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Authors: Judy Jarvie

Nanny Behaving Badly

BOOK: Nanny Behaving Badly
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Nanny Behaving Badly

Published by E-scape Press Ltd, England.

ISBN: 9781908629036

Nanny Behaving Badly. Copyright ©2011 Judy Jarvie.

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organisations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.

All rights reserved.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of these authors.

www.escapewithabook.com

With grateful thanks to Michelle Styles – kind and patient mentor and inspiring author of truly great books. To my lovely critique friends, a big thank you: Natalie, Marcy, Suzanne and Caroline.

Judy Jarvie

Judy Jarvie started writing because the voices in her head were getting insistent. For years she’d written press releases and borough newsletters all the while wishing she was writing love stories instead. After joining the RNA she went to her first writing conference and became instantly hooked. ‘Taking The Leap’ was accepted by US epublisher Moonlit Romance which went out of business but by then the writing was firmly rooted. In 2009 she won a contest for mentoring by Harlequin Historicals’ Michelle Styles, which was a high point in her writing life. You can read her blog at
www.judyj.blogspot.com
. Judy lives in Fife, Scotland with her husband and two daughters. She loves to read and knit and longs to master both in perfect synch.

Chapter One

Why couldn’t she have chosen some other café owner to torture?

Lyle Sutherland scanned his café counter, noting all the items that had been switched during his absence. The milk and sugar dispensers had moved, the cutlery store too. Even his prestige coffee machines had leapt three meters to the left.

To make matters worse, the new waitress on the coffee counter was sporting a dark rebel-style haircut with megawatt blue flashes.

Lyle strode forward to confront his new employee as frustration flared inside, but a café regular, Mr McTavish, snagged his jacket sleeve. McTavish grinned as his moustache twitched with loaded excitement.

‘Lyle, great to see you back. Maddie’s your greatest asset, wherever did you find her? Fast, great with customers. I’ve never earned so many loyalty points in a week.’

‘Great to hear it. We aim to please.’ Lyle faked a smile.

He reserved judgement in spite of the man’s hype. Mostly because of the pair of perky bunny ears on
new girl
Maddie’s head. The flirty tartan mini-kilt that skimmed long stocking-clad legs was equally distracting. They hadn’t even met yet and already Lyle sensed issues in their immediate future.

McTavish fiddled with his napkin. ‘Yesterday she did first aid on a customer. Quick thinking, smart. If she’s a temp, you should make her stay. That all-American charm is sure to attract new customers.’

Lyle stifled a grimace. Excusing himself, he chastised his own lack of foresight for not instilling firmer boundaries in Jim, his manager.

Maddie looked up as the coffee queue dispersed. Her ice-blue eyes and dark impossibility factor lashes bolted him to the spot.

‘Hi, I’m Maddie Adams. You must be Mr Sutherland; Jim told me to expect you today.’

She had a smooth US accent that teased his interest. The glossed natural lips and white teeth were pin-up girl perfect. Just a shame about the horror movie hair.

‘Call me Lyle. Whoever’s been moving the counter around is going to be busy – I didn’t approve any refurbishments and I don’t intend to sanction them now.’ Lyle raised a brow as he closed in. He opted for fast pedal to floor response. No point in stalling gears here.

‘Jim and I figured the previous layout was impractical.’ Maddie surveyed the counter with narrowed eyes. She said it like a tetchy head chef explaining basic kitchen routines.

Lyle sighed deeply. He’d had a nightmare airplane journey beside a
talkaholic
stranger. Now his world was under sniper attack by the newest member of his staff.

‘Since when wasn’t owner agreement required prior to taking action?’

He watched ‘Mayhem Maddie’ place a hand – complete with electric blue nails – on a slim but curvy hip. ‘Since I was told to hit the ground running, sir. Simple, safe streamlining was the intention.’

Lyle didn’t reply. Instead he pondered those jiggling rabbit ears.

‘I’m just letting you know I have concerns about your changes.’

Having his café layout switched around felt like returning to his precious newborn only to find the baby-sitter had renovated the nursery.

With garish blue accents.

Not good.

His open air Ice Café aspired to be coffee house heaven: a fantasy snowscape in Edinburgh’s festive period’s Winter Garden, along with majestic ice rink and skyline views. Only now his kingdom had crumbled without consent.

Lyle bayoneted her gaze. ‘Why the ears?’

The glimmer of a smile tugged at Maddie’s lips. ‘Good, aren’t they?’

‘Is this another crazy idea?’

Maddie raised her eyes. ‘For
Happy Bunny Happy Hour
. Customers love it and a stallholder wants to give us handmade chocolate rabbits to sell for charity. It’s really taking off.’

Lyle bit down on his tongue. He knew her type well: instant gratification all the way. Great for the fun times but life at slow pace wouldn’t suit. He’d weathered a patience-wrecker hurricane woman before; now his storm wall was fixed and fortified. This wayward waitress wouldn’t be running wild here.

‘Nothing’s set without my agreement. No more changes, okay?’

‘Sorry if I’ve crossed the line.’

‘Now you’re clear, I have mountains of work to handle. Excuse me.’

Lyle retrieved his cell phone as Maddie walked away to load her tray in the courtyard. He noticed there was no rabbit bobtail.

But her curves were explosive without it.

The bunny girl needed urgent caging. Then shipping back to Hefner, pronto.

