He's a single father. She's moved in to help him with his little girl. What will they do when sparks start to fly between them?
Detective Paul Daniels has spent four and a half years mourning the loss of his wife. He’s been doing his best to raise their daughter, Chloe, with the help of his in-law’s. When they inform him right before Thanksgiving that they’re going to be moving over two hours away, Paul finds himself without anyone to watch Chloe while he’s at work. Little did he know that meeting his baby brother’s girlfriend and her sister, Megan, would change everything.
Megan Carson took a few wrong turns in her life, but she was doing her best to get back on track. When Paul mentioned his need for someone to watch his daughter, she quickly volunteered to be his live-in nanny. It didn’t take long for Chloe to work her way into Megan’s heart, and not much longer for her to realize that she was falling in love with Chloe’s dad.
Megan Carson held tight to Chloe’s hand as she continued to flutter about without a care in the world. They were in the lobby waiting on Paul. At least, Megan hoped they were waiting on Paul. It hadn’t escaped her notice that he’d been tense all throughout Chris and Elizabeth’s vows. And a couple of times she noticed him getting a look on his face. She couldn’t help but wonder if he was thinking about his wife.
He’d smiled and laughed along with everyone else, but she could tell his heart wasn’t in it. She now knew him well enough to know the difference. And she’d guess his family did, too. Although, technically, Megan was his family now as well—ever since her sister married his brother.
Chloe squealed, and pulled harder on Megan’s arm. “Daddy!”
Releasing the little girl’s hand, Megan stood back and watched Paul scoop up his daughter. Seeing them like this gave her a warm feeling. He smiled at Chloe, and this time it didn’t look fake or forced. Then again, whenever it came to Chloe, Megan didn’t question Paul’s love or willingness to do anything for her. Chloe was the apple of his eye—a tangible reminder of his dead wife.
“I was told there’s a picture that needs to be taken out here.” Paul tickled his daughter’s sides.
She giggled. “Yes, Daddy. I want a picture with yous, and mes, and Megan.”
Paul glanced down at Megan, and she took in his warm brown eyes. She loved when they sparkled with joy, as they did in that moment. No one could do that to him but Chloe. Not his mom or his brothers. Not even her. No matter how much she wished otherwise.
The photographer approached them with his camera hanging from a strap around his neck. “Ah, good. Everyone’s here, yes?”
He quickly corralled them into the correct position, with Megan and Paul flanking Chloe as the three of them sat on the edge of the fountain. To an outside observer, they’d look like a normal family. Appearances could be deceiving, though, and in this case, they were way off. Megan was Chloe’s nanny, nothing more. She took care of Chloe when Paul was working, making sure she had everything she needed, and that the house wasn’t a disaster when he came home.
That was where it ended. Occasionally, Paul would allow Megan to cook dinner for them, but it was rare, and usually only on days when he knew he wouldn’t be home until after six. Paul took taking care of his one and only child seriously. She was his responsibility, and while he allowed Megan to take over when he had to leave, he didn’t take advantage of her presence in their life—although sometimes she wished that he would.
With the pictures over, Chloe ran back into the reception with an announcement that she was going to find her grandmother—Paul’s mom— leaving Paul and Megan behind.
She looked up at Paul. He towered over her, at just over six feet to her much shorter five foot five. “You know I’d do anything for Chloe.”
He was ultra-serious again. “I know, but you don’t have to. You’re not working tonight.”
Megan frowned. He had that melancholy look she noticed crossed his features all too frequently. “Are you all right?”
It was Paul’s turn to frown. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I be? It’s my brother’s wedding.”
His answer didn’t ease her concern. Paul was a good guy—the best guy she’d ever met in her twenty-three years. He put every other man who’d crossed her path to shame, with the exception of Gage and the rest of his brothers and father. The Daniels men had certainly upped her standards in the opposite sex.
“I don’t know. You just don’t seem like yourself tonight.”
Paul waved off her observation. “It’s been a long day, that’s all.”
