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Wyatt Kent stood outside Small Hands Day Care Center, debating whether or not he could actually go inside.
He was no coward, but it wasn't often he was faced with something like this.
He was about to give a bid on a construction job for his ex-wife's younger sister.
How he'd gotten stuck with this he didn't know. That was what he got for not paying attention in meetings. He'd been bulldozed by his two brothers along with Tori, Kent Construction's oh-so-efficient but manipulative office manager.
"No big deal, Wyatt." "Calliope Andrews is nothing like your ex-wife, Cassandra." "No one else can do the project, Wyatt. It's either you or the job doesn't get done."
"Calliope Andrews is nothing like your ex-wife, Cassandra."
"No one else can do the project, Wyatt. It's either you or the job doesn't get done."
Might as well suck it up and get this over with. The wood-frame house was painted shocking blue and blinding white. The sign out in the front yard was plastered with a bunch of multicolored handprints.
So it was cute. The house needed a new coat of paint. Probably would need a new roof within the next year or two, too. But that wasn't his problem. He stood at the end of the walkway and watched the endless parade of parents driving up to the side of the house. The side door opened, parents dashed in to retrieve kids, then the car drove through to the back alley and the next car pulled up.
Wyatt went up to the front door and rang the bell, then waited for someone to answer. And waited. And waited. He tried the door, figuring he'd let himself in, but it was locked.
He went around to the side and was halted by a tall, thick woman with short cropped black hair and likely more muscles than he had. She wore jeans and a T-shirt and looked more like a wrestler than a day care worker.
She frowned, gave him the head-to-toe once-over.
"Who are you?"
"Wyatt Kent. I have an appointment with Calliope Andrews."
She laid her hand on his chest to keep him in place. "Stay here. Miss Calliope, there's a Wyatt Kent here. Says he's supposed to meet with you."
"Oh, that's right. It's okay, Beth. I'm expecting him."
Beth tossed a thumb over her shoulder. "Go on back. You're in my way."
"Go on back where?"
"Straight down the hall, then turn right. All the way to the end."
Wyatt nodded and dodged a bunch of giggling little girls on his way. They were a few years younger than his eight-year-old niece, Zoey, but they were all dressed in pinkZoey's favorite color.
Most of the kids must have gone home by now. With the exception of a few stragglers dashing by him on his way down the hall, the place had gone quiet. He found the room Beth had directed him to. It was fairly small and completely empty.
A playroom, it was stuffed with overflowing bookshelves and toys and tables and a giant castle.
He stood in the middle of the room, figuring Calliope had stepped out.
Until he heard a rustling in the castle, then a groan. He turned around and saw one very attractive, jeans-clad butt attempting to back out of the castle opening.
"I swear if my butt gets any bigger I'm not going to be able to clean the toys out of this thing and we'll need to get a bigger castle."
He disagreed. She had a great ass.
She flung toys over her shoulder while Wyatt stood there, feeling sort of inept.
"You need some help there?"
She stilled, her head jerked up and she bumped it against the opening. "Ow. Dammit." She rubbed the wild curls on top of her head, then backed all the way out and sat on the floor, adjusted the tortoise-shell glasses that had ridden down the bridge of her very cute nose.
"Wyatt. I thought you were Beth. You're not Beth."
"No, I'm not."