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High-Stakes Lover

Written by Cindy Dees

Chapter Twenty

Zeke put the phone down and leaned back in his chair. "There. Now my brother can't sell my studio out from under me to Technodax."

"But you just sold it to Adrian Turnow and Jackson Prescott! You've lost Serendipity Studios anyway!" Mia exclaimed.

He shrugged. "I would have had to sell it regardless. As you discovered, Gordon cleaned me out. The studio is broke. Movies always have cost overruns and unexpected expenses. Even if I were to line up a whole new set of investors, I wouldn't have the cash reserves to make the space western and have a shot at saving the studio if the movie is a big hit."

"But Zeke," she said in a broken whisper. "It meant everything to you."

"It used to mean everything to me. Not anymore."

She stared at him in blank disbelief. "What are you talking about?" I've seen you walk around this place. You love everything about it. You love the mess and the noise and the chaos, the creative energy of the people…all of it. It's your life!"

"It was my life. But then you came along."

"I don't understand."

"Don't you see? I threw myself into my work because I had nothing else. Of all people, I thought you would get that. You're just like me in that regard."

She frowned for a moment, and then nodded. "Yes, I do get lost in my work."

He winced. "I was hoping you only did that in the past tense."

Another frown from her. He explained. "Mia, what changed for me is that you came into my life. You gave me something other than the studio to fill my world and my heart. I don't need the studio to feel complete anymore. Besides, I'll get enough cash out of the sale to make a movie now and then if I want to. More importantly, I've got you, now." He took a deep breath. "And I'm hoping you feel the same way about me."

She stared at him for a long time. Long enough that dread started to creep into his nervous anticipation. But then a slow smile broke across her face that grew and grew until her entire being shone with brilliant joy. She breathed, "Oh, yes, Zeke. I do feel the same way about you. I love you."

"Enough to leave your job at Technodax and run away with me? I'm still going to get a nice chunk of change from the sale of the studio in spite of my brother."

He'd never held his breath so hard in his life. If he could cross all his fingers and toes at once, he would be doing that right now.

Another long pause. And then all of a sudden she threw herself at him, rocking him back in his chair and dropping kisses all over his face fast and furious. "Ohmigosh, Zeke. Yes. Yes! I'll go anywhere with you. Let's leave right now!"

"There's one more thing I'd like to take care of before we take off to explore the world together."

"What's that? You name it. I'll help."

"I'm counting on that. Marry me, Mia. Will you marry me…and maybe date me, first?"

"Oh, yes, Zeke. I will date you. And I'll make a date to marry you, too." Her eyes filled with tears that he knew to be of joy.

She'd just made his life complete. And he hadn't even known it was empty until she came along. "I love you, Mia. Forever."

THE END

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About the author

I’m the only child of hippies from the 1960′s – only...

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Cindy Dees

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