Fighting for King
Author: Gillian Archer
Series: Star Studded, #2
Publication date: November 17th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
The Nanny Factor! Is there something more going on between Actor Kingston Grier and his new nanny? Stay tuned…
Kingston: Who knew it would be such a challenge finding a nanny who could focus on my daughter without getting sidetracked by trying to get into my bed? I can’t even make eye contact without them thinking I’m flirting. I’m not.
Until Briar arrives, and finally we have a nanny who’s there for Zoe. But why does this Mary Poppins have to be so damn hot?
Briar: My divorce left me with more than my share of trust issues. Not that I’m looking at my new boss that way. Kingston might be a Hollywood hunk, but the guy has the personality of a potato. His daughter couldn’t be more different. One look into her doe eyes, and I am in love.
Somehow Kingston and I go from barely speaking to talking all night long. And our attraction becomes impossible to deny. Just when everything’s finally going right, intimate pictures of us are leaked and the fallout is insane. When I signed up for this job, I knew I’d do anything to protect Zoe—I just never expected how much I’d want to fight for King.
After plunking my daughter, Zoe, down in her highchair with Bunny on the tray, I went about making her afternoon snack. I had all of about five seconds before I heard my assistant and her come into the kitchen.
“And this is Zoe.” Adam’s voice had my spine snapping straight.
“Hey Zoe. I’m Briar. Who is this?” Her chirpy voice bounced through the kitchen and irritated the hell out of me.
I didn’t care what Adam said. She was too young. And too pretty. No doubt she’d be “accidentally” bumping into me in the hallway or magically appearing in my bed at night. Just another pretty face who didn’t give a crap about my daughter.
Zoe didn’t answer. Smart kiddo. This time I’d pay attention to Zoe’s body language and not the sweet face and cutesy voice promising she just needed some time to get used to another new person. I didn’t need to turn around to know that Zoe’s face was most likely buried in Bunny’s fur as she cringed away from the stranger.
But when I finally turned around, that wasn’t what I found. Instead, Zoe was just staring, wide eyed, at the strange woman sitting in the chair next to her.
My chair to be specific.
Then my daughter did the most unexpected thing ever. She smiled at her, held Bunny out to her, and babbled away.
The sight did weird things to me. I felt both glad and bummed at the same time. I wanted Zoe to click with her nanny, but did it have to be her? And so soon? She couldn’t have made her work for it a little? Thrown a little fit or some mac and cheese at least? Why’d she have to click with a beautiful, young nanny? Why not an old, homely one? Maybe with a stooped back and a hooked nose?
I was an ass.
I listened to Zoe babble and her ‘uh-huh’s as I set the mac and cheese on Zoe’s tray.
I wanted to see what little miss perfect would do. So I took a seat on the opposite side of the table and watched the show.
“Are you hungry, Zoe?” She asked.
“Cheez toes!” Zoe screamed, slamming her palms down on the tray.
“Huh.” She tilted her head and smiled conspiratorially at my daughter. “I don’t see any cheese toes. Looks like your daddy made some yummy mac and cheese. What kind of shapes are those?”
And then it happened.
Just as she leaned over to look at Zoe’s lunch, my daughter’s hand smacked the side of the bowl, sending it and the wiggly cartoon shaped mac and cheese flying—straight into her face.
The bowl bounced off the wall behind them and clattered to the floor. Then there was stunned silence for a few beats while she wiped cheese sauce and pasta off her face.
“Zoe.” I sent her my best disappointed dad look. “That wasn’t nice. She—Briar—wants to be your friend. Is that how we treat friends?”
Zoe’s bottom lip quivered. “I wike Bwi-are.”
“I like you too, peanut.” Briar accepted the towel Adam offered and used it to pull some cheese sauce out of her hair. “How about me and you clean up this mess and then eat some lunch?”
“’Kay. Den cheez toes?”
“You gotta take that one up with your daddy.” Briar deftly disconnected the highchair tray and pulled Zoe out of the chair before settling her on her hip. “I’m not in charge of lunch.”
“Dada?” Zoe blinked at me.
“Oh wow. She has totally got your number.” Briar laughed.
Adam laughed too. “She has us all wrapped around her finger.”
“Here.” Briar handed the cheese-stained kitchen towel to Zoe. “Let’s get to work so you can get some lunch.”
Zoe immediately rubbed the towel over the top of Briar’s head.
My heart stuttered in my chest watching the two of them. Briar’s face lit up with her laughter at Zoe’s intent concentration on cleaning Briar.
This. This was what I’d wanted for so long.
Adam was right.
She was perfect.
And now totally off limits.
Adam sidled up to me and asked under his breath, “So what do you think?”
We both watched Briar and Zoe bend to wipe up the mess. Zoe happily babbled away while Briar nodded and actually cleaned up the mess behind Zoe’s efforts.
I sighed. “You were right. Show her the room and have her sign the contract if she still wants.” I could practically hear Adam gloating. “Can you at least try to be a gracious winner?”
Adam smirked. “Doubtful.”
I just shook my head and watched Zoe and Briar another minute. Despite the way they clicked, a sense of doom settled into my stomach. This wasn’t going to end well. None of them had so far. Only now I was worried that Zoe was the one who’d end up with the broken heart this time.
And I’d fight like hell to make sure that’d never happen. The second Briar proved herself unworthy, I’d boot her ass out.
I had to protect my little girl. No matter what.
about the author
GILLIAN ARCHER has a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering but prefers to spend her time on happily ever after. She writes the kind of stories she loves to read—the hotter the better! When she’s not pounding away on the keyboard, she can be found chasing her preschooler, or surfing the couch while indulging in her latest reality TV fixation, or reading awesome romance ebooks by her favorite authors.
Gillian Archer lives in the wilds of Nevada with her amazing husband, ridiculously smart little girl, and goofy dog.