Authors: Kirsten Osbourne
Tags: #Romantic Comedy, #Contemporary, #Romance, #Fiction, #Forever Love, #Adult, #Bachelor, #Single Woman, #Dalton Boys, #Elementary Teacher, #Montana, #New York City, #Texas, #Nanny Position, #Single Father, #Family Life, #Young Charge, #Newborn Child, #Doorstep, #Nanny Agency, #Perfect Mother, #Perfect Wife, #Bad Boy Image, #Billionaire, #Triplet Brothers
Book One in The Fabulous Dalton Boys
By Kirsten Osbourne
Copyright 2015 Kirsten Osbourne
Kindle Edition, License Notes
Cover Art by Kim Killion
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Ashley feels like she's in limbo. Realizing she doesn't want to be a teacher after getting her degree in lower elementary education, she moves from Montana to New York City to live with her crazy aunt. When the opportunity to be a nanny in Texas comes up, she jumps at it. It's not until she's flown there does she understand that she'll be living with the child and his very sexy single father. Not looking for romance, she tries to keep her thoughts off the father and on her young charge.
Barrett Dalton is at a loss for what to do when he finds his newborn child on his doorstep. Calling a nanny agency seems to be the only logical solution. The nanny causes his blood to boil in a completely unexpected way. Telling himself over and over that she's there to take care of his child isn't enough. Will Barrett be able to convince Ashley that she's not only the perfect mother for his son, but that she's also the perfect wife for him? Or will she continue to see only his bad boy image and not the caring man he really is?
To sign up for Kirsten Osbourne’s mailing list and receive notice of new titles as they are available, click
Barrett Dalton stumbled out of bed when he heard the doorbell. His brother, Archer, was out of town, and his other brother, Cage, slept like the dead. Who would be at the door at two in the morning anyway? He hoped it wasn't the cops. Last time someone had come to their door at this time of night had been the night their father died. He rushed toward the door a little faster. Surely Archer was all right.
The three brothers had no one but each other, and he couldn't imagine losing either of the other two. They were triplets and had the tight-knit bond that most multiples had.
He opened the door wide without looking to see who was there, knowing as he did his brothers would have said something to him if they'd seen it. They thought he was too trusting, and judging by the events of the past year, they were probably right.
He looked around and saw tail lights disappearing out of the driveway. Just as he was about to close the door, he heard a quiet whimper from the ground. He looked down, and there it was. A baby in a plastic laundry basket. Who the hell would put a baby in a laundry basket and leave it on his doorstep? Really?
He leaned down and picked up the basket, carrying it inside. There was a note with his name on it atop the baby.
I've tried repeatedly to get you to marry me for the sake of our child. You refused over and over. You may have him then. His name is Dalton Dalton Dalton. I know how fond you were of your great-great-grandfather's name. Enclosed are papers giving up all rights to the brat.
No love lost,
Barrett sighed, looking down at the baby. He'd have blood tests run to be sure the kid was his, although it didn't really matter. He'd raise him regardless. Poor kid had enough going against him with that bitch for a mother and a name like Dalton Dalton Dalton. He didn't need to go into the system on top of that.
He picked up the baby and cradled him to his chest, looking in the basket. One bottle, and a half a can of some white powder. How he was going to figure out how to be a father and what to do with the thing, he had no idea. He carried the baby back through to his wing of the house and climbed back into bed. He'd figure it out. He had to.
This was just what they needed for their reputation. A baby born out of wedlock. He sighed, holding the baby close. They were going to be known as the bad boys of Dalton, Texas forever.
Ashley Sinclair stood in the checkout line at Wal-Mart with her aunt and her aunt's assistant. Aunt Lachele was a psychologist who had started a matchmaking business she called Matchrimony. It was weird, but Ashley couldn't complain, because it made her aunt deliriously happy.
Lachele was looking at a copy of
and frowning. "Those three boys have more money than they know what to do with. Why can't they settle down and act right?"
Ashley blinked at her crazy purple-haired aunt. "What boys?"
"Oh, those Daltons. You've heard about them! Their family had this huge ranching empire, and their dad blew it all gambling and drinking. And now they've found oil, so they're rich as sin, but they don't know how to behave themselves." Lachele shook her head. "Their mama died when they were born, so I guess no one can hold it against them."
Samara, a pretty girl in her late twenties, added, "They're triplets. Always in the tabloids."
Ashley glanced at the magazine in question. "What did they do?"
Lachele shrugged. "What don't they do? I swear, every one of those boys only knows how to think with what's in his pants. They've left a whole slew of love-sick girls all across Texas." She mumbled something under her breath about men being unable to think with their pants too tight and cutting off blood flow to their jewels. "Don't you ever get involved with a bad boy like this. You hear me, Ashley?"
"Yes, Aunt Lachele." The three men on the front of the magazine were identical, other than one sporting a full bushy beard. But more importantly? They were hot. Ashley wanted to fan her face just looking at their pictures.
