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Waiting for Nick/Considering Kate
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Waiting for Nick/Considering Kate

4.1 26
by Nora Roberts
 
Waiting for Nick

Frederica Kimball had been waiting all her life…waiting to grow up…waiting forever for the day when Nicholas LeBeck would fall as desperately in love with her as she had always been with him.

Nick didn't know what had hit him. Sweet, adorable Freddie, whom he'd always loved like a kid sister, was suddenly all woman. And his

Overview

Waiting for Nick

Frederica Kimball had been waiting all her life…waiting to grow up…waiting forever for the day when Nicholas LeBeck would fall as desperately in love with her as she had always been with him.

Nick didn't know what had hit him. Sweet, adorable Freddie, whom he'd always loved like a kid sister, was suddenly all woman. And his feelings for her were anything but brotherly!

Considering Kate

Kate Stanislaski Kimball had turned her back on glamour and fame, and she'd come home to begin a new life. The only thing more perfect than the beautiful—dilapidated—building she'd bought for her new dance school was Brody O'Connell, the frustrating and surprisingly fascinating contractor she'd hired for the renovation.

But Brody was determined to resist Kate's effortless allure. She was Natasha Stanislaski's pampered, perfect daughter, after all. Still, every fiber of his being longed to make her his.…

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780373285686
Publisher:
Harlequin
Publication date:
06/01/2008
Series:
Stanislaskis Series
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.76(w) x 4.06(h) x 1.14(d)

Read an Excerpt

She was a woman with a mission. Her move from West Virginia to New York had a series of purposes, outlined carefully in her mind. She would find the perfect place to live, become a success in her chosen field, and get her man.

Preferably, but not necessarily, in that order.

Frederica Kimball was, she liked to think, a flexible woman.

As she walked down the sidewalk on the East Side in the early-spring twilight, she thought of home. The house in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, with her parents and siblings, was, to Freddie's mind, the perfect place to live. Rambling, noisy, full of music and voices.

She doubted that she could have left it if she hadn't known she would always be welcomed back with open arms.

It was true that she had been to New York many times, and had ties there, as well, but she already missed the familiar— her own room, tucked into the second story of the old stone house, the love and companionship of her siblings, her father's music, her mother's laugh.

But she wasn't a child any longer. She was twenty-four, and long past the age to begin to make her own.

In any case, she reminded herself, she was very much at home in Manhattan. After all, she'd spent the first few years of her life there. And much of her life in the years after had included visits—but all with family, she acknowledged.

Well, this time, she thought, straightening her shoulders, she was on her own. And she had a job to do. The first order of business would be to convince a certain Nicholas LeBeck that he needed a partner.

The success and reputation he'd accumulated as a composer over the past few years would only increase with her beside him as his lyricist. Already, just by closing her eyes and projecting, she could envision the LeBeck-Kimball name in lights on the Great White Way. She had only to let her imagination bloom to have the music they would write flow like a river through her head.

Now all she had to do, she thought with a wry smile, was convince Nick to see and hear the same thing.

She could, if necessary, use family loyalty to persuade him. They were, in a roundabout way, semicousins.

Kissing cousins, she thought now, while her eyes lighted with a smile. That was her final and most vital mission. Before she was done, Nick would fall as desperately in love with her as she was, had always been, with him.

She'd waited ten years for him, and that, to Freddie's mind, was quite long enough.

It's past time, Nick, she decided, tugging on the hem of her royal blue blazer, to face your fate.

Still, nerves warred with confidence as she stood outside the door of Lower the Boom. The popular neighborhood bar belonged to Zack Muldoon, Nick's brother. Stepbrother, technically, but Freddie's family had always been more into affection than terminology. The fact that Zack had married Freddie's stepmother's sister made the Stanislaski-Muldoon-Kimball-LeBeck families one convoluted clan.

Freddie's longtime dream had been to forge another loop in that family chain, linking her and Nick.

She took a deep breath, tugged on her blazer again, ran her hands over the reddish-gold mop of curls she could never quite tame and wished once, hopelessly, that she had just a dash of the Stanislaskis' exotic good looks. Then she reached for the door.

She'd make do with what she had, and make damned sure it was enough.

The air in Lower the Boom carried the yeasty scent of beer, overlaid with the rich, spicy scent of marinara. Freddie decided that Rio, Zack's longtime cook, must have a pasta special going. On the juke, Dion was warning his fellow man about the fickle heart of Runaround Sue.

