DR. GRANT SMYTHE glanced at the bassinet. His father and stepmother had been in the grave only a day and the nanny had quit. Just walked out. What else could go wrong?
No doubt his father was rolling over in his grave at the idea that Grant had been awarded custody of his baby half-sister. He was pretty sure his father had had no intention of ever telling the child she had siblings.
Grant paced the oak planks in the foyer of what had been his father’s home.
Where is the new nanny? When is that woman going to show up?
He checked the time on his phone. She should be here by now. They were waiting on him in the OR. The liver he was to transplant wouldn’t be viable much longer.
The baby whimpered. Grant shoved his hair off his forehead. This was just one more of his father’s ways of making him feel inadequate. One final sick joke.
The whine grew to a cry. Where was...? What is her name...? Uh, Sydney, Sara, Sharon or something.
The baby released a deep-chested, high-pitched scream. What was wrong? He hadn’t had anything to do with babies since med school. Even then it had only been for a short time.
Baby. He was so bitter he couldn’t even call the small bundle by her name. Grant looked into the cherubic face twisting up to make another cry. His sister. Lily. He shouldn’t be taking out lifelong issues with his father on an innocent babe. “Lily,” he whispered.
Her mouth closed and she studied Grant.
Amazement filled him. The child was beautiful. She resembled Evelyn so much. Her mother. The same woman he’d once planned to marry. Lily could have been his daughter. At least that was until he had introduced Evelyn to his father. Those were dark thoughts Grant didn’t have time for.
The ring of his phone drew his attention. Surely that was the nanny saying she was on her way. Answering, he recognized the voice of Leon, his best friend and lawyer. When Grant had taken responsibility for Lily he’d contacted Leon to watch after his and the child’s interests.
Without any preamble Leon said, “Well, it looks like Evelyn’s family means business.”
“I had no idea she even had an aunt and uncle. She never said anything about them.”
“Doesn’t matter. They’re here now. Maybe you should consider letting them have Lily. What do you know about raising a child? Adoption could be the right way to go. We can set it up so that you oversee her trust fund.”
Grant still couldn’t get over the fact that a couple had showed up at the funeral saying they were his stepmother’s family members. The man had then informed Grant that they were planning to file for custody of Lily.
His sister. His family. She should be with him.
Why he felt so strongly about that he had no idea. Did he still think he needed to prove something to his father? That shouldn’t matter. He’d spent most of his adult life fighting with the man. He was gone now. A dejected feeling settled over Grant. No matter how bad it had been between them he still hated knowing his father was gone forever.
Grant look down at Lily. “What do we know about these people?”
“Based on a preliminary report of the Armsteads, they look like the perfect couple to take in a child.”
“And I’m not,” Grant snapped. “What about the lifestyle I can offer her?”
“To be quite frank, it won’t matter.”
“So what would make a difference?”
Leon sighed. “The court likes to see children going to a couple. If you were married it would help your case one hundred percent. You’re the closest relative. You have the means and ability to care for her. I don’t see a judge, even the most conservative one, going against you.”
“So what you’re telling me is that I need to find a wife,” Grant said flatly.
“In a word, yes.”
* * *
Sara Marcum still couldn’t believe she’d agreed to take this job. She pulled her beat-up car into the curved brick drive of a two-story mansion in Highland Park, the poshest section of Chicago, Illinois. The yard was so manicured each blade of grass stood at attention.
Kim, a nursing friend who worked at the hospital, had called her that evening and told her about Dr. Smythe’s desperate need for a nanny. Knowing Sara was available, she’d given her the doctor’s address and asked her to go there immediately. The problem was that Sara wasn’t nanny material. She wanted nothing to do with caring for a child.
“You have a big heart, Sara, you’re just the person to help this guy out,” Kim had insisted. “It’s just temporary and the money’s good.”