After they'd checked out, they walked toward the car Lachele had hired to take them into New Jersey for their twice-a-month stock up on groceries. With all the stores in Manhattan, Ashley still wasn't certain why they had to go to New Jersey to shop at Wal-Mart, but she knew better than to ask. She'd gotten an earful when she had tried to figure it out a couple of months before when she'd first moved in with Lachele.
"It's downright un-American not to have a Wal-Mart close to you. Why, Wal-Marts are a God-given right in this country, and I think the mayor of New York City needs to be fined and forced to use a bulldozer on some of those stupid sky-scrapers to build us a Wal-Mart. What is this world coming to?" The discussion had simply gone downhill from there. No, Ashley would never ask again, and instead, she meekly followed along whenever her aunt suggested a trip to Wal-Mart.
Ashley had gotten her degree in early childhood education just a year before, and she'd taught for the first semester of the year, taking the place of a teacher who was out on maternity leave. After one semester of teaching she realized that she was not cut out to work in the school system. She couldn't see herself spending the rest of her life teaching small children how to take tests.
She'd moved in with her aunt while trying to decide where she wanted to go from there, and was substitute teaching while she lived there, further cementing her resolve she could never teach.
The previous week, she'd taken a day off from subbing and had gone to a domestic agency to see if she could be placed as a nanny. She loved the idea of spending her life working with children, but she still didn't know in what capacity she should do it. She'd get there. Soon.
Ashley was on a break the following day; the kindergarteners she was teaching were in their music class. She was checking her email on her phone, scrolling through all the spam, thinking she really needed to change her email address, when it rang. She answered quickly. "Hello?"
"Is this Ashley Sinclair?" asked a no-nonsense female voice on the other end of the phone.
"Yes, it is."
"This is Sandra Martin. You applied for a position with our agency last week. We've had something come up that would require you to relocate. You indicated you didn't mind relocating as long as the position was live in. Is that correct?"
Ashley felt her heart beating faster. This might be the opportunity she was waiting for. "That's correct. I actually like the idea of relocating." She'd been born and raised in Montana, and it seemed so odd to her to live in Manhattan. She'd wanted the change, but she was already tired of city life.
"Have you ever been to Texas?"
Ashley frowned. It was hot in Texas. "No. I haven't, but I'm not opposed to going there." She'd learn to deal with the heat.
"Can you fly out tomorrow? Instead of an interview they're asking that you commit to a one month trial period. If it goes well, you'll stay."
"Wow. That's fast." She thought of the jobs she had lined up for the next two days, but she knew she could drop them if she needed to. "That would be fine. What airport should I get the ticket to fly into?"
"Oh, the father will take care of that for you as soon as I call him back. I'll email you with your itinerary within an hour or two. We'll need you to report in once a week for the first month to let us know how the position is working out for you. You'll be caring for an infant."
Ashley smiled. She'd rather start with a baby than a spoiled older child. "Sounds wonderful. Thank you."
As soon as she hung up the phone, Ashley texted her aunt. "I've got a job in Texas. Flying out in the morning. Will be a nanny. More info tonight."
She leaned back in her chair with a smile. No more teaching to standardized tests, and she still got to use her degree. She couldn't think of anything that would make her happier.
Ashley hurried to baggage claim. She'd been given instructions to meet her driver there. She hoped she would have access to a car in Texas. Driving was one of her greatest pleasures, and she'd spent enough time in New York City that she was really missing it.
She pulled her large suitcase off the conveyor belt and scanned the room. There were several people who were very obviously drivers, all dressed neatly and holding up signs. Finally she spotted an older gentleman with a receding hairline. He held up a sign with her name on it. "I'm Ashley Sinclair."
The man nodded, holding his hand out to shake hers. "Roger Biggs. I'll be taking you to the Dalton Ranch, ma'am." He took her suitcase and started dragging it toward the exit and she half-walked and half-ran to keep up with him.
"How far is the Dalton Ranch?" she asked, wondering why the name Dalton sounded so familiar to her.
"It'll take us about an hour and a half. Traffic is relatively light at this time of day, and we're going through Fort Worth, not Dallas. Same distance would take two and a half hours if we were driving through Dallas."
He put her suitcase in the back of a Cadillac Escalade before running to the passenger side and opening the back door for her. After getting into the driver's seat, he asked, "Is this your first trip to Texas?"
Ashley nodded, watching out the window as he left the small parking garage. "Yes. I haven't been many places."
"Lived in New York all your life?"
For a moment she was startled that he knew where she had flown in from, but she realized he must have been given the information in case her flight was delayed or something happened. "No, sir. I grew up in Montana, and went to college there. I moved to New York in January to be with my aunt for a bit."
"I see. Never lived through a Texas summer then. You're in for a shock."
She laughed. "I'm sure I am. I grew up in the tiny little town of King, Montana. We had summers we thought were hot, but nothing like I've read about Texas summers."
