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A Girl Worth Fighting For Excerpt

“She’s destined to be a mom one day, and she’ll be a damn good one. But she’s afraid to put herself out there after what happened with her own.”

Before I get a chance to ask about that, Petal is coming out to hand Wesley a glass of iced tea. “Here you go, Daddy.” She also hands him a pill bottle.

“A caretaker, this one is.” He grins at her, and she nods her head for me to follow her inside. I have so many damn questions and can’t ask a single one with my kids around.

“What is it you wanted?” She gets right to the point as the screen door slams behind me.

“I wanted to apologize for my dismissive attitude this morning,” I begin. “I was taken off guard by the difference of appearance.” She doesn’t say anything. I can see Lil and Mac in the kitchen coloring, and I have to agree with Wes; she’s going to be one hell of a mom.

“I’m used to it.” She shrugs, and that pisses me off again. She shouldn’t be used to it.

“Look, your references were great. I knew the moment I watched you with Lily that you were hired, but I went about it the wrong way. Could we start again?”

As she chews on her bottom lip, I’m pulled forward, itching to reach out and touch Petal as she debates her answer. With less than a foot separating us, her fragrance reaches forward and teases my nostrils as I inhale deeply.

“All right, Mr. Larrabee, we can forget this morning because I really like your kids, but don’t ever talk to me the way you did this morning, or I walk and you won’t see me again.” Her threat punches me right in the gut.

I don’t like the idea of not seeing her again.

“You got it,” I agree against my better judgment. I’m not an easy guy to get along with, and I have a feeling there will be plenty more arguments in our future. “Listen, it’s Friday, so how about we get a fresh start on Monday?”

“Works for me.” She smiles and Goddamn does her face light up.

“Daddy, could Petal come to the beach tomorrow?” Lily comes running up to me. The girl is terrified of the water, but she loves the sand and smell of the ocean so, nearly every weekend, we’re at the beach at least one day.

“I’m sure Petal is busy.” I try to let her down gently.

“She’s not!” is called from the front porch. Jesus. Petal rolls her eyes at the old man.

“If you want to join us, you’re welcome to,” I tell her.

“Where are you going?” Her head cocks to the side curiously.

“Junipero Beach.” It’s walking distance to our house.

“Can I bring a picnic basket?” Lily lights up at the idea, so I nod. “Great. Any allergies?”

“None. See you around lunch.”

After saying goodbye to Wesley and Roman, the kids both give Petal a huge hug before bouncing out to my truck. Passing Petal’s car, I remember the trouble she had starting it this morning and debate stopping to tell her I’ll pick her up. Forcing myself to keep walking, I fight every instinct beating its way to the surface to take care of her.

She’s my nanny.

Not my girl.

I need to remember that.


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