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Blueprint for Temptation

Written by Andrea Laurence

Chicago’s star architect Nash Chamberlain is in a bind—he needs a nanny for his niece and nephew pronto! That’s when he runs into his former client’s beautiful daughter, Gina Abruzzo, and makes her a job offer she can’t refuse. But it soon becomes apparent that passion is part of the benefits package, and she falls right into his bed.

Ever since her mob boss father’s downfall, Gina Abruzzo has been down and out. Reconnecting with her former crush is a dream come true, and when Nash offers her a job—and a way into his heart—she can’t believe her luck. But it isn’t long before trouble from her family’s mob ties comes calling, threatening to derail her newfound family’s future…

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Chapter One

“What do you mean, she quit?” Nash Chamberlain barked into his cell phone and squeezed his temples as a headache started to threaten. He’d just sat down to order a quick lunch at Geppetto’s, a local Italian eatery, and with a single call, his whole day had been derailed. He loved his niece and nephew, truly he did, but they were three-year-old firecrackers and since they’d hit their latest wild stage, every nanny he’d hired had quit unexpectedly.

“She just walked out,” his housekeeper, Daniel, said with an edge of panic in his voice. “She handed Jude to me—naked and painted head-to-toe with purple and red markers—and marched out the door.”

This was his fifth nanny so far since his sister had died in a plane crash and left him with custody of the twins. The first had lasted fourteen months caring for the one-year-olds, lulling Nash into a false sense of security. She ended up moving to California to be near her grandchildren and since then, every nanny stayed for a shorter period of time. Four months. Two months. One month. Two weeks.

Daniel continued to rant about the happenings at the house, but Nash found himself distracted by the waitress. Petite with a head of wild, dark brown curls, she was like a butterfly flitting from one table to the next. She looked familiar to him, but he just couldn’t place her. He wished he could. She was quite attractive and the first woman to catch his attention in a while.

“When will you be back, Mr. Chamberlain?” Daniel asked, pulling Nash’s attention back to the conversation and away from the waitress. The sounds of children screaming and things crashing in the background nearly drowned out Daniel’s question, though. His housekeeper was a whiz in the kitchen and kept his Chicago apartment spotless, but child care fell soundly outside his scope of work.

Nash looked down at his watch. After lunch, he had a full afternoon of important meetings with new clients. “I don’t know, Daniel. I’ve got a long day ahead of me. I’ll call the service and see how quickly they can send over another nanny. If you can make it through today, I’ll buy you a new iPad, okay? Hang in there.”

Daniel muttered something unintelligible as they ended the call. Sounded like he was telling Nash what he could do with the new iPad. Nash didn’t employ Daniel for his cheery temperament.

“Welcome to Geppetto’s. What can I get you today?”

Nash looked up into the biggest pair of brown eyes he’d ever seen. They were framed by the mess of wild brown curls he’d spied earlier and a wide, instantly charming smile. The waitress had arrived to take his order.

Instantly, his mind went completely blank, and his mouth bone-dry. His nervous system was shooting sparks through his whole body just from a quick glance over her petite curves. There was something about her that was so familiar to him, but he was certain he would have remembered meeting a woman like this.

She was not the kind of woman he would forget. “Sir, are you okay?”

Nash realized he was staring at the woman without saying a word, like some kind of creep. What had she asked him? What he wanted to eat? Right. He hadn’t even looked at the menu yet. The moment he sat down, Daniel had called and chaos ensued. “What would you recommend?” he asked, hoping she wouldn’t notice that he was checking her out instead of choosing his lunch.

The waitress twisted her lips in thought for a moment before she answered. “The meatball sub. I rolled all the meatballs by hand this morning.”

The waitress didn’t exactly look like the kind of woman who hand-rolled meatballs. She didn’t look like a waitress at all, actually. He’d spent enough time around his mother and sister over the years to know that the diamond studs in her ears were real, her perfume was Chanel and her jeans weren’t off the rack. None of it meshed with the Geppetto’s T-shirt and chipped manicure. It made him even more curious about where he knew this woman from. She was a sexy, walking contradiction.

“I’ll take the sub and a Coke.”

“Sure thing.” The woman wrote down the order, then hesitated for a second, looking at him curiously before she turned away and headed to the kitchen.

A chime on his phone signaled a panicky text from Daniel. Nash needed to call the employment agency and get a replacement instead of ogling his waitress. She had a fine set of curves and a wicked glint in her eye, but that didn’t do him any good at the moment.

Nash dialed up the employment service that had provided him the last five nannies. He kept hoping that maybe, just maybe, one would stick. He couldn’t run a business like this, constantly running home to save Daniel from the tiny hellions his sister had left behind.

He’d had custody of Phoebe and Jude for the two years since the accident. Nash had been on the plane with his parents and sister, Sophia, on their way to a skiing vacation in Colorado. His father was an experienced pilot, but something had gone wrong and they’d crashed. Nash had been the only one to make it out alive.

Once he’d recovered, he found out that Sophia had left him custody of his niece and nephew. The twins’ father was a Marine who had been killed during a dangerous overseas deployment while she was pregnant, and with their parents gone, there hadn’t really been much choice but to leave them to Nash. She certainly couldn’t leave them to their brother, Reid. He had about as much nurturing instinct and fatherly affection in him as a wooden post. That just left Nash, in over his head for the first time in his life.

“Mr. Chamberlain,” a woman answered. “I was expecting to hear from you soon.”

“Beth walked out,” Nash said. “I need a warm body as soon as possible. Preferably one who isn’t afraid of rambunctious toddlers.”

“I’m sorry to say I don’t have anyone available at the moment. I’ll put out some feelers, but you’ve blown through half our employees.”

He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. His headache was getting worse. “How long will it take?”

“A few days at the earliest. Maybe a week or two. You’ve earned quite the reputation with our staff here, Mr. Chamberlain. No one wants to take the position, so we’ll have to hire from outside.”

“Fine. Call me when you find someone.”

Nash hung up the phone and cursed. What the hell was he going to do? He couldn’t clear his calendar and stay home with the twins. Daniel would quit, too, after a day or two. He needed a new nanny, and fast.

The waitress returned and set his drink on the table. “Do I know you?” she asked.

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About the author

I have been devouring books since I learned to read at the age of thre...

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Andrea Laurence

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