A Little Too Late by Staci Hart
Published by Indie on October 24 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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I wasn't supposed to fall in love with the nanny.
When my wife left, she took the illusion of happiness with her, and I've been caught in a free fall ever since. For nine long months, I've been fighting to figure out how to be a single dad, how to be alone.
For nine long months, I've been failing.
When Hannah walked through the door, I took my first breath since I'd found myself on my own. She slipped into our lives effortlessly, showing me what I've been missing all these years. Because Hannah made me smile when I thought I'd packed the notion of happiness away with my wedding album.
She was only supposed to be the nanny, but she's so much more.
The day my wife left should have been the worst day of my life, but it wasn't. It was when Hannah walked away, taking my heart with her.
The next morning, I was up and in my office before anyone was awake, attacking my work with newfound enthusiasm and a plan in mind. Because I wanted to feel like I’d felt the night before in the kitchen again, and there was only one way to get that back.
Today, I would take a few breaks and be present. Today, I would change, work be damned. Today would mark the first real attempt. Because change wouldn’t happen on its own. I had to make it happen. And to make it happen, I would have to put boundaries in place, starting with my weekends.
I checked the clock around eleven that morning and closed my laptop, pushing away from my desk and heading up the stairs in search of my children.
When I rounded the corner into the kitchen, I found them sitting at the table with their lunches. And when they saw me, their smiles validated my grand plans with unwavering certainty.
“Hey, guys,” I said, smiling back as I walked over to them, ruffling Sammy’s hair when I passed him.
“Hi, Daddy,” he said.
Maven’s mouth was full, so she just waved, and Hannah smiled at me from the island where she was setting up a spread for sandwiches.
I snagged a grape off Maven’s plate and popped it into my mouth. She handed me another, which I accepted.
“Are you done working?” Sammy asked hopefully.
“’Fraid not, bud. But I thought I’d come have lunch with you. Is that okay?”
“Yeah! Want a Nilla Wafer?”
“Psh, obviously. And I thought we could play for a little bit before I have to get back to work. What do you say?”
He nodded, grinning. “We can play trucks! You be the bulldozer and I’ll be the tractor and Maven can be the monster truck and Hannah can be the ambulance because she helps people.”
“Perfect,” I said on a chuckle.
A burst of color caught my eye. A vase on the windowsill behind the table held a spray of red and orange tulips.
“Those are beautiful,” I said, gesturing to them. “Where did they come from?”
“Oh, I picked them up this morning,” Hannah said with that ever-present smile.
“Always a little. But I love having fresh flowers in the house, something bright and delicate and alive. Well, maybe not alive anymore, but it feels alive, doesn’t it?”
“It does,” I said as I moved to her side.
“Can I make you a sandwich?” Hannah asked.
“Nah, I think I can manage, thanks. How’s it going this morning?”
“It’s good. We went to the park this morning.”
“I rode my bike!” Sammy crowed.
“Did you? No bumps or scrapes?”
“I’m impressed. Maybe next time I can come too,” I said, hoping it was something I could deliver as I reached into the bread bag for a stack.
Hannah turned to the cupboard, returning with a plate for me.
She was still smiling, standing at my side, assembling her sandwich. It was so mundane, something completely and utterly boring, but like the weirdo that I was, I found myself watching her hands as she folded cold cuts. We worked around each other—not that it was complicated, but there was a sort of rhythm between us, a natural pace wherein I used what she wasn’t and finished just as she needed what I had. I wasn’t sure why I noticed it, but I did, and I appreciated the simple synchronicity of the moment, a breath where things were easy.
I passed her the mustard as she handed me the ham. “So, I was thinking …” I paused.
“Oh, were you?” She glanced over at me with a hint of mirth at the corners of her lips.
“I know. I almost sprained something.”
Hannah laughed gently.
“If it’s okay, I think I’d like to try to handle bedtime tonight.”
“Of course it’s okay; they’re your children.” That time, her laughter was sweet.
“Do you … would you … do you think you could maybe …”
She shifted to face me, her eyes full of encouragement.
“Would you mind … helping me?”
Hannah nodded, her smile opening up. “That’s what I’m here for. Just let me know what you’d like me to do.”
I smiled back. “I’m sorry. I know it sounds stupid. I just … I haven’t done this much on my own, but I’d like to start.”
Her eyes softened, caught by slanting light, lighting up with sunshine. “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” she said simply.
I didn’t speak.
“There’s no right or wrong, and they don’t care about anything other than you being there. It’s simple enough; you only have to try.”
“Is it really that easy?”
“It really is. You’ll see.” She reached for my arm and gave it a squeeze that wasn’t meant to be anything but friendly but held something more, something in the pressure in her fingertips and the depths of her eyes.
It was something I did my very best to ignore. But I felt the heat of those fingertips long after they were gone, even as we sat across the table from each other eating lunch, the tulips in the vase behind her bowing their long heads as the sunlight illuminated them, exposing what was hidden within their petals.
First of all, A Little Too Late is most definitely a slow burn book. I say that because I know that a lot of people look for things quickly and everything about this book is a slow burn but it’s worth the wait.
Falling in love with the nanny is supposed to be taboo, right? Then when did the entire time I was reading this book did I feel like it was absolutely the right thing to do? It’s because Staci Hart writes her stories and her characters with so much depth that you constantly feel for them. No, scratch that. You constant feel WITH them. From the moment Hannah and Charlie met, I knew they were destined for each other and I knew it was going to be a difficult road.
Charlie has buried himself in work for the past 2 years nonstop. He’s coming off of a divorce and raising two young children. However, he has others really do it for him. He wants to be involved but is so far lost he isn’t sure. When Hannah walks into the door and shows him what’s he’s been missing, it’s like a light bulb went off. Now he just has to figure out the major war in his head on how he can achieve this happiness he didn’t know existed and was starving for. Watching Charlie fall for Hannah and truly become the father he always was but just got a bit lost was absolutely heart melting.
Hannah was a tough one for me to figure out but from the moment I was introduced to her, I knew I would like her. At the beginning she is represented as shy and demure and while that is true to an extend, I couldn’t wait to see where she would go. In the end, she is a gentle and beautiful soul full of patience, love and passion. She’s perfect for Charlie and the kids and I enjoyed watching her grow into their love and be bold with who she is and what she wanted.
A Little Too Late is a beautiful semi second chance romance full of love and passion. If you are looking for a slow burn that will capture your heart and force you to fall in love with the characters, then this is the book for you.