Everything was there, everything in place, the cozy paneled walls, the seafaring motif of brass bells and nautical gear, the long, scarred bar and the gleaming glassware. But no Nick. Still, she smiled as she walked to the bar and slid onto a padded stool.

"Buy me a drink, sailor?"

Distracted, Zack glanced up from drawing a draft. His easy smile widened instantly into a grin. "Freddie—hey! I didn't think you were coming in until the end of the week."

"I like surprises."

"I like this kind." Expertly Zack slid the mug of beer down the bar so that it braked between the waiting hands of his patron.

Then he leaned over, caught Freddie's face in both of his big

hands and gave her a loud, smacking kiss. "Pretty as ever."

"You, too."

And he was, she thought. In the ten years since she'd met him, he'd only improved, like good whiskey, with age. The dark hair was still thick and curling, and the deep blue eyes were magnetic. And his face, she thought with a sigh. Tanned, tough, with laugh lines only enhancing its character and charm.

More than once in her life, Freddie had wondered how it was that she was surrounded by physically stunning people. "How's Rachel?"

"Her Honor is terrific."

Freddie's lips curved at the use of the title, and the affection behind it. Zack's wife—her aunt—was now a criminal court judge. "We're all so proud of her. Did you see the trick gavel Mama sent her? The one that makes this crashing-glass sound when you bop something with it?"

"Seen it?" His grin was quick and crooked. "She bops me with it regularly. It's something, having a judge in the family." His eyes twinkled. "And she looks fabulous in those black robes."

"I bet. How about the kids?"

"The terrible trio? They're great. Want a soda?"

Amused, Freddie tilted her head. "What, are you going to card me, Zack? I'm twenty-four, remember?"

Rubbing his chin, he studied her. The small build and china-doll skin would probably always be deceiving. If he hadn't known her age, as well as the age of his own children, he would have asked for ID.

"I just can't take it in. Little Freddie, all grown up."

"Since I am—" she crossed her legs and settled in "—why don't you pour me a white wine?"

"Coming up." Long experience had him reaching behind him for the proper glass without looking. "How're your folks, the kids?"

"Everybody's good, and everyone sends their love." She took the glass Zack handed her and lifted it in a toast. "To family." Zack tapped a squat bottle of mineral water against her glass. "So what are your plans, honey?"

"Oh, I've got a few of them." She smiled into her wine before she sipped. And wondered what he would think if she mentioned that the biggest plan of her life was to woo his younger brother. "The first is to find an apartment."

"You know you can stay with us as long as you want."

"I know. Or with Grandma and Papa, or Mikhail and Sydney, or Alex and Bess." She smiled again. It was a comfort to know she was surrounded by people who loved her. But… "I really want a place of my own." She propped her elbow on the bar. "It's time, I think, for a little adventure." When he started to speak, she grinned and shook her head at him. "You're not going to lecture, are you, Uncle Zack? Not you, the boy who went to sea."

She had him there, he thought. He'd been a great deal younger than twenty-four when he shipped out for the first time. "Okay, no lecture. But I'm keeping my eye on you."

"I'm counting on it." Freddie sat back and rocked a little on the stool, then asked—casually, she hoped—"So, what's Nick up to? I thought I might run into him here."

"He's around. In the kitchen, I think, shoveling in some of Rio's pasta special."

She sniffed the air for effect. "Smells great. I think I'll just wander on back and say hi."

"Go ahead. And tell Nick we're waiting for him to play for his supper."

"I'll do that."

She carried her wine with her and firmly resisted the urge to fuss with her hair or tug on her jacket again. Her attitude toward her looks was one of resignation. "Cute" was the best she'd ever been able to do with her combination of small build and slight stature. Long ago she'd given up on the fantasy that she would blossom into anything that could be termed lush or glamorous.

Added to a petite figure was madly curling hair that was caught somewhere between gold and red, a dusting of freckles over a pert nose, wide gray eyes, and dimples. In her teenage years, she'd pined for sleek and sophisticated. Or wild and wanton. Curvy and cunning. Freddie liked to think that, with maturity, she'd accepted herself as she was.

But there were still moments when she mourned being a life-size Kewpie doll in a family of Renaissance sculptures.

