Milllionaire Dad, Nanny Needed!

By: Susan Meier







CHAPTER TWO



THEY stepped into the enormous working kitchen of the Manelli mansion. Audra’s mom turned from the stainless-steel stove. As always her short brown hair and simple black dress were neat as a pin, and her blue eyes sparkled. Her gaze touched on Dominic then Audra then Joshua.

“I thought you were coming here to chat with me,” she said, shifting from the stove to one of three islands with beige-and-gold-flecked black granite countertops that sat on functional beige ceramic tile floors.

“We met in the driveway.”

“And found a baby under the big oak by the garage?”

“This is Peter’s son, Mary,” Dominic said. “I got a call from Marsha’s mom this morning. She’s ill and can’t raise Joshua as she’d wanted. We all agreed the smartest thing to do was have me take over.”

“Oh, Dominic, I’m so sorry,” Mary said, walking to them. “But this actually might work out better for Joshua.”

“Yeah,” Dominic chided. “He’s much better off in the hands of a guy with absolutely no baby experience.”

“You’ll get the hang of being a daddy,” Mary said, reaching for the baby. “And this baby needs to know his dad’s family, as well as his mom’s.”

Audra handed the squirming little boy to her mother, and he immediately began to cry.

“Oh-oh.” Mary chuckled, and then brushed her lips across the baby’s forehead. “Somebody’s sleepy.”

She made a move to hand him to Dominic, but Audra took him. She wasn’t ready to explain to her mother that she’d agreed to help Dominic for the next month, and decided that was Dominic’s job, anyway. She faced Dominic. “Do you have a crib ready for him to sleep?”

“Damn it!” He ran his hand over the top of his head in frustration. “No.”

“It’s okay.” She laid crying Joshua across her arm and began to rock him. “Did Marsha’s mom give you a baby carrier by any chance?”

“Yes.”

“He’s small enough that he can nap in that. Where is it?”

“In the trunk with two duffel bags of baby clothes and what seems like a hundred stuffed animals that Marsha’s mom said he couldn’t live without.”

“Mom, can you rock him while we bring those things inside?”

Her mother gave her an odd look, but smiled and said, “Sure,” as she took Joshua again. “Come on, little sweetie-pie. Aunt Mary will take off all these heavy clothes and tell you a story.”

Audra’s mom left the kitchen, and Audra and Dominic stepped out into the fat white snowflakes again. “So, I’m guessing you want me to tell your mom about our arrangement.”

“She’s your employee, not mine. Besides, you’re the one making her watch a baby for the next few weeks until you hire a real nanny. The honor falls to you.”

He laughed. “I just didn’t want to step on any toes.”

“When you tell her you’re paying me well to work nights for you, my mom won’t bat an eye. If there’s one thing she understands, it’s not going into debt when someone’s offering you money. It wasn’t easy raising three girls with no husband. She knows a smart person doesn’t turn down a good opportunity. I’ve already told her that Wedding Belles is in a bit of a financial bind.” She shrugged. “She’ll probably be proud of me.”

He chuckled again as he opened the trunk of his car, revealing two duffel bags, a baby carrier and at least twenty stuffed animals. “These are the toys and clothes Marsha’s mom said Joshua can’t do without. I’ll be getting the rest of his things this afternoon.”

“You don’t have somebody you can send to get them?”

He shrugged and bent into the trunk to gather the stuffed animals. As he handed an armload to Audra, he said, “It doesn’t seem right to send someone. Marsha’s mom is family. And she’s sick. I think it’s better for me to do it personally.”

She smiled. What a softie he was. “Yeah.”

Dominic hoisted the two duffel bags out and nodded to the back entrance. “You open the door for me. We’ll dump these in the kitchen and come out and get the rest.”

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