Excerpt: Mr. Smithfield - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

Wanted: American nanny for an adorable four-year old. Must be able to handle a moody, brooding, sexy British boss.

I’m a single father, a lawyer and some say the most serious man in London. I’m completely focused on raising my four-year-old daughter.

Since my wife walked out three years ago, the only woman who has ever caught my eye is the strictly off-limits sister-in-law of my best friend, Autumn Lumen.

But temptation is easy to resist because Autumn is only visiting London from Oregon.

Until she moves to London. The nanny quits. And she’s the only woman for the job.

Book Type:

Contemporary Romance

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Excerpt: Mr. Smithfield
By Louise Bay

Excerpt: Mr. Smithfield

MR. SMITHFIELD is coming this Tuesday, from USA Today bestselling author Louise Bay—a sexy, fun single-dad romance! I’m thrilled to share a sneak peek below.

Autumn

I wouldn’t normally take so long to get ready for a Saturday night dinner with my sister. I certainly wouldn’t have bought something new. But I was in London now. It felt like a fresh start even if I was in a kind of limbo until my real career started. Plus, Hollie ran in the kind of circles now where people’s sneakers cost more than my entire closet. It might just be dinner with my sister, her husband, and some of their friends, but it was in Knightsbridge. The only person I knew who was richer than my future brother-in-law was my current boss, which meant dinner at Dex’s warranted a new dress.

Especially because the aforementioned uber-wealthy boss would be in attendance.

It wasn’t like I was trying to impress him exactly. But I suppose I did want Gabriel to think I was pretty—because I thought he was heart-stoppingly gorgeous. Yes, he was cold and standoffish when it was just him and me, but when I saw Gabriel with his daughter, I could see the man he was beyond the gruff exterior. And it made me melt like snow in the Sahara.

The dress I’d picked wasn’t fancy. It was plain red jersey that hit just above the knee with a tie waist. As I turned in the mirror, I couldn’t decide whether I should wear the slash neck off one shoulder or not. I’d decide on footwear first.

I owned four pairs of shoes and had brought them all to London. Flip flops—even if the weather was better, I couldn’t wear those to a Knightsbridge dinner party—sneakers I might have gotten away with had they not been as scuffed, a pair of heels I got on sale for six dollars at Century 21, and finally a pair of black knee-high boots I’d saved for three months to buy and had had for years, though they looked almost as good as new. I settled on the boots. If I wore the heels, my sister would think I was trying to impress someone. And she’d think that someone was Gabriel. And it would become a thing.

“Are you ready?” Gabriel called up the stairs. Even though we were only going together because he was one of Dexter’s best friends and not because he was my date, his question triggered a ripple of excitement deep in my belly. Like my body thought he was my boyfriend, even if the reality was I’d barely seen him since we’d watched the changing of the guard nearly two weeks ago. He had softened that day. Now he was back to being in a perpetually bad mood. Warm, friendly Gabriel was reserved for whenever Bethany was around. Even when he hid that part of him away, I knew it was there. And I wanted to know why it was buried so deep.

“Coming,” I replied, picking up the wrist wallet Hollie had bought me for Christmas.

As I got to the bottom of the stairs, I waited while Gabriel finished giving instructions to the sitter.

“I should be babysitting,” I said as Gabriel closed the front door behind us.

“No,” he said in a way that left no room for argument. “You should be having dinner with your sister. It’s Saturday night.”

“But nannies are supposed to do babysitting and we agreed that—”

Gabriel opened the door to the cab waiting at the curb.

“You do plenty of babysitting,” he said as he took a seat next to me, scanning my dress. I followed his gaze as it rested on the slit up the side of my thigh. God, was it inappropriate? I’d had dinner with Hollie, Dexter, and their friends before, and thought I’d chosen well. Was my choice of outfit totally off-base?

“The dress is new. I thought it would be okay for tonight,” I said, almost embarrassed at his apparent disapproval. What did I know about London dress codes? I grew up in a trailer park. Paper napkins with printed designs were fancy to me.

He kind of growled before he looked away. “You look beautiful,” he mumbled to the window.

I tried to bite back my smile. Rather than disapproving of my outfit, had he been checking me out? Heat pooled between my thighs and I swore I could feel the warmth of his body across the foot of space between us in the cab.

“Thank you,” I whispered, half breathless from joy at being thought beautiful by a man like Gabriel, and half wondering why he looked so pained to give the compliment. Was it difficult for him to be nice to anyone but Bethany?

He sighed and shook his head like the words tortured him.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Fine,” he replied, still fixated on the view outside the window. “I shouldn’t have said it. I’m sorry.”

“I’m not offended,” I said. “It’s nice to get a compliment. Especially from you.”

Especially from me?” He glanced at me and then back to the window, as if he were trying not to look at me.

Especially from someone so impossibly handsome. Someone so worldly, so clever and caring and careful. Someone I had a huge crush on. “Yes,” I replied, simply. He must know that every woman within a mile radius had a crush on him. I was no one special.

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