His Baby AgendaBy: Katherine Garbera
The intercom buzzed and Gabriella de la Cruz put down her cup of tea to pick up the phone. “Yes, Melissa?”
“There is someone here to see you,” her assistant said. To Gabi’s ears Melissa sounded excited, the way she’d been that time she’d won five hundred dollars on a scratch-off lottery card. She could only guess that another one of the celebrities Melissa was always cyberstalking had dropped by looking for a nanny.
Gabi had started her nanny service seven years ago after a very successful run as a live-in nanny for the Hollywood director Malcolm Jeffers. Mal and his wife had sung Gabi’s praises and suggested she start her own business when their kids were old enough to no longer need a nanny.
“I have an appointment in thirty minutes,” Gabi said. “Can you ask them to come back?”
“I think you’ll want to see him,” Melissa said.
Doubtful. She was busy; it seemed as though everyone wanted something from her at this time of year. Her parents wanted her to make more time for them and come over to their place this weekend. Her clients were anxious about summer and instead of dealing with the nannies who worked in their homes year-round, they were calling her about activities, vacations and travel documents. Her clientele couldn’t just nip down to Disneyland or Legoland for the weekend. They all wanted to go someplace exotic, which was a big headache.
“Who is it?” she asked at last. Melissa wasn’t going to just tell him to go away. And Gabi needed to get back to writing the column she was working on for a national parenting magazine.
“It’s Kingsley Buchanan. The former NFL quarterback, agent to the best athletes in the world.”
Of course when she was having a bad day he’d have to walk back into her life. Heck, even just his name sent a shiver through her. She wanted to pretend it was one of dread, but her pulse had picked up and she’d sat up a little straighter.
“I don’t have the time,” she said, hanging up the phone.
Let’s face it; she didn’t owe him more than that. He’d been her first lover—well, one-night stand might be more accurate given that he’d left her in the morning and been arrested before lunch. She’d only been alone with him one time after that. An ill-fated jailhouse visit when he’d told her she’d been naive to think there was more between them than what she’d gotten.
She wasn’t sure if she meant him or herself.
Why was he here?
Why did she care?
She reached up to push her hair behind her ear and then pulled her laptop closer, staring at the screen and pretending she was reading the email her mother had sent about the first communion of her cousin Guillermo’s daughter in Spain this summer. But she wasn’t.
Why was Kingsley here?
Her door opened without a knock and she glanced up to see broad shoulders filling the doorway. She caught her breath. Of course she’d seen him on television in the past ten years—just occasionally—before she quickly changed the channel. But damn, time had been good to him.
His thick dark brown hair, longer on the top, was artfully styled; it must have had some sort of product in it to keep it in place. His eyes were still blue, but in her mind they seemed icier than they had been in college. His jaw was hard, square and stubbornly set, his beard neatly trimmed.
“Can I help you?”
“That’s why I’m here,” he said, walking into the room as if he owned it, closing the door behind him.
“I believe I asked Melissa to schedule you an appointment for later in the week. I’m booked solid.”
“Surely you can make time for an old friend,” he said.
But there was nothing friendly in his manner as he walked over to her desk and perched his hip on the edge of it. He did casual the way a tiger hunting its prey did it. She tried to convince herself she bore no resemblance to a mouse as she looked up at him.
That was what she’d learned after years of dealing with recalcitrant parents and children.
She stood up and held her hand out to him. Time to put this on a business footing. She’d shake his hand and walk him back to the door and then gently tell him goodbye.
She was a genius.
“It’s wonderful to see you again, Kingsley. But I’m afraid I really don’t have time this morning.”
He took her hand in his but didn’t shake it. He held it loosely, stroking his thumb over her knuckles and making goose bumps spread up her arm. His amused look as she pulled her hand free made her want to do something to jar him.