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Authors: Jettie Woodruff

And in time...

BOOK: And in time...
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And in time…

Jettie Woodruff

This book is a work of fiction. References to real people, events, establishments, organizations, or locations are intended only to provide a sense of authenticity, and are used fictitiously. All other characters, dead or alive are a figment of my imagination and all incidents and dialogue, are drawn from the author’s mind's eye and are not to be interpreted as real.

All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2015 Jettie Woodruff

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author.

Before you begin reading this book, please understand that this is not my typical writing style. This is a love story, one that I hope you love as much as my other works. This is the first book that I ever wrote, the first book that I ever published, and the first book near and dear to my heart. I loved the characters when the first book came to life in a notebook over ten years ago, and I love them now that I am ready to hit publish for the second time. The first time was just shy of a nightmare. This makeover was needed, and I hope you fall in love. Thank you for all the love and support, thank you to all my fans who stick by me, and thank you for being my friends’.

This book is dedicated to my mom, my best friend.

To my dad, my hero.

To my brother, Scott, my two sisters, Leanna and Amy, my childhood memories.

To my kids, Nakita, Zachery, and Joshua. You all drive me crazy, but I love you to the moon.

To my funny lil girls, Brissy and Dallas.

I love you!

Nikki Reeves, Sheila Howell, Brandy, Laurrie Lenoard, Shannon Gardner, Team J, Jenna Dixon, Kristen Switzer, my awesome beta team, Rebecca Marie, Saints and Sinner book blog, sixty first reads, and I’m sure I’m missing someone.

Thank you everyone!!!


The students crowded in a large cluster. They laughed and joked, acting like normal teenaged boys, all while Alexis grew more and more annoyed with the rowdy football team. A plea to get that many boys to behave and stop goofing off was a job all on its own. The clouds were starting to roll in, and she knew she would lose the natural sunlight rather quickly. If these kids only knew how important that was, they would straighten up and let her do her job. Maybe. Doubtful. Spending five hours in photoshop wasn’t how she wanted to spend her night. Thank God she did the individual shots first. Alexis could only hope the cheerleading squad was not as boisterous as the jock boys. Thankfully, the girls’ photos would be shot inside the gymnasium away from the rain that would soon fall. If one drop of rain fell onto her camera, she would tie the entire football team up and drag them across the field with her Jeep.

Alexis begged with an exasperated tone, “Come on, Cody. Please, we’re almost finished.” The long-haired kid ignored her and left the group to do some type of dance move, which looked more like some epileptic seizure move. She started at ten in the morning with the individual shots of the nineteen boys. Two hours of their horseplay and teenage attitudes was more time than she had allocated for the simple group shot. Why? Why? Why couldn’t they just stand still?

“I’ll behave if you will let me take you to the homecoming dance,” the youngster stated, and then laughed at his own childish joke. Of course, his friends joined in as well—just what he needed, more encouraging.

Alexis pointed to his spot with a stern look. He obeyed and moved in with the team.
So mature—

“Okay, how about I just take you out after the dance?” he called. The next bout of laughter moved everyone too far to the left. Alexis was going to jail for murdering the Brady County Football team. The kid popped his hips and flipped his wrist like he’d just pulled one over on her. She was never going to beat the rain.

The sun peered out through dark clouds, and she sighed. The perfect chance for the natural lighting had been ruined by a smartass kid. “How about you call me when you start shaving?” Alexis retaliated while moving a kid in the front row to the right. How hard was it to just stand there? The team broke out into another laugh, hooting and whistling at the photographer’s comeback. “I’ll buy you an X-Box if you shut up.”

More laughing and then some much-needed help. Finally. Alexis began to wonder if Coach Benet was mad at her for something. He chuckled with his team and stepped in to help. “Okay, guys. That’s enough; let’s give the lady a break.”

Alexis noticed the front row was all in order. Blue and white helmets parked in front of each of the boys in the front row. One knee on the ground and an elbow to the knee. Perfect. The back row was in their correct stance, and everyone faced her. Coach Benet stood to the right in the back row and the nerdy little towel boy with thick glasses stood on the left side, just below the assistant coach. Flawless.

Quickly, she shot five in a row. “Don’t move—don’t move,” Alexis called with one finger in the air. The sun peeked brightly through the clouds again, and she shielded the digital screen with her hand, checking for goofy looks and closed eyes.
Yes. Yes. Perfect.

“Guys, you’re done,” she exclaimed with a wave of her hand, giving them permission to fall out of their poses. With a deep sigh, Alexis was sure she’d been more excited about that news than they were.

