*Miranda is hosting a Tour Wide Giveaway for a Two Digital Copies of FOREVER, Time for Love Book One.
A pact with her best friends had Sarah Daley promising to make time for love after a long period of retreating from relationships. But before she embarked on finding her happily-ever-after, she wanted to do something she’d never done before–experience a short, hot fling. And the hunky Jeffrey Carmichael, grandson of the elderly lady who’d hired her as a private nurse, was the only guy who attracted her for that purpose.
Jeffrey Carmichael had long discovered that flings, not commitment, were what worked best for him. After being dumped by an ex-fiancée shortly after the most devastating period of his life, he’d decided that serious commitment wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. So when he was presented with an opportunity to start a casual relationship with his grandmother’s fun and pretty nurse, he simply couldn’t resist.
When love entered uninvited, could they admit to wanting something more than temporary? And when Jeff couldn’t avoid welcoming his ex-fiancée back into his life, could Sarah push aside her ghosts of the past and learn to trust again?.
Sarah Daley whipped her head toward the hunk with dark hair and vivid blue eyes sitting next to her in the big hot tub. What?
Her two-second excitement at the thought that she might be the intended recipient of that comment was quickly dashed when she noticed that the gorgeous Jeffrey Carmichael wasn’t even looking at her.
“I’m almost hoping that there are paparazzi around to capture this moment,” Jeff said with a wry grin as he watched his older brother Zachary and Sarah’s best friend Rebecca Andrews kiss passionately by the poolside.
“Oh, let them be, Jeff,” Magda Carmichael said as she sank up to her neck in the heated pool, relishing the massaging effects of the water jets. “They’re in love.”
“Look at your face, Gran,” Jeff said to Magda with a laugh. “You’re so thrilled about this.”
“Of course, I am,” Magda replied. “I’m glad your brother and Rebecca settled their differences and reconciled. They’re wonderful together. Don’t you think so, Sarah?”
“Yes, they are, Magda,” Sarah said with a fond smile for her sweet eighty-year-old client.
“Well, I’m glad that you and Rebecca are on this ship with us. It produced a very satisfactory outcome,” Magda said smugly.
It had already been almost four weeks since Sarah and Rebecca boarded one of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships from Sydney, and Sarah was still overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of Magda Carmichael—the matriarch of one of Australia’s wealthiest families.
Having been Magda’s physical rehabilitation nurses when Magda had hip replacement surgery a year ago, Sarah and Rebecca were handpicked by the elderly woman to accompany her as her private nurses on the all-expense-paid, one-month cruise that included several exotic Asian cities in its itinerary.
But Magda was fit and well, and only wanted them on board for any unexpected illnesses or injuries. That left them with loads of free time on their hands, able to fully enjoy the amenities, activities and shore excursions the fabulous ship offered.
Sarah now suspected that getting Rebecca and Zach together again had been Magda’s primary reason for getting them on board as her nurses. She just felt lucky that Magda had thought of hiring her, too—probably to make sure that Rebecca felt comfortable enough to take the job.
Well, Sarah was very grateful. She’d been having a wonderful time meeting new people—a few of them good-looking single men. Truth be told, the romance of being at sea on a grand floating home was having an effect on her. She’d been toying with the idea of a holiday fling, even though she was generally averse to one-night stands. But although Ron—the handsome guy she’d met at the beginning of the trip—had been giving her strong hints, she hadn’t been tempted enough to go to bed with him.
But geez, ever since Jeffrey Carmichael had boarded the ship over a week ago with his younger brother Gregory, he’d been occupying her mind.
The Carmichael brothers turned heads wherever they went. Photos of them on the covers of magazines ensured a bestseller. So it wasn’t hard to develop a crush on a Carmichael. But out of the three, Jeff was the one who had always made her heart beat just a tad faster.
She’d gotten to know him a little in the six months that she’d looked after Magda. She’d seen the guy who was the COO of a multi-million dollar company—focused, driven, brilliant, reliable and trustworthy. Combine that with his flirty and fun-loving nature, and sitting next to her was someone irresistible. Totally hot. Heck, who wouldn’t want to sleep with him?
