Milllionaire Dad, Nanny Needed!

By: Susan Meier

Audra swallowed, willing away the sense of failure that caused her breath to freeze in her chest. That had been almost a year ago. She hadn’t even thought about it in months. But right at this moment, standing by a man very similar to the man who had dumped her, it felt like yesterday. The warmth of humiliation washed through her. As if it wasn’t bad enough he’d embarrassed her, he’d all but told her she was a total zero as a woman as well. A bossy, nagging harpy.

Thanks, David.

Yeah. She was perfectly safe with Dominic Manelli.

Dominic removed his hand as they walked into the group of rooms that had been his before he’d taken over the master suite. He couldn’t believe the zing of attraction he’d gotten when he set his palm on Audra’s back to direct her down the hall, but it shouldn’t have surprised him.

Though the Audra he remembered was a short, chubby cherub with big blue eyes and a riot of yellow curls, she’d grown into a beautiful woman. Tall and slender with sleek, sophisticated golden hair and blue eyes that were both warm and sexy, Audra would turn any man’s head.

“This is the sitting room.”

A few steps in front of him, Audra appraised the overstuffed sofa and chair, coffee table, armoire and bar in the corner with a frown.

“It’s not supposed to be huge. It’s just a sitting room.”

She faced him. “It’s okay. I was simply thinking it needs a rocker and maybe a TV.”

He hit a switch, and the armoire doors opened. “TV, CD player, DVD player. The works.”

“Great. I’ll get a rocker at the furniture store, and this room will be perfect for a nanny’s needs.”

He pointed at two white doors on the wall to the right. “That was my bedroom. And that,” he said, motioning to the second door, “leads to a room I used for storage. It’s empty now, so it’s all ready for baby furniture.”

“Is there a door that connects the two rooms?”


“We’ll need one.”

“Talk to your mom. She takes care of the house. If there’s anything you need to have fixed, remodeled or repaired, she does the hiring.”

“Got it.” She nodded and turned away from him, still appraising.

Feeling safe, Dominic let his gaze ripple from her tiny waist, down her backside to her shapely legs. The part of him that longed to forget his responsibilities and flirt with her begged to be given at least a few seconds of consideration, but he silenced it. He had to get her set up, rush with her to Marsha’s mom’s, then hurry to the office. He didn’t have time to slow down the process. He honestly wondered if he’d ever get another free minute. Running the monolithic family business was overwhelming all by itself, but as of an hour ago he had also become a daddy.

A daddy.

“Give me another second to check out the empty room.”

Glad she knew what she was doing, Dominic said, “Sure. Knock yourself out.”

Audra disappeared into the storage room, and he blew his breath out on a tired sigh. The second he’d taken Joshua from Olivia Trabold’s arms, memories began tripping over themselves inside his head. Peter talking incessantly about becoming a dad. Agonized Peter suffering with Marsha as they tried unsuccessfully for nearly ten years to create a child. Peter passing out cigars in the hospital waiting room, so proud of his brand-new son that his smile had lasted a week.

And Dominic standing behind him, making faces at his sap of a brother. Dominic didn’t deserve to be Joshua’s father. The baby should have known strong, wonderful Peter. Not crazy, party guy Dominic.

Audra walked out of the empty room. “As soon as we install a door that connects the two bedrooms, this will be perfect. Let’s go see how my mom is making out with Joshua.”

Dominic followed her down the back stairs to Mary’s office. They entered to find her sitting in her tall-backed chair behind her desk with Joshua nestled against her.

Audra sighed. “Look how cute!”

“I know. I’m an adorable grandmother.”

Audra laughed. “I was talking about Joshua. He’s so beautiful.”

Dominic puffed with pride as if he’d had something to do with the little boy’s appearance into this world, but he stopped himself. This was Peter’s son. The child for whom Peter had yearned for a decade. Dominic felt like an interloper, a thief who’d usurped his brother’s job and his child, who wasn’t qualified for any of it. He might have enough accounting knowledge and business savvy to keep Manelli Holdings on top with a good staff to prevent him from making any huge mistakes, but he’d never, ever considered becoming a father. Hell, he’d never wanted a serious relationship. He had friends. He had fun. And now he was the head of a company and somebody’s dad. He didn’t even have enough memories of Peter as a father to try to imitate him. The only parental words in his head belonged to their own father.

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