Doctor O-for-Awesome Owen Bennett is all about fixing broken things. Then the arrival of his orphaned nieces and nephew for twelve weeks causes his workaholic life to plummet into chaos. Hiring the beautiful but unpredictable Gracie Cooper as a live-in nanny might just get him out of a tight spot…or it could seduce him into a reckless affair.
After four years flitting around Europe, waitress/dog-walker/au-pair Gracie Cooper has returned home to New Zealand. Her plans to hang out with her big brother change when Owen offers a perfect solution to her crippling university debt. In spite of her sexy-stick-in-the-mud boss, she’ll spend fun days playing in Bounty Bay’s sand and surf with three cute kids. At summer’s end she’ll follow the sun overseas again.
Gracie and Owen’s opposites-attract connection is so unexpected and powerful that their foundations are rocked. But some things aren’t easy to fix. Some past hurts can’t be run from forever. And the lessons they teach each other risk breaking their hearts.
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to wake you,” came his voice from behind the closed drapes.
“I’m awake. I’m awake.”
Parts of her were very awake, so make that three-quarters turned on since a delicious shiver zipped down her spine at the thought of him outside her room. She tugged on her robe, catching a glimpse of herself in the wall mirror.
Resisting the real deal wouldn’t be a problem. Rephrase that—Owen resisting her wouldn’t be a problem. Not sporting frizzy hair like a before photo for a hair-straightening product, her face flushed carnation pink, and a deep pillowcase groove marking her cheek. Dead sexy. Not.
And, oh God—morning breath. Gracie lunged for her handbag and found a packet of mints. She popped one into her mouth and speed-crunched it as she tightened the robe’s belt.
Finally, she yanked the full length drapes open to a bare-footed Owen wearing ancient blue jeans—which, yum, clung to his legs—and a plaid shirt layered over a white tee shirt. His short brown hair stuck up in a dozen different directions, and two days’ worth of stubble covered his jaw. And, yeah, she’d noticed he hadn’t shaved when he’d disappeared off to work yesterday morning.
Gracie slid open the door, and a wave of salt-tinted ocean breeze swept over her. She took a moment to suck a deep lungful down and hoped the fresh air flowing into her room would cool her jets. So to speak. Because even as jaded as Owen looked—and, bless him, it proved he was actually human—she still wanted to grab him by his plaid lapels and kiss the living daylights out of him again.
She tucked her hands under her armpits, just in case, and leaned on the doorframe. “Let me guess…since I’m a former bartender, you’d like me to whip you up a hair of the dog?”
He crinkled his nose. Adorable and hot—so unfair.
“I’m not hungover,” he said.
“My bad. You’re not your usual Barbie Dreamhouse self. Rough night?”
“You could say that.” He scratched his fingernails along his jaw. “But Barbie Dreamhouse?”
“Charlie thinks you look like a Ken doll.”
“Nice. Glad to inform you that I’m not molded from plastic.” His lips curved. “You’re not looking Barbie Dreamhouse yourself this morning. Rough night?”
True, but ouch. “Now that we’ve established I look like Frankenstein’s bride—”
“Never said that. I think you look cute. All rumpled and flushed like you’ve just been”—his gaze dipped to the V-neckline of her robe then jumped up to rest on her mouth—“woken up by some jerk banging on your door.”
Like you’ve just been…banged senseless in the last few minutes. Seriously not helping her control her internal thermostat.
©Tracey Alvarez 2016
Fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, she’s the author of contemporary romantic fiction set predominantly in New Zealand. Small-towns, close communities, and families are a big part of the heart-warming stories she writes. Oh, and hot, down-to-earth heroes—Kiwi men, in other words.
When she’s not writing, thinking about writing, or procrastinating about writing, Tracey can be found with her nose in her e-reader, nibbling on smuggled chocolate bars, or bribing her kids to take over the housework.