“Da-ad!” she sing-songed. “I’m not eight!”

“You’re still my little girl,” he said, standing and tucking the sheets up to her chin. “Honey, get good sleep, all right? And, I promise, I won’t go as far as Grandpa, but I won’t let these girls keep getting away with stuff.”

Cara’s relaxed smile fell, and that crushed him. “Don’t do the meeting, Dad. It might hurt your company. Besides, there’s nothing anyone can do. It’ll just make her meaner when the teachers can’t see and can’t stop her.”

He gritted his teeth and took deep breaths. Anger lanced through him at the thought of the band of little terrors who had made his daughter feel so helpless. So defeated. “We will figure this out, and, until then, we’ll have a great time on Saturday. Promise.”

“With Jessica, of course.” Cara winked at him.

“Yes, sweetie, with her.”


The hot jets of the shower were a welcoming splash against his sore, tired skin. He’d been hunched over his desk for hours, going over the latest rewrites on the newest project and approving the budget for the two extra scenes that the director – an auteur but also flighty –insisted be added to Desert Sun. While the director was temperamental, both Brent and Allen knew Desert Sun would be an indie darling and then some if it turned out well. So poring over rewrites it was. All of it on top of the continued harassment of Cara had left him drained.

The warm water sluicing over him was relaxing, made his worn muscles unknot, and yet, it wasn’t enough to help him fully unwind. Closing his eyes, he did the one thing he shouldn’t do: let his hand slip down to caress his cock.

The water pounding over his back gave him strength, gave him the energy needed after a long day and of too much energy expended suppressing hidden desires. His hand slid over his dick, which was already soapy and ready from the lather he’d used on it. Closing his eyes, Brent thought about the one thing he shouldn’t have: Jessica. He focused on the way her dark ringlets of hair fell down her back, on her dark, coffee-brown eyes, and on the pert curves of her breasts. Even though he was alone under the sudsy water, he wasn’t.

Not really.

In his mind’s eye, he could appreciate everything about his newest employee. Damn him if he’d ever had this problem in the past, ever failed to separate business from pleasure. Hell, since LeeAnne died, he hadn’t thought much of women. First, there’d been a nonsensical level of shame, that feeling that he should have stopped the pneumonia.

God, that impotence, that utter desolation that even all the money in the world and the access to the best doctors in the country couldn’t save her. Couldn’t keep his family together. Flagellation and celibacy after. Then, he’d been living for Cara, for her needs. He still should be. The last thing he needed was to lust after his friend and business partner’s daughter, after a woman who was still in college.

But he needed her. He’d seen something kind and fierce, something protective and untouched in Jessica, and Brent craved that like a drug. Taking a deep breath, he increased his rhythm, felt his shaft harden and his balls tighten in his grasp. It had been too damn long, even for masturbation, and his red-hot fantasies of Jessica were pushing him over the edge already. Her hair would fall over her bright eyes just so, and her lips would wrap eagerly around the girth of his cock as she sucked him off. Her rounded breasts would bounce with every eager thrust of her mouth forward over the head.

Heat spread through him, from his cock and up his abdomen. His muscles tensed as tightly as his balls. Dear God, her mouth would feel like heaven, an easy slide into a warm, welcoming embrace. His nerves tingled, and his breath came in great gasps as the climax rushed over him. He shot his seed into the corner of the shower, just below the soap dish, even as pleasure spread over him in waves.

“Fuck yes!”

Clarity snapped back to him like a rubber band, and his cock flopped back against his legs. The water was running cold, and the soapy bubbles were spiraling into the drain. It was all reality again.

And in the real world, he was Brent Sanderson, and the last thing he needed in his life was Jessica Billings – at least as anything more than a nanny.

Jesus was he screwed.

Chapter Six


“He’s got the final say on casting, but I’m not going to be able to secure the funding we need if we don’t have at least one recognizable face,” Allen said as he stirred his hot Earl Grey. “If you left it up to James, we’d just pull people off the streets of L.A. From under bridges. Out of grocery stores.”

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