SHANE MILLER SLEEP DIARY:
Went to bed at: Late.
How long it took to fall asleep: Forever. I have insomnia. Duh.
Number of caffeinated beverages you had consumed: Zero. Thanks for advising me to quit!
My stress level is off the charts.
I can’t sleep right on a normal day, and lately my days are filled with the best kind of chaos.
My ex-wife and husband number two are filming in Poland for three months,
so I’m turning down movie parts to focus on the most important role of my life—
impossibly charming and somewhat capable young single dad.
My son won’t stop asking questions.
My daughter won’t brush her teeth unless I sing her showtunes.
Our regular nanny quit.
The only person I could trust to hire as a temp nanny is my best friend’s sister.
If Mary Poppins and Bill Murray had a baby it would be Willa.
Fresh out of grad school and beautifully weird.
She hates my movies, and my kids adore her.
I couldn’t sleep last night because she wasn’t here.
Turns out I can’t sleep unless she’s in my house now.
Turns out she’s what’s been missing from my life all along.
If my friend had any idea what I want to do to his gorgeous troublemaker of a sister,
he would smother me with a pillow.
The chances of us succeeding as a couple are about as good as that little indie movie
that I made being a huge hit.
But it’s a chance I’m going to take.
Shane and I just stare at each other for a few seconds and then laugh.
“You wanna go ‘get a green juice or something’ too? I can sit here and drink coffee by myself. It’s fine.”
“I don’t think green juice is what I need right now.”
“Oh yeah? What do you need?”
“A three-day nap.”
“Have you always had insomnia?”
He shrugs. “Off and on since…since right before I got married, actually.” He says it as if he’s just realizing this now.
“And you need a nanny now because…”
“Because the regular nanny quit on Friday, so I have the kids while Margo and her husband are shooting a movie in Poland for a few months. I’m taking time off from work so I can be with the kids, but it’s been so long since I’ve had a good night’s sleep, I can barely function. The weekend was okay, but I almost didn’t get them to school on time today.”
Poor guy. This is a man who’s led a charmed life. He’s not used to feeling overwhelmed and out of sorts. I look down at his hands, both of them holding on to his cup of decaf coffee.
He needs so much more than caffeine to wake him up right now.
“Have you ever had your palm read before?”
He quirks a brow at me. “No. Have you?”
“Yes. By a woman in Versailles.” She told me that I met the love of my life before I was in high school. “I’m pretty sure everything she said was a crock of shit, but she was very charming and convincing.”
I can’t tell from his expression if he’s a cynic or not.
“Let me see your right hand.” I hold out both of my hands, palms up.
“Wait a minute,” he says, smirking and cocking his head to one side. “Are you the charming and convincing crock-of-shit palm reader from Versailles?”
“The grandmother of the family I boarded with taught me a few tricks.” I beckon him with the fingers of my outstretched hands.
He pushes his coffee aside and stretches his hand across the table without hesitation. Surprising. I take his hand in mine and examine the shape of it. I am fully aware that this would play out very differently if we were at a bar instead of a supermarket and if my brother were half a world away instead of at some counter inside the store, chatting up a hot chick. I am also aware that the last thing I should be doing is pulling out the party trick I’ve employed to flirt with guys who are either too pretty or too shy to make the first move. But I guess this is what’s happening.
Oh Lord, his hand.
The texture of his skin is not quite rough and not exactly smooth. It feels good. “You’re down-to-earth, but you’re also sensitive.”
I turn his hand over to press my thumbs into his palm. It’s firm and resilient. “You’re very practical and hard-working.”
“And you’re still kinda weird, huh?”
His skin has a pinkish hue. I bet his penis is really pretty. “Well, the lack of sleep isn’t affecting your overall health. That’s good.” He’s loving and supportive. Margo Quincey is a fucking idiot for letting this guy go. “Oh, you have a square palm.”
“What does that mean? I’m good at opening square jars?”
“It confirms that you have good energy and you’re a hard-worker. You don’t mind a challenge.” His long fingers are capable and sexy, and I want them on my body. Shit. “You’re responsible and you finish what you start.” I want these fingers inside me. Fuck. “This is your heart line,” I say, tracing the major line across the top of his palm with my fingertip. It’s long and strong. I want to see him wrap this hand around his cock, and I want him to ram that cock into me. He could really give it to me good. Goddammit, what is wrong with me? “This tells me something about your emotional life.”
“Oh yeah? What’s it telling you?”
His heart line is curved. Shit, it’s really curved. Sex is very important to this man. “I, uhhh…That’s about the extent of my palm-reading abilities. Sorry.”
He pulls his beautiful hand away to rake it through his amazing hair. “Well, I learned a lot about myself, thanks.”
I place my hands at the edge of the table in front of me and push myself against the back of my chair. This is a passionate man who will stop at nothing to make a woman come, and I can’t be that woman and I need to shift gears. “So, are you doing an ad for hair products later today or what?”
“No, I’m not.”
“Then why do you look like that?”
“Like this?” He points to his perfectly tousled hair. “I literally wake up with awesome hair every day. I couldn’t make it look bad if I tried.”
“That’s kind of annoying.”
“I know, but to be fair, it’s my only annoying quality.”
“Unless one considers the inability to select a decent movie to star in a quality.” Shit. Too far. I’m going too far in the other direction.
And yet, he seems totally unoffended.
“Once again, to be fair, that’s just my inability to fire my agents for encouraging me to do those mainstream movies that pay me millions of dollars so I can feed my children.”
“And you couldn’t possibly feed your children with money earned from films that don’t star former wrestlers? I’m curious—do you even read the scripts before you agree to make these movies?” Oh my God, Willa, he’s a nice dad who is exhausted and he really needs your help. Don’t be a dick.
Where’s my idiot brother?
I need to shift gears again.
And Shane Miller needs to stop staring at my mouth or I’m going to fling myself across this table and never stop kissing him.
Before writing steamy romantic comedy novels, Kayley Loring had a fifteen-year career as a screenwriter in Los Angeles (under a different name). She mostly wrote PG-13 family comedies that studios would pay her lots of money for and then never make into movies. In 2017 she decided to move to the Pacific Northwest and write about all the fun stuff that she wasn’t allowed to write about in those PG-13 scripts. Now she’s breathing cleaner air and writing dirtier words. It’s an adjustment she’s happily getting used to.