Only given a week’s notice in her current job, Eden Jameson is desperately looking for something new. Being a nanny for her best friend and sister in law, Hanna, is the ideal solution to both their problems.
David Painter has other ideas. Having a stranger in the house could ruin everything he’s worked so long to achieve. He needs to get rid of this nanny and fast.
When Hanna dies unexpectedly, the reading of the will is a shock–Eden and David have been left joint custody of the baby and joint ownership of the house. Can they overcome their differences or is it too late?
Daffodils in March bring betrayal and loss
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9
“I don’t think so. Marc doesn’t need a live-in nanny.” Nor do I. David Painter tossed the morning newspaper to the table and looked at his widowed sister in despair. He’d spent the best part of the last two years undercover, and the assignment was now starting to take its toll on every aspect of his life—physical, mental, and spiritual. Rage filled him almost constantly these days. It threatened to surface once more. He flexed his fingers as he calmed the pressure cooker of his emotions, managing not to show his displeasure in any way other than his voice.
He prayed for help and reached for his coffee mug. Clenching it tightly, he refilled the cup, needing the extra caffeine to get through the day. Marc, his six-month-old nephew, had kept him awake most of the night again. Being tired wasn’t helping his reactions any.
Hanna Jameson, five years his junior, shook her head. “I need a nanny. The day nursery just isn’t working out, and I have this conference in Manchester for work coming up soon.”
“So I’ll drop Marc off at the nursery and pick him up in the evenings. I already do that for you some days anyway.”
She shook her head. “You work all hours. I never know when you’re going to be around in the evenings.”
He pushed his hand through his hair. Did she think he couldn’t manage a week with the baby? “I’ll find a babysitter when I have to work, but there isn’t much I can do with the hours being somewhat unpredictable at the moment.”
“I never said your hours are at fault. It’s the job you do that’s the problem.” Hanna’s voice rose a little as the familiar argument began.
David grabbed up his bowl and spoon and strode to the sink, depositing the dishes in the basin. Turning on the tap, hot water sprayed everywhere, including over his new silk tie. He didn’t want to get into this now. Better to concentrate on the first matter. “Why can’t you hire someone to take Marc to daycare, or even better, simply do the babysitting when I need to go out?”
“Pay both a sitter and daycare? Yeah, like I can afford to do that.” Hanna muttered. “Besides, I don’t trust the staff at the daycare. He came home with another bruise on Friday. How much longer before something even worse happens?”
“He’s starting to roll over and get mobile now. Kids get bruises all the time. You were notorious for that. If there was a wall or chair within a ten-mile radius, you’d crawl into it or fall of it.” He brushed off her concerns, refusing to admit he had enough of his own on that score. He ignored the scowl she shot his way as well, deflecting it with his usual aplomb. “You are overprotective; you do realize that? Look, why don’t you ask Eric’s parents to have Marc for the week? I’m sure they’d jump at the chance. They dote on him and would love to spend more time with him—probably spoil him rotten. In fact, why don’t you go and live there? You know they want you to move in. Marie said as much when Eric died.”
Hanna shook her head. “This is my home. I’d rather have someone look after him here in the house.” She gave him the look he knew so well; the one she always used to get her “own way.“
David groaned. “Han, you know how—” he paused trying to find the right word “—delicate things are right now.”
“Your choices have made them delicate. I can’t rely on you to help with Marc anymore and that’s OK. Hence the need for a nanny. David, things will be fine. I’ll ring the agency today and find someone. I’ve already written the letter giving the nursery notice. I’m going to hand it in this morning.”
He turned his back on her. If only she knew the amount of hassle that nursery had caused him in the first instance, trying to get both it and the staff vetted without her knowledge. His fingers tweaked the flowers in the vase on the window sill—daffodils—on both kitchen and lounge window sills. Fortunately, the local florist, Carnation Street, was coming up trumps in that department.
He scanned the view from the window, taking note of which cars were parked where. Relief filled him when he only saw the same ones as always. “You’ll have this nanny come in daily, I assume?”
“No, she can live in.”
“No. I will not have a stranger living in my house.”
Hanna scowled. “It’s not just your house. Dad left it to the both of us. Besides, at least that way if Marc is sick, I don’t have to take time off to be with him. And it’ll save you finding and paying a babysitter while I’m away. And if you need to leave at a moment’s notice for work again, it won’t matter. You can just go.”
David sighed. “Staying in with the kids when they’re sick is called being a parent.”
She blinked hard. “Don’t you think I know that? I have to work, especially now. My choices got taken away from me when Eric died. You think I want to live here, especially now?”
He pushed away from the counter as the baby cried over the monitor. “I have to go. I’ve a meeting at nine.”
“Will you be in for dinner? I’ve got chicken out to defrost. I could make your favorite.”
“I don’t know what time I’ll be finished. Save me some anyway, please.” He kissed the top of her head. Since Eric’s unexpected death, they’d never left on a cross word. “Have a good day, sis. Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
He slid into a leather jacket and headed out to the car. Slowly, he checked it. He knew every dent and scratch. He tapped the tires with the toe of his shoe, harder than he normally would. Then, he climbed inside the vehicle and slammed the door. He really should get it fixed so he didn’t need to slam it, but as a morning session with the punch bag in the garage—now crammed full of Hannah’s furniture—was out of the question as a way to ease his frustration, slamming the car door would have to do.
He shoved the keys into the ignition and pushed back into the seat. If she hadn’t been in the maternity wing of the hospital with dehydration, she and Marc would have been killed in the same accident that killed Eric.
After that, despite David’s protests, she’d moved in with him, taking over her old room. But she didn’t know how deep a mess he was in this time or how dangerous the people with whom he “worked” were. He took risks on a daily basis. And simply being around him put her and Marc in danger.
Now she wanted a nanny? Someone new coming in would upset the already delicate balance he had to string between work and home, and that was something his undercover status couldn’t allow.