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He took Lyric into the bedroom, where he changed her poopy diaper and fed her fat limbs into a fresh one-piece with pink bears on the toes.
By the time he was finished, he had just enough time to glide his fingers through his messy hair and throw a few dishes into the dishwasher. When the knock sounded on the door, he strode forward with Lyric on his shoulder to answer it.
He pulled open the wooden slab and bam. Nearly crumpled at the sight of the red-gold hair.
Fuck, it’s her. How had she found him? After their almost-encounter that night, he’d thought nothing would come of it.
Wait. She’s here for the nanny job?
Nola met his gaze, and shock tumbled over her gorgeous features. “I…I must have the wrong house. I’m looking for Turner?”
“That’s me. Griffin Turner.” Grinning like an idiot, he stepped aside. “Come in.”
She did, legs moving woodenly. He shut her inside his house with him, knowing that jerk of wanting low in his core again.
“I’m looking for a nanny.” He flipped Lyric around to face Nola, supporting her around her middle with his forearm. “This is Lyric.”
Nola stared at the baby, and he noted the softening around her mouth and eyes. “Ohh. She’s as pretty as her name.”
Okay, I’m in love.
“Come in and sit. We’ll talk over coffee. Unless you want…?”
She shook her head. “Coffee is perfect. And for the record, I don’t usually drink, you know.”
“But you…” he ducked his head “…remember that night?”
Her face scorched. “Everything about it.”
He waved her toward his kitchen table. She sat and removed her coat while he bent and placed Lyric in her bouncy seat. Then he fed the old percolator on the stove with water and fragrant coffee grounds.
Nola laughed. “That’s quite domestic for a guy. Actually, all of this is.” She looked around at his homey kitchen and daughter.
He met her gaze, dying to cross the floor to her. He crossed his ankles instead, leaning against the counter. “Thank you. I’m a rancher, so good coffee is imperative. It’s calving season too, and I’m running full-tilt, supported only by high-test and pure will.”
Concern lit her eyes. “So may I ask where Lyric’s mom is?”
“Isn’t one. I’m raising Lyric alone. Well, with the help of my ma. But she’s sick. Breast cancer. It’s why I need help.”
Nola wrapped her fingers together. “I’m so sorry to hear that. So you need someone during the days?”
And in my bed at night.
“That’s right.” He bobbed his head, trying to fight his awareness of the curve of her breasts in her pale blue sweater or the enticing column of her throat. Too well he recalled her flavor.
“To care for Lyric and what else?”
“Feed her, bathe her, make bottles. Entertain Her Highness.” He smiled at his little girl. When he looked back at Nola, she was staring at him in a way that melted his insides.
“Also, some house duties. Baby laundry—I’ll do my own. Light cleaning. I don’t expect perfection—just a livable place to put my feet up when I come in from the field after an exhausting day.”
She nodded. “How old is Lyric again?” She got up and crouched before the baby seat. Lyric watched her with wide eyes. Then she gave a big burp and spit up. Nola froze, and Griffin’s alarms went off.
He moved forward. “You can just use the…um, drool bib. She’s four months.”
Nola glanced at him, a flush settling on her high cheekbones. She gripped the bib and wiped away the spit-up. “You’re a sweet baby, aren’t you? Even if you’re spitting at me.” Nola’s voice pitched higher, and Lyric flapped her arms. The pink teddy bear feet churned.
“She wants you to pick her up,” Griffin said, watching Nola closely. If this was going to work out, she had to be comfortable with Lyric.
“Oh. Okay.” Nola looked over her shoulder at him then fiddled with the buckles holding the baby in place. Once the baby was in the striking beauty’s arms, Griffin’s heart lurched.
God, yes. I’ll curl around you both.