Yes, it had been a long day. Megan and all the other Daniels women, including Chloe, had met at the spa a little after eight that morning. They’d all gotten their hair and nails done while the guys did whatever guys did to get ready for a wedding. Since then, they’d all been going strong. Megan didn’t think that was the problem, but she let it go. For now. “It has been a long day.”
In what seemed like an effort to steer her away from any further questioning, Paul held out his arm, and motioned toward the reception. She took a deep breath, and smiled, allowing him to deflect. Whatever was going on with him today, she figured it had to do with his wife. One thing she’d learned about Paul in the four months she’d known him was that he was still very much in love with Melissa. It didn’t matter that she’d been dead for over four years. She was still alive in his heart.
Once back inside, Megan was hijacked by her brother-in-law, Gage. “Would you please talk to your sister?”
Megan laughed. “What’s up, Becca?”
Her sister, Rebecca, gave her husband a disapproving headshake. “Nothing, except Mr. Overprotective here doesn’t think I can do anything on my own.”
“I’m trying to be a gentleman.” Gage huffed his response, but at the same time, he wrapped his arms around Rebecca’s middle, pulling her up against him. It still amused Megan to see how Gage had changed since falling in love with her sister. He’d gone from the cocky playboy to the overprotective husband and daddy-to-be.
Rebecca leaned in to him. “I do not need for you to walk me to the bathroom. I’m not a child.” She paused. “And before you say it, I’m not going to get sick. I haven’t had a bout of morning sickness in over a week.”
Gage kissed her temple and inhaled. “I’m sorry, beautiful, but you know how much I worry about you.”
Megan watched her sister—her sister who could take down a man three times her size with her bare hands—melt in her husband’s arms. “I guess you two don’t need me anymore, then?”
They both chuckled, and Rebecca stood to her full height. “Of course I do. You, I don’t mind accompanying me to the ladies’ room.”
Before she knew it, Rebecca was pushing her toward the bathroom. “Hey, slow down.”
Rebecca stopped and released Megan’s arm. “Sorry. It’s just . . .”
“He’s driving you nuts?” Megan laughed.
“It’s not funny. You’d think I was terminally ill or something, instead of pregnant.”
Although she knew Gage’s attentiveness was probably getting to her overly independent sister, she also knew that Rebecca loved the attention. It was something Megan and Rebecca had lacked growing up—Rebecca especially. “You know you love it.” Megan paused. “And him.”
It took a few seconds, but then a soft smile brightened Rebecca’s features. “It’s sad, but I do. I know I shouldn’t, but to know that he’d drop everything for me and the baby, no matter what, is a pretty amazing feeling.”
“Yeah, I bet. I mean, we didn’t have that growing up. He’s going to be a great dad.”
Rebecca glanced back to where Gage was now talking to his father and Trent. “He really is.”
The talk of dads sent Megan’s mind drifting back to Paul, and she immediately began searching the crowd for him.
“Looking for someone?”
Megan turned back to face her sister. “Huh? What?”
“I asked if you were looking for someone.” Rebecca had a strange look on her face, and Megan knew Rebecca was going into big sister mode. It was the last thing she wanted.
Her sister frowned. “Is something going on I should know about?”
Now Megan was confused. “Like?”
“I don’t know. I mean you’ve gone four months without chasing after a guy. That’s a record for you.”
Megan rolled her eyes. “Thanks.”
“I didn’t . . . I didn’t mean it like that. I worry about you. I want you to find a nice guy—someone who will treat you well. I don’t want to see you hurt again.”
“I know. And when I find him, you’ll be the first to know.”
Rebecca reached up to brush a strand of hair away from Megan’s face. It was something she’d done since Megan was little—a motherly gesture from the only real female authority figure Megan had ever known. “Come on. Let’s get to the bathroom before I burst. I think I drank way too much water earlier.”
Following her sister, Megan took one last look around trying to spot Paul, but she didn’t see him anywhere.