Must Love Babies
Series: Must Love Babies #1
Author: Lynnette Austin
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Releases: June 5, 2018
This baby's not the only one in need of a cuddle...
Brant Wylder is a bachelor and loving it! He's in Misty Bottoms, Georgia, property-hunting for his vintage car repair shop when he gets the call. His sister's been in an accident, and Brant has to drop everything and take care of his five-month-old nephew. That's the end of the bachelor lifestyle.
Bridal boutique owner Molly Stiles is all business all the time, until she sees that Brant's in trouble. In this Southern town, nobody ever has to go it alone. And besides, how can she resist that beautiful baby in the arms of a beautiful man...?
Molly stood beneath a magnolia tree, her face tipped to catch the moonlight. The breath caught in his throat, and for one fanciful second, Brant imagined a mythical princess or fairy.
He shook his head. The woman was real, and he wanted a dance, wanted to hold her in his arms. A little flirting? Harmless.
Stepping out of the shadows, he made his way to her.
“Beautiful night, huh?”
“Perfect.” Slowly, she turned, a smile on her face.
“How about a dance?”
“I’m not asking for a lifelong commitment, sugar. Just a single dance under the stars. The night’s made for dancing.”
“It is, isn’t it?”
He caught her hand in his, amazed at its softness against his work-roughened one. “In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not the world’s greatest dancer, but you shouldn’t lose any toes.” He glanced at her sequined stilettos, showcased by her cocktail-length dress. “Don’t know how you even walk in those, let alone put on the miles you do, but I have to say that all mankind is grateful.”
Smiling, Molly peeked at her shoes. “They’re awesome, aren’t they?”
He nodded. “You can dance in them?”
“I could run a marathon in these.”
“Okay, then.” The moon shone through Spanish moss that dripped from the live oaks, forming a lacy pattern on the dewy grass.
Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” played over the sound system. Reaching the dance floor, Brant slid an arm around her waist and drew her in, breathed in her scent. He swung her out and brought her back in one smooth motion, felt her quick laugh in the pit of his stomach. The music slowed when the band segued into John Legend’s “All of Me,” and he drew her close.
Molly fit perfectly in his arms. She lived in Georgia and he in Tennessee, and that made her safe. And if the plans he and his brothers were working on panned out? Still nothing to worry about since she lived in Savannah. When she rested her head against his chest, he wondered if she could hear the rapid thump of his heart. Ms. Molly was hot, hot, hot.
His hand slid a little lower, and without missing a beat, she relocated it to her waist.
Molly smelled of a midnight garden with just a touch of naughty. His body responded, and he willed himself to think about something else. “How’s the city?”
“Savannah?” She shrugged. “I live in Misty Bottoms now. I opened a bridal boutique. Today’s bride was my first.” She grinned, dimples creasing her cheeks.
The dance ended, and he reluctantly released Molly. “I’m driving back to Tennessee tomorrow.”
“Speaking of driving, thanks for taxiing the last of the rehearsal dinner’s partiers home last night. I heard they celebrated pretty hard at Duffy’s.”
“I need to stop at my car before I go back inside. I left the little silver heart I attach to the bridal gown’s garment bag in my glove box.”
Brant walked beside her in the soft night air, a hand at her elbow, while the band played Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You.”
He lowered his head. “Before we call it a night, I’d love to see the rose garden our friend Cole salvaged.”
“What a mess, but after a lot of hard work it’s incredible again.”
The scent of roses surrounding them, they strolled through the yard. In the silver light of the moon, the flowers glowed and took on an almost magical, fairy-tale illusion. The house shimmered and welcomed, like the true Southern lady she was. Interlacing his fingers with Molly’s, peace enveloped Brant.
They wandered across the expanse of lawn and through the blooms in comfortable silence.
From the parking area, he heard the sound of engines starting, of tires crunching on the long drive. “Looks like it’s about time for lights-out. We’d better head back so you can finish up.”
A slight breeze caused Molly to shiver, and happy for the excuse, Brant wrapped an arm around her and pulled her a little closer, surprised when she didn’t pull away.
Reaching her yellow-and-white Mini Countryman, he made to open her door, then changed his mind, leaned in and gave her a quick kiss, one that should have been impersonal. Friendly. Instead, fire shot through him.
He pulled back, unsure whether he should be relieved or horrified that the expression on her face mirrored his own stampeding feelings. Clearing his throat, he said, “I’m taking care of a few loose ends in the morning, then heading back to Tennessee. And I already said that, didn’t I?”
“Yes, you did. The kiss was nice, thanks, but you don’t need to worry. I won’t show up naked at your hotel door.”
His breath caught.
She grinned, and he understood she knew exactly the effect she was having on him.
“I—” His phone vibrated. “Whoops. Sorry, but I’d better take this. My brothers probably forgot something. Organization isn’t their strong suit. If you’ll excuse me.”
“Hello? Dad?” As he spoke, he made his way to a gnarly old oak. His father’s voice was gruff, almost as if he’d been crying. Panic grabbed Brant by the throat. “What’s wrong?
Lynnette Austin loves Starbucks, peppermint patties, and long rides with the top down and the music cranked up! One of the great things about writing is that daydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged. She grew up in Pennsylvania, moved to New York, then to Wyoming, and presently divides her time between Florida's beaches and Georgia's mountains. She's been a finalist in RWA's Golden Heart Contest, PASIC's Book of Your Heart Contest, and Georgia Romance Writers' Maggie Contest. Having grown up in a small town, that's where her heart takes her-to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody...and all their business, for better or worse.
Brant Wylder fully embraces his bachelor lifestyle, he enjoys being free to roam and do has he pleases.. he doesn't have responsibilities to tie him down, so why not right? But his days of freedom are about to take a hit because his sister has been involved in an accident, and she desperately needs his help caring for her little one. Which he has to admit is a little unsettling, since he doesn't know the first thing about kids, but this might be as good as time as any to learn. One look into the face of his nephew and he instantly knows he's doing the right thing, and the small relief of knowing it's only a temporary situation until his sister is done with rehab and on the mend makes it seem a little easier. He never realized that coming to Misty Bottoms would change the entire course of his life, he came for a friends wedding, and to scout out a new location for business, and wound up finding a lot more than he bargained for!!
Molly Stiles life revolves around her bridal boutique, she thoroughly enjoys spending her days making brides dreams come true, but when it comes to her own love life there isn't a happily ever after on the horizon. She has a few hang-ups when it comes to forever, and she isn't willing to budge on her rules until everything on her list is checked off, and the stars are aligned perfectly. But she never anticipated a man quite like Brant to wander into her life, and once he does she has a hard time letting him go, he checks off quite a few of her boxes, but the timing of things is giving her fits, so she tries to put off his advances. But the man is too darn tempting, and as much as she tries to keep her feelings in check the more they try to get out of line...
Must Love Babies is a sweet little page turner that is certain to warm the hearts of readers; with it's handsome caring hero and high-spirited independent heroine there is bound to be lots of fireworks and moments that will squeeze your heart, and curl your toes! This newest offering from Ms. Austin was not only a lot of fun to read, but it left me anxious to see what she has in store for some of the secondary characters that were introduced. I must say this was a promising start to a new series, and one I am certain is going to score some serious points with romance fans, I mean what is not to love about a single guy moving heaven and earth to make sure his nephew has a good life! Highly recommend!!
I requested an advanced copy of this title from NetGalley and I am voluntarily leaving my honest opinion.