Ballet dancer Jamie has never fit in with his loud and brash blue-collar family. They grudgingly accepted him being gay, but when Jamie’s father finds him wearing one of his sister’s dresses, Jamie ends up on his best friend’s sofa. An ad for a female live-in nanny position in rural Kansas seems like a Christmas gift from above and a solution to his homelessness. Never mind that Jamie knows nothing about farm life. Or cows. Or kids. At least he knows how to rock a dress.
Ben Franklin—yes, his parents are crazy like that—is a dairy farmer in desperate need of female assistance. At least that was his mother’s last words before she left for Florida with her new husband. All Ben knows is raising cattle. Now he’s tasked with raising his niece Charlie as well. The last thing Ben expected when he placed an ad for a nanny was to develop confusing feelings for the beautiful Janie.
With a little Christmas magic, the help of a pet cow, and a mischievous little girl, two men might find the true meaning of home, family, and love.
Busy farmer needs an experienced, live-in nanny and housekeeper in Bloomington, Kansas. Days off are Sunday and Monday. Responsibilities include general housekeeping, laundering, cooking, shopping, and care of 12-year-old girl. Good salary and working conditions. Nice living quarters and use of car included. Candidates should be female, have good references working as a nanny and housekeeper, be able to live in, and have excellent childcare skills. Available immediately.
Jamie stared at the ad his best friend had sent him. She had to be crazy. He switched from the Email app to his browser and continued scrolling through ads for jobs he was—maybe—skilled enough to not fuck up completely. He’d done that the whole morning, but he hadn’t had much luck. The restaurants he’d called had already filled the available positions. And the guy answering the phone when he’d called about the bellhop job had sounded sleazy as hell when he’d asked Jamie if he minded being more friendly to the hotel guests than was usual.
He sighed deeply when he actually found an ad for a discreet escort agency. “No way. Never.”
Frowning, he nibbled on his bottom lip as he swiped across his cell’s screen. He tapped Maria’s picture and lifted the device to his ear.
“Maria, what the hell?” Jamie leaned back on his best friend’s sofa and pulled his feet on the cushion. “Did you read the ad to the end before you sent it?”
Maria laughed. “Did you? The position is perfect for you.”
Jamie’s eyes widened. “How? I know nothing about farms. I’ve never seen a living cow in my life. And kids? Don’t even get me started. I have zero experience, and I’m not female.”
“I mean, because it’s a live-in position and you need a place to stay.”
Jamie cringed. His gaze roamed Maria’s tiny studio apartment with the clean but shabby carpet and the goodwill furniture. He felt bad enough already, crashing at her place although she had so little. Jamie knew he couldn’t stay forever, but she was right. He had no job and no money to pay for an apartment. The money in his wallet wasn’t enough to pay gas for the car he didn’t have.
“Jamie,” Maria said softly. “I’d never toss you out. Stay as long as you need. But it’s a week until Christmas, and I won’t be back until January. I don’t want you to spend the holidays alone and moping. Have you found something else that you can do?”
“Aside from selling my companionship?”
“Don’t you dare, James Spencer.”
Jamie sighed. He’d been staying at her place for three days, and already he missed his family. They were loud and rowdy and didn’t understand him. But he loved them anyway, loved the noise and his siblings poking their noses into his business. Too bad his family had decided they didn’t want him anymore. “You’re my best friend, Maria. I’ll always be glad you took me in. I know I need a job, but…”
“Why don’t you call the dude and give it a try?”
Jamie pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. “Even if I had the required skills, I don’t have boobs.”
Maria laughed. “Well, we both know you look better in a dress than me, with your killer legs and slim waist.”
“You want me to lie?” Jamie grasped the sofa cushion. “Are you crazy? How can you even suggest that? As soon as the farmer sees me, he’ll know I’m a guy. A Kansas farmer, Maria! I’ll die. He’s probably one of those bull-necked men with huge, work-roughened hands who can snap me in half onehandedly. His best friend is his shot gun called Betsy or something.”
Maria snorted. “Dramatic much? And cut the prejudiced bullshit. That he’s a farmer doesn’t mean he’s a bigot. Don’t you remember that picture of the country guy who decked his truck in rainbows to celebrate Pride?”
“Maybe, maybe not.” However, Jamie wasn’t looking forward to getting punched. Been there, done that—and brought home the blood-splattered shirt when he’d come onto the wrong guy. Jamie got up and stretched, groaning when his back muscles twinged. Maria’s sofa really was a crappy excuse for furniture.
“Didn’t I tell you to sleep in my bed while I visited my parents? My sofa is crap.”
Jamie laughed despite his aching back. God, he loved the woman. He shuffled into the kitchen, got a glass from the cupboard and held it under the tap. While he took a couple of sips, he rubbed the small of his back. “All my clothes are at home, Maria. Fuck, I don’t have money to get to Kansas. Dad wouldn’t let me leave with more than a duffle.”
“First you have to grow a pair and call the man. If you get the position, feel free to take whatever you need out of my wardrobe. Mom went shopping with me yesterday, so I’ll be fine.”
Jamie blinked rapidly, fighting against his tears. “Maria…”
“Aww, don’t cry, baby doll.” She scoffed. “You’ll only make me cry as well, and you know how much I hate smudged mascara. You’re my best friend. Of course I’ll do whatever I can to help you, because I know you’d do the same for me. Now be a big boy and make the call. What do you have to lose?”
“My dignity? My balls?” Jamie clutched the glass tighter. “Okay, fine. But I’m only doing this to get you off my back. The guy will probably hear that I’m a man right away.”
“Nonsense. Call me right away, Jamie, or I swear I’ll terrorize you with calls and messages until your ears bleed.”