There was definitely something dark brewing with the boss – and it wasn’t just his signature coffee. Or the dark hint of shadow on Lyle Sutherland’s sexy but stubborn jutting jawline.

Capital T for Trouble.

Maddie Adams removed her rabbit ears and listened to the boss’s staccato bark down his cell phone. Like a tank commander in warfare mode. It lessened the impact of those looks.

As an American who’d lived in the Scottish capital for nearly eight years, this was one of the grumpiest introductions she’d ever experienced. Her Scots neighbours were famous for their welcome; Lyle Sutherland bucked that trend with honours. Part of her wanted to fight her corner, yet she figured that would just cause a yell-fest. And risk her losing another job.

Her boss removed his exquisitely tailored jacket, then rattled cupboard doors searching for his files – a chest-thumping gorilla impression designed to spook all adversaries. Maddie didn’t want a zoo-feud or to lose another job.

Sacked after three days would be a new personal record low. Even for her.

‘Lyle?’

Those critical grey eyes, that had nailed her at first glance, stared into hers. And zapped right though her bones. It caused her heartbeat to zoom inside her ribcage.

‘What is it, Maddie?’

‘I’d like to explain. I’m dependable, I work hard, I’ve catering experience from my uncle’s trattoria. I did some barista work in Boston in my teens so give me a chance to rise to your marker. I didn’t mean to overstep any lines.’

‘Making mistakes through changes costs me time and money. I don’t have either to spare. Especially time.’

No. But he definitely had good looks by the tankerload. From his slate grey eyes to his military crop styled hair. He reminded her of a gladiator, and the thought of Lyle in a toga was highly appealing. Why was it that some Scotsmen were
just born
to wear skirts?

Maybe in retrospect she had been a bit too enthusiastic with her improvements. But Jim had been clear from day one. ‘Take the reins, hit the ground running. I’m tied up with the new café we’re launching. The boss is juggling a million things. You’ve got experience, so go for it, Maddie!’

Sadly Lyle didn’t seem to share his manager’s faith or enthusiasm.

She was making a habit of upsetting men lately. Her father, then her ex. Two men with a tendency for high-handed control. And neither of them would ever have looked
that good
in Roman sandals and a skirt. Not like Lyle.

Not even with spray tans.

Maddie tried not to think about the boss dressed up as a Roman god. ‘This is a great place and I’m grateful for the chance, Mr Sutherland.’

A fresh start was imperative but more importantly, the income and a good reference were crucial. She’d walked out of her previous job at the worst time possible. Now she was getting into trouble again. She’d merely tried to use some savvy from prior experience, only now she regretted the hasty moves. Almost as much as she hated her new hairstyle. The highlights were supposed to have been subtle. Instead they were a neon nightmare.

From the moment she’d seen The Ice Café, she’d been smitten – a snowscape mixed with a New York club. Funky rubber furnishings, artisan frosted glass, crystal chandeliers. It was like sampling coffee in the Snow Queen’s palace. Only this palace had a fiery Scots dragon too.

Lyle Sutherland.

He rubbed his chin, then scanned her counter improvements again. ‘From now on you run things past me
before
implementing them. No going crazy without clearance. Got that?’

Her tone was chastened when she answered, ‘I’ll move things back again.’

‘Leave it. There’s been enough mayhem for one day. And call me Lyle, I’m one of the team.’ Lyle laid down the books he’d been assessing. ‘I take it you’re a Rhombus Recruitment Agency temp.’

She nodded. ‘My best friend runs the agency.’

‘Friendship brings preferential job tip-offs?’

Maddie bristled at the inference. Cashing in on favours through a friend’s business was both insulting and wrong.

‘I was the best candidate. Paula said you’d okayed my application.’

‘We’ll have to see how things go,’ Lyle concluded, his expression non-committal. ‘Don’t go changing your résumé yet. Or altering anything else.’

Maddie’s gaze latched onto the man who had just walked in. Immediate concern flashed as recognition dawned – Rob Brewster, the scathing reviewer from the city’s evening paper. Fight or flight reflexes jangled as she surveyed the critic from hell who’d slated her uncle’s trattoria because of a novice waiter.

‘I’m sensing trouble ahead,’ she said, never taking her eyes off the man on the far side of the café. ‘Let’s shelve the grumbles for later.’

They’d just have to rally together here and present the perfect vibe, then everything would be okay. Brewster would see just how good the Ice Café was, provided they played things carefully.

But Lyle was too riled to step down from his wild high horse yet. His highland warrior seemed to be out on full display. ‘I don’t encourage system changes or haphazard hunches, or altering the uniform, or ignoring the core values of the brand. Ice Café and a rabbit theme won’t work.’

‘Quiet!’ Maddie urged. One rogue criticism and the café’s reputation would be fried. ‘Calm down, keep things light. If you don’t, you could regret it.’

Lyle wolf-watched her. ‘What did you say?’

Panic buzzed in Maddie’s veins; a Lyle Sutherland ego avalanche would cause carnage here. But how did you stop a juggernaut boss about to implode?

‘Shh. Please! Don’t argue. It’s important.’

Lyle merely walked up and glared like a pit bull terrier giving attitude to an upstart kitten. ‘This won’t work.’

She whispered, ‘There’s a man here you need to be wary of.’

Maddie pushed both hands against Lyle’s chest forcing him back a step. Shocked rage greeted the move as awareness skittered and zapped her fingers. Wow, what a chest. What a man.

BOOK: Nanny Behaving Badly
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