Wanting What She Can't Have - Page 6

Raoul turned around slowly. “It wasn’t my wish for her to come here and her presence is disruptive. As her nanny, your role is to confine your skills and your opinions to her care and her care alone. Is that understood?”

Alexis didn’t recognize the man in front of her. Sure, he mostly looked like the same Raoul Benoit she’d been introduced to shortly before he married her best friend, and he sounded the same. Her body certainly still had the same response to his presence, that unsettling thrill of awareness that buzzed along her nerve endings whenever she was near him. But the words... They weren’t the words of a bereaved husband or a caring father. And he did care—whether he wanted to admit it or not. So why was he trying so hard to distance himself from Ruby?

“Is that understood?” he repeated. “Your charge is distressed. I suggest you do whatever it is that you need to do to calm her and do it quickly.”

He tried to sound aloof but she could see the lines of strain around his eyes. It pulled at his heart to hear his little girl cry. She knew it as sure as she knew the reflection of her own face in the mirror each morning.

“Here, you take her for me and I’ll go and get her dinner ready. It’s time for her evening meal, anyway.”

He took a rapid step back and looked as her as if she’d suggested he tip vinegar into a barrel of his finest wine.

“Are you telling me you’re incapable of fulfilling your duties as a nanny?”

“No,” she said as patiently as she could. “Of course not. I thought you might like to hold your daughter to distract her, while I prepare her something to eat before her bath.”

“I don’t pay you to hand the baby over to me, Alexis,” he said bluntly before spinning around and leaving the room as silently as he’d entered it.

Ruby lifted her little head to peer around Alexis carefully, putting her thumb firmly back in her mouth when she was satisfied her father had departed.

“Well, that didn’t go quite as well as I expected,” Alexis said softly to the little girl. “I thought your grandmother might be exaggerating when she said that your daddy didn’t have anything to do with you. Looks like we have our work cut out for us, hmm?”

She kissed the top of Ruby’s head and, adjusting her a little higher on her hip, took her through to the kitchen. Grabbing a paper towel, she moistened it under the faucet and gently wiped tear tracks from two chubby little cheeks. Ruby clearly wasn’t a fan of paper towels and Alexis made a mental note to search out the muslin squares she’d seen amongst the baby’s things in the nursery. She popped Ruby into her high chair and gave her a plain cookie to chew on—who said you couldn’t start dinner with dessert every now and again?—while she scanned Catherine’s comprehensive notes on Ruby’s diet and sleeping times. The baby was still napping twice in a day and, after a 250 ml bottle at bedtime, pretty much slept through the night except for when she was cutting a tooth.

It all looked very straightforward. Alexis sighed and looked at the little girl. How could Raoul not want to be a part of her care? The very idea was almost impossible to contemplate. If she hadn’t heard him just a few moments ago she would have denied that he could possibly be so cold.

But was he really cold? There’d been something flickering in his hazel eyes that she hadn’t quite been able to identify. Thinking back on it, could it have been fear? Could he be afraid of his own daughter?

Ruby chose that moment to wearily rub at her eyes with cookie-goop-covered hands, galvanizing Alexis back into action. If she was going to get a dinner inside the tot she needed to feed her now before she fell asleep in her high chair. After coaxing Ruby through her meal of reheated soft-cooked ravioli, which Catherine had thoughtfully made and supplied for tonight, she held Ruby carefully over the kitchen sink and turned on the cold tap, letting her clap her little hands in the stream as the water washed away the food residue.

“I think you’re wearing about as much food as you’ve eaten.” Alexis laughed as she used a clean tea towel to dry their hands and give Ruby’s face a quick wipe before whisking her back through the house to the nursery.

After a bath and a new diaper, fresh pajamas, and a bottle, Ruby was down in her crib. Alexis rubbed her back for a little while, concerned she might not settle in what were obviously strange surroundings, but it seemed her earlier upset had worn Ruby out and she was asleep in no time. After Alexis checked to ensure the baby monitor was on, she clipped its partner to the loop of her jeans and left the room.

Tags: Yvonne Lindsay Billionaire Romance
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