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“Paige’s room is right next door. We get up around six in the morning, sometimes even earlier depending on the time of year.”

“That’s perfect. It gives me enough time to feed Paige and get out to the school.” She spun in a circle looking around the room. “This place is amazing.”

“You really like it?”

“How could anyone not?”

“Believe me, it’s not easy to do.”

Her gaze fell on his, the greenness of her eyes trapping him. “I heard about your wife leaving you. I’m so sorry.”

“Ivory couldn’t stand it here. She always had bigger plans. Ones that didn’t include running a ranch.”

“I can’t imagine anyone wanting to leave here.” She moved toward the window. “I mean, look at that view. It’s stunning.”

He moved up behind her, seeing the men at work in the fields. The scent of lemon surrounded him, and when he looked down, she had her neck tilted to the side. He could have easily kissed her, sucking on that pulse and feeling her body in his arms.

“I’m sorry about what happened to you,” he said, taking a step back.

She tensed up and looked toward him. “You heard about that?”

“My mother was a guest?”

“Yes, I remember.”

“It must have been hard.”

“It wasn’t exactly fun, I can tell you that.”

He saw the sadness in her eyes, and he wanted to be the one to take it away. “If you want the job, it’s yours.”

“I want it.”


It took Maddie one day to move her few belongings into the ranch. She’d added her personal touch to her room, and of course Paige had been there to see what she’d done.

“You like pink?” Paige asked.

“Yes. Why?”

“It’s really girly.”

Maddie laughed. “What’s your favorite?”


“I like that color as well.” She liked Paige. The young girl seemed more curious about her than anything else, and she didn’t mind that. She wondered how long it had been since she’d seen or heard from her mother.

According to Granny, Paige had only been one at the time. She didn’t show signs of being upset by it though.

By Monday, Maddie had already gotten into a routine. Caleb was always awake at six, but being the insomniac she was, she didn’t do a lot of sleeping. He’d often glare at her at six in the morning, but she didn’t mind. Granny didn’t live with them, so Maddie made the coffee and breakfast in the morning.

For Sunday lunch, they all descended on Mike, and she got to meet his brother’s family, and also discover the running of the ranch.

Granny often cooked lunch or dinner for the ranch hands. Maddie loved everything she discovered about the Pole ranch.

Even though they lived far apart on the ranch, they were a family. She got to see Paige with her cousins, and of course watch the two brothers interact.

Caleb was hard to understand. There were times he looked at her as if he was trying to figure her out, and other times she was sure she caught heat in his gaze.

Clearly, she was going crazy.

By Monday morning, Maddie was ready for the first real day. She was already at the breakfast table with coffee, pancakes, and sausage cooked and ready.

Caleb looked surprised to see her downstairs using the kitchen. Granny had told her to live in the home as if it was her own, cooking dinners, cleaning, and stuff like that. Now, she wouldn’t dream of moving anything around, but she liked to clean and cook.

“Your coffee,” she said, handing him a mug, which he took without a word. Pouring some fresh juice into a small cup, she watched as Paige entered. She ate with them, aware of Caleb staring at her the whole time, which didn’t make her nervous.

Once breakfast was finished, she got Paige to go and brush her teeth and grab her bag. They were heading to school in a short time.

“Thank you,” he said, stopping her as she placed their dishes in the sink.

“Sorry?” she asked.

“Thank you for helping me.”

She offered him a smile. “It’s no trouble. I really love kids, and Paige is a bright young girl.” She wanted to touch him, but decided against it. Instead, she brushed past him, hating how her body seemed to come alive whenever she was near him. This had to stop. She was a professional, and she hated when nannies were seen as the destroyers of families or even when men thought it was okay to try to sleep with them. There was something about Caleb that called to her, and she would refuse to think about it, or even acknowledge that something was going on between them.

Pushing all of those thoughts to one side, she found Paige waiting for her, ready to face the day, her bag high up on her shoulder. Maddie loved the cowgirl boots that looked so small and cute on Paige.

“Are you ready for this?” she asked.

Tags: Sam Crescent Romance