She frowns. “Why do you make it sound like you’re the generic, store-brand version of your twin?”
“You know what I mean. This isn’t just any job. People are peculiar about who they let near their children.”
“You have experience, and this isn’t just any nanny gig. It’s a totally cushy one. Lilly is six years old. No dirty diapers or terrible twos. And the little girl’s in kindergarten so your days are practically your own.”
I frown. “Then why does he need a nanny?”
“He’s an OBGYN—delivers babies at all hours of the day. He needs someone at the house so he can leave without notice in the middle of the night.”
“How do you know all this?”
Teagan shrugs. “I know Dr. Jackson from the hospital where I work. I’m the one who told Veronica about the job. She’d found out she was pregnant and called me, asking if I wanted a roommate. No offense to your sister, but I wasn’t interested in that arrangement. It worked out, though, because I’d just heard that Dr. Jackson was looking for a nanny.”
I look at my watch. “I guess I have to go to the meeting. It’s not this family’s fault that Veronica is heading to the Bahamas instead of moving in with them.” In fact, it’s my fault. If I hadn’t taken her flight, she could have done the right thing by the Jacksons.
“If Kathleen needs someone to vouch for you, tell her to call me.”
I shake my head. “Don’t get your hopes up, Teagan. I’m going to this meeting to break the news that Veronica isn’t coming. That’s it.”
“And what are you going to do after that?”
I turn up my palms. “Book a few more nights at the Tiffany Hotel and lick my wounds?” I think about the piece of paper with my mysterious stranger’s number on it. I left it unread on my bedside table. I should throw it away as soon as possible. I have a long track record of throwing myself headlong into the nearest possible romance, from heartbreak to new love again and again. Last night was fun and amazing and possibly exactly what I needed, but anything resembling a relationship is exactly what I don’t need.
When I get back to the hotel, I’ll throw it away. Otherwise, my mysterious stranger might prove to be too much temptation.
“Nana and I made cinnamon rolls!” Lilly announces, racing into the kitchen of my childhood home.
We started Jackson Sunday brunches when my oldest brother, Brayden, went to college. The tradition continues even now, when Dad is gone and we’re all out on our own. The house is still technically Mom’s, but Brayden’s been living here since Mom moved into my in-law suite to help with Lilly.
“Oh, look, more carbs and fat to tempt me,” my sister, Shay, says, inspecting the cinnamon rolls with a disapproving frown.
My mom slides the pan onto the counter and shakes her head. “One cinnamon roll won’t hurt you, Shayleigh.”
“Tell that to my hips,” Shay mutters.
“She’s already mad at Brayden for the bacon,” Jake says.
“He made three pounds of it!” she says. “Even you have to admit that’s excessive.”
“One, there’s no such thing as excessive bacon,” Brayden says. “Two, there are a lot of us.” He helps Lilly put the cinnamon rolls onto the breakfast bar with the other fixings of this morning’s meal—bacon, biscuits, gravy, egg casserole, and fruit salad.
Jake shrugs and swivels his gaze to me. “Look what the cat dragged in.” He makes no attempt to hide his amusement. “Late night?”
Carter’s eyebrows shoot up into his hairline. “No shit?” He takes a sip of his coffee. “The girl?”
“Late night at the hospital,” I say, avoiding their eyes.
“You’re no fun,” Carter mutters.
“He left with her,” Jake says.
I glare at him. “Seriously? How about some discretion?”
“Ethan went home with someone?” Shay asks. “Who?”
“New girl,” Jake says. “Hot as hell, with a sexy Southern accent.”
“Language,” Mom says, glaring at Jake.
“I walked her home,” I say. “That’s it.”
“She made him smile,” Carter says, as if this is some grand accomplishment.
“I smile all the time,” I growl.
“Whatever you say, big brother.” Shay shoves a cup of coffee in my direction. “No matter what kept you up last night, it looks like you need this.”
I take a long pull from the steaming cup and sigh. Shay takes coffee very seriously, and the rest of us benefit. No one makes a cup of joe as good as hers.
“Daddy.” Lilly tugs on my jeans and tilts her face up to me. My heart swells at the sight of those big brown eyes, her perfect face framed by her mother’s thick, dark hair. “Can I have a cinnamon roll?”
I look around. “Is everyone here?”
“Levi isn’t going to make it. He got held up in Florida,” Brayden says. He drops to his haunches and scoops up Lilly. “Let’s get you some breakfast.”