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Foster (E-Book)

Foster (E-Book)

The hockey hunk falls (HARD!) for his daughter's new nanny

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When Foster McInnis’ ex-wife flakes and he finds himself with full custody of his daughter, the nanny he hires brings a new complication—an attraction he can’t ignore, no matter how hard he tries.

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I love being on the ice and am grateful for my hockey career, but the off season is my favorite time of the year because it brings me my one true love—my daughter, Bowie Jane. Between my job and my ex-wife living across the country, the time I get to spend face-to-face with my kiddo is limited, though we make up for it with summers full of fun adventures. We’re thick as thieves and take full advantage of our time together, but the distance away from her is killing me.

My fortunes change when my ex walks away and I find myself with full custody. But with the hockey season looming, I know I’m going to need help taking care of Bowie Jane. Enter Mary Elizabeth Archer—otherwise known as Mazzy. Highly recommended to me through the Titans’ network, Mazzy crashes into our life like a hurricane. She’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met and to say I’m intrigued is an understatement. But no matter how attractive she is, no matter how I crave to know everything about her, I can’t go there. It’s inappropriate. Just wrong, wrong, wrong, even though she might be the most right thing I’ve ever known.

Being the indescribable force she is, there is soon no corner of our lives that Mazzy hasn’t impacted in a positive way. And my desire for more with her becomes far stronger than my misguided idea that I could ever resist this woman. Our attraction burns hot and keeping our eyes, hands and mouths off one another gets harder by the minute. It doesn’t take long for me to know that I’m all in with Mazzy. She’s my end game and, lucky for me, winning is my specialty.

Read Chapter One


Glancing in the rearview mirror, I adjust in my seat so I can see Bowie Jane in the back. She’s slumped sideways, head against the window and her mouth slightly parted as she slumbers. Her long dark hair is in two braids with loose pieces pressed against what had been, not too long ago, a hot and sweaty face.

My daughter.

My reason for existing.

Having just turned ten years old, she looks so much younger when she’s sleeping like this.

She’s out cold, so I turn up the music a little and bop my head along to Taylor Swift, knowing it won’t wake her. A full day at Idlewild—an amusement park here in Pittsburgh—has her down for the count. Hell, my grown ass is exhausted from the heat of the day, the spinning rides and roller coasters, and keeping pace with my kid.

I glance back again at her, a smile coming to my face, but I can’t ignore the heaviness in my heart. We’re leaving in four days to take her back to her mom in California. My summer with my little angel is rapidly coming to an end as she’ll be starting school next week.

And what a summer it’s been.

I flew out to California to get her the day after our team—the Pittsburgh Titans—lost our bid for the championship in the second round. Yeah, I was bitter and broken up about the loss but when the wheels touched down in San Francisco, I put it out of my mind. The season was over and my summer with Bowie Jane was starting. I spent a few weeks in the Bay Area until she finished school, then we were on a plane and back in Pittsburgh for a full three months of daddy-daughter goodness.

Divorced from her mother, Sandra, for the last two years, it’s been an adjustment, to say the least. At first, it was managing shared custody and my hectic career as a second-line center for the San Francisco Bay Brawlers. Those first six months were all about eking out every bit of spare time I could to spend with Bowie Jane on my days in San Francisco to help ease the pain and heartbreak of her parents divorcing. Then I came to Pittsburgh to join the newly reformed Titans after their original team died in a plane crash and my world turned upside down.

Getting traded is always on the table in professional sports but I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be moving across the country from my daughter. At least in San Francisco, I had proximity to Bowie Jane and she was with me as much as possible. Sandra and I had agreed on fifty-fifty split custody, but it didn’t always work out that way. Even when I wasn’t on the road, the nights I had home games meant she was with my ex instead of me.

Still… I got to see her every week for at least a few days and while I never thought it was enough back then, in hindsight, I realize it was such a luxury.

Now that I’m in Pittsburgh, my time with Bowie Jane is precious and rare. Yes, I get her during the summer months, but it’s a long fucking nine months without her. If I’m lucky, I can sneak in a few visits when I’m on the West Coast playing or, in saner times, Sandra would bring Bowie Jane east to Buffalo when we’d play the Wolves. My ex-in-laws live there and while we’re not on the greatest terms, they fully support the efforts Sandra makes to give me just a few extra days a year with my daughter.

There was a time I was so grateful to Sandra for making that effort to travel with our kid so I could see her. But something is off with her lately and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

It started back in April when she bailed on our prearranged agreement to bring Bowie Jane to Buffalo. We’d worked out a deal where our daughter was going to stay with her grandparents until I could get her for the summer, but Sandra was a no-show.

As in, she didn’t show up at all.

Fuck, was I pissed, terrified something had happened to Bowie Jane. Sandra didn’t answer my calls, but her dad eventually caught up with her. Her excuse was that she’d gotten tied up with work and couldn’t make the trip.

I called bullshit on it but there wasn’t anything I could do. I missed out on a quick visit with my kid but nothing else changed as far as my time with her. So I had to wait patiently for my summer break to begin after the playoffs, although once Sandra finally answered my phone call, I lit into her good. She was apologetic but it didn’t sound genuine.

If anything, she sounded… distracted, and that has persisted. The entire summer, Sandra has been flighty. She was going to come visit Bowie Jane on two separate occasions but bailed on each, claiming she wanted to give us as much time together as possible. That was fine with me because I’m greedy when it comes to spending time with my kid, but it wasn’t fine with Bowie Jane. She loves her mother and misses her, and she was severely disappointed.

Sandra didn’t seem to give two fucks though, blowing off Bowie Jane’s tear-filled pleas over the phone to come visit. On top of that, she’s just not communicating with our daughter frequently enough to be of any value.

