Duty or Desire

Brenda Jackson
Duty or Desire

Harlequin Desire
Release Date
December 2019
Book 5 of The Westmoreland Legacy
Contemporary Romance

What happens when a man of unshakable conviction
meets the woman who rocks his world?

Pete Higgins is an honorary Westmoreland, a man of his word—of course he'll put duty to his orphaned niece first. Too bad the temporary nanny is tempting him with every look. Myra Hollister captivates him. But she's keeping dangerous secrets, the kind that remind Pete of all he's lost before and what he can't afford to lose again…

BOOK INTERVIEW on April 2020
Enjoy this excerpt!

"There's another matter I want to discuss with you."

"Oh?" she said, moving her gaze from his to smile down at Ciara. His niece had finally gotten bored of the fire and was glancing around the room. Myra Hollister held Ciara firmly in her arms and he was amazed that Ciara hadn't given her any pushback. Usually, she was ready to get on the floor and move around to see what she could get into. The Higgins household had gone through a lot of changes since his niece began walking three months ago.

"And what matter is that, Sheriff?"

"Our relationship." When he realized how that sounded, he quickly said, "Our working relationship. I think I need to define it."

He saw the way her brows scrunched up. "Why?"

Her words pretty much confirmed she honestly didn't have a clue. Maybe that was a good thing. But still, he needed to make sure they had an understanding about a few things.

"Why do you think you need to define our working relationship, Sheriff?" she asked again.

Pete drew in a deep breath. "We will be living under the same roof. I'm a single man and you're a single woman."


"People might talk, Ms. Hollister."

She looked even more confused. "Why would they? I'm sure people around here know your profession. You're the sheriff. You're also the guardian to your niece. Why would anyone have anything to say about you hiring a temporary nanny until Miss Bonnie returns?"

He shifted in his seat. "Like I said. I'm single and so are you."

"So is Miss Bonnie."

Pete frowned. Was she deliberately being obtuse? "I've never had a young, single and beautiful woman living under my roof before."

She stared at him for a moment and then cocked a brow. "Although I don't consider myself one of those real proper Southern belles, I was raised to adhere to conservative protocols. Is there something about your reputation that I need to be concerned with, Sheriff?"

Her question threw him. "Why would you think that?"

"Because you're evidently worried about my reputation and what people will think with me living in your house."

Is that what she honestly thought? "I assure you there's nothing questionable about my character."

"And I assure you there's nothing questionable about mine. And as far as anyone suspecting some-thing going on between us while we're living together, that is the craziest thing I've ever heard."

"And why is that?"

She rolled her eyes. "First of all, you're not my type. Second, you're older than anyone I normally would date."

Well, damn. She'd pretty much put him in his place by telling him she was not in the least attracted to him. There was only one thing he could say. "I'm glad because you're not my type either, and you're younger than the women I'd typically date."

"Great! Then we don't have anything to worry about. I honestly don't care what people might say or think about me living with you. However, if you're concerned about what they might say, then I suggest you find yourself another nanny."

Myra meant what she'd said, although she could understand why someone would think she could fall for the sheriff. After all, he was a very handsome man. Instead of being dressed like a lawman, today he was wearing jeans and a Western shirt. When she'd looked out the peephole and seen him earlier, standing on her doorstep, tall, broad shouldered, ruggedly built with a Stetson on his head, she'd drawn in a deep breath to slow her pulse. He was her idea of a Denver cowboy ready to go off and tame a bunch of wild broncos.

But the bottom line, handsome or not, she could not and would not be attracted to him. She could appreciate a man's good looks without losing her mind over him; especially an older, good-looking man, thanks to her bad experience with Rick.

But she couldn't deny the sensations that had gone off in her stomach when Pete had described her as young, single and beautiful. Did he really think she was beautiful? And why did the idea of him thinking such a thing give her a warm feeling? She couldn't let his words, or her reaction to them, go to her head.

Her time in Denver was limited and like she'd told him, she would be returning to Charleston in a couple of months. But she'd stay there just long enough to boot Baron out of the company and return Wallace to his rightful place as head of Hollister Enterprises. Then she intended to take a monthlong vacation in Paris. She would definitely deserve it.

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November 27, 2021 12:17 AM ( EST )