotten up this morning.
“What will be fine?” Adam asked, walking back into the kitchen. He still wore the same shirt, but he had an adorable, messy-haired accessory clinging to his back. Megan’s heart clutched at the sight of Charlie, who was getting a bit big to be carried. His face was buried in Adam’s shoulder, so Megan couldn’t see him.
“Uh, nothing. Sorry. Just talking to myself,” she said. Better than singing, at least. “Morning, Charlie.”
“Morning,” he mumbled, still not lifting his head.
Megan frowned and, forgetting about personal space, stepped closer to Adam. His eyes widened slightly, and she heard his sharp intake of breath. Ignoring it, she leaned around his shoulder.
“You okay, bud?”
“He’s just tired,” Adam said, looking over his shoulder. “Is he usually hard to get up on school days?”
Megan shook her head and reached out to touch Charlie’s forehead. “Hey. You feeling okay?”
“Mmm-hmm,” Charlie murmured.
“I’m sure he’s fine,” Adam said, jostling Charlie a little. “Aren’t you, pal?”
Charlie talked like the roadrunner ran. He didn’t wake up slow or drift off to sleep. When he was up, he was full of life until the end of the day when he crashed on his Star Wars sheets, surrounded by the protectors of his favorite galaxy far, far away.
“He’s warm, Adam,” Megan said, her lips still curved downward.
Adam pulled him around and set him on his feet. Charlie came up to Megan’s waist. He was getting so tall. Kneeling, she put her hand to his forehead again. He leaned against her, his eyes still closed and a little pout puckering his lips. This was not her Charlie.
“I don’t feel so good,” he mumbled.
Adam crouched on his haunches, his knee tapping gently against Megan’s. Fortunately, she didn’t have time to wonder what the actual hell was with the spark that zipped up her leg at the contact. Adam Klein was not a man who sent off sparks. Charlie’s hand flew to his mouth, and Adam, recognizing the motion, picked him up and hauled him to the bathroom just in time. Megan heard the little guy throw up, and she cringed. He must have picked up a bug at school, which sucked, since it was the end of the year and they had lots of fun activities planned.
About the Author:
Jody Holford lives in British Columbia with her family. She's a huge fan of Rainbow Rowell, Nora Roberts, Carly Phillips, Rachel Gibson, Sophia Kinsella, and Emily Giffen. She's unintentionally funny and rarely on time for anything. She writes multiple genres but her favourite is romance.