Millionaire in Command [NOOK Book]

Overview



Mr. October: Kyle Landis, Air Force commander, millionaire…daddy?

Motto: Family first, last, always.

Marriage?: Not until now!

He'd worked the most dangerous missions, but nothing had prepared Kyle Landis for the surprise of becoming...
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Millionaire in Command

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Overview



Mr. October: Kyle Landis, Air Force commander, millionaire…daddy?

Motto: Family first, last, always.

Marriage?: Not until now!

He'd worked the most dangerous missions, but nothing had prepared Kyle Landis for the surprise of becoming a dad. When Phoebe Slater suddenly announced the child she was caring for was his baby, he had no reason to doubt her. And since a Landis did not sway in his duty, marriage was the only course of action. But once "I do" was said, would Phoebe be up for enlisting as his wife…in every way Kyle had been imagining?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426840975
  • Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Series: Man of the Month , #1969
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 148,730
  • File size: 122 KB

Meet the Author

USA Today bestseller Catherine Mann has books in print in more than 20 countries with Desire, Romantic Suspense, HQN and other Harlequin lines. A five-time RITA finalist, she has won both the RITA and the Bookseller's Best Awards. Catherine resides in Florida with her aviator husband, their four children and a menagerie of pets. For more information, visit: http://catherinemann.com

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Read an Excerpt

Phoebe Slater brought a baby to the millionaire military hero's seaside welcome-home gala.

Undoubtedly most of the guests plucking canapés and champagne from silver trays at this high-profile affair could afford nannies. Of course the Hilton Head Island wealthy could also afford tailored tuxedos and sequined high-end dresses as they mingled the evening away in the country club gardens by the shore. Her basic little black dress had been bought at a consignment store to wear to the few mandatory cocktail parties related to her position as a history professor at the University of South Carolina.

Of course she usually didn't accessorize with baby drool dotting her shoulder.

Phoebe jostled the fractious five-month-old infant on her hip, smoothing down the pink smocked dress. "Hang on, sweetie. Just a few more minutes and I can feed you before bedtime."

As waves crashed in the distance, a live band played oldies rock, enticing guests to the dance floor with a Billy Joel classic. Even South Carolina's governor was dancing under the silver silk canopy with his wife. Darn near gawking, Phoebe stumbled on the edge of the flagstone walkway.

Definitely this was a party for the movers and shakers in the political world—as well as on the polished wood dance floor planked over the sandy lawn. She untangled her low heel from between two decorative rocks. She wasn't here to socialize tonight. She'd come to find little Nina's father.

If only she had a better idea of what he looked like.

Her longtime friend and old sorority sister— Nina's biological mother—had told Phoebe that Kyle Landis was the baby's daddy a couple of months ago when she'd asked for"just a little help" with Nina while she went on an audition for a dinner-theater production in Florida. Bianca had been so excited to get her prebaby body back, insisting this was her chance to provide a better life for her daughter.

Who could have known Bianca wouldn't return?

Phoebe hugged Nina closer, all the more determined to make sure this precious baby had a stable life. Which meant finding Kyle Landis, a man she'd never met in the flesh. She'd hoped to ID him by his Air Force uniform, but the place was packed with tall, dark-haired guys decked out in formal military gear. Medals gleamed in the moonlight.

Cupping the back of Nina's bonnet-covered head as the little one finally dozed off, Phoebe scanned the sea of faces, their profiles shadowy with only the illumination of moon, stars and pewter tiki torches. She only had an older photo to go by, a picture tucked deep in the bottom of the flowered diaper bag slung over her clean shoulder. No way was she going to disturb Nina by looking, not now that the baby was nearly out for the count.

He used to appear in the newspapers frequently when his late father had been a senator. Then his mother and brother had stepped into the political spotlight, too. But the family kept Kyle out of the media's scrutiny as much as possible for safety's sake because of his tours of duty in war zones.

The crush of people grew thicker, faces tougher to see. As much as she hated to draw attention to herself, she was going to have to ask for help finding—

"Can I get you something?"

The deep voice rumbled from behind her as if in answer to her very thoughts, jolting her with a clear shot of sexy bass on the salty ocean breeze. Lordy, the waiter must rack up tips with that bedroom voice of his. She glanced over her shoulder to ask for a napkin—she'd forgotten the burp rag again, damn it.

