Nick didn’t flinch.
Jennie gave a gurgle.
And Candace wanted to cry.
It was clear that the baby hardly knew her father.
So what am I going to do about that? Candace asked herself. Can I leave Jennie with a man who doesn’t have time for his own child? A man who didn’t even care enough to call home from overseas when she was sick?
Nick Valentine needed to take responsibility for Jennie. He was her father.
“I’m going to make an appointment to take her back to the doctor tomorrow,” Candace told him.
“She doesn’t appear that ill.” Nick was studying the baby.
He’d seen Jennie for maybe an hour after a month away and now he was an expert on her health? As much as she itched to, Candace couldn’t voice that reaction—Nick Valentine was her boss. The last thing she wanted was to annoy him enough for him to dismiss her.
Besides, if she was honest, he had a point. Right now Jennie didn’t look that ill. But Nick hadn’t seen her flushed with fever, her body limp after being contorted with convulsions. He hadn’t experienced the fear—the helplessness—that had caused his sister to sob at the hospital. When Candace had taken the baby from Alison that day, she’d been terrified by the baby’s burning temperature, the spasms that had shaken her little body. Nick couldn’t possibly understand.
He’d been thousands of miles away, choosing furniture and carvings for upmarket gardens, focusing on making his next million.
But blaming him, working herself up, wasn’t going to help the situation. Candace pulled herself together and said with forced calm, “I don’t like the way she’s fretting.”
“Then make a doctor’s appointment in the morning.” He jiggled the baby in his arms.
“What time will suit you best?”
His head jerked up. “What?”
“When will you be free?” Did he imagine she’d make an appointment without consulting him? Even she knew he was a hotshot tycoon with endless demands on his time. “Or should I ask your assistant when you’re available tomorrow?”
“I can’t come—I’ve got too much to do tomorrow.”
Of course he did. Poor Jennie. “You have to come. You’re her father and she’s been ill.”
“What exactly was the matter?”
“Chronic ear infection. Her temperature rocketed until she had convulsions. She had to be hospitalized.”
And that was how she’d come into Jennie’s life. Candace hadn’t stopped thanking her stars for whatever twist of fate had put her on duty for the shift when Jennie arrived.
“I’d have come if—”
If it had been important enough…
Candace cut him off with a wave of her hand—she wasn’t interested in his excuses. Nick had no idea what havoc she was capable of unleashing—especially driven by her own guilt, her own very personal demons. “Jennie needs you with her. And I want to make sure there’s been no resurgence of the infection, that her eardrums are clear. I’d hate for Jennie to lose her hearing for life.”
He gave her an unreadable look. “Arrange the appointment, and get Mr. Busby to take you. Let me know the time and I’ll meet you there.”
“Good—Jennie will appreciate it.”
The baby might be blissfully unaware of the importance of the moment. But in the years to come, at least Candace would have the comfort of knowing she’d gotten Nick involved in taking care of his daughter.
Something about the expression on the nanny’s face bothered Nick.
Nurse, he amended silently. His sister had told him Candace was a nurse…not a nanny. Frankly, Nick didn’t care what Candace called herself as long as she quit having this unsettling effect on him.
He was doing everything he could to pretend her proximity was leaving him unfazed. He’d forced himself to be cool and distant, but it wasn’t working. He only had to catch a whiff of her sweet, spicy perfume to want to pull her close and bury his mouth against her scented skin.
It wouldn’t do.
If only he could make himself think of her as the nanny—or the nurse—rather than Candace, the woman with tousled hair and translucent silver-gray eyes who was standing a short distance away from him wearing nothing but a pair of pink-and-white candy-striped cotton pajamas. Nick’s gaze fell on the monitor that poked out the breast pocket of her pajama top, and he said with more than a little desperation, “I’m glad the system works—you must’ve sprinted up the stairs to have got here quicker than I did.”
She gave him a peculiar look. “What do you mean? I’m in the room next door.”