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When she first started dating him, she had hoped for marriage, a family, and stuff that she always wanted, only … she didn’t want them with him, necessarily. She may not always like the man she was going to marry, but no one liked their husband all that often, right? That was the kind of thing fairy tales and romance movies were for. She didn’t live in movies or books. She lived in the real world, and in the real world, it sucked.

She now called bullshit on all that romance crap. She didn’t need it, nor did she want it.

“You know you can go right on in.”

Maddie jumped at the voice. Glancing up from her open window, she saw Ryan, a guy she’d gone to school with, smiling down at her. “I will. My appointment is not for another fifty-five minutes.”

He chuckled. “Caleb won’t mind. He doesn’t like people to be late, and besides, Granny’s there as well.”

That’s who had asked her to come for the interview with her son. Mrs. Pole had asked her to call her “Granny”. She wasn’t sure about that, but she’d been doing it for years, and everyone had called her that from the moment Mike Pole had the first child.

“Thank you.”

“No problems, Maddie. Good luck.”

She sighed. One of the things she hated more than anything was when people told her good luck. It was like a completely bad omen to her.

Her father had even said good luck to her on the wedding day. Look how that turned out. She’d been mortified by what Chad had done. Once in the privacy of her own home however, she’d been pissed. Gathering all of his shitty things, she’d dumped them into an incinerator in the back yard and lit it.

Of course, she no longer had that house. Once Chad was gone, and had completely ruined her reputation, she took the full-time job with the Hoopers. Being a live-in position, she’d sold her place. Now she was renting on a month-by-month basis.

Parking the car, she glanced up at the large, beautiful ranch house. It was like something on a cover of a romance novel. Certainly the setting for a good old-fashioned romance. She loved romance even if she no longer believed in it.

Climbing out of the car, she paused. Should she go around the back or the front? Feeling silly, she made her way to the front entrance and knocked. Glancing down at her watch, she saw it was really early. She pushed some of her hair off her face and blew out a breath. The ranch really was beautiful. She couldn’t resist looking around at the views. The space, the peace, the tranquility. Her romantic brain was also thinking about a family. This would be the best place in the world to raise a family.

She sighed, and the thought was cut off by the door opening.

Maddie turned, and was struck by the large, handsome man in the doorway. His arms were huge, like movie star huge.

No, like “he works on the ranch” huge.

Words failed her. Short, black hair, amazing blue eyes. The man before her was sexy as sin. No one had ever gotten a response out of her like that, and now she was freaking out.

Neither of them spoke, and suddenly she became aware of just how unprofessional she was being.

“Hi, I’m Madeline Lennox. I’m here to see Mrs. Pole or Caleb Pole.” She hoped she didn’t sound too nervous.

Great way to make a first impression.

“I’m Caleb.” He held out his hand, and on instinct, she took his, shaking his hand. “You’re the nanny?”

“Yes, that’s my job title.”

“Invite the girl in,” Granny said, pushing her son aside. Before Maddie knew what was happening, she’d been pulled inside and Granny had kissed both of her cheeks. “I’m so pleased you’re here.”

“Sorry it’s early. Ryan saw me outside, and said you didn’t like lateness.”

“It’s fine,” Caleb said.

She glanced toward the large man again, and couldn’t believe this was Granny’s son. The woman was a lot smaller than her boy.

“Let’s go to the kitchen.” She followed Granny, and couldn’t believe the beauty of the house. Everything was pristine and clean, but the place had a real homey feel. After working for the Hoopers, she was ready for a real home.

Caleb pulled out her chair and she thanked him, sitting down as he eased it beneath the table at the same time.

A gentleman.

Get your head out of the romance gutter.

This is a job interview.

“Paige is just out feeding the chickens.”

“You have chickens?” She nearly got up and ran to the window to look, but she forced herself to stay seated.

“It’s a ranch. How else do you think we get our eggs?” Caleb asked, taking a seat opposite her.

Damn it, that man was … he was her boss. Or at least her potential boss, which meant no sexy thoughts.

Tags: Sam Crescent Romance