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Authors: Joanne Jaytanie

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Building Up to Love

BOOK: Building Up to Love
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Excerpt from Building up to Love

“Young lady, don’t you even think about it.”

The first snowball splatted against his arm. He glared at her, daring her to toss another missile his way. He stepped forward as he brushed the white powder off his jacket.

“Throw one more snowball and I’ll spank your pretty little behind, Amy. I mean it.”

The second snowball landed in the center of his chest, and a giggle erupted from her throat. She held onto the last projectile, a defiant look crossing her face.

“That’s it, young lady. You’ve earned a spanking. Now put that last snowball down.”

“Or what?” she teased, clearly enjoying their banter.

Not one to be one-upped, he took another step in her direction, making sure she saw the seriousness on his face. “Or it will be a bare bottom spanking.”

Building up to Love

Story 4 - The Love List

Joanne Jaytanie

Building up to Love

A Books to Go Now Publication

Copyright © Joanne Jaytanie 2014

Books to Go Now

Also published on Smashwords

For information on the cover illustration and design, contact [email protected]

First eBook Edition –September 2014

Warning: the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, any place, events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously.

If you are interested in purchasing more works of this nature, please stop by

www.bookstogonow.com

Look for Other books by Joanne Jaytanie

Chasing Victory

Payton’s Pursuit

Coming Soon

Christmas Reflections

DEDICATION

The road to true love is filled with twists and turns. Enjoy your journey.

CHAPTER ONE

Laura stepped back
to admire the “help wanted” sign she’d hammered into the front yard of her grandparents’ one-hundred-year-old Victorian home. They signed over the deed to the Victorian months ago, before they moved to a cozy new condo in the Florida Keys. The Victorian was massive; too large for her alone, so she sold her café and began to convert her new home into a bed and breakfast. The B&B would also feature a new café which would offer breakfast and lunch to the public. If the café took off, she might consider a full-blown restaurant.
One step at a time,
she told herself. She knew she’d dragged her feet for the past few weeks, trying to regroup after the debacle of her help-wanted advertisement on the internet. Now she needed to move forward and turn this beast of a house into a thriving business. In order to do that, she needed some professional help.

Laura walked into the kitchen, grabbed a fresh cup of coffee and sat down to look at her ‘to do’ list. “Well, at least I can cross off one item on the list. But there’s still one pesky issue I keep pushing to the bottom. Tegan and the other girls will have my head if I don’t at least make an attempt to contact What’s-his-name soon.”

She’d been in a bit of a dry spell, five months since her last date. She blamed it on her focus to get this business up and running. Over a month ago, she’d drawn the name of a guy she committed to ask out on a date. It really wasn’t fair. Her friends drew names out of the basket and had a general idea of what the guy looked like and where he worked. Not her. She drew someone who only recently moved to Vine Grove. Laura didn’t even know if he was working yet, or where she might bump into him.

“Makes it rather difficult to ask him out.” That was her excuse and she would stick to it. “Fine,” she mumbled as guilt overtook her. She got up from the table and walked out to the front room, went over to the antique buffet, and pulled out the drawer to search for the piece of paper in question. She found the tiny, crumpled slip and smoothed it out. The front door opened as she read the name…

“Good morning. My name is Travis Jerome. I happened to be walking by and noticed your sign. What type of help are you looking for?”

It was all Laura could do to keep from hyperventilating as the name she read on the crinkled slip of paper echoed throughout the room. She cleared her throat, shoved the paper into her jeans pocket and turned toward the voice with her practiced smile.

“Hello.”
Really
, was that the best she could do? she thought. But the power of speech left her the moment she turned and fell into his soft grey-blue eyes. His dark blond hair was cut short and casually styled. His chiseled chin was covered with a neat five o’clock shadow. His full lips turned up slightly as she watched, mesmerized.

“Did you already hire someone?” he asked.

“What…no. I only just put the sign out,” Laura said, as she tried to avoid babbling like an idiot. “I’m looking for a handyman. If you have building experience it would be a big plus. Would you like an application?” She turned and pawed through several piles, in search of the applications she saw only a minute before.

“I can’t imagine you’ll get many inquiries with your sign. You might give some thought to an advertisement on the internet.”

“Puff,” she hissed. “I’ve already gone that route. I got a slew of interest from a bunch of uptight, stuffy, know-it-all architects. Every one of them wanted to gut the place and re-create it in their own image and not a one of them would listen to me. On top of it all, their prices were astronomical. Don’t get me wrong, I’m willing to pay a fair price for a fair job, but I do have a budget.”