Then again, she reminded herself, if she wanted Nick to take her seriously as a woman, she had to take herself seriously first.

With that in mind, she pushed open the kitchen door. And her heart jolted straight into her throat.

There was nothing she could do about it. It had been the same every time she saw him, from the first time she'd seen him to the last. Everything she'd ever wanted, everything she'd ever dreamed of, was sitting at the kitchen table, hunkered over a plate of fettuccine marinara.

Nicholas LeBeck, the bad boy her aunt Rachel had defended with passion and conviction in the courts. The troubled youth who had been guided away from the violence of street gangs and back alleys by love and care and the discipline of family.

He was a man now, but he still carried some of the rebellion and wildness of his youth. In his eyes, she thought, her pulse humming. Those wonderful stormy green eyes. He still wore his hair long, pulled back into a stubby ponytail of dark, bronzed blond. He had a poet's mouth, a boxer's chin, and the hands of an artist.

She'd spent many nights fantasizing about those long-fingered, wide-palmed hands. Once she got beyond the face, with its fascinating hint of cheekbones and its slightly crooked nose—broken years ago by her own sharp line drive, which he'd tried unsuccessfully to field—she could, with pleasure, move on.

He was built like a runner, long, rangy, and wore old gray jeans, white at the knees. His shirtsleeves were rolled up to the elbow and missing a button.

As he ate, he carried on a running commentary with the huge black cook, while Rio shook the grease out of a basket of French fries.

"I didn't say there was too much garlic. I said I like a lot of garlic." Nick forked in another bite as if to back up his statement. "Getting pretty damned temperamental in your old age, pal," Nick added, his voice slightly muffled by the generous amount of pasta he'd just swallowed.

Rio's mild, good-natured oath carried the music of the islands. "Don't tell me about old, skinny boy—I can still beat hell out of you."

"I'm shaking." Grinning, Nick broke off a hunk of garlic bread just as Freddie let the door swing shut behind her. His eyes lighted with pleasure as he dropped the bread again and pushed back from the table. "Hey, Rio, look who's here. How's it going, Fred?"

He crossed over to give her a casual, brotherly hug. Then his brows drew together as the body that pressed firmly against his reminded him, uncomfortably, that little Fred was a woman.

"Ah…" He backed off, still smiling, but his hands dipped cautiously into his pockets. "I thought you were coming in later in the week."

"I changed my mind." Her confidence lifted a full notch at his reaction. "Hi, Rio." Freddie set her wineglass aside so that she could properly return the bear hug she was enveloped in.

"Little doll. Sit down and eat."

"I think I will. I thought about your cooking, Rio, all the way up on the train." She sat, smiled and held out a hand to Nick. "Come sit down, your food's getting cold."

"Yeah." He took her hand, gave it a quick squeeze, then let it go as he settled beside her. "So, how is everybody? Brandon still kicking butt on the baseball diamond?"

"Batting .420, leading the high school league in home runs and RBIs." She let out a long sigh as Rio set a large plate in front of her. "Katie's last ballet recital was really lovely. Mama cried, of course, but then she tears up when Brand hits a four-bagger. You know, her toy store was just featured in the Washington Post. And Dad's just finishing a new composition." She twirled pasta onto her fork. "So, how are things with you?"

"They're fine."

"Working on anything?"

"I've got another Broadway thing coming up." He shrugged. It was still hard for him to let people know when something mattered.

"You should have won the Tony for Last Stop."

"Being nominated was cool."

She shook her head. It wasn't enough for him—or for her. "It was a fabulous score, Nick. Is a fabulous score," she corrected, since the musical was still playing to full houses. "We're all so proud of you."

"Well. It's a living."

"Don't make his head bigger than it is," Rio warned from his stove.

"Hey, I caught you humming 'This Once,'" Nick noted with a grin.

Rio moved his massive shoulders in dismissal. "So, maybe one or two of the tunes weren't bad. Eat."

"Are you working with anyone yet?" Freddie asked. "On the new score?"

"No. It's just in the preliminary stages. I've hardly gotten started myself."

That was exactly what she'd wanted to hear. "I read somewhere that Michael Lorrey was committed to another project. You'll need a new lyricist."

"Yeah." Nick frowned as he scooped up more pasta. "It's too bad. I liked working with him. There are too many people out there who don't hear the music, just their own words."

