There was a hot-looking man in her kitchen. and he was cooking!
Maureen Hart had never had a summer so crazy...not even the year she'd become a teenage unwed mother. Now her life was on track with a steady boyfriend and a big promotion looming. And the one person who could derail everything was now waiting on her doorstep!
Maureen's estranged daughter desperately needed her to care for her six-year-old son for several months. She just never imagined when she said yes that the child's gorgeous paternal grandfather, Daniel, would insist on staying, as well.
Quarters were getting interestingly close. But Maureen was technically almost engaged...and a workaholic...and a control freak. And totally about to cut loose and indulge in a little fun with a man capable of doing his own laundry!
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November 05, 2007
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Excerpt from I'm Your Man by Susan Crosby
Maureen Hart watched the glass cleaner drip down the bedroom window as she waited for someone to react, her back to the three other females in the room. Usually she spent the third Saturday of every month with the Rowdies, a group of girlfriends who descended on San Francisco's club-and-concert scene with all the restraint of teenagers on spring break. This third Saturday, however, the Rowdies were blowing off steam without her as Maureen helped the pregnant-and-bedridden Bonnie Sinclair instead.
"He gave you a key to his house?" Maureen's aunt Cherie repeated, her reaction sufficiently surprised. She had picked up her red Candy Land game piece but didn't move it to the next purple square on the path. "Did you accept it?"
Maureen attacked the wet window with paper towels. "I didn't know how not to."
The game came to a complete halt at the news that Maureen's boyfriend of five months, Ted Montague, had made a show out of giving her a key to his house, having wrapped it up like a present and smiling like a kid at Christmas as she opened it.
"Did you give him yours?" Cherie asked.
"I didn't have an extra one."
Cherie gave her an easily interpreted look.
"Well, I didn't," Maureen said.
"Are you going to?"
"I either have to or return his, don't I?"
"Play, please," ordered five-year-old Morgan, fidgeting on the queen-size bed.
Morgan's seven-months-pregnant, ordered-to-bed mother, Bonnie, brushed the girl's brown curls from her face and smiled. "Be patient, sweetheart. This is important information for later in your life."
Morgan sighed. "Bor-ing. Can I watch a movie?"
The girl climbed off the bed and skipped out of the room. Bonnie rubbed her hands together. "Now we can talk. Why don't you want to exchange keys, Maureen? You've been dating long enough, and you're taking a big vacation together. It's a natural step."
It was a fish-or-cut-bait step, Maureen thought, eyeing the clean window for streaks. Exchanging keys was only a step away from moving in together, a first in her thirty-nine years.
"I'm sorry," Bonnie said, subdued. "It's really none of my business."
"No, that's not it at all. I just don't have an answer."
Maureen set her cleaning supplies aside and sat on a chair next to the bed that Bonnie had called home for a week, and would continue to until she gave birth. "I'm sorting through how I feel."
Maureen's gaze drifted to the framed photograph on the nightstand of a handsome Navy lieutenant, Bonnie's husband of six years, now stationed in the Middle East, with six months left on his current tour. "Did you hear from Jeremy today?" Maureen asked.
"I got an e-mail. He was very upbeat. I know he doesn't want me to worry...."
An impossible task, Maureen thought, since Bonnie was confined to bed, unable to work, unable to do much of anything for herself or her daughter, which left a lot of time for thinking--and worrying. She had no family nearby, was dependent solely on public services and Cherie and Maureen, strangers until a week ago.
Morgan bounded back into the room, carrying several DVDs. With the efficiency of someone who'd grown up with the technology, she popped in a movie then climbed onto her mother's bed, remote control in hand.
"So, Bonnie," Cherie said as she put away the board game. "What else can we do before we leave?"
"Else? You've cleaned my apartment, top to bottom. You've stocked my refrigerator, given Morgan a bath, changed the bedding. I can't even list it all. There's nothing else. Thank you so much. Both of you."
"Gregor will bring your food tomorrow and Monday. By Tuesday we should have a helper in place, at least for four or five hours a day. No word from your sister about coming to stay with you?"
"She's trying to work it out. She's got three kids of her own, you know. Everyone else has jobs they can't leave."
Can't or won't? Maureen wondered. "I'll see you on Tuesday," Cherie said. "Just to make sure everything is working out. Call me if you need anything before then."
Everyone hugged goodbye. A minute later Maureen and Cherie went down the flight of stairs and left the building. Night hadn't quite fallen on the cool, breezy June day, a time of year Maureen loved, contrary to winter, when it was dark so early, making her bus ride home from work seem twice as long.
"I can't believe no one from Bonnie's family has come," Maureen said as they walked to her car. "Or Jeremy's for that matter. Why isn't anyone helping?"
"My guess? Bonnie's downplayed the seriousness of her condition."