The Nanny Bombshell

By: Michelle Celmer

This was not good.

As a former defensive center, MVP and team captain for the New York Scorpions, Cooper Landon was one of the city’s most beloved sports heroes. His hockey career had never been anything but an asset.

Until today.

He looked out the conference room window in the Manhattan office of his attorney, where he had been parked for the past ninety minutes, hands wedged in the pockets of his jeans, watching the late afternoon traffic crawl along Park Avenue. The early June sun reflected with a blinding intensity off the windows of the building across the street and the sidewalks were clogged with people going about their daily routine. Businessmen catching cabs, mothers pushing strollers. Three weeks ago he’d been one of them, walking through life oblivious to how quickly his world could be turned completely upside down.

One senseless accident had robbed him of the only family he had. Now his brother, Ash, and sister-in-law, Susan, were dead, and his twin infant nieces were orphans.

He clenched his fists, fighting back the anger and injustice of it, when what he wanted to do was slam them through the tinted glass.

He still had his nieces, he reminded himself. Though they had been adopted, Ash and Susan couldn’t have loved them more if they were their own flesh and blood. Now they were Coop’s responsibility, and he was determined to do right by them, give them the sort of life his brother wanted them to have. He owed Ash.

“So, what did you think of that last one?” Ben Hearst, his attorney, asked him. He sat at the conference table sorting through the applications and taking notes on the nanny candidates they had seen that afternoon.

Coop turned to him, unable to mask his frustration. “I wouldn’t trust her to watch a hamster.”

Like the three other women they had interviewed that day, the latest applicant had been more interested in his hockey career than talking about the twins. He’d met her type a million times before. In her short skirt and low-cut blouse, she was looking to land herself a famous husband. Though in the past he would have enjoyed the attention and, yeah, he probably would have taken advantage of it, now he found it annoying. He wasn’t seen as the guardian of two precious girls who lost their parents, but as a piece of meat. He’d lost his brother two weeks ago and not a single nanny candidate had thought to offer their condolences.

After two days and a dozen equally unproductive interviews, he was beginning to think he would never find the right nanny.

His housekeeper, who had been grudgingly helping him with the twins and was about twenty years past her child-rearing prime, had threatened to quit if he didn’t find someone else to care for them.

“I’m really sorry,” Ben said. “I guess we should have anticipated this happening.”

Maybe Coop should have taken Ben’s advice and used a service. He just didn’t feel that a bunch of strangers would be qualified to choose the person who would be best to care for the twins.

“I think you’re going to like this next one,” Ben told him.

“Is she qualified?”

“Overqualified, actually.” He handed Coop the file. “You could say that I was saving the best for last.”

Sierra Evans, twenty-six. She had graduated from college with a degree in nursing, and it listed her current occupation as a pediatric nurse. Coop blinked, then looked at Ben. “Is this right?”

He smiled and nodded. “I was surprised, too.”

She was single and childless with a clean record. She didn’t have so much as a parking ticket. On paper she looked perfect. Although in his experience, if something seemed too good to be true, it usually was. “What’s the catch?”

Ben shrugged. “Maybe there isn’t one. She’s waiting in the lobby. You ready to meet her?”

“Let’s do it,” he said, feeling hopeful for the first time since this whole mess started. Maybe this one would be as good as she sounded.

Using the intercom, Ben asked the receptionist, “Would you send Miss Evans in please?”

A minute later the door opened and a woman walked in. Immediately Coop could see that she was different from the others. She was dressed in scrubs—dark-blue pants and a white top with Sesame Street characters all over it—and comfortable-looking shoes. Not typical attire for a job interview but a decided improvement over the clingy, revealing choices of her predecessors. She was average height, average build…very unremarkable. But her face, that was anything but average.

Her eyes were so dark brown they looked black and a slight tilt in the corners gave her an Asian appearance. Her mouth was wide, lips full and sensual, and though she didn’t wear a stitch of makeup, she didn’t need any. Her black hair was long and glossy and pulled back in a slightly lopsided ponytail.