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Remi Carrington

More Than a Helping Hand

More Than a Helping Hand

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A cowboy. A cactus. And my eight-year-old daughter.

 That’s how I end up having dinner with the hottest guy I’ve ever laid eyes on. My relationship history is a trail of horrible mistakes. Well, two, but they were really big. Now I’m a single mom, and I have no plans to date. But since my daughter has decided that Anderson is the best thing since sliced bread, I feel the need to spend time with him to know if he’s a good guy.

 One dinner turns into two, and he helps me move. Then I kiss him. One kiss turns into two, and I agree to date him as long as we keep it a secret because I don’t want my daughter to know (or be disappointed if I find I’ve made another mistake).

 But keeping secrets in a small town isn’t always easy to do.

MAIN TROPES

  • cowboy romance
  • small town
  • single mother
  • funny meet cute
  • he falls first
  • only one bed

More Than a Helping Hand Synopsis

A cowboy. A cactus. And my eight-year-old daughter.

That’s how I end up having dinner with the hottest guy I’ve ever laid eyes on. My relationship history is a trail of horrible mistakes. Well, two, but they were really big. Now I’m a single mom, and I have no plans to date. But since my daughter has decided that Anderson is the best thing since sliced bread, I feel the need to spend time with him to know if he’s a good guy.

One dinner turns into two, and he helps me move. Then I kiss him. One kiss turns into two, and I agree to date him as long as we keep it a secret because I don’t want my daughter to know (or be disappointed if I find I’ve made another mistake).

But keeping secrets in a small town isn’t always easy to do.

Chapter One Look Inside

Needing people is way outside my comfort zone. But extra hours help pay the bills, and I have lots of those. Bills. Not extra hours. It’s summer, so Bailey isn’t in school, and Mom and Dad are on their anniversary cruise, which means I only have one option.
I hate bothering my brother.
He answers on the first ring. “Hey. Primrose, what’s up?”
“I was just offered an extra shift—”
He doesn’t even give me a chance to ask. “Bring Bailey over to the horse barn. She can hang out with me.”
“Thank you, Parker. I need to get her stuff rounded up. Then I’ll head that way.” I say it like it won’t be a big deal, but with Bailey, it’ll be a very big deal.
She’s the smartest eight-year-old I’ve ever met. She’s passionate about quirky things, which I love. But it makes life complicated. It wasn’t so bad when she couldn’t go anywhere without a dinosaur book, but then she decided ants were more interesting. And for five months, she refused to leave the house unless she could take her ant farm with her. She was four. And the daycare had a strict “no ants” policy.
We’ve cycled through several obsessions, and the current is cactus.
“Bailey, honey. I have to go to work, so you’re going to the ranch to stay with Uncle Parker.” I lean into her bedroom, trying to sound as chipper as possible.
She’s stretched out on her floor, five mini cactus plants lined up in front of her. “I don’t like horses. They’re big, and they smell bad.”
Everything takes convincing, and I’m tired.
Hiding my frustration, I settle on the floor beside her, careful not to sit on a cactus. “I’m sorry. But Grandma and Grandpa are out of town, and I have to go to work.”
“Where’s Aunt Bluebonnet? I can stay with her.”
“She’s busy working.”
Bailey sits up, and worry swirls in her brown eyes. “Will there be other men working there?”
Since just before her stepdad’s death, she hasn’t spoken to any men other than Parker, my dad, and her other uncles. And with my brothers-in-law, she only gives one-word answers.
I’ve made it a point never to lie to my kid. Besides, as smart as she is, I wouldn’t have a chance of fooling her. “I didn’t ask. There are other guys who work on the ranch, but I don’t know if they’ll be in the barn.” I rub her arm. “But you don’t have to talk to them. Uncle Parker knows that you don’t like to talk to strangers.”
Her shoulders sag. “Okay. But I want to take my new cactus. The one in the living room.”
“Honey, I’m not sure that’s a good idea. The spines are long on that one. If you get poked, it’ll hurt.” I point to the small pots lined up. “Why don’t you take these?”
She shakes her head. “The new one.”
If I continue this discussion, it’ll turn into a battle, and then I’ll either end up taking the new cactus to the horse barn or I’ll have a kid on the verge of a meltdown. And I’d be late for work.
Wisely choosing my battles is key to surviving parenting.
“Okay. I’ll put it in a tote so it’s easier to carry, but you have to be really careful with it.”
She nods and gathers up the small pots. “And I’ll take these too. I’ll tell Uncle Parker the reason cactus plants have spines.”
“I’m sure he’ll love that.” I roll onto all fours, then stand. One day when I’m not so busy, I’ll start working out and maybe lose some of these extra pounds. “Get your shoes on. I’m going to change into my scrubs and pack up your cactus.”
“Fred.” She opens a drawer and pulls out a green pair of socks. “I named it Fred.”
“That’s a good name. Do you want a box for these little ones?”
She disappears into her closet and hollers, “I have one.”
I go back to my room, take off my jean shorts and T-shirt, and get into my drab scrubs. Some nurses wear cute colorful cartoon characters on their scrubs. Me? Mine are gray. The upside is that they pair well with my gray shoes.

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