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I’ve wanted Liam Doherty for as long as I can remember, even when he was married. Maybe it was the Irish accent, or maybe it was just his ripped abs. But now he’s a sexy single dad in need of a babysitter. Is it wrong that when I hold that precious baby I imagine that she’s mine and we’re a family?
But what would an Irish hunk want with a college dropout?
My tongue nearly hit the floor when I opened my front door to the goddess on my porch. And now she’s babysitting for me, and all I can think about is how spectacular she’d look spread across my bed. Watching her with my daughter doesn’t douse my desire even a little. If anything, it just makes me want her more.
But there’s twenty years between us. Why would a sexy little thing like her want an old man like me?
Nearly two hours had passed by the time I had finished getting ready, so I rushed downstairs and out the door. I’d barely left my yard when I heard a baby crying. As I neared Mr. Doherty’s door, I heard his frantic shushing and cooing as he tried to calm his daughter. The doorbell chimed loudly, just making Caitlin even angrier and her screams increased. Mr. Doherty looked harried as he answered the door, his shirt was unbuttoned and he hadone sock on and one sock off. His hair stood in disarray, as if he’d been trying to pull it out.
And I’d never seen a sexier sight.
“Mr. Doherty, I’m Ashley Morgan, from next door. My mom said you needed a babysitter tonight.”
“Tonight. Tomorrow. Every day for the next eighteen years,” he muttered. “Come in.”
He stepped back and I followed him inside, trying to take everything in. I’d never been inside his home before and I was impressed. The baby doubled her efforts to be heard, her face turning bright red, and I reached for her. He hesitated only a moment before handing her over. Caitlin stared at me, her screams dying almost instantly as she hiccupped and tried to figure out who I was. Her hair was dark as pitch, just like her dad’s, and her eyes were a bright blue.
“Hi there, gorgeous girl.”
Caitlin cooed and waved a fist.
“You’re a miracle worker,” Mr. Doherty said. “Whatever you want, you can have it. I’ll sign over ever cent in my account if you can just keep her quiet. I think she’s cried nonstop for months. I’ve taken her to the doctor so often, convinced something is wrong with her, that they won’t even set an appointment until I’ve spoken with a nurse.”
“She’s probably just missing her mom.” My cheeks flushed as I glanced at him. “Sorry, I didn’t mean…my mom told me today that Mrs. Doherty wasn’t in the picture anymore. I didn’t mean to be insensitive.”
He snorted. “Good riddance to that harridan. Caitlin will be better off without that kind of influence in her life.”
Okay, so he was still bitter.
“Let me show you where everything is and then I’ll finish getting ready. I’ll try not to stay out too late. We have this banquet once a year and it can go for most of the night with drinking and dancing. I wouldn’t even attend, but I’m supposed to get some ridiculous award.” He shook his head. “Anyway, help yourself to anything you want. The kitchen is fully stocked if you’re hungry. I’m sure you’ve missed dinner at home.”
“I can stay as long you need me.” Forever sounded pretty good.
He nodded and gave me a tour of the house, pointing out Caitlin’s room and everything I would need for my babysitting duties. While he finished getting ready, I sank onto the padded rocker in her room. The back and forth motion helped keep her calm and she blinked up at me sleepily. She was probably the prettiest baby I’d ever seen. I wondered how heartless you had to be to leave something so precious behind.
When I was certain she was sleeping soundly, I laid her in her crib and tiptoed from the room, snagging the baby monitor on my way out. Mr. Doherty still hadn’t resurfaced, unless he’d snuck out while I was otherwise occupied. He’d said I could help myself to the kitchen so I headed that way. It was a chef’s dream come true with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and a stove that I would have killed to have. I felt a little odd rummaging through his fridge and pantry. I found some chicken breasts, everything I would need for my favorite corn casserole, and a can of crescent rolls. I’d have preferred to make some rolls from scratch, but it would take too long.
As I chopped, seasoned, and prepped a dinner that would easily feed not only me, but give Mr. Doherty leftovers for a night or two, I started singing. It was something I always did when I cooked, no matter where I was. I’d always had a thing for country music, especially the songs that were popular when I was little, so the Dixie Chicks “You Were Mine” spilled from my lips. As I slid everything into the oven, I noticed Mr. Doherty leaning against the doorframe, watching me. There was something in his eyes that made me very aware that I was a woman alone in a house with a powerful man.
“I hope my singing didn’t bother you.”
He pushed off the doorframe and prowled closer. “You sing like an angel.”
My cheeks flushed. “I don’t know why, but I always sing when I cook.”
He was close enough that I felt the heat of his body pressing against me. There were fine lines on the corners of his eyes and a hint of silver at his temples, but it only made him look more distinguished. He leaned a little closer and then abruptly pulled away. My heart was pounding in my chest, and I wondered if he’d been about to kiss me. Or was that just wishful thinking on my part? Despite the fact I was a grown woman, I’d never been with a man before, and had kissed only a handful of boys at college. What would it be like to have a man like him lay claim to me?
“I’ll try not to be late,” he said as he backed away further. “If you need to reach me, my cell number is on the fridge, as is the number to Caitlin’s doctor.”
“We’ll be fine.”
He nodded and walked off, leaving me shaking and wondering what the hell had just happened. I could still smell the spicy scent of his cologne and my lips tingled from the almost kiss. I’d never wanted anyone so much in my life. In that moment, I knew I’d do whatever it took to make him mine, even if it was just for one night.