When I came to Pittsburgh, I made it my mission to have some form of communication with Bowie Jane on a daily basis. I always aimed for a FaceTime call no matter where I was—here or traveling. If that didn’t work, at least a quick phone call. And on those rare occasions where my travel schedule was so hectic and I couldn’t manage one of those, I’d record a video and text it to Sandra to play for our kid.

Every single fucking day.

And yet Sandra only takes the initiative to reach out to Bowie Jane a few times a week. At first, she would call Sandra to fill in the gaps, but as I’d listen to her side of the conversation, I could tell her mom wasn’t fully engaged and she often ended the calls before they’d barely started.

I had my suspicions but Bowie Jane confirmed it.
Mommy had a new boyfriend, and he was apparently taking up a lot of Sandra’s energy, time and focus.
We were eating dinner one night when Sandra called. Their chat lasted no more than five minutes and when Bowie Jane hung up, she huffed out a sigh of frustration.

“What’s up, pup?” I asked.

“Mom’s going to some fancy dinner party and had to go so she could get dressed. She has a stylist coming over.”

That caught my attention because why in the hell would she need a stylist? I asked Bowie Jane that exact question.

She shrugged. “Her new boyfriend makes movies, so he always sends a stylist over with lots of dresses to choose from. And then they do her hair and makeup.”

Admittedly, I was curious. Sandra has dated since the divorce and that doesn’t bother me at all. But the fact she’s dating someone in the film industry grabbed my attention because Sandra has always wanted to be an actress. It’s actually how we met. She had a small role in a TV series being filmed in Vancouver and I’d just been drafted there at the age of eighteen, straight out of the western league of the major juniors.

It was lust at first sight and Sandra got pregnant the second month we were dating. I did what I thought was right and asked her to marry me, hoping that love would grow from it.

And it did. Things were good for a while.

But Sandra never got any other roles and she settled into life as a hockey wife and new mom. I eventually got traded to San Francisco and we built a life there. Sandra was a stay-at-home mom and she did a hell of a job, but our relationship never solidified. Over time, we drifted apart until it seemed we had nothing in common except our daughter. When the divorce was finalized, I was at peace with it and I think she was too.

But now she was dating someone new. I dug a little deeper. “What’s Mommy’s boyfriend’s name?”

“Chet,” Bowie Jane replied, wrinkling her nose as she twisted her fork into the spaghetti I’d made for dinner.

“You don’t like him?”

“He doesn’t like me. He’s older and his kids are older and I think he thinks a little girl is annoying.”

Anger flared hot. “Did he say that to you?”

Bowie Jane rolled her eyes. “He didn’t have to. I can just tell.”

“And what do you mean by he makes movies?”

“I’m not really sure. He lives in Los Angeles but travels up to see Mom a lot. And we sometimes go down there to visit him.”

My mind started spinning and something became clear to me. “When you were supposed to come to Buffalo in April, was that because Mommy was visiting Chet?”

“Yeah. He was attending some movie premiere and she was all excited about it.”

I ignore the irritation that singes, understanding now that I missed out on my visit with my daughter because my ex-wife had a date to a movie premiere.

“What’s Chet’s last name?”

“Firestone,” she said. I made a note to google the guy later. I then made another mental note to schedule a time to talk to Sandra when Bowie Jane was out of earshot. I wanted to know more about this guy, not because I was jealous or cared that she was dating someone, but because it was affecting our daughter and I didn’t like it.

I pull into the driveway of the home I bought when I moved here a year and a half ago. It’s in an exclusive neighborhood and a few of the other players live nearby. Big houses, big lots, all the finest appointments. Most of the rooms go unused but I wanted a nice house for Bowie Jane. I want it to be her true home when she’s here.

After pulling into the garage and shutting it behind me, I reach a hand back and touch Bowie Jane’s knee. “Hey, kiddo… we’re home.”

She lets out a tiny snore.

Grinning, I get out of the car and walk around to the back passenger door. I open it up, unlatch her seat belt and hoist her into my arms. Her head lolls and then settles on my shoulder, but she’s dead weight.

Good thing I’m a big strapping guy and it’s nothing to tote her little seventy-five-pound body into the house.

I don’t even consider putting her on the couch but climb the stairs to her bedroom. My master is on the first floor and upstairs is another smaller master. I’ve got Bowie Jane in a bedroom that has an additional bonus room attached to it for all her toys, art supplies, and dress-up outfits, as well as a desk where she does her homework.

Lying her on the bed, I kiss her forehead before quietly backing out. We still have a while until dinner, and the nap will do her good after such an exhausting day. As I creep back downstairs, I consider what we’ll have. I’m not the best cook but she’s not a picky eater, so usually I make something easy, like spaghetti, hamburgers, chicken or fish.

Maybe I’ll get fancy and make her some beef stroganoff, one of her favorites. We’ll have to make a quick grocery run though.

I think of my sleeping daughter upstairs and my heart gets heavy again that she’s going to be leaving soon.

Yes, I’m a professional hockey player and I love what I do, but it takes a far back seat to my role as Dad. My contract with the Titans is up at the end of this season and I’m going to see if I can get traded back to a West Coast team so I can be closer to my girl. I’d even take a bad deal in a heartbeat, just to be able to see her more.

Or maybe you should just leave.

I’ve been the league ten years and I’m playing fucking phenomenal hockey. I have more money than I know what to do with and I still love the game, but I don’t need it. What I need is my daughter.

I hate California, but I would accept a deal with a team there. Ideally, I’d love to end up back home in Calgary with Bowie Jane, but I can never take her away from Sandra. We agreed on split custody and our daughter needs both of us in her life, even if Sandra has been a little cuckoo lately.

Christ, it was a mistake to marry her. But I will never regret our beautiful daughter.

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Product Release Date: May 14, 2024

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