They chatted during the drive. She watched everything out the window, a bit surprised when they left the city, and just kept driving. "I figured I'd be working in the city," she said.
"Oh, no, ma'am. The Dalton Ranch is just outside Dalton, Texas. It's a beautiful part of the state. They still have several hundred head of cattle, many of them descendants of the cattle their great-great-grandaddy had back in the 1800s. The ranch, and the town that was named after it, are full of rich history if you like that kind of thing."
Ashley smiled. "Oh, I do." She loved the idea of getting out and exploring the area. The baby was certainly too young now, but it would get older, and she could take it on some educational field trips. This job may just be a trial for the Daltons, but for her, she was settling in. She wanted to see the baby go off to its first day of school. And maybe it would have younger siblings.
She daydreamed a bit about what the family would be like. Obviously the mother worked, and that's why she was needed. She'd always thought she'd stay home with her children and teach them herself, but of course, that made sense with her having a degree in early childhood.
When they pulled up in front of the ranch, she gawked at the beauty of the house. "Wow!"
The driver smiled. "This house has a lot of stories to tell if you're of a mind to listen to them," he told her. He hurried around and opened her door, going to the trunk to remove her suitcase.
Ashley took deep calming breaths. She wished she'd taken the time to freshen up at the airport instead of running to baggage claim. Her clothes were wrinkled from the long flight, and she was certain her hair was a mess.
The driver hurried and knocked on the door, dragging her suitcase with him, stepping back when the door opened. "Mr. Dalton, I've brought Miss Sinclair from the airport as requested." He left her bag on the step, smiling down at Ashley. "Thank you for the pleasant conversation, Miss Ashley."
Ashley smiled, wondering if she was supposed to tip the man. She started to dig in her purse, and he shook his head. "It's been taken care of, Miss. Enjoy your stay in Texas."
"Thank you!" she said, so happy that the first person she'd met in Texas had lived up to her expectations of Texas friendliness.
As he walked off, she turned her attention to the man at the door. He had a scruffy beard and was wearing a pair of jeans and a stained white tee-shirt. "I'm Ashley, the nanny."
The man said nothing to her, grabbing her suitcase with one hand and her wrist with the other. He half-dragged her through the house and down a long hallway, yelling out, "Barrett, she's here!"
Ashley could hear the sound of a baby crying, and she rushed into the room where her new charge was, taking the baby off a king size bed where a man stood over it looking perplexed. She dropped her carry-on and scooped the baby into her arms, holding it against her. She could feel the sogginess of the diaper through her clothes. "Fresh diapers?" she asked.
The second man, Barrett, rushed away and brought back a diaper that was obviously at least a size three. Ashley frowned. "Don't you have any that fit?"
"Are there different sizes?" he asked, a frown on his face.
Ashley sighed, laying the baby down on the bed, trying not to be annoyed at the urine on the front of her shirt. She quickly changed the baby's diaper, noting that it was a boy as she did so. As soon as he was dry, she picked him up, cooing to him softly. "There you go, sweetheart. No wonder you were crying. You had a whole ocean in your diaper. Yes, you did!"
The baby stared at her with wide eyes, and she felt her heart melt instantly. She looked up at the man she assumed was his father. "Where's his room?"
Barrett shrugged. "He doesn't have one yet. He's been sleeping with me."
Ashley frowned. "So he doesn't have a crib? Or a changing table? Where do you put him for naps?"
"I just got him two days ago. I don't know where to put him for anything yet!" Barrett looked at the pretty little woman who glared daggers back at him. "Maybe you can help with that?"
Ashley gave a brief nod. "When will your wife be home?"
He frowned. "I don't have a wife. It's just me and my brothers, and Baby Dalton."
"Baby Dalton? You haven't even named him yet?" What was wrong with this man? She had a hard time believing the hospital let them bring the baby home without a name.
"Oh, he has a name. It's Dalton."
"Yes, that's his last name." The man was slow. Had he been hit in the head or something? Or was he just naturally slow? "He needs a first name as well."
He raked his fingers through his hair and groaned. "His name is Dalton Dalton."
Ashley stiffened up as if she'd been insulted. "You have
to be kidding me. Why would you do that to a baby? What is
with you?" Was she employed by the village idiot?
"Before you go jumping all over my case, maybe we should sit down and have a little talk. I can explain everything."
explanation for giving a baby that kind of name. You're giving him no chance in life. It's like you tattooed a huge target on his back and refuse to let him wear a shirt." She shook her head in disgust. "Do you have a room picked out for the nursery?" The house was enormous. Surely the baby would be able to have his own room.
Barrett was ready to reach out and shake the woman. She wouldn't listen to anything he said. He couldn't though, because she was holding Dalton, and he wouldn't hurt that baby for anything. He took a few deep breaths and walked into the hall, waving for her to follow him. He didn't trust his voice to be pleasant if he actually spoke.