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CEO’s Secret Baby
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My hottest crush.
William is wildly successful and as aloof as they come.
He desperately needs a nanny.
But…it turns out Im in love with him.
How will he react when he finds out?
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I balanced the tray loaded down with five bowls of Wednesday’s special— chili. I didn’t spill a drop. Not even when one of the truckers insisted he’d ordered his five ways instead of three ways. I just toted the bowl back to the kitchen for Tara to adjust. As soon as I’d delivered the chili five ways—which the dude had ordered three ways because I wrote it down myself—I noticed Tara waving at me from the kitchen.
“Nicki keeps texting me because she knows you don’t have your phone on you.”
“Is she okay? What did the walk-in clinic give her?”
“She’s got antibiotics now. She’s just blowing up my phone to thank you for covering her shift,” Tara said.
“Tell her it’s no big deal. Like I told her three times already. She just needs to rest and feel better,” I said.
“I’ll message her.”
“Do you know if Max went over there?”
“Last I heard he didn’t answer her call, and it went to voicemail again,” Tara said.
“I really hoped he was gonna be better than this. Once he found out she was pregnant, I thought there was a chance he might step up.”
“A baby never fixed a relationship, Jess,” Tara said, “I got three at home to prove it. Wouldn’t trade them for anything. Sadly the truth is, having a baby just makes everything harder. She better get some rest. She won’t sleep for another three years after that baby’s born,” she chuckled with a certain fatigue.
“You know I love to babysit,” I offered.
“You watched them all day last Sunday! I love you for offering, but you take a break, girl. You don’t have to solve everybody’s problems,” Tara said.
“Oh my God,” I whispered.
“Look who’s here,” I said. I tried to say it lightly, like it was amusing. But my pulse started beating rapidly and color heated my cheeks.
“Uh oh. It’s Man Crush Monday showing up on a Wednesday. You do realize he doesn’t eat here only when you’re working, right? The guy has to feed his kid other times, too,” Tara teased.
“Don’t you have burgers to fry?” I said, and she laughed, “I know they eat when I’m not here. I just like to imagine they only come here when I’m working. David, that’s the little boy, he’s adorable. We have this ongoing game of hangman.”
“What is he four years old?”
“He’s five. But he’s really smart. So I kept giving him farm animals like pig and cow, stuff I figured he could read, and when it was his turn to make the word, the kid hits me with giraffe. He can spell giraffe.”
“I’m not sure I can spell giraffe,” Tara deadpanned, and we laughed.
“I’ve got to get out there.”
‘Turn around, okay, let your hair down.”
“That’s unsanitary,” I said.
“It’s just for the one table. You have gorgeous hair, and it needs to be down.”
“You know what’s not sexy? Finding someone’s hair in your food!” I argued. I tightened my ponytail rebelliously and hurried to their table.
To William’s table. I’d been serving them for two years now, since the little boy was three years old and too stubborn to use a booster seat in the booth. His dad, William, was so obviously out of place in a diner in the city. He looked every inch the man who should be at the head of a conference table in a board meeting or tipping back vintage Scotch in a wood-paneled room with leather chairs and a crackling fire in the fireplace. He looked like he should have been a British duke, a powerful, landed man of means—terrifyingly smart and intimidating and handsome as sin. I knew for a fact that he wasn’t a duke or any kind of royalty. He was a businessman, and way too rich to be eating in a place like this.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved Retro Red’s and the people who worked there, and their bacon cheeseburgers. But I wasn’t the CEO of anything. I was a waitress who was saving her tips to open her own restaurant. The owner let me use the commercial kitchen for little catering jobs sometimes, and the money’s better than any other job I’d had. But it wasn’t not exactly high-class atmosphere with gourmet cuisine.
William’s little boy, David, always got the pancakes with apples and whipped cream. That was what had sealed my fate on the worst crush in the world. Because a highly successful guy who could eat anywhere he wanted, ate in the same place all the time because his kid liked the pancakes there. How could that not melt my heart?
How was she there on a Wednesday? I thought it would be safe to duck in while I worked out how to handle the unexpected drama.
My day had begun normally, but then then the nanny had called. She never phoned. She merely turned up at the appointed time as she should and carried out her duties with competence and kindness and was paid handsomely for doing so. I seldom had to speak to her beyond greetings and remarks about how David was doing in school. So seeing Martha’s number on my smartwatch was a red flag in itself.