She was dreaming though. Fat chance that Jeff would pay attention to her. According to Rebecca, Jeff was sleeping with Marilyn—the granddaughter of one of Magda’s friends, who was also on this cruise with them.
She sighed her resignation.
“Now it’s your turn to find that special someone, Jeffrey,” Magda said.
Jeff snorted. “Now, now, Gran. Don’t get any ideas.”
“Whyever not? You’re already thirty years old. Back in my time, that was too old to still be single.”
“You already know I don’t want to get married.”
“Oh Jeff. You can still change your mind,” Magda said, her eyes wide with concern.
Jeff shrugged. “You should just focus on Zach, Gran. This thing with Rebecca looks serious. Say, if those two decide to tie the knot, would you promise to lay off me about finding a wife?”
“No,” Magda said with conviction.
“I want to see all three of my grandsons happily settled down with someone they love. A few great-grandkids to help raise before I die is one of my final wishes before I leave this earth.”
Jeff sighed. “So me being happy with my life isn’t enough, Gran?”
“I know you’d be happier if you could spend the rest of your life with a woman who loves you, and whom you love,” Magda said stubbornly.
Jeff rolled his eyes and glanced at Sarah. “See what I have to put up with?” he asked in mock frustration.
Sarah smiled and decided to ask the question that piqued her interest. “So you don’t believe in marriage, Jeff?”
“Oh, I’m not anti-marriage when it comes to other people tying the knot. It’s just not for me anymore.”
“Anymore?” she asked, unable to shut the lid on her curiosity.
“Well, I proposed to a woman once. But she didn’t want to marry me,” he said blithely.
“Really? Was she crazy?” Sarah exclaimed before feeling the heat rise up to her face. “I mean, who wouldn’t want to marry someone as dashing and devastatingly handsome as you?” she hastily added in a flippant tone, hoping to cover up her embarrassment by pretending she was joking around. Not that she was joking about Jeff being dashing and devastatingly handsome, because he really was. She just hoped he thought she was joking. Argh! She was blushing harder now.
“Why thanks, Sarah. That’s very kind of you to say that. I didn’t know you had a crush on me,” Jeff said, his eyes laughing and his tone teasing.
Magda’s amused expression at their interaction gave Sarah confidence to push on. “Well, if saying that someone is handsome means I have a crush on that person, then I have a confession to make.” She gave an exaggerated sigh before turning to Magda. “Magda, I have a crush on all your three grandsons. They’re so good-looking. But that’s not a surprise because you’re one very beautiful woman.”
Magda chuckled. “Why, thank you, dear. Yes, I agree my three goons are not bad on the eye. So which one do you like best?”
“Oh, uh…” Sarah was lost for words. Speaking before thinking was a trait that had landed her in embarrassing situations many times before. She’d done it again, and there was only one way she knew how to dig herself out of a hole—continue pretending everything was a joke.
“Well, unfortunately for me, Zach’s taken,” she said with a fake pout. “By my best friend, nonetheless.”
“Ouch,” Jeff said quietly. “See what I mean, Gran? This is what women in this day and age do. They take your heart from out of your chest and crush all your dreams.”
Jeff spoke with enough gravity to make Sarah’s eyes widen in surprise and… yes… hope. An itsy-bitsy, tiny speck of hope. Was he really disappointed at her answer?
“That’s one face that would be a challenge to paint,” Jeff said gravely, but the twitching of his lips gave him away. “To capture that horror and disbelief would take some serious skill.”
Sarah laughed out loud and her tension eased. “Hey, don’t you know I’m a painter’s dream?”
“I wouldn’t dispute that,” he said.
She sighed, deciding it was time to end this banter. She was flirting around with Magda’s grandson, for heaven’s sake! That was very unprofessional. But with all the Carmichaels being so down-to-earth, it was so easy to forget she was in the company of her employer, not her friends. In fact, Magda had always treated her and Rebecca like family, not hired nurses. Of course now that Rebecca was officially Zach’s girlfriend, Rebecca was definitely no longer considered staff in any way, shape or form.
