Home > The Single Dad (The Dalton Brothers #3)(4)

The Single Dad (The Dalton Brothers #3)(4)
Author: Marni Mann

I held her words in my chest, the same way I did every night when she spoke them.

“I’ll be back in a few minutes, Eve,” Hannah voiced as I joined her in the hallway.

We were nearing the stairs when she said to me, “My God, you two act like identical twins. You even have the same mannerisms.”

“Except she’s the cuter one.”

Hannah smiled. “There’s no doubt about that.”

As we descended the long wraparound staircase, I nodded toward my cousin’s outfit. “You’re dressed a little formal for babysitting. Did Eve ask you to look fancy for her tonight?”

Since Hannah had her own code to my house, she’d come over at some point while Everly and I were upstairs. And knowing my daughter, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she’d texted Hannah a slew of emojis this morning from my phone and made that kind of request.

“No, I came here straight from the office.”

I checked my watch. “You were working this late?”

She sighed. “He’s a relentless asshole, and for some reason, he insists on making my life a living hell.”

“Who, Declan—”

“Shh,” she said, cutting me off. “We don’t say that name out loud. The man has ears like a dog, and somehow, miraculously, he’ll know we’re talking about him, and he’ll call me back into the office.”

“He’s meeting us out for drinks tonight, so he won’t be doing that.”

“The fact that you hang out with that dickhead makes my skin crawl.”

Hannah and her twin brother, Camden, were also on the path to being lawyers. Our fathers were brothers, and we had grown up only a few streets apart, so they’d heard my parents talk nonstop law, molding them like they’d molded us. Camden was in school on the opposite side of the country, but Hannah was here, finishing up her last year and prepping for the bar. She worked part-time at our law firm, under Declan Shaw, one of our top attorneys and one of the most ruthless bastards we’d ever hired.

If you needed a litigator, he was the man you wanted behind you.

He could fight like no one I’d ever seen.

And the motherfucker always won.

“One day, when you’ve graduated and working with us full-time with a portfolio of clients who’ll be earning you millions, your opinion of him will change.”

She glared at me as we reached the bottom of the steps. “I promise, that’s never going to happen.”

“Don’t be so sure—” My voice cut off as the smell from the kitchen wafted up my nose, my stomach growling. “You baked? Already?”

“I needed to unwind from that monster”—she held up her finger—“the one we don’t name—so I stuck some cookies in the oven. They’re probably done by now.”

I followed her into the kitchen, where she took a tray out of the oven. At least a dozen chocolate chip cookies were sitting on top.

“Yep. Done.” She looked at me. “Want one?”

“One? I want three.”

She grabbed a spatula from the drawer and placed the dessert on a napkin. “So you can take them with you,” she said, handing me the bundle.

I groaned as the chocolate melted on my tongue. “Man, you make some mean cookies.”

“If you find crumbs in her bed tomorrow, don’t murder me.”

The present she’d referenced.

I should have known.

“You know she already brushed her teeth.”

She grinned. “And you know I’m still going to give them to her anyway.”

“You’re the unruliest part-time nanny in the world.”

She leaned against the counter, crossing her arms. “Speaking of that … Ford, we need to talk.”

“Oh shit. It’s never a good thing when a woman—even if she’s your cousin—wants to talk. Should I pour myself a drink first?”

She went to the fridge and grabbed me a beer.

I gulped down several swallows and said, “All right, hit me with it. I’m ready.”

“You need to hire a nanny—not me, not your mom, not your mom’s housekeeper. I mean, a real nanny.”

“That’s what this is about?”

She nodded. “I feel like we had this discussion a few months ago, and I’m still here, so this is your not-so-gentle nudge.” She picked up a cookie and chowed down half. “Ford, I’m drowning, and even though I love your daughter like I gave birth to her, I need this gig off my plate before I’m down so deep that I can’t find my way up for air.”

Hannah and I had talked about this in the past, and I hadn’t made the move to hire anyone. Everly just loved being with her cousin, and between Hannah, my mom, and my mom’s housekeeper, Eve was constantly watched. But I could see the stress on Hannah’s face, and with school and prepping for the bar and her time at the office, life was hell for her.

“She’ll be starting kindergarten in the fall. Won’t that new schedule make it easier on everyone?”

She shook her head. “Everly needs someone there consistently, someone she can really bond with and learn from rather than bouncing between three people. This will be the best thing for her, I promise.”

“All right,” I agreed. “I’ll talk to my assistant. We’ll get someone hired soon.”

She finished the cookie and grabbed another. “I appreciate it. My waist appreciates it too.”

“Stop. With how much you run, you can afford to eat that entire tray.” I guzzled down the rest of the beer and set the empty on the counter. “I’m going to head out. You two be good tonight.”


As I was leaving the kitchen, I said over my shoulder, “She can have one cookie.”

“That really means two.”

I chuckled and turned around. “You sure you don’t want me to give Declan a message from you? Possibly tell him how much you love—”

“You’re a dick.”

I smiled. “See you in the morning, Hannah.”

I hurried out the front door and into the driveway, where my driver was parked and waiting. I climbed into the back of the SUV and wished Stan a good evening before I took out my phone and called my assistant.

“Hi, Ford,” my assistant said as she answered.

“Remember that conversation we had a few months back about hiring a nanny, and we did nothing about it?” I stared out the window as Stan pulled onto the road. “Well, it’s time we do something about it.”

“If I remember correctly, I found an agency that came highly recommended. How about I go that route and place an ad on one of the childcare websites, and I can vet the applicants before I send them to you?”

“I can probably squeeze a few more weeks out of Hannah. Will that give you enough time?”

“It should.”

I leaned my shoulder into the door. “Then, that sounds perfect.”

“I’ll get started first thing in the morning.”

I thanked her and hung up, and my phone instantly rang with Jenner’s name on the screen.

“I’m on my way,” I said after connecting the call.

“I was worried your ass was going to bail.”

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