A Man Like Mike

“…This book has everything that I’m looking for in a contemporary romance.  Emotions, laughter, family dynamics, sexual tension, and above all romance…”

Corporate professional Eve O’Brien needs a crash course in parenting when her dearest friend Jacinta and her husband die, naming her sole guardian of their baby son Bailey. As if bright orange goo on her business shirts and terminal exhaustion aren’t enough to deal with, Bailey’s uncle shows up, insisting on being part of his nephew’s life. Roguishly handsome with a devil-may-care attitude, Mike Wilcox is always first with a quip or a flirtatious smile. When he breezily suggests he move in with her temporarily, Eve sees no way to refuse, as the cottage in which she lives was left to Mike by his late brother.

On the surface, Mike seems like the perfect housemate. He’s a successful chef, so Eve’s diet goes from fast food to five star overnight, and he effortlessly takes on daytime care of his nephew, while working at a local restaurant in the evenings. But he wears muscle- hugging T-shirts and makes the cottage seem like a home, things that appeal to Eve more than she cares to admit.

A lonely, neglected child, Eve has learned to rely only on herself, but having Mike around soon makes her want to believe things can be different. How can she trust a man who’s lived life by the seat of his pants to stick around for the long haul?

Copyright © Sami Lee 2013. Publisher Harlequin Escape Publishing
 
Twice #1 best seller on iBooks Australia in 2013! You can buy A Man Like Mike from these outlets
 

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REVIEWS

“A Man Like Mike was a heartwarming, sweetly romantic and an equally emotional story. I read this in one sitting and finished it in the wee hours of the morning because I simply couldn’t put it down.” Nina’s Literary Escape

“Sami Lee gives us some interesting characters in A Man Like Mike!…If you want a quick romantic read that’s not explicit then I’d recommend this book!” Harlequin Junkie

“This book has everything that I’m looking for in a contemporary romance.  Emotions, laughter, family dynamics, sexual tension, and above all romance… Don’t miss out a truly remarkable story that Ms. Lee has written.  You will sigh, laugh, cry and sigh with the emotions that this book brings out.” Recommended Read from Harlie’s Books

EXCERPT

If anything, his attempt to gentle his tone only heightened her anger. She crossed her arms over her chest, an action that pushed her breasts together. The merest hint of cleavage caught his eye before Mike could stop the involuntary glance. Like he had downstairs, he couldn’t help but notice the small amount of extra weight on her frame that filled out her slender curves.

When he looked up again her expression was adamant, her mouth pursed so her bottom lip plumped out in a near pout, looking moist and inviting. A perverse description, considering her mood. “I don’t need help,” she stated unequivocally. “I’m fine.”

“Well, I’m not,” Mike shot back, annoyed with himself for noticing Eve physically at a time when it was the last thing he should be doing. He wanted to help Eve, not ogle her. Surely she didn’t want to struggle here all on her own? As far as he could see. his moving in here was a win-win situation. “I need a place to stay close to work. My parents live over half an hour away, and my mother’s driving me nuts. And, as you said,” he couldn’t help but point out, “this is my house.”

Just then, Bailey started to cry as he sat on the floor looking up at the two of them. Eve bent to scoop him into her arms. “There, there little man,” she cooed. “Let’s organise you some dinner. Would you like that?” Bailey’s whining stopped as he looked up at her, and his little olive-skinned hand reached out to touch her fair cheek.

Mike had to admit, there had been moments when he had wondered at Jacinta’s wish that Eve raise her son. She didn’t immediately seem like the mother-hen type; but there was no mistaking the need in Bailey’s eyes, his dependence on her. He had no desire to break the bond that had started to develop between them. What he did want was in. He wanted to be a part of Bailey’s life, as he hadn’t been a part of Derek’s in many long years.

Maybe it was his way of making up for the fact he and his brother hadn’t had a close relationship in going on a decade. Derek’s open scorn of what he saw as Mike’s lack of ambition had always kept Mike from taking steps to repair what had started as a small rift and had grown wider with time and inattention. They had really seen each other only at Christmas, and at important family events, such as Derek’s wedding and, after the birth of his nephew, when he had flown home for what was, in retrospect, a too-brief visit.

Derek had been happy with Jacinta. The man had been deliriously in love, so much so that Mike had sensed a softening in his older brother’s attitude toward him and, after that visit home, he’d dared to hope that one day they could have a real relationship.

But that one day, as fate would have it, had never come.

With efficient movements, Eve settled Bailey in his high chair and pulled a jar of baby food from the pantry. Mike took a sip of his coffee, but almost choked on it when Eve matter-of-factly announced, “Then we’ll move out until you get yourself organised.”

Mike felt his moment of triumph dissipate. “What?

“I don’t want to put you out, Mike. I’m sure we’d be in each other’s way here.”

Speechless for several moments, Mike watched in amazement as Eve went about calmly feeding Bailey his dinner, letting him hold the big plastic spoon every few bites so he could attempt to feed himself the bright orange goo. His forehead wore much of it.

At length, Mike asked, “Why are you being such a pain in the—” he cut off what he had been about to say, took a breath, and started again. “Why are you making this so difficult, Eve?”

I’m being difficult? I’m not the one who shows up here, out of the blue, expecting to use this place as a halfway house. Bailey has a routine, you can’t just expect me to change everything around for you at a moment’s notice.”

“And you moving out wouldn’t upset Bailey’s routine?”

She pushed out a sigh and swiped the hair from her face, leaving a trace of mashed pumpkin on her forehead. “I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea of someone looking over my shoulder.”

“Is that what you think I want to do?”

“Didn’t your mother send you to check up on me?”

“The day has long passed that my mother sends me anywhere.” Mike’s annoyance gathered momentum. “Did it ever occur to you that I might just want to spend some time with my nephew? He’s not just Jacinta’s son, you know. He’s also my brother’s.”

He saw her shoulders tense, contradicting the pleasant tone she used with Bailey. “All finished B. Good job!” She gently pinched his cheek before standing and brushing past Mike to deposit the spoon and empty food jar in the sink. In low tones, she said, “I know that. Bailey’s your nephew, and I would never want to do anything to keep you from him, but … do you really have to move in?”

If she kept saying it like that, like he was proposing putting a sewage treatment plant in the back yard, Mike thought he might start developing a complex. “I’ve explained to you my reasons, and it would only be temporary. If you’re worried I might make moves on you, let me assure you it won’t happen.”

He almost regretted the brusque promise when her cheeks filled with fiery colour. He hadn’t meant to belittle her feminine appeal, only to reassure her she wouldn’t have any problems with him trying to sneak a peek at her in her underwear or anything else untoward.

Eve, he reminded himself, was not his type. Aside from the physical aspects, she was way too complicated, giving an impression of fragility one minute, one of dogged strength the next. She had an ability to fire bullets of acid wit that could fell a man at the knees if he dared give her opinion any weight. Their discourse at his brother’s wedding two years ago had been superficial; something about Eve’s steel-rod-for-a-spine carriage had precluded anything else, and Mike had conducted himself accordingly. As a result, he had learned next to nothing about what made Eve O’Brien tick and had been left with the impression he wasn’t missing anything he couldn’t live without.

That didn’t mean she wasn’t a pretty, intriguing woman, with those big brown eyes and hair the unlikely hue of summer-ripe cherries. He hadn’t meant to insult her.

His momentary urge to apologise was quickly dispelled by Eve’s haughty comment, “Let me assure you, I wouldn’t be interested in any case.”

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