She pretended to relax, closing her eyes, as she mulled over Jeff’s comments about being rejected by the woman he’d wanted to marry. Was that the reason why he’d now turned his back on marriage?
At least Jeff was being honest about what he didn’t want for his future. Maybe all those magazine articles about him changing girlfriends like he changed his clothes were true after all. There had been enough pictures of him in the magazines and on the internet to suggest that he’d had a string of affairs with different beautiful women in the last two years alone.
She knew how the constant attempts to invade their privacy were a big frustration for the Carmichaels. Luckily for them, unwanted publicity had slowed down in the last few months. Rebecca had told Sarah that the brothers were intent on not giving the press anything to write about. Privacy was something the Carmichaels valued, and they had been vigilant in ensuring they minimised the chances of seeing themselves plastered on the front covers of magazines.
A wave of sympathy hit her. It wouldn’t have been easy being in the brothers’ and Magda’s shoes in the last two years. The tragedy that hit their family was so great she could only admire how they’d handled it and come out of that dark period.
Her musing was interrupted by Zach and Rebecca getting into the Jacuzzi with them, their faces split by big, happy grins.
“Glad you decided to join us,” Jeff said teasingly. “I was starting to worry that you’d forgotten you’re in a public area of the ship and not in the privacy of your suite.”
Zach grinned at his brother. “Bec and I have something to tell you guys.”
“What’s that, dear?” Magda asked.
“We’re getting married,” Zach said, giving an ecstatic-looking Rebecca a sweet kiss on the lips.
Sarah gasped while Magda let out an uncharacteristic squeal.
“Oh, darlings, that’s wonderful!” Magda gushed, reaching out to hug Zach, then motioning for Rebecca to come close for the same treatment.
Sarah glided to her best friend when Magda released her. “Congratulations, hon! I’m so happy for you,” she said, squeezing Rebecca tight.
“I can’t believe this,” she whispered. “Just a few days ago you were crying your eyes out because Zach had broken your heart again.”
“I know,” Rebecca said with a giggle.
Sarah let go of her friend and hurried to Zach, who already had his arms poised for a hug. She let out a surprised cry when she felt a wall of muscle hit her back. A low chuckle came from behind her as warm hands gripped her arms.
“I see you like being sandwiched by two men,” Jeff said, keeping her flush against his chest.
“Hey, I was going to give Zach a hug and I thought he was aiming for me.” Despite her light response, Sarah knew she was redder than a beet. And, heaven help her, she couldn’t move away. She was frozen in the hot water as Jeff’s caressing hands slid down her arms. When he stepped back from her, the chill she felt was startling.
“Here we go, Sarah,” Zach said, his voice laced with amusement as he embraced her.
“Congratulations, Zach,” she murmured, returning the gesture and swallowing her embarrassment.
“My turn,” Jeff said.
She moved away from Zach to make room for Jeff. To her utter surprise, Jeff wrapped her in his arms. Her already racing heart galloped faster and, Lord, she’d rather not admit it, but she felt a delicious, needy tingling between her legs.
“Oops, wrong person,” Jeff said, grinning wickedly before turning to give his brother an affectionate hug.
“Don’t mind him, Sarah,” Zach said, casting Jeff a warning look. “He’s just a big, flirtatious joker. And for all his reminders about our photos making it into magazines, he’s the worst when it comes to public exhibitionism.”
“I’m finding that out,” she said wryly.
About the Author:
Ever since I was a young teenager, I have loved reading romance novels. My auntie used to send me boxes of her books and I would devour them one after another.
Every so often, I would read a mystery or a suspense or a paranormal novel as I love those genres too. But romance is still my favourite. 🙂
For many years, I wrote technical and non-fiction materials for professional use and had only dreamt about writing a novel. Then, one day, after a period of binge-reading sexy romances, I decided to sit in front of my computer and start writing my first fiction book. The result? My debut novel Will To Love, the first in the hot and sexy Lifestyle by Design series. After that, I knew that I would love to tell more beautiful love stories through my books.
I live in Sydney, Australia with my amazing husband who lovingly cheers me on in my journey as a novelist.
Connect with Miranda P. Charles:
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