Read Needs A Little TLC (Spinning Hills Romance 2) Online

Authors: Ines Saint

Tags: #Romantic Comedy, #Contemporary, #Romance, #Fiction, #Forever Love, #Adult, #Bachelor, #Single Woman, #Spinning Hills, #Ohio, #Town History, #Small Town, #Amador Brothers, #Community, #Hammer & Nails, #Renovating Houses, #Family Tradition, #Quirky, #Line Streets, #Old-Fashion Town, #Real Estate Agent, #Ten Years, #Small Agency, #Partnership, #Hometown, #Always Love, #Reconciliation, #Friendship, #Settling Down, #Houseful Of Love, #Little TLC

Needs A Little TLC (Spinning Hills Romance 2)

BOOK: Needs A Little TLC (Spinning Hills Romance 2)
12.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Also by Inés Saint
Published by Kensington Publishing Corp.
Needs a Little TLC
A Spinning Hills Romance
Inés Saint
Kensington Publishing Corp.
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
To my Dayton girls: Thank you for the coffees, the breakfasts, the brunches, the lunches, the dinners, the GNOs, the drinks, the inspiration and the laughs, but most of all thank you for being real.
As always, thank you to my husband and my two boys for their love, patience, and support.
So much gratitude to Maria M. for being a
inspiration, and to Tracey W. for sharing the story that inspired the Barbie and Ken episode that almost gave Cassie’s mom a heart attack . . . and for letting me borrow it!
An enormous, heartfelt thank-you to everyone who has worked on my books at Kensington Publishing for showing me how much you care!
Chapter 1
am slammed the ledger shut and hit the
key on his laptop. Numbers didn’t lie, whether they were typed up or written down. He scrubbed his face, as if the action could erase his worries.
The blinking light on his office phone caught his eye and he leaned over to scroll down the list of missed calls, eager for any distraction. His hand froze in midair when he saw the last caller was registered as
Red Realty
Resentment intermingled with hope. Both were unexpected. The past was past and Sam wasn’t one to open the door on its more painful episodes when they wanted to stop by for a visit.
But this wasn’t an old memory stopping by to visit an unwilling mind. This was real and this was now. His current circumstances explained the call and meant she’d be calling again.
He sat back and steepled his fingers, feeling like the cat who’d caught the canary. Except the canary was more like a cardinal and he’d stopped chasing it ten years before. And now here it was, flying back into his life because he had something she wanted.
“What’re you thinking so hard about?” his older brother, Dan, asked.
Sam snapped his eyes up. His two brothers were standing in front of him and he hadn’t even heard them come in.
“Yeah, you look evil.” Johnny, his younger brother, smiled in approval.
Dan crossed his arms and pretended to study him. “It’s actually a good look on you.”
“Yeah, you don’t usually do evil, but it brings out the flames in your eyes.” Johnny was at his desk, poking his nose into Sam’s papers, in two strides.
Sam discreetly pushed the ledger he’d been studying under some blueprints. “I can be evil when the mood strikes me.” He reached for a flyswatter and slapped Johnny’s hand when his brother reached for one of the blueprints.
“What the hell?” Johnny’s hand shot back.
“I keep it around just for you.”
“He’ll find out what you’re up to sooner or later,” Dan warned.
Sam felt the smile slide off his face. Dan was right. They would both find out. Everybody would find out.
Because Spinning Hills was that kind of town.
“Thirty-four highly promising fixer-uppers that will take you to the top,” Jessica repeated in a dutiful tone.
Cassie nodded and tapped her pencil on the one empty spot on her desk, hoping she looked like it was business as usual. But her leg was knocking the bottom of the desk in beat with the pencil, making the top wobble. She reached down and stilled her leg. “Yes. Twelve he’ll be listing soon and twenty-two in the pipeline, so to speak. My sources tell me he tried to list four in January, but winter was way too brutal this year. Now that spring is around the corner, he’ll be moving quickly.”
“Well, he didn’t answer. I’ll try again in a few minutes.” Jessica kept punching numbers into her calculator.
“You should try again now. We need to move fast.”
Jessica finally looked up. “Your energy is usually contagious, but today it’s draining mine. Why do you want
to call and meet with the owner if these thirty-four listings will take you to the top? You’re the insightful real estate broker, I’m the efficient office manager, remember?”
Cassie uncrossed her legs to keep her right leg from swinging again. “Here’s the thing,” she said, folding her hands on top of her desk.
“Uh-oh. Nothing good ever comes after ‘here’s the thing.’”
“It’s nothing bad. I just have a disclosure to make—a difficult one—so please hear me out.” She took in a quick puff of air and just as quickly blew it out. “The owner of the thirty-four properties I absolutely must list is Sam Amador. He was my best friend growing up and my first, well, love, I guess you could say. My sources tell me he’s interviewing Realtors this week and I need you to really focus when you call him again. We can go over the foolproof spiel I wrote down for you one more time if you think it’ll help.” Cassie got up and began to pace. “And you can call him on speakerphone this time, that way I can write down anything you need to know that might come up as we go along. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before.”
Jessica’s expression had gone from sympathetic and understanding to concerned. “Is this the guy you never want to talk about? The wound that still hurts?”
