Brynn Catalano is in Comeback Cove to help her cousin with a relationship crisis and plan an anniversary celebration for the local dairy. Sure, her new landlord, Hank North, is worth a second look…or three! But she’s here only for a short time, and definitely not for romance, especially with a headstrong single dad who says he doesn’t need her help.
Still, she can’t resist Hank’s daughter, Millie. The girl is almost as irresistible as her gorgeous daddy, and Brynn is surprised at how easily their twosome accommodates her…and how much she likes that. Yet when the job and the crisis are over there’s nothing to keep Brynn here. Or is there?
“Fletcher has created characters who show real emotional growth.” – RT Book Reviews
“Don’t feel you have to encourage her, okay?”
“Not a problem. But you’re the dad. You call the shots.”
It was ridiculous, the way those simple words warmed him. Yeah, he was Millie’s father. Biology said so, and the divorce agreement made it clear that he was her primary caregiver. But just because it was on paper, it didn’t mean everyone agreed. This was a nice change from what usually happened, when folks would ask him for his opinion, then check with his mother when he wasn’t around.
“And now, this way!” Millie flew down the short hallway. Brynn hurried to follow, Hank tagging along with his hands in the pockets of his jeans, praying for Taylor to show up soon.
“There’s the bathroom. I guess you know what to do in there.”
“Sorry, Daddy. Okay. This is the extra room. Aunt Taylor said you needed an office so we gave you this cabin, ’cause it has an extra bedroom, but she helped us find a chair and table and stuff for you so you can work here. Do you like it?”
Brynn stepped into the room. He watched the way her gaze lingered on the furniture, the slight tilt to her lips as she took in the light from the window falling across the table. It seemed the lady liked what she saw.
Unexpected pride warmed him. He’d been more nervous about her reaction than he’d realized.
“See this?” Millie skipped to the wall where Taylor had instructed Hank to mount a giant whiteboard. “Aunt Taylor said you had to have this really bad. It was important. And it works, too. Me and Daddy played tic-tac-toe on it when he put it up there.”
“That was very responsible of you to test it. Did you try out all the stuff?”
Millie sighed. “I wanted to have a sleepover in your bed, but Daddy said that would be wrong.”
God, shoot him now.
“Well, that was very kind of you to offer to try it, and very…um…nice of your dad to protect my privacy.”
“Yeah, but it really is the best bed. Better than mine. Mine has a dumb old plain top, but yours has this curvy thing, like…wait, let me show you.”
Again, she grabbed Brynn and yanked, this time with a force that pulled a little yip from Brynn’s mouth as she raced to keep up with the child.
“Millie, don’t kill Brynn on her first day here, okay?”
“Right.” Brynn’s voice was breathless but still tinged with laughter. “Let’s wait until I’ve had a night in this gorgeous— Oh, wow.”
They had reached the entry to the main bedroom, where Millie scampered ahead to display the beauty of the cherry-wood sleigh bed with all the grace of a pint-size, bespectacled Vanna White.
“See?” She tapped the curve of the footboard. “Isn’t it so pretty?”
“It’s probably the most amazing bed I will ever sleep in.” Brynn smiled at Millie. “It must have been very hard to stay away from it. You get super bonus points for listening to your dad.”
“I’m a very good listener.”
“I bet you are. Now, I brought my favorite chair with me. Could you help me pick out the perfect place for it?”
“Oh, yes!” Without so much as a glance in his direction, Millie grabbed Brynn’s hand and took off down the hall. Voices and hints of laughter floated back to him. For a moment, he let himself enjoy it. He couldn’t remember the last time Millie had been so enthusiastic about something that didn’t involve a magnifying glass or some kind of chemical reaction. It was good to hear her giggling like a regular little kid. Not that he wanted her to be anyone other than herself, but still.
No, it looked like the biggest challenge facing him now wasn’t keeping Ms. Catalano happy, but keeping his daughter from falling head over heels for someone who was going to leave in a few short months.