Matt Tremont’s home was amazing. Ten thousand square feet, maybe fifteen thousand—though it was hard to judge something that massive when Ari was used to living in three hundred square feet.
The man himself left her awestruck. As gorgeous as a movie star, with rangy muscles that made her mouth water, just looking at him was enough to make her lose her words right in the middle of a sentence. He was thirty-four—ten years older than she was—and he made guys her own age seem like boys.
When he’d approached her at the grand opening of Sebastian Montgomery’s media headquarters in San Francisco, she’d actually started to tremble. It had seemed like a pivotal moment that would change her life forever, when a gorgeous, charming billionaire wanted to talk to her. She’d fantasized that the sparks flying everywhere weren’t just in her imagination. “Ariana,” she could almost hear him saying in his deep, sexy voice, “let me whisk you away to my private lair for champagne and caviar.”
Only to have her fantasies blown sky-high when he’d asked her to interview as a nanny for his five-year-old son.
Ari was still laughing at herself; obviously, she’d been the only one feeling any sparks. But that didn’t make him any less mouthwatering, even in jeans. Especially in jeans.
Her stomach did backflips as she sat across from him in his living room, but she had her crazy attraction under control.
“Ariana,” Matt said.
Oh, that voice… It was enough to make a girl spin out into fantasy again.
“Please, call me Ari.”
Only Daniel Spencer called her Ariana. Daniel and Matt were two of the Mavericks, five billionaires who had taken the world by storm with their business prowess in many different fields. She knew a little about Matt’s past. Like Daniel and the other Mavericks, he hadn’t been born into money. She knew what it was to be poor, and she admired them all for what they’d accomplished.
Daniel had given a glowing recommendation to Matt. Though technically he wasn’t her boss, since he owned the whole company, Daniel had been really sweet to her since she’d landed the job at Top-Notch DIY when she was eighteen. She’d worked there part time ever since she’d aged out of foster care, scraping together every dime to go to college. Daniel had helped there too, with company-sponsored scholarships, something for which she could never thank him enough. He said she reminded him of his kid sister, Lyssa, who was close to Ari’s age.
Not that she wanted Matt to think of her as a little sister. She already had a big brother, even if she hadn’t seen him in years. Thinking of Gideon made her chest hurt, so she pushed away the memories as she focused on what Matt was saying.
“Daniel told me that in addition to working at his San Jose store, you also take care of kids.”
Nodding, she said, “I graduated from San Jose State last May with a degree in child development. I’d like to be a teacher someday, but right now, I want the one-on-one, full-time experience.” She didn’t add that she also needed to beef up her cash reserves after using everything for college, even with the scholarships.
He looked at her with a penetrating gaze, seeming to weigh her every word, figuring out how it fit into the whole picture. She wondered if that was part of the reason he was hugely rich and successful—because he took note of everything.
Sitting in a big leather chair next to her, Matt shifted his legs a little wider. “That’s very commendable, getting your education while you’re working. So tell me more about how you envision teaching my son.”
Swallowing hard at the ridiculously sexy picture he made, Ari settled into the buttery smooth leather of the sofa. With an intricate pattern of vibrant colors, the carpet was so thick it tempted her to take off her shoes and sink her toes into the plush pile. She couldn’t imagine living in a place like this. Just walking from the front door to the living room had seemed like a mile across polished hardwood floors, past paintings and artwork that probably cost a fortune. But live here she would, if she got the job taking care of Noah.
Her smile grew bigger with the memory of the day she’d played with Matt’s son at the youth center Daniel was building in San Jose. “I like to play in the sandbox rather than sticking kids in front of the TV to let their little minds get warped by cartoons. Not that there’s anything wrong with cartoons,” she clarified. “As long as they’re the cherry on top of the sundae, rather than the entire meal.”
“I agree,” Matt said with a nod. “Children should be outdoors, enjoying nature, playing with insects, and chasing frogs.”
As a kid, she’d lived in an apartment—lots of different apartments—and the only insects she could have played with were cockroaches. The only frogs she’d seen were in stagnant pools of water left behind in abandoned lots. When she wasn’t in school, she’d spent her time buried in the pages of books.
“I like the zoo,” she continued, hoping she was saying the right things. The problem was that he smelled so good, like clean, hot male. It was messing big-time with her concentration. “And you’ve got Henry Coe State Park almost in your backyard.” His huge home was nestled in the trees overlooking Anderson Lake. Footpaths probably led up into the hills right from the back door. “Is that why you chose to live in Morgan Hill—because it’s so much prettier than San Jose?”
“After I had my new factory located here, I figured it was easier to build our home nearby.”
He was so matter-of-fact. Did he ever chase butterflies with his son? She hoped he did.
To prep her for this interview, Daniel had told her that Matt was a brilliant high-tech robotics manufacturer—and a bookworm. Crossing the mile-long foyer, she’d caught a brief glimpse of a library jammed with books. If she got the job, she’d love to spend as much of her free time there as possible. Evidently, Matt had put himself through college with scholarships and hard work, blowing through in three years instead of four. His ideas and inventions were so groundbreaking that his professors had told him to forget earning a PhD and move right into industry instead, so he’d started his company, Trebotics International, when he was about her age.
Though she admired him for his smarts and his success, she didn’t know anything about him as a father. Or as a man. But Daniel had said he was the best dad any kid could ever have. He’d also mentioned that Noah’s mom had dropped out of the picture early and rarely saw her son.