Read an excerpt from This Baby Business by Heatherly Bell

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Air force pilot Levi Lambert has seen plenty of danger—but his infant daughter might be the death of him. Fortunately, Levi's found the answer to his sleep-deprived prayers: his next-door neighbor! Carly Gilmore is willing to be his nanny…until a small white lie turns their arrangement from business to very personal. The fake engagement was intended to keep Levi from losing custody of his baby girl, but is causing all sorts of new problems. Not only does Carly attract trouble like bees to honey, but there's the little matter of Levi's smokin'-hot attraction to her. The last thing he needs is to fall in love…

Excerpt

He reached across her lap, his warm hand brushing against her thigh, and reached for the soda. “What were you doing out here?”

“I thought I heard a noise.” She had heard a noise, but in reality she’d come out here because the four walls were closing in on her. And maybe because, on some level, she’d hoped that Levi would join her.

He quirked a single eyebrow. Opened his mouth, then closed it again.

“What? I would have dealt with whatever I found out here. I’m not as weak as I look.”

“Didn’t say you were weak.”

“I can take care of myself, I mean. I have a good butcher knife. I don’t need a man.”

He groaned. “Pay no attention to me. That’s the sound I make when I’m replaced by a kitchen utensil.”

“A butcher knife. Big and strong and…sharp.”

His blue gaze slid from her eyes to her lips. “You’re not making me feel any better.”

He’d flustered her, and she fought for the right words. “You know what I mean. I—I don’t need a man to fix my problems. I don’t need to be rescued.”

“Tell me. Is there any reason you need a man?” He grinned, a wicked glint in his gaze.

“I think we already established that.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Oh, c’mon. Something tells me you don’t need me to soothe your fragile male ego.”

He snorted. “Ouch.”

She was going from treading water to drowning. “What can I do to make this better?”

He sat beside her, all broody and alpha male testosterone filling the night. His eyes had switched from light and humorous to a dark and heated gaze that had her resolve melting like a chocolate bar left in a hot car. God, she did need him. Now. Not to slay her dragons but to remind her she was alive. A woman.

He stood and crooked his finger.

Oh, boy. He looked so incredibly sexy. A sliver of moonlight glinted in his blond hair. He had that tousled natural look. So…inviting.

She didn’t know what she was—what they were—doing. Still, her feet took her in his direction as if they were the ones making all the decisions now.

She’d only been in Levi’s house once and even then briefly, so now she took it in. A similar floor plan to her own. A brown leather couch dominated the great room, and even though touches of a little girl were everywhere Carly cast her gaze, the overall impression was of one hundred percent American male. The plasma TV was large and in the center of the living room. She noticed a Dallas Cowboys throw on a rocking chair and decided she’d have to forgive him for that.

He was smiling when she turned to him. “Meet with your approval?”

“That’s a big TV.”

He lifted a solid shoulder. “I’m from Texas. We do big…everything.”

While she let that simple statement register, one of his arms reached for her and tugged her in close. And that was the thing about Levi. She imagined that all children and dogs and women everywhere would melt in his arms. He was utterly male and safe. Such a protector. Warm, hard and…safe, somehow.

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About Heatherly Bell

Heatherly Bell drinks large amounts of coffee, craves cupcakes, and occasionally wears real pants. She lives in northern California with her family.