He lifted his hand to touch her.
She stepped back. “We can’t do this.”
Her whisper tugged at his heart. He grabbed her arm and pulled her away from Claire’s door. “Who hurt you?”
“Life. No one hurt me, just life.” She tried to brush his hands away.
He touched her chin and tilted her head up. She had tears on her cheeks.
“I think,” he said, “sometimes, that I’m supposed to be alone. One failed marriage, and a failed engagement. I shouldn’t try to get close to you, because I’ll hurt you.”
She looked over his shoulder, leaning her upper body closer while her feet stepped back. “Darren.” Her voice was a plea.
His name on her lips undid him. He put his lips to hers. And that made her come undone. She didn’t kiss him, she devoured him. Apparently starving for affection, she clung to him.
He couldn’t match her ferocity, so he held her and rode the storm with her. When she slowed, he pulled away and peppered her wet cheeks with kisses. “You’re beautiful, Liz.”
“I’m scarred on the inside.”
“We all are.”
“Not like me. You haven’t found the right person to love you back. But I’m not the right person for that,” she said.
He let her go. He wanted to grab her and kiss her again, to relive that perfect moment. But he stood barefoot in his hallway, only a few feet from his daughter’s door.
She walked away without another word. Darren leaned against the wall. He thought he was supposed to be alone, but the recent turn of events made him rethink that idea. First, Claire then Liz.
Imperfect Liz. Her hair in dreads and flowing dresses. Making him eat vegetarian meals as delectable as the cook. Loving his daughter as much as he did. Crying because she wanted his touch but feared it as well.
How could he not love her? He had to tame her like a wild animal, slowly and carefully. With patience and love.
He headed for his room. She was right and wrong. He hadn’t found the right person to love him, before today. But through some twist of fate, she moved into his house to care for his daughter. And for him.
He had no idea if or how long Claire would stay. He knew he’d be a bigger part of her life from here out. But he wouldn’t let Liz go without a fight.
— excerpt from Can’t Run From Love by Asrai Devin
Homeless. Not what Liz expected upon returning from her summer job, but now she doesn’t have a job, a place to sleep or a way to return to school. Until her only friend, Tonya tells her about single dad Darren, looking for a live in nanny. Can she work closely with dad and daughter and still keep her secrets to herself?
When Darren’s ex-wife is sent to rehab, he finds himself in need of someone to help him care for his daughter, Claire, full time. When Liz shows up on his door step with dreadlocks and a long skirt, she isn’t who he had in mind for the job. Claire thinks Liz is perfect. He quickly finds out first impressions are not to be believed, but Liz is keeping secrets. Can he figure them out before she runs away?