Home > Transcend (Transcend Duet #1)(3)

Transcend (Transcend Duet #1)(3)
Author: Jewel E. Ann

“Goodbye, Swayze. And good luck with the interview.” That’s her way of ending a conversation she knows she can’t win.

“Bye, Mom. Love you.”

I’m early, so I wait a few minutes before making my way up the long, tree-lined drive to the brick house with a high-pitched roof and white pillars at the door.

I press the doorbell and wait, sliding my hands into the pockets of my black dress slacks then dropping them to my sides. I cross them over my chest and end with tucking them back into my pockets just as the door opens. Nerves are crazy little creatures.

My eyebrows shoot up as my head jerks back. “Nate.”


Nate blinks a few times before craning his neck out the door, surveying the area. “What are you doing here?”

My eyes follow his line of vision around the lush, manicured yard and tall evergreens dividing his property from the neighbor’s. Are clowns going to jump out? Are there hidden cameras? What am I missing?

“Well, I’m…” I pull out my phone and show him the email “…here for an interview. See?”

His back stiffens as I shove my phone in his face, not meaning to come an inch from smacking him in the nose. My nerves were a little shaky on the way here. Nothing crazy. Typical interview jitters. But Nate answering the door has me trembling like an earthquake.

“S. Samuels?” He squints at the screen.

The whole world doesn’t need to know my name. S. Samuels makes me sound more mysterious like an author who doesn’t want to reveal her gender—or one with a shitty name. “It’s Swayze. In case you forgot.”

Nate rubs his forehead like he needs to erase the day from his memory. Something must be going wrong in his mind if he needs Dr. Greyson. It might be a little pot calling the kettle black of me to think that. I feel sorry for him. It’s not my intention to be one more thing he doesn’t want to deal with today.

“I didn’t forget. My sister-in-law scheduled these interviews. Sorry, I didn’t make the last name connection from…” his lips twist “…earlier.”

Earlier. Not years ago. What is going on? I’m losing it. Cancer. It has to be cancer in my brain—or aliens. Every year I get a physical. Cancer seems unlikely, but they miss shit. Happens all the time. Aliens are a better possibility. They must be real. Why else would NASA spend so much money to search for life beyond Earth?

His lip trapped between his teeth and the nervous pull to his brow says he’s not comfortable letting a stalker into his house, let alone interviewing said stalker for a nanny position.

I don’t need this job. Even if money gets tight, I can take on a few extra design jobs to get me by until fall. But this is no longer a job interview; it’s a mystery I have to solve. Nate? Why are you in my head?

“I have to apologize for earlier. I figured out how I know you or ‘of’ you. My older cousin used to date your friend, Toby Friedman. She told me about the hockey story and where you grew up—four houses down from Toby’s house. I’ve been down that street a million times. The house is still green. Anyway, she had a photo of you and Toby. I think your blue eyes made you unmistakable and … familiar. Hope I didn’t freak you out.”

Toby grew up four houses down from Nate, and they were both on the pond the day of the accident. But I don’t have any cousin who dated Toby. I’m just praying to God that Nate finds my explanation believable.

After a few seconds, he returns a sharp nod. “I haven’t seen Toby in years. Not since we graduated from high school.”

“Neither has my cousin.” A non-creepy smile attempts to settle on my face. Damn! I hope he buys it.

“Please, come in.”

I step inside, slipping off my shoes because the dark wood floor before me doesn’t have a single scuff mark on it. Trapping my tongue between my teeth, I don’t tell him what a beautiful house he has and what a huge step up it is from the green two-bedroom house on Gable Street.

I’m dying to know what he does and how he can afford to live in such an expensive house. Nate swore he’d never be one of those rich, snobby people he always despised—like the bastard who had an affair with his mom, until she broke it off and begged for his father’s forgiveness; he forgave her and took her back. Like Nate, he’s awesome.

How the hell do I know all this shit about him?