“That’s him.” Cassie drew to a halt in front of Jessica. “Remember, the goal of the call is for you to set up a meeting. Our sales numbers are impressive, so it shouldn’t be hard. The houses he’s renovating are in Spinning Hills, a fun little town and an inner ring suburb of Dayton. Listing his properties will get my foot firmly in the door of the Dayton market and will skyrocket me straight to the top of our niche.” She pretended her hand was a rocket shooting up into the sky and whistled a jetting sound for effect.
Jessica remained uneasy. “Are you sure this is the best way to get your foot in the door? I mean, if the wound still hurts it means it hasn’t healed and—”
Cassie placed both hands on the glass top of her friend’s tidy, formerly smudge-free desk. “Selling six of his properties would make us the number-one historic property brokerage in the state, Jess. Twelve would give us a nice lead. Thirty-four would leave everyone else in the dust. I want those houses. I want them bad. I just don’t want him to know it’s me who wants them.”
“He doesn’t know you own Red Realty?”
“We’re a small niche brokerage, we’re not in the Dayton market, and I use my mom’s maiden name professionally. I doubt he knows.” Cassie had told Jessica from the very start how important it was for her to keep her success her own and not get by on her father’s widely known, unmistakable last name.
“You know you’ll have to meet him sooner or later, though. Or are you planning on hiring someone else to list and prep the houses?”
“I’m listing them. I know that market inside out. But there’s no reason to think that far ahead so I’m blocking those thoughts.” Cassie pointed at the legal pad she’d handed to Jessica. “Read it again and call, but don’t overthink it.”
“But don’t you want to talk about it a bit—”
“Nope. I can’t. I’m this close to unblocking those thoughts.” She gestured with her fingers just how close she was. “I have to keep on moving. That’s the key.”
“I won’t call if you won’t talk about it.”
“Then I guess I’ll just have to get Kate from our Columbus office to do it.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Jessica crossed her arms and sat back.
Cassie plunked back down on her chair and sighed. Her Columbus area office was an hour and a half away from Spinning Hills and superbusy. It wouldn’t work. “Fine. I’ll tell you all about it if you get the meeting. Deal?”
Seconds later, Jessica’s phone was on speaker and the number to Amador Construction and Preservation was ringing. The more it rang, the tighter Cassie squeezed her hands together. It took her a moment to notice she’d stopped breathing.
A click sounded. Someone had picked up. “Amador Construction, this is Sam speaking.” The familiar voice was deeper and more purposeful than she remembered. Cassie’s heart began pumping so hard, she could hear its pounding rhythm in her ears. Her hands shook and she narrowed her eyes at them. She shouldn’t feel this way.
Sam Amador was an integral part of childhood memories she treasured. But a hidden place in her heart still harbored pain and resentment over how badly their relationship had ended.
Jessica cleared her throat and held the yellow legal pad up to her face. “Good morning, Mr. Amador. My name is Jessica Carter and I’m with Red Realty, a specialized brokerage focused on matching special historic properties with their perfect future owners.”
Cassie zeroed in on her friend’s voice, focused on the number one, which was underlined, highlighted, and circled in red on the back of the legal pad she was holding, and tried to bring herself back from the land of the stupid.
“I’m calling because I understand you have a number of historic houses on your hands, and I’d love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss your goals and how we can help you meet them.”
Cassie beamed at Jessica. She sounded professional yet warm, confident, and grateful for his time.
“Red Realty,” Sam repeated, a little too slowly. A little too . . . knowingly?
Nah. She no longer knew him well enough to read that much into two words. It was all in her head.
“Yes.” Jessica nodded, as if he could see her. “Red Realty. Perhaps you’ve heard of us? We’ve had great successes and built wonderful partnerships in the Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, and Cincinnati markets and we’d love to do the same in Spinning Hills and the Dayton region. I’d like to set up a meeting.”
“Sure,” Sam answered. Cassie and Jessica stared at each other, eyes wide, in a moment of shared triumph. Katy Perry’s “Firework” began playing so loudly in her head, she wondered if her friend could hear it. Jessica began doing a little dance in her chair.
“Put your owner on the line, and I’ll be happy to set up a meeting with her,” he finished.
The song in Cassie’s head stopped with a loud screech. Her eyes flew to Jessica’s, who dropped the legal pad. Cassie dove toward it and scribbled,
before looking up at Jessica.
“Her?” Jessica squeaked into the phone. Cassie flailed her hands and mouthed
. She hadn’t meant for her to repeat that. She bent over the pad again.
” Sam repeated
“The owner of Red Realty.”
,” Jessica said, throwing a hand up in frustration while she waited for Cassie to finish her mad scribble.
Owner not available or needed!!!
“I’m sorry, the owner isn’t available right now, but I can assure you a meeting with her won’t be necessary. She’s . . . a silent partner.” Her voice faltered. “But I assure you our Cincinnati office is well-equipped to handle your properties, Mr. Amador. We’ll outline a sales plan you can be enthusiastic about.”

