Secrets and lies tore them apart. Can love and forgiveness bring them back together?
Michelle Carter has been down on her luck since the day she was born. So it comes as no surprise when through a series of unfortunate events, she finds herself jobless, penniless, and practically homeless. In a desperate attempt to get back on her feet, Michelle accepts a job as a nanny and finds it absolutely impossible to resist her handsome, sexy billionaire boss—but resist she must for as long as she could, especially since she’s keeping secrets from him.
Believing that his late wife betrayed him with another man, falling in love again is the last thing Dr. Erik LaCrosse wants to do. But fall, he does, and so hard, he secretly marries the alluring nanny from the wrong side of the tracks. However, when he unearths a disturbing secret from Michelle’s past, Erik must choose between his loyalty to a dead woman and the love burning in his heart for one who is very much alive.
THE DOCTOR'S SECRET BRIDE
CHAPTER ONE EXCERPT
Erik’s eyes narrowed as a young woman hopped out of the cab that had just pulled into his driveway. His brows furrowed when she hauled a suitcase out behind her, raised her hand to shade her eyes against the noonday sun, and gazed speculatively up at his house.
“They’ve got to be kidding me,” he muttered. He’d distinctly requested an older woman—no younger than fifty, who had experience taking care of young children.
Someone from the agency had called to say that the scheduled candidate had canceled due to a family emergency, and that a Michelle Carter would be coming instead. Was it okay if she brought her credentials with her?
Although the agencies conducted investigations, Erik ran his own background checks before interviewing potential employees. He could never be too careful when it came to the welfare of his only child. Today, he’d trusted Ready Nanny Agency because there was no time to check, and look what they sent him—a girl barely out of her teens.
Her hair was cut too short for a woman. She was too skinny and too tall. Her jeans were too tight, and the seductive sway of her hips was unequivocally too provocative. Despite his objections, Erik felt a poignant stir in his groin.
After ten years as a gynecologist, unlike a few colleagues he’d met along the way, he’d never been even the slightest bit interested in a patient when he walked into an examination room. It was all professional.
The woman walking up his driveway wasn’t his patient, and the images running through his head were anything but professional. They involved tangled sheets, soft sighs, harsh moans, and musky odor rising from damp smooth skin...
Shaking the libidinous thoughts from his head, Erik tightened his jaws and moved away from the window. He’d been without a woman for too long. Yes, that was definitely his problem. It had been two years since his wife’s death, and since that fateful night, he hadn’t looked at any woman twice, much less bedded one.
At the chime of the doorbell, Erik stepped into the hallway and caught up with his housekeeper. “Mrs. Hayes, tell the young lady that I was called to the hospital, and—um—that I will contact the agency with a new date for an interview.”
“Yes, Doctor.” Mrs. Hayes threw him a speculative stare at the blatant lie.
Erik marched down the hall to his study. He closed the door, dropped into the chair behind his desk, and stared at the painting of his wife hanging above the fireplace.
As usual, he tried to shift his sexual interest in other women to memories of lovemaking with her, but as hard as he tried, there was no shifting for him today. As he stared into his wife’s brown eyes, the only images Erik saw were those of the young girl sashaying up his driveway.
“Come in,” he responded to the knock on the door. “Is she gone?” he asked, when it opened behind him.
“No. She isn’t gone. She’s still here.”
Erik swiveled around at the sultry voice. His heart did a triple take, and lust like he’d never experienced crawled through his belly and settled into his groin. At a loss for words, he took a hard, close-up look at the vibrant embodiment of temptation heading his way.
Her facial bones were delicately carved under her brown velvety skin. Her short crop of raven hair glittered like strands of black silk in the slivers of afternoon sun streaming through the glass door. Long lashes accentuated a pair of fiery, obsidian eyes, and her lips, full and provocative under a thin layer of gloss, looked as if they’d just been thoroughly kissed.
She was the most enchanting woman Erik had ever seen.
Unwittingly, his gaze fell to the ripe swell of her breasts pushing against the stretchy material of her blouse. Was she even wearing a bra? His gut wrenched at the thought.
“You must be Dr. LaCrosse,” she said, breaking the silence and offering him a tantalizing smile.
Her unfamiliar, yet highly stimulating perfume wrapped around him. He grew harder. Restless.
She was probably about five feet, ten inches tall, he thought, suddenly feeling uncomfortable sitting in her presence. But if he dared stand up, she would have a full view of his unsolicited arousal. He cleared his throat. “Yes, I’m Dr. LaCrosse, and you are—”
“Michelle. Michelle Carter.” She held out her hand.
Her wrist was delicate, her fingers long and slender, the nails red. Channel. Channel your thoughts. Erik’s hands curled around the arms of his chair. “Apparently my housekeeper neglected to relay my message to you, Ms. Carter.”
She dropped her hand. “Actually, she did relay your message, but I’d already seen you through the window when my cab pulled up.”
He held her gaze, not knowing whether to smile or scowl at her pursed lips. It obviously gave her great satisfaction to have caught him in a lie. “Ms. Carter,” he began in an attempt to repair the self-inflicted damage to his character, “the minute I saw you step out of the cab, I knew you were wrong for the job. For one thing, you’re too young. I specifically requested someone older who has experience taking care of young children.”
Feeling the tension in his groin loosen a bit, Erik stood up and stepped from behind the desk. He stared down at her, still appalled that she’d come to an interview dressed so unprofessionally. “You,” he continued, “do not fit that description.”
With considerable effort, Michelle suppressed the sensual jitters the deep sexy voice of the extremely tall man was causing inside her. Dressed in no smaller than size fifteen loafers, tan slacks, and a white Polo shirt, his olive-toned body was lean, hard, and athletic. He was classically handsome, with a nice straight nose and a rich crop of curly dark-brown hair. His smoky gray eyes, speckled with an array of golden hues, were as sharp as they were eccentric.
McDreamy and McSteamy rolled up into one. Move over boys. This doctor was so fine, he made her leak.
Michelle licked her lips as an inexplicable sense of fear washed over her. She’d had to deal with a few arrogant men in her past, but this one made her feel quite susceptible. If she were smart, she would walk out of this room, out of this cold, luxurious country mansion and whistle her cab back to Manchester.
But she wasn’t smart. She was desperate. She needed this job. She needed a roof over her head and a fresh start.
“Well, have you nothing to say, Ms. Carter? You barged into my study after you were asked to leave. I’ve explained why you don’t qualify for this job, and all you can do is stand there gawking at me?”
From the way he assessed her with his eyes, Michelle knew he disapproved of her attire as much as her age. Ready Nanny Agency had warned her that the fastidious widower had requested someone much older. Since they were fresh out of antiquated nannies and would probably lose him as a client anyway, they wanted to know if she was up to trying her luck.
Heck, yes. She had nothing to lose.
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