The girls were much easier to shoot than the boys—forty-five minutes and she was done. Unlike the football team, Alexis had a lot of fun with the girls. She knew most of them through her niece, Paige. Paige was a part-time helper at the studio where she did portraits. Alexis loved teaching her and found it a little refreshing to be around the teenager, listening to her boy troubles and giddy laughter.

Alexis watched the girls’ practice their cheers while she rolled up cords and packed away equipment. She couldn’t believe Paige was a junior already. It seemed like she was five just yesterday, begging to spend the night. Now she only wanted to spend her time with the Brady County Dragon’s quarterback. Paige didn’t have time for Aunt Lex unless she was working.

Alexis watched as heart-melting Jordan Casino strolled in, wearing his tight white football pants and a cutoff tee shirt, helmet and jersey tucked under his arm. He planted a kiss on Paige’s lips while his free hand roamed up the back of her short cheerleading skirt.

Alexis pursed her lips and pondered.
Hmm… Time for a talk, maybe?
Jordan turned and greeted her with a four-finger wave. She snorted and shook her head, knowing without a doubt Paige had just freaked out on him for doing that in front of her aunt. The frown and the shove to his chest gave it away.

Once Alexis was loaded up and back in her jeep, she dialed the studio.

“Brady Photography, this is Bernice, may I schedule you an appointment for your memories today?”

“Hey, Bernie, it’s Lex, how’s everything there?”

“Busy, I just finished with the Thomson twins—what a job that was.”

Alexis glanced at the time on her dash. No wonder her stomach started to growl. It was well past lunch.
Stupid boys.
“I would have traded you for the football team. Do you want to meet me at April’s for lunch?”

“I would love to, but I can’t. I have to go pick Taylor up from school. He threw up on his shoes.”

“Oh—nice. You can go on home if you want. I can finish up the afternoon. I don’t think it’s too heavy unless you booked more.” Alexis knew Paige would be coming to work after school, and the pang in the pit of her stomach reminded her of the talk they were going to have. Somebody had to do it.

“No. I didn’t, and the Cables just canceled, too. She didn’t want to bring the girls out all dressed up in the rain. Thank you. I think I’m going to take you up on that. Travis just called. He’s coming home for a few days. I would love to make him an excellent supper and clean the house before he gets home. I don’t want him to find out that I only clean when he’s coming home.”

Bernie may have been joking, but Alexis knew it to be the truth. Travis was a truck driver and only made it home for short trips—if he was on the road, their house never got cleaned. “Say hello for me.”

“I will. I’ll see ya later.”

Alexis drove over to the local diner, two blocks from her studio. “Well, thank ya very much,” she chanted while she waited for the car to pull out of a spot in front of the diner. The rain came down steady, yet light, the kind you could tell would be sticking around for a while.

“Damn,” she said quietly to herself. Alexis brushed rain from her windbreaker and looked around. Hopes of being in and out of the restaurant were quickly deflated. All she wanted was a nice, quiet, quick lunch. In and out. Was that too much to ask?


The restaurant was your typical small town diner. Booths lined the windows with tables and chairs in two rows down the middle. A U-shaped bar separated the patrons from the kitchen and Floyd the cook. The man wore a constant, contagious smile, and his nickname mirrored his image. Friendly Floyd.

There was a table with the only two local mailmen, one with a mom and two kids eating ice cream, one with Lester—the town drunk—and… “Crap,” Alexis said with a grunt. Her quest to find a place to sit came to a quick halt.
No. Not them. Anyone but them.

Her mind didn’t even register where she went or what she did. She ducked into the nearest booth and hid behind a menu. “Sorry,” she apologized. One eye glanced around the side dishes and beverages to the well-dressed man in front of her. “I’ll only be a minute. Is that okay?”

“I’m not sure how my wife will react when she comes through that door,” he answered with a nod toward the “ladies” sign. Alexis could feel the flush move from her ears to her high cheekbones, and then her neck. She dropped the menu, embarrassed by her quick decision to hide from her family. 

“I’m kidding,” he joked as his ring finger danced in the air. “See—no ring.”

Alexis’s eyes darted from his to the family she desperately tried to hide from. She knew it was too late to use the menu as a barrier again. She was busted.

“Look who’s here, Joe,” Aunt Rosaline squealed to her husband, who’d been trailing behind. The short, plump lady with glasses too big for her face and floral print dress from the seventies stood just in front of her husband.

Alexis tried to hide the sarcasm. The nice-looking guy across from her smiled, amused at her obvious frown. “Hello, Aunt Rosaline.”

