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Sandra Moyer’s preschool is struggling, so when her sister suggests allowing a super-famous actor to research his latest role there, she reluctantly agrees. Except the actor turns out to be Ben Capshaw—a playboy who’s never serious, always joking around, and who knows zero about kids or being a parent. Case in point: his involvement in the untimely death of the preschool’s class pet…
Ben is enjoying teaching more than he thought he would, but that doesn’t mean he’s looking for a permanent position. Sure, he’s ready for more serious movie roles and less goofing off, but the buttoned-up, beautiful Sandra and her young daughter are more than he bargained for. Plus, Sandra still won’t trust him—what if it’s all an act, research for the role? As the lines between make-believe and reality blur, Ben will have to decide if love is worth casting aside the role of his life for a new role…that could last a lifetime.
Previously released as The Role of a Lifetime - (May 2008) and has been enhanced with new material.
Ben stood up and walked over to the windows, grabbing the attention of Missy and the rest of the class. His eyes swept around the floor a few seconds, and then he finally saw it. Holy crap, how could he not? That thing was huge.
“What’s the matter, Big Bens?” he heard Missy ask.
“Nothing.” Gargantuan spider, actually. But he didn’t want to announce that in case there were any squeamish kids in the room.
It was one mother of an ugly insect and—now that it began to move—remarkably fast for possessing those thick little legs. Being the he-man he was, he wasn’t about to let it get away so it could boast to all its hairy little friends. So he grabbed a heavy dictionary off the shelf, aimed, and then let the book drop. “Got it!” he called out.
The children shrieked. His head whipped up and around, trying to sort through the sudden mayhem. He’d had absolutely no idea ten little preschoolers had the ability to create enough noise to blow out an eardrum, but at that precise moment there was enough sound to fill a stadium. But even among the loud chatter, he heard some of the kids cry out, “Herbie!”
That thing had a name?
Ben’s eyes shot to Missy for an explanation, but she just stood there like a corpse with wide eyes bulging out and a hand raised to her mouth. Oh-kay. He obviously wasn’t going to get any support in that corner. He was officially on his own.
Great. Now what? He was going to make things much worse if he picked up the book and allowed the class to see the smeared-up guts of Herbie, so he simply froze, wishing for some big hook to come and yank him away.
Then his wish was granted.
Sandra, aka big hook, appeared at the door of the classroom with her no-nonsense line of attack that stomped out all the commotion around them. Oh, man. She was not looking happy with him, either—not that he’d seen her looking any other way. More bad timing on his part. She had a way of popping in on him when he wasn’t exactly his best. Too bad he couldn’t have screenwriters helping him out with choice lines in real life, because he could sure use a witty one now. Coming up with nothing on his own, he hiked his shoulders up at her, hoping she’d take it as a white flag being waved. However, Sandra didn’t seem ready to declare peace.
“Ah, Mr. Ben, a word, please?”
Uh-oh. This was bad. She was giving him an even more snotty tone than she had first used on him. He had to be more careful with what he wished for in the future. No more big hooks. Next time, he’d be much more specific and wish for a scantily clad woman with more than a significant amount of appreciation for movie stars. But one who still looked exactly like Sandra.
Where did that thought come from?
Sandra turned and disappeared, not waiting for his response. He supposed she thought it was automatic, a given that he’d ask how high when she said jump. But he followed her out anyway. Even the wrath of Miss Sandra was better than staring into the shocked little faces of those poor kids. He obviously needed more child training than he thought.
Once they were out in the hallway, he quickly tried to make amends. “Okay, maybe I didn’t use good judgment in that particular circumstance. But I—”
“Our theme this month is bugs,” Sandra informed him, pointing to the countless decorations of various bugs throughout the hall. “Are you blind or something?”
Ben took in his surroundings and blinked, strangely noticing them for the very first time. Hmm. Well, what do you know about that? “Uh...no, I saw your little bug things hanging around.”
“Right.” She shot him a withering glare before entering her of office.
He followed her in, running a hand over the top of his head. “Okay, I didn’t know. But I didn’t commit a felony, either. Like you never killed a bug before.”
“Never in front of the children.”
“What are you, some kind of tree hugger? Did you see that thing? It was a gross-looking spider.”
She whirled around to face him. “Yes, I know! Herbie, that gross-looking spider as you call it, is dead thanks to you.”
“Now, how was I supposed to know you had some kind of freaky school mascot?” he shot back. “What kind of place are you running here, anyway? Your daughter told me there was a bug. I saw it, the thing was scary and hairy, and I reacted. As an actor, I’m used to going with my emotions.”
Her arms folded tighter than a bed waiting for basic- training inspection. Her sleeveless cream-colored turtleneck accentuated her tanned, beautifully sculpted arms, and as she cocked her head, studying him—no, judging—with eyes like two deadly blue arrows, he’d never seen anyone look as captivating or as alluring in his life. And as a man—not an actor—he wanted to react to that as well.
Jennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.
She writes sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Samhain Publishing, Avalon Books/Montlake Romance and now Entangled Publishing. She won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC's Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her first book, THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME. Recently, her novel SUNNY DAYS FOR SAM won the 2013 Golden Quill Published Authors Contest for Best Traditional Romance.