I love my daughter more than anything. But there are times I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Like now.
“Daddy, it hurts.” My little Bella blinks up at me from where she’s sitting on the ground in front of the jungle gym. She’s only four years old. Her knees are scraped up. Somehow, she came down the slide wrong, and now she has dirt and splinters on her bloody knees. Who the hell thought wood chips were a good idea for a playground anyway?
I know it’s normal for kids to get hurt. But I don’t have to like it. And I’m a sucker for her quiet tears.
“I’ll figure something out, pipsqueak.” Standing from my crouched position, I look around as if a first aid kit might be hiding under a bush or on a park bench.
Damn Bella’s former nanny for sneaking out to her boyfriend’s place, with my vehicle, on my dime, while forgetting my daughter was in the backseat. Of course, I had to fire her. But now I’m left trying to figure things out on my own. A trip to the local park seemed pretty innocent enough, at least until her knees looked like so much raw hamburger. Why the hell are there plastic bags for dog poop everywhere? You’d think the taxpayers might find some antibiotic ointment and a bandaid just as handy as plastic poop bags.
“Daddy, what about that lady?” Bella pulls on the leg of my trousers and points to a woman walking down one of the paths. She has shoulder-length, dark brown hair that’s held back from her face with a pair of bright red 50s style sunglasses. She’s wearing a t-shirt tucked into a skirt, and a pair of ankle boots completes the unconventional look. But it’s the bulging boho purse that catches most of my attention at the moment. It’s the kind that has a little bit of everything in it.
“Lady! Pretty lady!” my daughter calls out, evidently talking matters into her own hands. “Can you please help me? I got a scratch.”
The woman stops when she hears my daughter and then hurries over. She ignores me, her focus completely on helping Bella.
“Of course, sweetie. Let me help.” In just a few seconds, she’s pulled out some kind of mini first aid kit that seems to include everything you might need to perform surgery on the fly.
As she coos to my daughter, I notice more about her. I notice the red bra strap against the smooth, pale skin of her shoulder. I notice her full lips as she blows on Bella wounds. I notice the curves of her body, that look motherly as they’re caring for my daughter, would look sinfully divine in my bed.
“And what’s your name?” the stranger asks my daughter as she returns her first aid kit to her purse.
“I’m Bella. What’s your name?” Bella responds.
“My name is Piper. It’s lovely to meet you.” Piper holds out her hand for Bella to shake. They do so, very properly. They’re adorable.
“This is my dad,” Bella says. “He didn’t know what to do. So, it’s a good thing you were here.”
“You can call me Elijah.” I decide to jump into the conversation before my daughter throws me further under the bus. This time, I’m the one offering my hand. She takes it, her skin silky smooth, and I help her stand. I give it a shake and I’m tempted to use it to pull her closer. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Daddy, I’m gonna play some more!” Bella jumps up and runs to the playground like nothing ever happened, her pink tutu skirt swinging brightly with every step.
“Thank you for your help with my daughter.” Now that Piper is standing, I can see her hazel eyes. They’re the kind that change color based on how she feels. I wonder what they look like when she’s turned on.
“I’m glad I was here,” Piper says, smiling at me. She isn’t typical or conventional, but her warm eyes and the capable way she took care of Bella spur a thought.
“I wonder if I might offer you a proposition,” I say.
“Whoa.” Piper takes a step away and raises her eyebrow. “I mean, you’re hot for an older guy—a real DILF—but I’m not on the market for any propositions.”
“I’d like to hire you…” I raise my eyebrow back at her, “as a nanny for my daughter.”
“Oh,” she says with a sigh of relief.
“I’ll pay you triple whatever you’re making at your current job.” She’s the right woman for Bella. I can tell. I’ve always been willing to pay for the best. It’s part of the reason I’ve been so successful in business. And I can tell Piper is the best.
“You don’t even know me,” she protests.
“Technicalities.” I can have a background check completed by the end of the day. “You’re what Bella needs. Who Bella needs.”
“Well, I don’t know if a job with you is what I need.” Piper crosses her arms and cocks her hip. My blood rushes to my cock. God, I love a woman that challenges me. “Personally, I like the independence of my current work schedule.”
“Is it more important than helping to raise a young, impressionable girl?”
Piper narrows her eyes at me. When I see something I want, I’m not afraid to put the pressure on to get it. She knows it.
“Well, it depends on where food delivery people fall on your priority list,” she sasses.
I just wait. Silence is an effective negotiation tactic.
“Fine.” She shifts her weight to her other hip, eyes gleaming. She’s enjoying this as much as I am.
“You’ll start tomorrow.”
“We’ll give it a one-week trial,” she counters. “That way we can see if it works for both of us.”
It’ll work. Bella already likes Piper and vice versa. And Piper is everything I want Bella to grow up to be. Not a food delivery driver, no. But a woman who knows her own mind. Who knows what’s important to her. And who still shows kindness and generosity to strangers in a park.
I want that for my daughter. I don’t let anything get between me and what I want.
I’ll make it work.