“Follow me.” He leads me to a set of double doors to our right. The woody, slightly sweet bergamot and vetiver of his aftershave rattles my senses. It’s sharp and sophisticated like the man before me.

“Wow.” I inspect the story-and-a-half library or office. I’m not sure which it is. There’s an imposing antique desk surrounded by three walls of bookshelves and a ladder—the cool kind that glides on rollers along the shelves. The other wall is all windows, and the far ends have panels of medieval stained glass like something salvaged from a church. Slivers of late afternoon light cutting through the trees filter in as a splattering of Technicolor around the room. “This is an amazing space.”

“Thank you. Have a seat.” Nate sinks into the leather desk chair while I take a seat on the cream tufted accent chair in front of his desk.

“Nice skeleton.” I chuckle at the life-sized anatomical human skeleton on castors next to his desk.

He gives it a quick glance before opening his laptop. “I’m an anatomy professor.”

“Really? That’s awesome and to think—” I bite my tongue again. This is so hard.

“To think what?” His arched brow calls me out.

Nate wasn’t going to college. Hockey. That was his life.

“Uh … to think that for the longest time I thought these life-sized skeletons were real skeletons. You know, when I was younger. Crazy, huh?”

More blinks from him make me feel like my chance at getting this job is nil.

“You didn’t castle. What’s up with that?” I shoot a nod to the chessboard on his desk.

He eyes it and then frowns, apparently realizing I’m right and he’s two moves from losing his king. “You like chess?”


“No?” His eyes shoot up at me.

I don’t. Never played the game in my life. But looking at the board, it’s all very familiar. Just like Nate. “It’s long, tedious, and boring. No offense.”

A smirk plays across his lips as he leans back in his chair and folds his hands over his stomach. Since I saw him at the shrink’s office, he exchanged his jeans and tee for gray pants and an eggplant button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up just below his elbows. God! He looks sexy as hell, which is insane because he’s aged so much since … I don’t know. But I can’t stop admiring his sophisticated sexiness. When did I start having a thing for older men?

“You have a degree in education, but no teaching position?”

I clear my throat. “I’m hoping to get one for this fall. I’ve put in several applications.”

“No current employment?”

“Freelance graphic design.”

“Married? Children?”


“Experience with children other than working as an associate teacher?”

“In high school, I babysat for neighbors and worked as a nanny full time for two summers during college. It’s on my résumé.”

He nods, without looking at my application and résumé, which I assume is what’s on his computer screen.

“CPR? First aid?”

“It’s …” On the résumé. “Yes. Both.”

“Ever been arrested?”


“Speeding tickets?”

I chuckle. “No.”

“Parking tickets?”

The lunacy.


“Smoker? Ever used any drugs? Consumption of alcohol? Medical issues like depression, diabetes, epilepsy?”

Who is this guy? Nate Hunt was laid back. The world could have ended and he would have said, “It’s not as bad as you think.” He worried about nothing. Trusted everyone. Totally chill all of the time.

“Not a smoker or drug user. I like candy, but it’s never put me into a diabetic coma. No epilepsy. As you know, I see a psychiatrist, but I’m not depressed. I’m doing it for my mom. She thinks I need to talk to someone about my feelings since my dad died. But really, I’m good.”

“Do you have questions for me?”

It’s my turn. That wasn’t so bad. This guy is older than I am, yet I feel a tremendous sense of pride. That seems condescending. He’s asking all the right questions. I want to give him a ribbon or merit badge for a job well done. “How many children? Your ad didn’t say.”

“One.” Sadness washes across his face as he glances back over at the chessboard and the matte-silver picture frame. I can’t see the actual picture from my chair.

“How old?”

“One month.”

“Oh, wow. Short maternity leave.”

Nate flinches. “My wife died giving birth.”

Grabbing the arms of the chair, I start to stand then sit back down. Shit! My instinct is to hug him. What the hell? He lost his wife. But … we don’t know each other—supposedly. Nate got married. It’s been too long. There’s so much I don’t know in spite of all that I do know.

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