Travis stood there gaping at her.
Get a grip
, she thought. All he did was offer an idea, he didn’t ask for her life story.

“I’m so sorry,” she said. She could feel the heat build in her cheeks and spread clear up to her earlobes. “Are you still interested in applying for a position with the crazy woman?” She held out a copy of the elusive application.

“I don’t scare easily. I’ll bring it back tomorrow,” Travis said with a smile.

Laura smiled and waved as Travis walked down the sidewalk.
So much for asking Mr. Travis Jerome for a date.
For that matter, after her display of insanity it was probably safe to assume he would never darken her doorstep again.

“Great, two strikes and I just met the guy. No wonder I haven’t dated in nearly five months.” She shook her head and closed the door.

CHAPTER TWO

“Good morning. It occurred to me I never got your name yesterday,” Travis said.

Laura nearly shrieked with surprise. Instead, she managed to bite her lip. Thank goodness. She’d already made herself look like a fool in front of this man. As she turned to look up at him from where she knelt, all she could make out was a large muscular frame that blocked the sun. She raised her hand to her brow in an attempt to get a clearer view.

“Laura…Laura Tate. I’m the owner. I guess you figured that part out.”

She pulled her garden gloves off and as she did, Travis reached out and offered his hand to help her up.

“Thank you,” she said, as she accepted his offer.

“Your gardens are lovely. Do you do all the work yourself?”

“I’m just putting in the new plants and flowers for the summer. My grandmother did all the hard work.”

“Well, you both do beautiful work. I brought back the application.” Travis pulled the folded paper from his back pocket and handed it to her.

“Would you like to come in? We could have a cup of coffee and a muffin and go over your application.”

“Sure.”

He followed her into the kitchen. Laura poured two cups of coffee and put a plate of muffins on the table.

“Help yourself. I’m going to go clean up. I’ll be right back,” she said.

* * * *

Laura looked even sexier today than yesterday, if that was even possible. As he casually walked up the sidewalk, he watched her dig in the dirt and plant her flowers. Her sun-kissed blonde hair was pulled up into a loose ponytail and every so often she would swing her head to get the hair away from her face. It gave him a glimpse of her soft, creamy peach neck. Her body was slim, but curvy, as demonstrated by the perfect fit of her jeans. When she first turned toward him, he saw the surprise in those haunting gray eyes. She instantly hid it, the same way she did yesterday, which made him wonder if she might be a woman who tried to hide her emotions.

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” Laura said. She’d changed her clothes and combed out her long blonde hair, letting it fall freely down her back.

“No problem. These muffins are awesome. Where did you get them?”

“I made them this morning. A new recipe I’m trying out for my café. I’m glad you like them.”

“Like them? I love them. If you hire me, I’ll be here for breakfast every day.”

“And if I don’t?” she asked with a giggle.

“Ahh, I’ll probably still come here every day. But you gotta admit it would save me a stop.”

She laughed and put a muffin on her plate. She tore off a small piece and tasted it. “Not bad.”

“Is this the first time you’ve tried it?”

“Yes. I never try my baked goods until they’re done. Food is a different story.”

“You cook too?”

“I do. Why do you think I want to open a B & B?”

“That will be a lot of work, with all the cooking,” Travis said.

“I hope to be busy enough I can hire a few cooks and a baker or two. That way I can plan menus and be in the kitchen only part of the time.”

She started to look over Travis’s application. He hoped he put down whatever skills she needed. He wanted this job; it would be a good break. This Victorian had lots of potential.

“I see you’ve built some homes,” she said.

“I’ve done my fair share.”

“What part of the process were you involved in?”

“I’ve done it all.”

“Really.” She sat quietly and read through his entire application. “You didn’t list what you were making at your last position.”

“I’m pretty flexible.”

“You have quite a bit of experience. I’m not sure I can pay you what you were making.”

“I don’t need much. I live with my grandparents right now. They need some help with their house and everyday errands. I rented out my place back in Seattle, so my overhead is lower.”

“I’ll still need to check your references.”

“I wouldn’t expect any less.” He called all his references last night to ensure they would all give Laura the same story. He looked forward to the chance to get back to his roots, his chosen field; he itched for the feel of a hammer in his hand. Projects like this came along only a time or two in one’s lifetime.

BOOK: Building Up to Love
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