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Mommy for a Minute [Secure eReader]
eBook by Judy Christenberry

eBook Category: Mainstream
eBook Description: The last thing Lauren McNabb wanted was another child to care for--not after she'd raised her six siblings. The last thing Jack Mason wanted was another woman to come into his daughter's life, then leave. But when Jack showed up to renovate her Yellow Rose Lane apartment with his three-year-old in tow, Lauren fell for little Ally--and the handsome carpenter. But he didn't want "The Shark," as she was known in legal circles, around his child. Lauren was certainly beautiful, and after years of being alone, he thought kissing her felt like heaven. But could the workaholic attorney go back to her busy career and still be a mother ... as well as a wife?

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Romance
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2007

4 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter One

Damn! This wasn't going to go well. Jack Mason shifted his almost-four-year-old against his shoulder as he rang the bell at the Yellow Rose Lane fourplex.

"Ally, I need you to be really quiet and stay next to Daddy this morning, okay?"

"Okay, Daddy." Her voice didn't show any concern. She probably had no idea what he was asking, but he'd keep her out of the way. He certainly didn't want her running into The Shark's sharp bite.

The apartment door swung open and Jack was suddenly face-to-face with the dreaded Shark. At least he thought he was. He sure hadn't expected her to open the door with a smile. "I'm looking for Miss McNabb."

Dark eyes flashed at him, darting from his face to Ally's and back again. "I'm she."

"I'm Jack Mason. Judge Robinson recommended I contact you about some cabinetry work you wanted done."

"Yes, come in, Mr. Mason and…" She paused, staring at his child.

"Um, this is my daughter, Allison. Her child-care facility closed suddenly this morning and I couldn't find a sitter. But she'll stay by my side and she won't cause any problems."

"All right," the woman said calmly, swinging the door wide, as if bringing a child to work was normal. She indicated that he should be seated, so he settled on a white couch that made him a little nervous. He perched Ally on his knee, whispering for her to be still.

"I'm not sure exactly how you work, Mr. Mason, but Judge Robinson raved about the quality of your work."

"That's very kind of him. I'd like to start by asking some questions about what you have in mind, the kind of wood, the length of time available, things like that."

"Of course." She watched him juggle the child while taking out pen and paper. "Isn't it going to be difficult to hold her and write?"

Jack glared at her. He didn't care how pretty she was. She had no business telling him how to do his job. "I'll manage."

She didn't argue with him, but her gaze remained focused on his child.

"Are we only talking about one room?" he asked.

"Yes. My third bedroom. I have a month off work and I'd like to be settled in at the end of the month."

"All right. Do you have a particular type of wood that you'd like me to use?"

"I believe you used oak in Judge Robinson's office. I liked that a lot."

"I want to draw, Daddy," Ally said, reaching for the pen.

"No, sweetheart. Daddy has to write now."

"But, Daddy—"

"No, Ally, not right now."

Ally frowned but didn't protest again. He held her a little closer.

"Do you want something similar to Judge Robinson's home office?" he asked Ms. McNabb in his best professional tone.

"Yes, I do. Except I would like more storage space."

"What kind of storage space?"

"Some bins with sliding drawers. Nothing fancy. Why don't I show you the space while we talk. That might make everything more clear." She stood, assuming he'd agree.

He had to put the pad and pen in one hand and hold Ally in the other, but he eventually was ready to follow the woman. Standing behind her, he realized she was tall. Around five foot nine, he'd guess.

To his surprise, she was wearing a polo shirt and jeans. And well-fitted, too. The denim fit like a second skin, hugging her curves. Very un-lawyer-like, he noted. Of course, his impression of lawyers was tainted by personal experience. The lawyers he'd dated in the past had been picky and difficult, always wanting to win every argument.

After going down a hall, she opened a door and walked inside. Following her, he stepped into an empty room, quite spacious for a home office.

"Very nice."

"Thank you."

"It's good that there aren't already some built-ins. That will save me the time of ripping them out."

"You have limited time?" she asked sharply.

"No, but you might. Most of my customers seem to think I can do my work overnight." He challenged her with a direct look.

"I wouldn't expect that, especially since you seem determined to hold your daughter at the same time. You did say she is your daughter, didn't you?"

"Yes, she is. I'll have child care worked out by tomorrow." Though there was no sarcasm in her voice, he was perturbed anyway.

"I see."

He began asking questions about the type of shelving she wanted. He wasn't surprised to discover she knew exactly what she had in mind. Picturing this woman in a courtroom, he saw a confident, persuasive attorney who could argue any case. Sitting Ally down on the floor with an extra pencil and a piece of paper, he began drawing the room, hoping his interpretation of her ideas would come close to what she envisioned. With a tape measure, he made sure everything would fit.

"Can we do storage bins along the back wall?" she suggested. "They could form a credenza of sorts for my desk."

He found himself in complete agreement. The office was taking shape in the drawing, becoming a pleasant place to work. There were windows across the back wall that came about four feet from the floor. A credenza under them would be a great utilization of the space.

"Daddy, I need another sheet of paper," Ally called, distracting him.

Copyright © 2007 by Judy Christenberry.

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