partner? Right.” A soft chuckle came over the phone, and Cassie paused to stare at the air above it, half-expecting to see Sam’s head floating over it, looking right at her.
Cassie shook her head before finishing her scribble,
Set up meeting!
“What is a good day and time for us to meet, Mr. Amador?” Jessica asked.
“She’s listening, isn’t she?” Sam asked. Cassie’s eyes widened and then narrowed. Was that a smile in his voice?
Jessica snapped her pencil in two. “Excuse me?”
“Tell Cassie I never took her for a coward,” Sam replied.
Angry, red-hot sparks went off in Cassie’s head and traveled throughout her body. He knew. And he was being a big fat brat about it. She took two quick steps and grabbed the phone out of her friend’s hand, but as she did so, her dead therapist’s advice echoed in her mind.
She counted to ten,
, and considered her actions,
. “This is Cassidy Morgan,” she said. “My associate tells me you’d like to speak with me?”
“I knew you were listening, and I knew you didn’t have it in you to be a silent anything. Why are you using your mom’s last name? Hiding from someone?”
Cassie closed her eyes and counted to ten, again. The words,
we’re both professionals, Mr. Amador, let’s begin by treating each other as such
, were at the tip of her tongue
True words. A perfect comeback.
But she and Sam had been the best of childhood friends, and Sam’s words were just as true. After all, he had somehow known she was listening. If they were both going to be truly professional in their dealings, she’d have to acknowledge the old relationship while setting the tone for their possible future business relationship. He didn’t have to know that if she could crawl through the airwaves, come out the other side, and hit him with his phone, she would.
Sam leaned back in his chair and tried to think above the many feelings coursing through him. Part of him had gone back to a time when he’d known Cassie like the back of his hand, and he couldn’t help but enjoy the situation. Ten years might have passed, but there was no doubt in his mind she’d hit him over the head with his own phone at that moment if she could.
“Sam?” she finally spoke.
“I’m here.” It was a normal response, but something within him recognized a deeper truth. He’d always been
, a part of him waiting to see her again, while she’d left and never looked back. His smile flattened.
“Life is funny, right? It looks like our old shared interests have brought about the possibility of a business partnership. I can guarantee Red Realty is right for the job, and I’d like my associate to meet with you soon to discuss it. When would be a good time for you?”
All business. He’d never heard her like that. They weren’t the same people they’d once been. Maybe she didn’t even want to hit him over the head with his phone.
Cassie Morgan, aka Cassie McGillicuddy, the one person who had consistently made him lose his steadfast outward cool. She was always full of both brilliant and harebrained ideas coupled with an impulsive nature, and being around her had made him feel more alive. There’d been no way to tamp down emotions around her. It was why she’d been his best friend.
Until her biggest harebrained idea of them all. Asking him to teach her how to be a good kisser. He’d never forgotten that kiss. Nothing had ever felt so sweet. So thrilling. So moving. They’d fallen in love.
Soon after, they’d broken each other’s hearts.
Sam stifled a sigh. Cassie had started the call out at a disadvantage and was now trying to take control of the situation. Would he let her get away with it?
“Funny you mention old interests. The revitalization of Spinning Hills and Dayton and supporting local businesses are still top priorities for me. I’d be happy to meet with your associate and explain how I do business as long as you, the owner of Red Realty, are also present at that meeting. But don’t worry, you can be as silent as you like.”
BOOK: Needs A Little TLC (Spinning Hills Romance 2)
12.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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