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Our Season For Love

Written by Sherelle Green

Will this be a new season for their love?

Laney Lexington's job just went from manageable to full blown chaotic. When the freelance company she helped hire to design an app set to launch in less than a week, goes under, Laney can't falter. Luckily, as the social media operations manager for Tailored Sophistication, she strives in high pressure situations. She knows that returning to her hometown of Summerland, Michigan, and to the door of a former flame is where she'll discover the solution to her dilemma, but she has no plans of falling back into his strong, enticing arms!

Life has been anything but predictable for Austin Black. As a former FBI Cyber Security Specialist turned web engineer, he's experienced enough action to last a lifetime. There's not much in the world that temps Austin, but before they parted ways, the beautiful woman at his door was once his greatest adventure. Laney's in desperate need of help, and he intends to fulfill her wishes. He'll get the app up and running before the launch date, but he wants Laney's undivided attention in return. And for the remainder of her visit, Austin will show her just how magical and just how rewarding a future together could be…

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Chapter One

"Please tell me you're joking!" Laney Lexington paced the floor of the cozy B and B and tried her best to keep her voice calm. Her week had started off bad and was getting progressively worse by the minute.

"Georgia, I have to stay at your B and B. I drove all the way to town from Chicago, and I plan on being here for at least a couple of days."

The older woman with a head full of gray hair looked at Laney through apologetic eyes. "I understand, sweetie, but there is nothing I can do. A traveling motorcycle club arrived in Summerland yesterday and reserved all ten of my rooms."

Laney squeezed the bridge of her nose to try and offset her growing headache. "Don't you have two emergency spare rooms in the basement? Are they available?"

"Usually they would be, but the entire basement is getting renovated so it isn't livable right now. I would tell you to call Al to see if you could stay in one of the spare rooms above his restaurant, but he already called to tell me he'd taken in a few out of town visitors."

"So basically, I'm out of options." Laney couldn't believe her luck. She'd lived her entire life in Summerland, Michigan, with the exception of going away to college, and had only recently moved to Chicago after landing her dream job. Now, not only was she back in town after only months of being away, but she also had no place to stay.

"I guess I could call Stefanie." Stefanie had been her friend since they were in kindergarten.

"Do you still talk to Stefanie?" Georgia asked.

"Of course I do. I've only been living in Chicago for six months so I haven't been gone that long."

"At the Christmas party, Stefanie announced that she was headed to Europe for a year. She just left a couple weeks ago."

"That's right," Laney said, snapping her fingers. "I forgot about that." Laney hadn't been back for Christmas like she'd promised, but Stefanie had called her to tell her about her internship at a prestigious art firm in Paris. She hadn't heard from Stef since she arrived in Paris but made a quick mental note to call her as soon as she got herself out of this mess.

"There is one other option," Georgia said with a sneaky smile.

"I don't like that look, Georgia. What are you thinking?"

"Well, I just so happen to know a young man who is back in town and has a nice roomy trailer in his backyard. Care to take a guess who that person is?"

Laney didn't need to guess who Georgia was referring to. She already knew. Even if she hadn't known, she would've been able to guess just by the sly look present on Georgia's face.

"Let me guess. You're referring to your nephew."

"I sure am," Georgia answered clasping her hands together. "He's staying in the old Wheeler estate, and it just so happens that he's renting the trailer in his back yard. I'm sure he'd be happy to see you."

I highly doubt that. "He's never happy to see anyone, especially me."

"Oh sweetie, that's not true. You two were as thick as thieves growing up."

That may have been true, but that was a long time ago. "Well, things change, but now that I'm actually back in town, I guess I might as well stop prolonging the inevitable and head over to his place."

"Wonderful! We couldn't have you out in the streets with no place to sleep. You and my nephew are more than welcome to come back in a few hours for dinner. I heard they have good food in Chicago, but nothing beats my cooking. Let me just grab a notepad to jot down his address for you in case you've forgotten it."

After Georgia left the room, Laney sank down into a nearby couch. What an insanely crazy week. When she'd landed the job as the Social Media Operations Manager at Tailored Sophistication, she could barely contain her excitement. The clothing and lingerie online subscription was created by designers, Winter Dupree and Taheim Reed. Their new web app allowed men and women to complete a survey that included information on their personal style, size, measurements, and have a Tailored Sophistication stylist handpick their clothing, nightwear or lingerie. In addition, the app offered styling advice based on the best type of clothing for his or her body type.

Laney had no doubt in her mind that Tailored Sophistication would be the next best thing to hit the clothing market. However, the website and app launch was in just seven days, and they had a serious hiccup in their plan. Laney had no idea what had pushed her to convince Winter and Taheim that she had the resources to save the official launch party. She wasn't sure she'd actually stopped to think about what she was doing before she had hopped in her car and drove back to her hometown determined to find a solution.

After Georgia returned with a slip of paper in hand, she handed the address to Laney and gave her an encouraging hug. "It's fine, sweetie. You two go way back, so just be yourself."

***

Fifteen minutes later, Laney was standing in front of a slightly worn red door trying to embody Georgia's words.

"You can do this. Just be yourself and try to relax. " The pep talk did little to calm her nerves. She adverted her eyes to the can of red paint in the corner of the porch and admired the snow white porch railing that had recently been painted. It may sound crazy, but she knew those paint strokes anywhere. The home looked a lot better than the way old man Wheeler had left it.

Adjusting her light blue scarf and taupe spring coat, she took a deep breath before knocking on the front door. When he didn't answer, she knocked again a little harder than before.

"So typical," she mumbled. It was just like him not to answer when someone knocked. If she had his number, she would've called first. Before she got a chance to mumble a few more choice words, the door swung open just as she reached out her arm to knock a third time.

She wasn't sure if it was the momentum of the door swinging open while her hand was in midair or the shock of her eyes landing on the one man she thought she'd probably never see again that made her stumble. Her feet seemed to have a mind of their own as she tripped over the porch mat and tumbled forward, unable to balance herself.

As she felt herself free-falling into the foyer of the home, strong muscular arms tightly gripped her around her waist and flipped her around.

All the air rushed out of her lungs at the quickness of his moves. It was hard enough to admire him from a distance and not salivate, let alone face him with his deep hazel eyes peering into her chestnut brown ones as if catching her from a nasty fall was just part of his everyday duties.

He hadn't spoken yet, and the fact that he wasn't talking was making her extremely nervous. This was the man she'd often thought about when she played those games with girlfriends that made you answer a ton of uncomfortable questions. Questions about your first kiss, first love, the one that got away or the one that broke your heart. Every single time she had to answer a question about love, passion, and heartache, there was only one name that left her lips—one name that always invaded her thoughts.

"Austin Black," she whispered, bringing even more thoughts to the forefront of her mind. One of his golden-brown tattooed arms reached out to brush a few strands of her curly black hair from her face, while the other maintained its tight grip around her body.

"Laney Lexington. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

His voice was deep. More seductive than she remembered. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. What have I gotten myself into?

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Sherelle Green

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