Her smile froze.

Captain Kyle Landis—in the flesh, all right.

His dark brown hair was trimmed military short, mellow blue eyes creased at the corners from a deep tan she knew he'd earned in a Middle Eastern desert. A broad forehead and strong jawline gave him a masculine appeal just shy of harsh.

She should have realized the guy would be even better looking in person. He was a lucky son of a gun from an established old Southern family—handsome and rich, with a smoky voice to boot. He'd even reportedly survived a crash unscathed. His muscled chest in a blue uniform jacket sported at least double the medals of most here, perhaps only outdone by his stepfather, a general.

What were the odds of Kyle finding her tonight, instead of the other way around? But then, as the guest of honor, maybe he felt obligated to make sure everyone else was having a good time.

"Can I get you something?" he repeated, a cut-crystal whiskey glass cradled in his hand.

An older woman angled past, whipping a full, ruffled train against Phoebe's leg. The scent of strong perfume made Nina sneeze. She readjusted the baby, wishing they were at home in her bentwood rocker rather than here with this man. "I actually don't need help anymore, since I was looking for you."

A dimple dug into his cheek with his one-sided smile. "I'm sorry, if we've met before, I'm not remembering."

That dimple would have been charming if she hadn't already heard from Bianca to be wary of his prep-school-polished sense of humor. She might be out of her financial league here, but she was a smart, determined woman.

Phoebe forged ahead, needing to say something before he turned her over to a bouncer. "I'm not here for myself."

He glanced behind her quickly, then focused his full, deep-blue-eyed attention on her face again. "Which one of my pals are you with? We don't get many chances to meet the wives."

"I'm not married." But she had been. She shoved away even the thought of Roger before the inevitable stab of pain could steal her focus.

Kyle's gaze flicked briefly to Nina, then away. So much for him recognizing his child on sight.

To be fair, he didn't even know about Nina's existence. Bianca had insisted early in the pregnancy that, while she wasn't sure if she wanted to keep the baby, she would inform the baby's father. Then later said she'd chickened out, then couldn't find him and certainly didn't want to send this kind of news to him overseas through his family.

As if Bianca would've even gotten past personal assistants to talk to anyone in his famous family. It had been a major challenge to gate-crash this shindig, but no security could outdo her determination.

That drive—along with channeling some acting tips she'd picked up from Bianca—and Phoebe had convinced them all she was the caterer's assistant's wife. Easy enough to do, since she was more the friend-next-door than the flashy-leading-lady.

Nothing could stop her, not now that Kyle had come home. Somebody had to tell him about his new "little" responsibility and since Bianca was MIA, that left it up to her.

Might as well get this over with. "Is there somewhere we can step aside to talk?"

"I'm sorry, but my mother would haul me back in by my ear if I tried to duck out of my own welcome-home party." He angled closer, the fresh scent of his aftershave teasing her nose. "Maybe later, though?"

Undeniable interest flared in his cobalt-blue eyes, his full attention fixed on her.

Holy crap. Could he actually be hitting on her? She'd prepared herself for any possible reaction from him—except that.

She jolted back a step, holding up one hand. "Wait, that's not what I meant."

And even if he were interested enough to actually contact her, what if it took him a week to call? She didn't have another week to waste waiting for him to phone her back.

Nina didn't have a week.

Phoebe patted between the baby's shoulders, praying she would stay asleep. The last thing she needed was a colicky nuclear meltdown. "I have to speak with you for five minutes out of earshot of everyone else. I promise I won't keep you long and you can get back to your welcome-home party. Perhaps you could just escort me to the door? Then you'll know I'm truly on my way out of your hair."

"Fair enough." He set his drink on the bar behind him. "Do you need some help with the kid?"

Instinctively, she backed farther away until her butt bumped a column plant-holder, jostling the fern on top.

Laughing, he held out both hands. "Hey, no need to freak out. I won't drop her. I've never been much of a kid person, but I'm getting practice lately with my nephew."

Nina had a cousin. How wild to think about, and imagine them playing together happily. Nina needed a life full of people who loved her. And the sooner Phoebe cleared this up, the sooner Nina would be settled. "We're fine, but thanks for asking. Just lead the way and we'll follow."

"Let me know if you change your mind."