“Oh, and she has a boyfriend finally. It’s about time—right, Joe?” she asked. No one really knew why. She never gave the poor man time to answer. “Hi, I’m Alexis’s Aunt Rosaline, and this is her Uncle Joe. Did she tell you she was named after me?” She didn’t give the poor stranger time to answer, either, before she began to ramble on about something else. “Oh, Alexis, you look so thin. You should make her eat more,” she badgered back to the stranger.

Alexis looked at him in defeat and shook her head. There was nothing she could do to shut her up. There was nothing anyone could do to shut Aunt Rosaline up. Endure it and pray she had an appointment for her beehive hair. 

The waitress stood just behind Aunt Rosaline and waited for her mouth to shut up, too. “Just the usual, Carol.” Without a word, the waitress rushed off to fill her customary order.

“Are you the new banker?” Aunt Rosaline asked, still not giving him time to respond. “I heard they hired some new city slicker for the new bank president. I’m sure we’ll be seeing you over there. Joe and I’ve banked at Brady National for fifty years. Right, Joe?”

After another five minutes of the one-sided conversation, Alexis looked to her Uncle Joe for help.

Thank God Uncle Joe took the hint and rescued her from further humiliation. “Come along now, Rosaline. Let’s let these kids enjoy their lunch,” Joe pressed. His hand clasped her elbow and led her off, guiding her to the wet streets.

“Thank you,” Alexis mouthed to Uncle Joe.

Uncle Joe nodded his goodbye, tipping his hat toward Cory, and then said to Alexis, “We’ll see you at your folk’s house on Saturday.”

Alexis raised her arms for her plate. “Thanks, Carol.” 

“You’re welcome, sweetie. Can I get you anything else?” Carol asked both customers at the same time, looking from one to the other. 

“I’m okay. Thank you.” The man spoke, apparently for both of them. Carol didn’t wait for her response. She was busy. The rain must have pulled everyone in town in for lunch.

Alexis tried not to notice the smile that caused her own lips to curl a little. One small dimple formed on his cheek, just to the right of his Colgate white teeth. 

Alexis looked around and slid to the edge of the booth. There was an empty seat by Lenny, the only mechanic in Cedar Springs. She supposed she could eat with him. “Thanks for enduring my aunt.”

“Wait. You’re leaving me after that? I think you at least owe me lunch. I mean, I did sustain Aunt Rosaline for seven minutes and thirteen seconds.”

“That was your fault,” she badgered lightheartedly. “If you wouldn’t have played the wife card, she would have never known I was here. And it was sixteen seconds.”

The focus quickly turned from her meddling aunt when the new guy looked at her plate. He changed the subject with a snarl. “What are you eating?!”

Alexis bit into her sandwich, deciding to stay. Besides, Lenny always smelled like motor oil, and he, too, had been quite the talker. She really wasn’t in the mood to hear about the details of installing a new transmission or his latest brake job. Not to mention, her new friend was easier on the eyes.  

“Tuna, A-1 Sauce, provolone cheese, and pickles on a sesame seed bun.”


“Hey, I’m not judging that.”

“My salad?”

“Boring salad.”

“Are you—never mind.” he stopped himself before finishing a sentence that may or may not offend her.

Alexis read between the lines, only because she’d been asked the same thing before. “No. I’m not pregnant.” The handsome drifter laughed and took a bite of his ordinary chicken salad with ranch.

“Do you live around here?”

Alexis held up a finger and chewed the food in her mouth. “Yes. I live out on River Road.” She nodded toward the end of town, noticing the fancy red car parked on the corner. “You’re not from around here, are you?”

“No. Not originally. I live on Wilmore Street now. I just moved here a week ago from Chicago.”

Alexis knew exactly were Wilmore Street was. She conspicuously studied him while they made small talk and ate lunch. Why was he here? What brought him to Cedar Springs from such a big city? After all, Cedar Springs was hardly even on the map, a small town surrounded by other small towns. There was something up with this guy. Something didn’t add up.

As much as she wanted to, Alexis didn’t pry. She continued to eat her lunch, assuming from the white cotton shirt, the silk tie, and the black dress slacks he was the new president of the only town bank. That didn’t stop her from pondering, why Cedar Springs? He was extremely good looking, even if she tried not to notice. He still was. He had light brown hair with natural highlights, messy, maybe a little long for a banker. He could have passed for a rocker had he been sporting a more casual attire. His sharp jawline, high cheekbones, and a shadow of a beard gave him a sophisticated appearance—like he was older than he really was. Although he’d been sitting, Alexis could tell he had a very nice build. Very nice. She had to keep reminding herself not to notice that, too.

BOOK: And in time...
9.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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