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Bad Nanny(9)

By:C.M. Stunich



When the girls get out of car, they both pretend not to know me.

“Have fun, ladies!” I call out with a grin as I grab the dog and set him on the ground, closing the car door with a bump of my hip.

I don't make it ten steps into that park before I see the most beautiful creature known to man.

Holy panty-wetters.

I think I've just spotted the God of Tattoos and Piercings.

And I am an ardent worshipper.



I find myself freezing ankle-deep in wood chips as children stream around me like I'm a rock in a river, water parting around my shocked and panting heart.

Who … the fuck is that? And why is he in Eureka, California? Nobody hot lives here.

The man is sitting on a park bench under the trees, one leg propped up, his elbow resting against it as he texts with a furious thumb—a furious tattooed thumb. Half of his head is shaved short and dark, the other half is standing up in a Mohawk. Tattoos peek out from under his tight red T-shirt, staining his neck and arms with vibrant color. I raise an eyebrow at the shirt. It's straight-up nerdy: it has a graphic of the original Nintendo and says Classically Trained, but … the muscles underneath are taut and sculpted and strong.

What a beautiful dichotomy, I think as I bite my lower lip and then grunt as a kid slams into my knees and knocks me into the wood chips.

“Sorry!” she screams, but doesn't stop, sprinting away in a fluttering wave of pigtails as I blink away the shock and try to drag myself to my feet.

“Holy sweet baby Jesus. You okay there?” A tattooed hand appears in my vision. When I reach up to take it, the skin is smooth and dry and warm. My breath rushes out in a burst as Tattoo God pulls me to my feet with little effort, his phone still clutched in his opposite hand. When he smiles at me, I see butterflies. No, like literal butterflies etched into the skin of his throat, right above the neck of his tee. “Sorry about that,” he tells me with a loose, easy shrug. “You wanna sit down or something?”

I nod, but I'm having trouble finding the right words to say to this guy and his gorgeous lips, a piercing dancing on either side, winking in the sun. He's got one in his brow, too, and one in his nose.

Basically, he's hot as hell.

“You hurt?” he asks me, gaze traveling up and down my body appreciatively. When he gets back to my face, he smiles this easy, goofy smile that belies the harsh look of his tattoos and his hair, like he's a bad boy on the outside but a super nice guy underneath.

The last thing you need right now is a man. You need to focus on the girls, and on your master's degree, and your new life in Eureka.

I take a deep breath and run my fingers through my hair, dislodging a few wood chips in the process.

“I'm okay,” I say as I take a seat next to God Guy and try not to stare too hard at his tight jeans, the belt with the skulls on it, the fact that he's not wearing shoes … there are tattoos on the tops of his feet, too. “The name's Brooke Overland, by the way.”

I hold out my hand and he takes it, gripping hard, his palm brushing against mine and making my heart thunder in my throat. If I was in a different place in my life, I'd seriously consider asking this guy out. Well. I look down at his hand don't see a ring, but he is at the park with a kid.

A gurgling sound draws my attention to a stroller and a baby. Holy crap. Okay, well, clearly this guy's not married but he's obviously taken. Why wouldn't he be? Men this hot don't stay on the market forever and let's be honest, outside of a ridiculous romance novel, where can they be found anyway? In rock bands? Please.

“Zayden Roth,” he says as he looks me up and down again, still smiling that easy smile of his. “Sorry about Kinzie. She's kind of an asshole.” I raise my brows. Never heard a guy call his kid an asshole before, but hey, she … kind of is an asshole. That really did hurt. I rub at my knee and the torn spot on my nude tights. I'm not even sure why I'm wearing them; I never wear tights. Maybe it's because I felt this crazy urge to put on tons of layers today? Like that would protect me from taking them all off later.

I almost start hyperventilating and manage to pull it together at the last second.

“That's okay. I'm sure it was an accident.”

Zayden rolls his gorgeous green eyes, the color pale but striking. Like sea glass.

“I wouldn't necessarily say that. She's kicked and punched me so many times today that I'm seriously considering calling a therapist or something. The kid has issues.”

He snaps his fingers at me and grins a little wider, piercings bright in the sun. I notice his ears are ringed in silver hoops, from bottom to top. I wonder what else is hiding under those clothes? I force myself to take a long, deep breath.

“Which ones are yours?” he asks as he scans the playground and lifts up a hand covered in ink, the knuckles labelled with the word EASY. I wonder what the other says? I crane my neck to try and sneak a peak when he notices and grins big, curling his hands into fists and putting them together for my viewing pleasure.

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