He turned his broad shoulders sideways to slide past a pair of tuxedo-clad teens sneaking refills from the champagne fountain. Kyle plucked the glasses from their hands on his way by and passed them to a man from the catering staff.

He led Phoebe around a corner and stopped in a small, empty alcove with a spindly iron bench and two more large potted ferns on Grecian-pillar stands. The party noise muffled down a notch, although the laughter of a nearby couple made her itchy for a room with a door to close. The nook just past an ivy-covered trellis wasn't totally private, but it would have to do.

Stepping away from his towering presence for a bit of breathing room, she eased the diaper bag down onto the iron bench and rolled the kink out of her shoulder. "Do you remember someone named Bianca Thompson?"

His eyes went from friendly to reserved. "Yes, why do you ask?"

Nearby laughter swelled as two trophy-wife types ducked into the alcove, one with a silver cigarette case in her hands and the other weaving tipsily behind her. "Oh," the woman said, tucking her cigarette case surreptitiously behind her back, "excuse me."

Kyle's easy smile came back. "No problem, ladies. I think there's another bench just past the palmetto tree wrapped in lights."

"Thank you, Captain." The woman flashed a smile back, "advertising" with a length of too-tanned leg through the gown's excessive slit.

Phoebe watched them disappear faster than the after-waft of their cologne. She turned back to Kyle. "You don't deny knowing Bianca?"

"This is getting strange here." He scratched the back of his neck. "You need to cut to the chase… What was your name again?"

"Phoebe—" She paused as a uniformed waiter tucked into the alcove, stopped short and then spun back around to leave, apparently looking for a place to ditch work undetected for a few seconds.

Good luck with that, buddy, because apparently there wasn't a quiet place to be found at this crammed-to-the-gills gala.

She hefted Nina's limp—and growing heavier by the second—body higher onto her shoulder. Her sweet weight and baby-shampoo-fresh scent tugged at her heart with a reminder of just how important this meeting was to both of their futures. "Phoebe. My name is Phoebe Slater. Bianca and I were sorority sisters, but we've stayed in touch over the years."

Although not as much as she would have liked during the past two months. She still could hardly believe Bianca would just drop off her baby daughter and not look back.

"Nice to meet you, Phoebe," he said, one eyebrow arching up with the implication his patience had about run dry.

Time was up. There wasn't ever going to be the perfect setting for this kind of revelation. She resisted the urge to clutch the baby tighter and bolt. This wasn't her child, but she loved her as dearly as if they shared the same blood. In fact, this would be her only chance at motherhood—however brief. When her husband she'd loved more than life had died, all hopes of being a mother had died with him.

No blue eyes would distract her from protecting Nina, no social brush-offs would dislodge her from her mission. She would do anything, anything to secure Nina's future.

Phoebe braced her shoulders and her resolve to push forward with her plan, even if it meant making a deal with a blue-eyed devil. "Meet Nina, your daughter."

Damn.

Another gold digger.

Party noise droning behind him like the buzz of aircraft engines, Kyle rocked back on his heels, his polished uniform shoes squeaking. He'd worked in intel during his Air Force career, but it didn't take an investigative mind to determine something was way off with this woman.

The second he'd seen Phoebe Slater sidle past security, he had been gut-slammed by her appeal.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 14 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Another Landis Keeper

    Catherine Mann continues her wonderful Landis Family series on Millionaire In Command.

    Kyle Landis, Air Force Commander thought he could handle any mission that was handed his way. At his welcome home gale he is shocked to find out he may be a dad. Seems this beautiful woman in front of him is saying the daughter she has been caring for a friend is his child. Kyle is floored when Phoebe Slater suggests marriage between them to keep little Nina out of foster care.

    History Professor Phoebe Slater doesn't mind taking care of baby Nina. But Nina's mom has been gone for months and Phoebe is worried child protective services will be knocking on her door any day now. She proposes a marriage of convenience to the baby's father to buy her some time to locate the mother.

    Kyle and Phoebe both enter into this marriage with good intentions. Neither was planning on being so attracted to each other. Once they give into their desires all bets are off. Now that the relationship is real will it hold up when Nina's birth mother shows up?

    Millionaire In Command is a real treat. You have you top notch military man and a strong capable woman, what more could you ask for in a romance. The dialogue is witty and the chemistry is spicy. Catherine Mann's stories are always a first pick for me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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