Stuck. That’s the word she was looking for. She felt stuck in her life. She was always supposed to do something right. There was always an insanely high level of expectation on her. She was always supposed to do the right thing with the right guy with the right life. Tiana finally conceded her life was just as bland as her diet. The only thing that jolted her every now and then was the acrimonious divorce from Christopher. His last demand was laughable at best—give him twenty-five million and he’ll go away forever. He never once mentioned seeing Tyson.
“I was looking for you,” Kieran approached her from behind.
Tiana slightly turned to him and gave a half-grin. “Hey,” she rubbed her shoulders in the cool October breeze.
“Oh, come on,” Kieran placed his drink on the balcony and took off his blazer. He covered Tiana’s bare shoulders with it. “I can’t be that bad of a date, am I?”
Tiana bundled herself up a little more with the blazer. “Just curious,” she turned to him, “I don’t have a giant stick up my ass, do I?”
“What?” Kieran smiled.
“I thought about what Ben said earlier, about the child care parents. I mean, what he said about my ex was true but I’m wondering if he grouped me in there,” she frowned.
“You honestly believe that?”
“I admit I can be a bit stuffy. I’m paid to be,” Tiana shrugged. “If I was who I truly am, I wouldn’t get any clients. I definitely wouldn’t have any respect.”
“So who is the real Tiana?”
“Will the real Tiana Morris please stand up?” She chuckled. “She’s fun and free-spirited. She’s organizational to a fault but not stuffy. She loves going to the opera, just as much as she loves watching Football Sunday, just as much as she loves seeing the latest chick flick. If she could, she would wear her natural, kinky and curly hair all the time and do away with those flat irons and god-forsaken relaxers. She would love to expand her family, having lots of babies to fill up that big-ass house she bought.”
Kieran admired Tiana’s honesty. For the first time, the real came through. There was no alcohol, no contriteness, no keeping up with appearances. The real Tiana was with him. It was refreshing and wonderful. “So why does that Tiana stay hidden?”
“Because that Tiana won’t get any respect. That Tiana will lose millions in potential investments from clients all over. That Tiana…” she paused and bit her lip.
“You were saying?” He encouraged.
Tiana cleared her throat and exhaled a deep breath. “That Tiana is afraid of what her family would think. And she has to keep prim and proper. So that Tiana stays hidden.”
Kieran moved closer to her and wrapped an arm around her. His embrace was warm and comforting. “I would like to see that Tiana if she wants to come out to play sometime.”
Tiana humored him. “You wouldn’t like her.”
“How would you know that?”
“Because I do,” she replied, curtly. “That Tiana comes with a whole lot of baggage. I’m not talking a few suitcases. I’m talking a 747.”
“We all have baggage, Tiana,” he offered.
“Easy for you to say,” she scoffed.
“Oh?” Kieran accepted her challenge. “I hardly saw my mother while growing up. She always worked two or three jobs. I was the mother and the father to my brothers. When I got home from school, I had to make sure the house was clean, dinner was ready, and feed and bathe my younger brothers before I could even think about starting my homework and sometimes I didn’t start my homework until it was damn near my bedtime.
“I joined the Army, fought a war on grounds I’m still not entirely clear about, and came home to find my high school sweetheart had cleaned me out and had taken everything but my clothing and shoes. We had a joint account of over ten grand; and there was about thirty cents left in there when I returned. It was two years before I got back on my feet and got my degree. So please, don’t talk to me about baggage.” Kieran clarified.
Tiana looked up at him with watery eyes. “I knew you wouldn’t understand me!” She hurried to another corner.
Kieran quickly followed her. “I didn’t say that to make you upset, Tiana, and I’m sorry. I said that to prove a point that yes, you may have baggage but so do I,” he lifted her chin to his gaze and thumbed away her falling tears. “And I’m willing to go the distance with you if you let me.”
“You’re my nanny, Kieran,” Tiana sniffled, “I’m not supposed to date the help.”
“Would it make a difference if I was some random guy down the street? Some dude you met in a club?”
“Actually, yes,” Tiana nodded and Kieran rolled his eyes. “I have a child, Kieran. I have a ready-made family. Not a lot of guys want to date a single mother. I’m a chance no one wants to take, no matter how much money I have.”
“You’re right, a lot of guys don’t want to date a single mother,” he captured her lips with his. She tasted sweetly of cinnamon and champagne. “But this guy wants his chance.”
Kieran’s lips were full and experienced and his mouth was so welcoming. Kieran slid his tongue inside Tiana’s mouth and she met him halfway. It was rough, smooth, and inviting. “My life is going to be cute school plays, soccer games, orange slices, and PTA meetings in the future,” she breathed. She felt her heart pounding in her chest and her breath was jagged. “Evenings like this would be rare.”
“I like my quiet Saturday nights,” he smiled.
“There will be times when I’ll travel for weeks and won’t be able to see you or Tyson.” Kieran’s lips trailed from her mouth and down her neck. Kieran made her feel like a woman again. A natural, warm-blooded, hot-bodied female with a healthy appetite for sex and a lot of it. She felt the forgotten moisture forming between her legs, her nipples sprang to attention, and the heat rose from her belly. It had been so long since she had been arouse;, she’d almost forgotten what it felt like.
Kieran nibbled on her neck. His lips were hot, heavy, and wet. “I think we’ll make do.”
Her body craved him. Her heart needed him. She knew if they went home together, it would be the start of a new relationship. The ink on her divorce papers wasn’t even dry yet. “I can’t promise you anything, Kieran. I just got out of something and I’m not trying to get married again.”
“All I need is your love,” he held her close, “I’ll take care of the rest.”
Tiana pulled away from him. “It’s been a long time, Kieran,” she warned, “if we’re going to go home and do what I hope we’re going to do, I have to warn you, I’m rusty.”
Kieran softly kissed Tiana again. “I’ll lead.”
The Nanny is available in both ebook and print form.