Authors: Kandy Shepherd
Tags: #romance, #love story, #baby, #contemporary romance, #single mom, #sexy romance, #humor and romance, #older heroine, #baby sitter, #nanny romance, #younger hero, #male nanny, #hero on a harley, #divorced heroine
Praise for Kandy
“Strong, passionate characters
that have plenty of chemistry between them.”
Fallen Angels Reviews
“Sexy, funny and heroes to die
“Delightful characters, witty
dialogue, and an entertaining storyline.”
“Fabulous on so many
Night Owl Romance Reviews
By Kandy Shepherd
Copyright 2012 Kandy
Cover design by Hot Damn
by Power of Love Publishing
This book is a work of fiction.
All names, characters, locations and incidents are products of the
author’s imagination, or have been used fictitiously. Any
resemblance to any actual persons living or dead, locales,
businesses, or events is entirely coincidental.
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the hard work of this author.
Allison opened her front
door to the tall, powerfully built man wearing faded denim jeans, a
leather biker’s jacket, and carrying a helmet in one hand, she
assumed he was a courier delivering a parcel from her
But he wasn’t.
Bradley?” he said, his voice as husky as the sound of a Harley
skidding in gravel, “I’m Joe Martin, your new nanny.”
stared at the man with his big, booted feet planted on her front
veranda. At his thick, dark hair tied back roughly from his face
with a leather string, at the gold stud piercing his left earlobe,
at the worn jeans that molded long, muscular legs.
Was this some kind of joke?
He looked big and tough and as handsome as
hell. A tradesman, perhaps. A footballer, maybe. But not a
wasn’t fazed at her stare. In fact he stared right back with bold,
confident eyes of a blue so deep they seemed navy, until Allison
found herself dropping her gaze and clutching the fine, almost
translucent, fabric of her robe across her breasts, suddenly aware
of what she must look like to him.
Her heartbeat stepped up a gear in awareness
that he was a very good-looking guy and she was only a silken step
away from nakedness.
wouldn’t dream of answering the door dressed in a silky robe but
the alarm had failed to go off, and she was running late for work.
Very late. She’d only just stepped out of the shower and her wet,
blond hair was dripping down her back.
her fists so tight her nails dug into her palms. One thing went
wrong and then everything snowballed. Lia, the nanny she’d had for
the last two months, had walked out without notice yesterday. Now
she was facing a biker babysitter on her front doorstep, on a
morning when she desperately needed things to flow
The seven o’clock bus roared by and in the
distance she could hear the hoot of the departing ferry. She was
getting later for work by the second.
scowled. “I guess the agency didn’t tell you that I’m a
almost choked on a splutter of nervous laughter. As if he needed to
state the obvious. She didn’t think she’d ever met anyone so
didn’t,” she finally managed to get out, annoyed at herself for
letting the man’s appearance floor her. “I had no idea.”
How had the
message on her voice mail gone? “We’re in luck. I’ve found you an
awesome nanny,” Sandy, the girl from the Help From Above agency,
had enthused. “I’m sending Jo around first thing in the
Naturally Allison had assumed Joanne or Jody
or Joelene. Anything but Joseph.
the agency began to percolate through her shock. “I’m sorry,” she
said, feeling at a disadvantage in her near-transparent nightwear.
Her sensible cotton dressing gown was soaking in a bucket, a victim
of baby puke, hence the inappropriately sexy robe. Thank heaven
she’d at least pulled on some panties before she’d answered the
“There’s been a mistake. I can’t have a man
looking after my child. I’ll call the agency right now.”
sounded firm to her own ears, but inwardly she felt like sobbing
with panic. She had to go to work. There was no choice. The deal
she and her boss, Clive, had been working on for months would be
made or broken by the meeting scheduled for 8.00am. Another day she
might have been able to dial in to a conference call. Not today. It
was the most important deal of her career—she desperately needed
the commission it would earn her if she pulled it off. As well,
after all the mentoring and support Clive had given her, she didn’t
want to let him down.
to hand Mitchell over to a caring, competent nanny—a female nanny.
Help From Above were usually so reliable. She couldn’t imagine what
had gone wrong. Please let them have someone else available on
short notice. She reached for the door to close it.
I want to
talk to the agency too,” Joe Martin said. “They should have briefed
you about me.” He pulled out a cell phone from the pocket of his
leather jacket. “Let me call them now.”
“No. Please. I’d rather you left.” Hadn’t
she wasted enough precious time already on this mix-up?
leather biker boots remained planted on her veranda. “I am who I
say I am. I’ve been booked as your nanny. I’ve got my ‘Introducing
Your Heavenly Helper’ ID to prove it.”
seen a few of those blue ID cards in recent times as she’d sought
the ideal nanny for eighteen-month-old Mitchell.
Joe Martin continued. “Don’t think I’m not
as angry about this as you are. I’d be a fool if I didn’t realize
there are parents who are hung up about male carers. I expect the
agency to realize that, too.”
