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Man of the House
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I belong to the Man of the House
My father needs to get rid of me- so he sent me to his business partner for a summer internship. I expected to be shoved into the mailroom to lick stamps, but when I set eyes on my new boss, Aiden Byrne, I wanted to lick something else. The way he looks at me buckles my knees. When he told me he needed me I knew I was ready.
He needs a nanny for his kids.
Now I’m in his house, living with him, brushing into him, surrounded by him. I can taste how badly he wants me in every glance and feel it in every touch. I’m new to love but he knows all the tricks to make my toes curl and my eyes roll back.
Aiden wants me completely, but if dad finds out his business partner is sleeping with his daughter…
Man of the House is a standalone romantic comedy novel, with an HEA and no cliffhangers!
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“You will not screw this up.”
My phone rests on the tray table. My father is too loud and insistent to hold to my ear, so I use the speakerphone. I’m not worried about my privacy. Anyone in the next compartment or the hall would be able to hear him without the speaker anyway. His voice cracks like a whip.
“I’m not going to screw this up,” I reassure him.
“Have you studied the folder I gave you?”
“Yes.” I groan.
“What did I tell you about that mopey tone you always use?”
I yawn. “I’m just tired. I need sleep.”
“Sleep is for the weak.”
I give the phone the finger. Thank the Lord for stingy parents. He may be fabulously wealthy, but he won’t spring for a good data plan. No face-time without wifi.
“I’ll let you go, now. Make sure you’re ready for your interview.”
The line goes dead, and I shove the phone angrily into my purse and prop my elbows on the table. I sweep it aside and lie back in the seat, yawning again as I open the folder. The train is a rolling lullaby, and I haven’t slept since sometime yesterday—I wasn’t home for twenty minutes before I was being packed off. I had to pack—supervised, of course—before I was shipped off to the train station to embark for Philadelphia.
Prepare for the interview. I snort, flipping through the portfolio of documents he provided for me to study. This is ridiculous. It’s not some random job posting. My boss-to-be is my father’s closest business associate. I expect it to be about as challenging as one of the mock interviews at the college career services office.
I know those all too well. My father makes me take them once a week. I once raised the issue to him that, technically, he has no right to see my grades or talk to my professors or put a minder on me to keep me out of trouble.
My fellow freshmen didn’t have shadows. She’s in the next sleeper cabin over—Mrs. Heemeyer, the wizened woman who was the nanny when I was young, the tutor when I was a teen, and followed me to college. He sent someone to follow and monitor me. Walking to class with a minder trailing after me was mortifying. Look up the definition of “sheltered” in the dictionary and you’ll see my picture.
At least I’m a little free of her now. She’s not sharing my cabin. A few hours of blessed privacy.
The circular motion of my toes is more interesting than the information packet. I end up looking over the top of the folder until my chin drops against my chest. I snap up, catch the folder before the contents dump all over my lap, stuff it aside, kick back, and squeeze my eyes shut.
Few things do I hate more than being disturbed from a deep slumber. I can’t remember the last time I woke naturally, on my own, from a full night’s rest. There’s always an alarm or a bell or the claw-like hand of my minder digging into my shoulder.
She stands over me in professional attire, hair drawn back in a painful bun, dark eyes sharp and judging. Fighting off a yawn, I drag myself out of the seat and pull down my roller bag.
The air is different here. It has a peculiar scent. I’m no stranger to cities; Dad is one of the most powerful and prolific land developers in the country, and he’s not developing hotels in Altoona. Every city has its own flavor. This is a new one. I can only briefly savor it before Mrs. Heemeyer motions me into the car that will take me to my destination.
The urge to just walk away and roll my bag down the street a ways is intense, but I push it down and climb from one bubble into another. The door slaps shut behind me, and the sounds of city hustle and bustle die down to a subtle thrum. Dark town-car windows dull everything. Mrs. Heemeyer’s faint, wheezy breathing is as familiar as my own heartbeat. My spectacle-bedecked minder never says a word, but gives me a judging eye over horn-rimmed glasses.
The ride is long. I review the documents in my folder, fighting off the first stabs of a headache every time the car lurches in traffic. I glance at my watch. We had to arrive at rush hour. Dad will probably blame me for being late to the appointment he set, via travel he arranged. It’s always my fault somehow.
The car wheels off the street and down a ramp, diving under a building so big I can’t see all of it, like a submersible taking off for a deep ocean trench. The weight of the structure above hovers just over my shoulders as I step out into cool, oily air.
I take a final moment to adjust myself, to set every bit of my hair and outfit in place and push my glasses up my nose. Some childish impulse led me to think it’d make me look more professional to wear subtle rimless spectacles instead of contacts for this. I glance at my distorted mirror image in the car window and wonder if I’m pulling it off or look like a little girl that got into Mommy’s clothes.