"That would be a problem," Freddie agreed, clearing a path for herself. "You need someone with a solid music background, who hears words in the melody."

"Exactly." He picked up his beer and started to drink.

"What you need, Nick, is me," Freddie said firmly.

Nick swallowed hastily, set his beer down and looked at Freddie as though she had suddenly stopped speaking English. "Huh?"

"I've been studying music all my life." It was a struggle, but she kept the eagerness out of her voice and spoke matter-of-factly. "One of my first memories is of sitting on my father's lap, with his hands over mine on the piano keys. But, to his disappointment, composing isn't my first love. Words are. I could write your words, Nick, better than anyone else." Her eyes, gray and calm and smiling, met his. "Because I not only understand your music, I understand you. So what do you think?"

He shifted in his chair, blew out a breath. "I don't know what to think, Fred. This is kind of out of left field."

"I don't know why. You know I've written lyrics for some of Dad's compositions. And a few others besides." She broke off a piece of bread, chewed it thoughtfully. "It seems to me to be a very logical, comfortable solution all around. I'm looking for work, you're looking for a lyricist."

"Yeah." But it made him nervous, the idea of working with her. To be honest, he'd have had to admit that in the past few years, she'd begun to make him nervous.

"So you'll think about it." She smiled again, knowing, as the member of a large family, the strategic value of an apparent retreat. "And if you start to like the idea, you can run it by the producers."

"I could do that," Nick said slowly. "Sure, I could do that."

"Great. I'll be coming around here off and on, or you can reach me at the Waldorf."

"The Waldorf? Why are you staying at a hotel?"

"Just temporarily, until I find an apartment. You don't know of anything in the area, do you? I like this neighborhood."

"No, I—I didn't realize you were making this permanent." His brows knit again. "I mean, a really permanent move."

"Well, I am. And no, before you start, I'm not going to stay with the family. I'm going to find out what it's like to live alone. You're still upstairs, right? In Zack's old place?"

"That's right."

"So, if you hear about anything in the neighborhood, you'll let me know."

It surprised him that even for a moment he would worry about what her moving to New York would change in his life. Of course, it wouldn't change anything at all.

Meet the Author

Nora Roberts is a bestselling author of more than 209 romance novels. She was the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. As of 2011, her novels had spent a combined 861 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, including 176 weeks in the number-one spot. Over 280 million copies of her books are in print, including 12 million copies sold in 2005 alone.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Keedysville, Maryland
Date of Birth:
1950
Place of Birth:
Silver Spring, Maryland
Website:
http://www.noraroberts.com/

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Waiting for Nick; Considering Kate 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Both stories are awesome! They touch the heart and set your heart racing with anticipation. I think that from what i've read of Miss Robert's books this has certainly been one of the spiciest! Can't wait for the next book in this series!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i really did like the first two but i have to say that i loved this one. i hope that nora roberts writes more about this family and their love.
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Waiting for Nick & Considering Kate are part of the Stanislaski Series by Nora Roberts. I read Taming Natasha & Luring a Lady before this set, which I think makes the most sense. I enjoyed all of them. The characters are all very different personalities, but they are all interesting and all of them interconnect well. They are romantic, but challenging relationships. There is a central core family which exudes warmth and acceptance of their children and their partners. So to me, these books are as much about family, relationships and friendship as they are romance. I definitely recommend these to anyone who likes Nora Roberts books.
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Kassie More than 1 year ago
I thought that this was such a cute book. The first one, Waiting for Nick, was good. There were some really good parts. My favorite one was Considering Kate, and I just thought that the book was fantastic! It was so adorable, I don't think that I could have imagined it any better. And little Jack was so cute!
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Nigh10gale More than 1 year ago
The characters are amazing, their love stories are fantastic and who doesn't love heroines who know what and who they want and go after them? A must-read!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was incredibly heartwarming. I fell in love with this series. Randomly, I started reading Rachel and Alex's story and then immediately went out to purchase this one. I am going to go back and read Natasha and Mik's story. Waiting for Nick: I really enjoyed reading about a grown-up Nick (he was first introduced in Rachel's story). Freddie was a great heroine and I totally could relate to her. She dared to love and was willing to go after what she wanted. Considering Kate: The little boy Jack was absolutely adorable!! I got pretty teary towards the end, it was such a sweet story. Brody and Kate were made for each other and you will fall in love with them. Read this series, you won't be let down :)