Title: Stars & Sparks Forever
A Man of the Month Series Standalone
Author: Kara Kendrick
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 1, 2021
I’m a jaded divorce attorney, a single dad, and the new guy in town, moving to sleepy Starlight Bay to open a law office for bickering couples dividing their assets.
So yeah, dating isn’t on my radar.
Until I meet my son’s incredibly beautiful, but way too young for me swim instructor, Lana. She’s the ray of sunshine I didn’t know I needed and suddenly, I find myself thinking about her all the time.
When my nanny bails on the Fourth of July, Lana steps in to help me out. Sparks fly between us and for the first time, I can see the possibility of a brighter future. For me and my son.
But I shouldn’t get involved.
She’s too young, too beautiful, too bright—and I’ve already been burned once before. My number one priority is protecting my son.
Besides, everyone knows you can’t hold onto sunshine.
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“Hi, Daddy.” Hudson beamed up at me before plunging his rubber duck back under the water.
“Oh, you’re Hudson’s dad. I’m Lana, his swim teacher.” An attractive—fine, smoking hot—woman waved at me from the pool. I was glad I had on dark Ray Bans because I was having a damn hard time keeping my eyes on her face. Sure, her face was pretty—lightly tanned with high cheekbones—but she somehow managed to fill out that city-issued navy-blue one-piece in all the right places, rivaling even my hottest Baywatch daydreams.
Get it together, Grant. She’s way too young for you. And besides, you’re single for life.
“Hey, great to meet you. Sorry I’m late. My client meeting ran long.”
“It’s no problem. Hudson and I had a little extra time to play.” She climbed up the pool steps to stand next to me, and I had to work extra hard not to notice the water beading on her tanned chest, gleaming in the sun.
“I’m glad you picked him up today. I told your wife at his last lesson that he’s about to graduate to the next group, Sailfish.”
“Oh, she’s not my wife,” I said, scrubbing a hand over the back of my neck.
“Daddy doesn’t have a wife. He doesn’t believe in them anymore. Not since my Mommy left for Europe,” Hudson chimed in, his rubber ducky swimming along in the clear blue water.
“Oh. Sorry. I just assumed…” Her cheeks flushed bright pink beneath her tan. Fucking adorable.
“It’s fine, no worries. She’s Hudson’s nanny. For the summer. She hadn’t mentioned him moving up. That’s great news, buddy!” I high-fived Hudson, trying to change the subject, and he rewarded me with a gap-toothed grin.
“Thanks, Daddy.” He dipped his duck back underwater, making motor noises with his lips.
“Since he’s moving up, his lessons will be thirty minutes later.”
“Got it. So remind me again of the times? I’ll need to fill Taylor in.” I pulled out my cell, hitting Taylor’s number to text her before I forgot.
“His lesson will be 4:30-5:30 now. Sailfish 1 group.”
“Got it,” I said, typing the info and hitting send. “Thanks for letting me know. He’ll be here at the new time starting tomorrow then?” I glanced up from my phone.
Lana nodded. “Yes. He can start tomorrow.”
“Sounds good. Alright, bud, you ready to go? I’m sure Lana has another class to teach. We should get going.”
“Okay, Daddy.” Hudson stood up, handing the yellow duck to Lana. “Thanks for playing with me.”
“No problem, dude. See you tomorrow.” She high-fived Hudson as I gathered up his towel and goggles. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Thomas.”
“Grant. Please call me Grant.”
“Alright then, Grant. See you again soon, I hope.” She shot me a thousand-watt smile and I swallowed hard.
Lana, the too-young-for-me swim instructor, was the last thing I needed to get involved with right now. Yet she was the first woman who’d sparked my interest in a long, long time and I didn’t want to immediately shut it down.
Hudson’s dad was hot. No dad bod there. Too bad I embarrassed myself—and him—calling out the fact that he doesn’t have a wife.
Face palm. Seriously, Lana, when will you ever learn? You’d think after teaching first grade for the last six years, I’d have picked up certain social graces. But nope. I still stuck my foot in my mouth all the damn time.
“Hey, Bethany, I’m home!” I called out, slamming the screen door behind me. My sister and I shared a cute duplex a few blocks off the town square. It was tiny, but conveniently located—close to the school, the Rec Center, and the square, with all the restaurants and shops. Plus, it only took about ten minutes to clean; a major bonus for me.
“Hey. How was work?” Bethany glanced up from her seat in the kitchen, then stabbed a forkful of lettuce.
“Fine. Good, actually.”
“Good, huh? Sounds promising.” She waggled her eyebrows over her glasses.
My cheeks flamed, remembering Hudson’s dad.
Grant. His deep, smooth voice, those broad shoulders…
“Spill. Did you hire a hottie lifeguard? Should I come to the pool tomorrow? Wear my yellow bikini?”
“Stop!” I said, laughing. “No hottie lifeguard, sorry to disappoint.”
“Who then? You don’t blush like that for nothing.”
“If you must know,” I said, walking to the fridge and ducking in so she couldn’t see my face, “I might have come across a hot dad.”
“Oh. Nice. But a dad? Doesn’t one of those typically come with a wife? At the very least, a girlfriend?”
I groaned into the cold air. “Funny story there. So I totally blew it with him already. I assumed the nanny was the wife. To his face. Then Hudson—that’s his son—said his dad doesn’t believe in wives anymore.”
Kara Kendrick writes fun and flirty Contemporary Romance destined to give you all the feels. A reformed English major, she also has a master’s in counseling and was an elementary school counselor in her pre-mom life.
She loves the beach, wine, and rock-hard abs, not necessarily in that order. When she’s not dreaming up Happily Ever After’s, you can find her chasing after her boy-girl twins, working out semi-hardish, or walking her adorable Shiba pups with her husband, who’s not too bad himself.