Annie – The Nurturing Center Read Online Paige Michaels

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, BDSM, Erotic, Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 37
Estimated words: 34268 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 171(@200wpm)___ 137(@250wpm)___ 114(@300wpm)

When Annie’s company downsizes, causing her to lose her job, she’s grief stricken and hopeless. She’ll lose her apartment if she can’t pay the rent. The last person she expects to see while she’s crying in the stairwell is her sexy neighbor, Theo. A man she’s fantasized about since he first moved in. A man she wishes was hers though she’s rarely made eye contact with him.
Theo has had his eye on the shy woman next door for a while, but she’s too timid to speak to him. As a nurse at The Nurturing Center, Theo has been building a home in the adjacent community and working long hours. He’s had his suspicions about Annie, but the moment he helps the sobbing woman into her apartment, he knows. She’s Little, and she’s his.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************

Chapter One


Annie froze. She knew that deep male voice. She knew it well, and this was the last place she’d expected to hear it.

Seriously? The stairwell? Who took the stairs to the fourth floor of her apartment building? Apparently Theo. Dagnabit.

Annie was sitting in the stairwell halfway between the second and third floors, mostly because that’s where she’d started crying, unable to make it all the way to her apartment before she fell apart.

“Sweetie, what’s wrong?” Theo asked as he reached her step and sat next to her. He even put an arm around her shoulders, which made her cry harder.

She didn’t meet his gaze. She couldn’t. She had her arms folded across her knees and her forehead buried in the circle.

Theo rubbed her back. “How about if I help you get to your apartment? We’ll get you a glass of water, and then you can tell me what happened.”

She shook her head, whimpering. She really needed him to go away. No way was she going to face him, and she certainly wouldn’t want him inside her apartment.

The man lived next door to her. She’d seen him many times. He was friendly and polite, tall and handsome, sexy and mouthwatering. The entire package.

Ever since she’d moved into this building, she’d had a crush on him. She would never tell him though. Not in a million years. She couldn’t even if she wanted to. She never made eye contact with him, and every time he spoke to her, she responded with a whisper and rushed off in a different direction.

She was borderline rude, and she knew it. But seriously. He was way out of her league, and she didn’t have the courage to face him. Besides, what if she did? It wasn’t like she would invite him into her apartment or something. Ha.

The weight of the world pressed against her shoulders heavily though. Today was the worst day ever. So bad she hadn’t made it home before breaking down in tears. It was her dumb luck that Theo also happened to take the stairs at the same time as her.

“Come on, sweetie. Let’s get you inside,” he encouraged.

She shook her head. She knew it was silly and absurd, but she didn’t have the energy to be a grownup right now. She might not have the energy for something like that ever again.

She started crying again, big tears falling down her face as her desperation weighed on her.

“Hey now. It can’t be that bad.”

Why was he even talking to her? She was a mousy neighbor with plain brown hair, pale skin, and boring brown eyes. She was vertically challenged, wore no makeup, and carried a few too many pounds around her waist.

Theo rose, and she hoped he was going to walk away and leave her to herself, but instead, he slid his hand under her knees and lifted her into his arms.

She gasped, finally lifting her head to meet his gaze. “What are you doing? Put me down. I’m too heavy to carry.”

He chuckled. “You’re as light as a feather, sweetie.” He climbed the rest of the stairs effortlessly, without getting winded.

She fought him the entire way, wiggling in his arms, trying to get free without falling on her butt in the process.

He held tight though, not releasing her and not mentioning her struggle. It wasn’t even difficult for him. He just kept walking, protecting her with both hands.

When he reached her apartment, next door to his, he finally let her slide down his body and set her on her feet. He rested a hand on her shoulder though, keeping her from swaying too far and toppling over.

“Where are your keys, sweetie?”

She shook her head and hugged her purse against her. Luckily, she’d worn it across her chest, or it likely would have fallen on the floor along the way.

Theo was insistent though. He lifted her chin with one finger.

She sucked an ugly sob, unable to stop the three others that followed. Her face was tight from streaks of tears. Fresh ones were trailing down to hit her lips. Her nose was running. She’d never been more of a mess than she was right now.

“I could take you into my apartment, but I bet you’d be more comfortable in your own.” He lifted a brow as he stroked her tear-streaked face with his thumb.

She sobbed between every word. “You…can’t…come…inside…” she murmured.

He smiled huge. “She speaks.”

She jerked her gaze downward again.

He lifted her chin again also. “I’m sorry, sweetie. I’m not making fun of you. It’s just that I’ve only heard your voice a few times. You’re as quiet as a mouse. Now, do you have a dead body in your apartment?”

She gasped, eyes widening, head shaking.

“Meth lab?”

She shook her head harder.

“Are you an arms dealer?” he continued teasing.

She giggled and then covered her mouth with her hand, shocked by his ability to make her smile.