Allison gritted her teeth at the way he said
and “uptight”—they were adjectives she, as a topflight corporate
banker, had often had hurled at her. She was used to insults—any
banker in this time and age had better get used to being among the
least popular people in the world. But there was nothing “hung up”
about ensuring the safety of her child.
Then there was her own safety to consider.
Everything she’d ever been told about letting strange men into her
house warned her to keep this big, powerful biker firmly on the
other side of the threshold.
pulled out a battered wallet from his hip pocket and held out his
identification card. For a long moment it stayed there between them
before she reached for it. Her fingers brushed his as she took it
from him. She snatched her hand back as if she had been singed. The
inadvertent touch made her suddenly, uncomfortably aware of this
biker nanny as a very attractive man.
Avoiding his eyes, and hoping he hadn’t
noticed her reaction to his touch, she peered at the picture on Joe
He took a
great photo. In the color image, small as it was, he looked as
impressive as any movie star; eyes the darkest blue she had ever
seen; slightly crooked nose and strong jaw saving him from
handsome. He was hot. Her cheeks burned as she
looked at the photo, then up at the man. What on earth was he doing
working as a nanny?
But the card
left no doubt as to his credentials. To earn that blue card, the
Help From Above employees underwent character and background
checking second to none.
“I’ll still confirm your identity with the agency, of course,” she
added, glancing anxiously at her watch. This man was the most
unlikely nanny she had ever seen.
There was a sudden, awkward pause as she
debated whether or not she should invite him inside while she
called the agency. She was rescued from the uncomfortable silence
by a high-pitched childish wail from the kitchen.
“Ohmigod! Mitchell!” She’d thought she’d
only be at the door for a second to let the nanny in and had left
him in his highchair.
She turned and rushed through the living
room. Joe Martin followed her into the house. But she couldn’t
worry about that now.
toys out of her path, convulsing with fear at the thought of what
might have happened to her baby. It was just what the childcare
books warned against. Never leave your baby by himself with food in
case of choking. Why had she been so careless? What if—?
reached the kitchen door, she stopped so fast she could sense Joe
Martin nearly bump into her.
Mitchell was still safely in his highchair
where she’d left him eating his breakfast. But both cereal bowl and
spoon were on the floor. The cereal they’d contained was now
dripping through her son’s shock of ginger hair, streaking down his
face and onto his clothes.
Not that it
bothered the baby. He just wanted his spoon back and was making his
demand heard in no uncertain terms. “Poon,” he ordered, once he saw
the adults, “want poon.” He hiccupped and started wailing
Joe Martin laughed—a big, generous laugh that rang with genuine
amusement. “I don’t think I’ll need to call on my first aid
training,” he said.
the mess all over the baby and the floor, Allison couldn’t see the
humor. She couldn’t stop her voice from breaking into a half sob.
“Mitchell, no! Not this morning. Please.” Would she ever learn not
to dress him before she fed him?
invitation, Joe Martin strode past her and hunkered down so his
face was level with Mitchell’s. “Hey, little guy,” he said. That
deep, husky voice was surprisingly gentle. “You’re meant to eat
your breakfast, not wear it.”
immediately stopped screaming, looked searchingly in Joe’s face,
and then grinned at him, displaying his motley collection of baby
Allison stared, amazed. Mitchell’s usual
reaction to an unknown male was a shy turning away.
“Now where’s that spoon?” Joe asked
Mitchell. He reached down, retrieved it, took it to the sink,
washed it and returned it to Mitchell. The baby waved the spoon
around in the air like a wayward conductor, chuckling at Joe the
whole time. “Now keep it up there, okay?” said Joe, grinning back
annoyance at her son turned to a fierce defense. “He’s usually
pretty good.” She kissed Mitchell on his soft little cheek. “Aren’t
you, sweetie?” she said, as she wiped away a smear of cereal with
her sleeve. She could never stay cranky with her son for longer
than a second.
he is,” said Joe. “What is he? Eighteen months? He’s doing
Joe reached for the paper towel roll. “You
call the agency, I’ll wipe him off. He’ll need a clean T-shirt, but
his pants are okay. Once I’ve done that, I’ll deal with the mess on
I’ll call,” she said.
found herself reluctant to turn away from the sight of the hunky
male tenderly wiping the cereal from her son’s face—and her son’s
unhesitating acceptance of his administrations. Joe was so big, his
hands almost spanned Mitchell’s head, and yet he was so gentle. She
wasn’t used to seeing a man playing such a nurturing role with her
child. It unsettled
her how appealing she
Never, not once, had she seen Mitchell’s
father, her ex-husband, Peter, care for his son. Peter had walked
out on her before Mitchell was born. He hadn’t wanted their baby
and had only seen him once since his birth.
Not for the first time, Allison felt
wrenched by an angry sadness at the thought of what Mitchell had
been denied. And, though she always fought against self-pity, she
couldn’t help but recognize that as a lone parent she had suffered
too. How different it would be to raise a child with a partner to
share both the joys and the tribulations of parenting. A partner as
caring with kids as this man.