Mia Balducci misses her childhood days and yearns for the big, Italian family that she left behind in small town Massachusetts. At the tender age of sixteen, Mia moves with her bachelor father to Los Angeles, but no matter how many years pass, it never becomes home to her. The years spent living with her father aren’t easy, especially since she can’t stop thinking about what she once had. Her enrollment in the University of Southern California promises to bring exciting changes to her life, but Mia winds up with big problems instead. When she runs into an old friend from her old hometown of Winthrop, she gets swept up in nostalgia, and she soon loses herself in a quickly-progressing romance. When the fantasy falls apart, she is left to raise her precious little girl, Lucia, on her own. The demands of Mia’s work schedule and Lucia’s needs increase, and their lives become increasingly hectic. It is soon clear to Mia that she needs help. Luckily, her life-saving cousin saves the day and brings the mother and daughter a male nanny – their new “manny.”
After losing his high-pressure job on Wall Street, Dominic Roberts wants to follow his dreams to have a family. He’s already one fiancée down, and there are no likely prospects for another. In order to find the family he so desperately wants, he finds himself getting into the manny business. Since he is fully qualified to provide child care and is eager to leave New York City behind, his sister-in-law is able to land him a job in California working for his first client – the beautiful and intriguing Mia Balducci.
Will Lucia like the new man in her mother's life? Will Mia? And will this new trio discover the happily ever after they all so desperately seek?
Excerpt of first meeting: (Mia is meeting her, potential, new manny for the first time to interview him.
About fifteen minutes later, there was a knock on my door. When I opened it, I gasped, blinking. My mouth opened and closed several times, and I couldn’t form a word.
The first thing I saw were his eyes, which were a shade that transcended the most beautiful green things in the world: peacock feathers, limes, and lush leaves. They were small, slanted, and topped with thick dark eyebrows, which added a hint of mystery. His hair was dark black and slicked back. The bone structure of his face was strong, masculine, and angled. I couldn’t stop looking at him.
He cleared his throat and put out his hand. “I’m Dominic.” I grabbed it in a firm shake, and I felt like I could see my future in that instant. Pictures of Dominic and me together in our old age flashed before my eyes. I felt comforted, as if I were wrapped in a warm coat of love. It was an amazing feeling.
After much too long of a handshake, I pulled my hand back and said, “I am so sorry, Dominic. Please excuse my manners.” I waved him in with my right hand, while holding the door open with my left. “Come in. I’m Mia, by the way. Let’s have a seat in the living room to talk.”
I led the way to the sofa, and we both sat. I felt the need to explain myself, and the verbal vomit began. I turned bright red and said, “Please excuse my behavior at the door, it’s just . . .” I looked up at him through my lashes, not trying to be cute, just truthfully embarrassed that I was going to be so honest. “It’s just that you’re beautiful.”
I stood up in a flash when he paled before my eyes. His olive skin lightened to a pasty color. “Oh, God, I’m sorry. You want to leave, don’t you? I don’t act like this, usually. I swear I’m not crazy,” I rambled. I turned away from him in embarrassment. God, this was one time when my big mouth was not productive.
Dominic stood up, walked toward me, and grabbed my shoulders, turning me to face him before saying, “No, I’m not leaving. I was just taken off guard, embarrassed.” He grabbed my hand and guided me back to the sofa.
The whole situation had turned ridiculous. Leave it to me and my awkward behavior to ruin an interview with this . . . this . . . Adonis. I squeezed my eyes shut and filled my lungs
with air. I tried a couple of cleansing breaths to start over, but it wasn’t enough. “Excuse me, I’ll be right back.”
I walked like a bat out of hell to the bathroom, grabbed a washcloth from the drawer, and drenched it in cold water. Once I placed it on the back of my neck, it cooled me off in an instant.
Now, I needed to compose myself and not act like a teenager with raging hormones. With a big sigh, I smoothed down my blue tank top and pulled the hem over the waistband of my jean shorts. I made my way back out to the living room, still quite nervous, but ready to see if he was a good fit for Lucia’s and my life.
With a very apologetic and sheepish smile, I said, “Dominic, I am so sorry. My behavior is very unprofessional. I hope we can start over.” I could tell he was still sort of embarrassed, but he seemed much more comfortable after I spoke.
“It’s quite all right,” he said with a tilt of his head, making me feel better.
I knew that I would be calling Lori as soon as the interview was over. She would be getting a tongue-lashing for not warning me about how handsome he was. Once I got situated on the sofa again, I prompted, “So, tell me about yourself, Dominic.”
He rubbed his palms on the front of his jeans and answered. “Well, I know Chris and Lori told you my story or at least the basics. So, after I lost everything, I needed to do something I knew I’d enjoy and that was very different than what I had been doing. I wanted to make sure it was something I could do as a career.” He cleared his throat, which made me realize I hadn’t even offered him anything.
I jumped up. “Can I get you something to drink? Water? Soda?” I asked.
“Oh, yes please. Water is fine.” I jogged to the kitchen and pulled two water bottles from the refrigerator. Speeding back, I handed him one. He opened the bottle and took a long pull. His head was back and his throat exposed. I watched while his Adam’s apple moved up and down with each swallow. Shit, it’s getting hot in here again. Then I admonished myself. Knock it off and pull yourself together.
His beauty knew no bounds. He was perfection personified. My eyes scanned him from head to toe. His legs were long, clad in jeans, with a pair of black leather dress shoes peeking out at the bottom. He looked very clean cut in a blue short-sleeved, button-down shirt. With an attempt to cool myself off again, I took a couple of swigs from my bottle.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Other pseudonyms: Forbes Arnone
Jennifer Garcia's love of travel began when she traveled to the West Coast to visit her father at the age of three. Her home until she was sixteen was a small coastal town near Boston. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons, and two dogs.
Her lifelong love for reading and writing was put aside for many years while she made her way in the world and nurtured her young family. Even though she is older, and life never seems to settle, she’s finding her way while attending college full-time in pursuit of a B.A. in English Literature. She also runs a business, and is still caring for her family. Believing she can do it all, with the help of her family, she worked on her first novel during the late hours of the night while balancing the rest of her life during the day. Her hard work paid off, as her first novel, My Mr. Manny, was published August 2013.