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Tyler Jefferies needed a nanny.
Anger, and for the first time ever, fear, thrummed through him in time to the incessant foot tapping on his kitchen floor. Before him, the face of his seven year old niece was filled with misery, and his heart beat the slow, livid thud of sorrow.
He felt impotent in the face of her pain.
He was a self made man. A very wealthy man. A corporate raider who’d faced and conquered huge risks, yet one wee girl had the power to bring him to his knees.
He needed a nanny.
He knew nothing about kids and had never wanted any of his own. There was no such thing as happy families. He, at least knew that. His business, making money, was his baby and his mistress both. He loved the rush of the deal almost as much as he loved sex. Okay, as much.
And he didn’t intend to give up either to the demands of a wife and family.
Unfortunately, all the women he knew were not nanny material. They hadn’t one maternal bone in their super slim bodies. Actresses to be bedded, or aspiring super models to be seduced. No one who would know the first thing about caring for a young girl, let alone his seven-year-old niece who’d just lost her grandmother, after losing her mother at the age of three. Too many people had left her. The agony of life was written on her little face and she was only seven.
God damn it to hell, life was not fair.
“I’m sorry, Uncle Tyler.”
He looked at the carton lying on its side with the milk spreading across his tiled kitchen floor.
He bent down and picked Tessa up. Disregarding the milk dripping from her tiny shoes he carried her upstairs. “Its fine, sweetheart, Alison will clean it up. It’s been a long day. Why don’t you get ready for bed and I’ll come and read you a story.”
“Any story I want.”
He nodded, hugging Tessa closer.
Her tiny arms wound tighter around his neck. “You won’t leave me, will you? I’ll have no one if you do.”
Her words slayed him. Tessa’s grandmother and his mother, had been dead for two weeks, and Tessa’s world now revolved around him, her only living relative. She panicked if he wasn’t around, or if he was late home, or if he didn’t call her at least once a day, and it was putting a cramp on his very active social life, and his libido was taking a hammering. A reason he was desperate for a live in nanny.
“I’ll never leave you, Tess. Like it or not we’re a team now. We stick together.”
She remained silently clinging to him until Tyler lowered her to the bed.
“I’ll be up soon,” and he watched with his heart breaking as she scampered off the bed and slowly walked into her bathroom.
He walked back downstairs to be greeted by Alison Clark, his house-keeper and temporary nanny, cleaning up the spilt milk.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Jeffries.”
“Hey, accidents happen.”
He gave her a bland smile, running a hand through his hair. “Thank you for agreeing to move in here and watch her until I find a nanny. I have no idea how long that will take. I’ve had trouble finding anyone suitable.”