January 3rd 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming
It looked so good on camera…
If it weren’t for the money, Spencer Longfellow would happily drive Natasha Stevens and her TV crew right off his ranch. But his land, and his kids, mean the world to him—and he’ll do anything to secure their future. Even cohost Natasha’s cooking show, Family Secrets, in his barn. Even play the token hunky cowboy to her sophisticated city slicker and flirt with her on national television… It could never amount to anything real anyway. After all, he was fooled and left in the dust by a city girl once. And he will never let that happen to him—or his kids—again
Excerpt: CHAPTER TWO, Part 4
“I want to see Bella before we have to catch the bus, and…”
“Who’s Bella?” He allowed himself to be distracted. Just until he could demand brushing with the firmness it deserved.
“Ellie’s baby. Justin thinks he’s naming her,” Tabitha said, opening the cabinet where their teeth-brushing paraphernalia was stored. She handed her brother his brush and then took her own. “But he’s not, is he, Daddy? You said if she’s a girl, I can name her.”
He had said that. He couldn’t remember when. Or why. But he vaguely remembered making the promise.
“Yes, I did. If she’d had a boy then Justin would name her.”
Satisfied, Tabitha wet her brush and stuck it in her mouth.
“Toothpaste?” Spencer gave her the look. The one with eyebrows raised, warning that a child wasn’t going to get away with something.
“I’ve got toothpaste, see?” Justin held out his brush, turning lips smeared with goo up at Spencer. And dripping a blob of blue on the linoleum floor while he was at it. Which was why Spencer had installed the linoleum over the old wood floors when he’d remodeled the bath for the twins to share. He didn’t want to have to worry about spills and other little things.
Making a mental note to wipe up the blob later, Spencer nodded. He didn’t care about drops on the floor. What he cared about was that the twins loved the ranch, their home, as much as he did.
That they felt the same sense of excitement— of security—that he’d always felt there.
“I’ll tell you what,” he said, doing a quick mental rearrangement of his morning. “You two finish brushing and grab your backpacks.” He picked up Tabitha’s hairbrush and started in on the morning ritual of getting the tangles out of her long, dark hair, remembering to be gentle on the ones that invariably rested at the base of his little girl’s neck. She winced.
He winced, too. Waiting for the morning when he could get through this part without hurting her.
“Lunches are made,” he continued. “So if everyone is on his best behavior—” said for Justin’s benefit “—we’ll take a walk over to say good morning to Ellie.”
“We’ll miss our bus.” Tabitha spoke with her brush in her mouth, leaving spots of toothpaste on the mirror as she met his gaze in the glass.
“I’ll drive you to school this morning.” He had no need for a trip to town but welcomed the idea of being away from the ranch for a couple of hours.
And he made no pretense to himself about the reason for that.
He wanted to spend as little time as possible with the city girl who’d invaded his space.
In more ways than one.