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Authors: Sylvia McDaniel

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BOOK: The Relationship Coach
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Oh God, to go crawling back to that egotistical good-looking man who didn’t believe in what she was doing, but thought he could convince her of his credence.

“How long do documentaries take to film?”

“It can depend, but usually a couple of months, and then a month is spent on editing and final film production. His documentary could be in theaters or purchased by one of the networks no later than six months down the road.”

Six months down the road, she could either have her business booming or looking for a place to hide, from Mr. Hunter’s exposé. What choice did she have? She had an opportunity that could be good, or it could be incredibly bad.

 

“In the meantime, I’ll go back to the networks and tell them you have a documentary on your business coming out. This could be their last chance at this show.” He smiled. “I think we’ll get an offer.”

All her uncertainties rushed through her, seizing her lungs, her heart, her brain in a painful grip. She could lose everything.

“But what if it’s not good? I mean if he trashes my business, then no network is going to want me,” she said, her fear rising like an elevator racing to the top floor.

Stan took a deep breath. “Yes, that wouldn’t be good. Sometimes you have to take a chance to get what you want. You have to decide if you’re willing to let this man film your business and possibly get a network show, or film your business and possibly be ruined. It’s your decision.”

Great! Even he realized she was taking a huge risk.

“And you think if I do this documentary, you can get me that television show I’m wanting?”

Stan smiled at her and nodded reassuringly. “The network liked the idea of your show; they just want someone with better name recognition. If you’re in a documentary that has worldwide distribution, you and your business will be stars.”

Lacey bit her lip. Part of her wanted to jump up and down, and part of her was screaming, you’re risking everything. But sometimes to achieve your dreams, you had to take big risks.

She took a deep breath and released it slowly. “I’ll contact Reed and hope and pray he still wants to use my business.”

No risk, no pain, no gain. She would either have a successful business or be looking for a job in six months. Like a gambler in Vegas, she was rolling the dice.

“Yes, do that right away. If he says no, call me and let me know.”

“Hopefully, he’s still interested. It hasn’t been that long. You’ll approach the networks once I find out Reed is willing to film my business?”

“Yes. We could have a deal by the time the documentary is finished filming.”

Lacey grinned, her heart fluttering inside her chest. God, she hoped she was making the right decision. “I can’t believe this is really happening. My dream could be coming true. This should make my business flourish.”

He laughed and stood, letting her know their interview was over. She rose, her knees still knocking, but not from nerves. This time it was from excitement.

“Oh, I think you’re going to be surprised at how this will affect your business. You may need to consider adding more staff.”

Walking her to the door, he said, “Call me after you talk to Reed and get the documentary finalized. That’s the key to making this happen.”

***

Lacey rode down the elevator, her mouth turned up in a grin that must have been blinding to the people around her. Sure, she was afraid Reed had found another relationship coach, but they were so close to achieving her dream. He couldn’t have found someone else. She would throw herself at his feet and beg if that’s what it took to be part of his film.

Barely concealed restraint kept her from yanking her cell phone out and calling Amanda. Excitement danced like it was Carnival season in Brazil along her nerve endings, making her legs want to break out in a dance in the parking garage. She forced herself to remain calm until she reached her car.

She ran to her car, jumped in, and slammed the door shut. She released the scream of excitement bottled inside. People around her must have thought she was nuts, but who cared. She was close to realizing her dream.

Finally, she pressed the Bluetooth in her car.

“Hello,” Amanda said.

“Are you ready for television?”

“Oh, my God, he’s going to do the show?”

“Well, not yet, but we’re close. The problem we have is name recognition. When I mentioned we’d had the offer of a documentary, Stan reacted like a thousand watts had zapped him. Once the networks learn a documentary will be coming out about us in four to six months, he thinks we’ll have a deal.”

“But you turned that down,” Amanda said, disappointment vibrating loud and clear through the car.

“Yes, I did. His card is in my top desk drawer. Call him and tell him I need to meet with him immediately. Today, tonight, tomorrow, just as soon as possible.”

“What if he’s found someone else?”

“What if he hasn’t?” Lacey responded, trying to remain upbeat and optimistic. “Call him. Now.”

“I’m on it, boss.”

The phone line went dead.

Lacey grinned as she drove to her next appointment. She needed to research documentaries. She didn’t want to be a complete idiot when it came to what Reed would be doing, besides following her around and filming her. Now she needed to choose which of her clients she thought would work well with the camera crew.

But first she had to cinch the deal with Reed.

***

Reed’s cell phone rang, and he glanced down at the number, Mate Incorporated. He let the call go to voice mail, wondering what they wanted. The scene sequence for the documentary was completed. So far he’d found two disgruntled clients of Lacey’s company. He’d lined up a psychotherapist to talk about the differences between coaches and therapy. Dr. Lewin had repeated there was no accreditation or even a governing body to regulate relationship coaches. Anyone could hang out a shingle with promises they would help you find the person of your dreams.

Filming Lacey’s business would have been easier, the film would have been better, but he’d find a way to get what he needed.

His phone beeped, letting him know there was a message. Reed dialed his voice messages and heard Lacey’s assistant ask him to call her. Lacey wanted to schedule another meeting with him.

Reed smiled. Two could play this cat and mouse game. He glanced at his watch. It was ten. This morning he had errands to run, and later this afternoon, his high school filmmaking club met. Lacey Morgan would just have to wait.

***

Lacey tried her best to show interest in the apartment she and Dean were being shown. A nice three-bedroom with a study, fireplace, twenty-five hundred square feet, in one of the nicest areas. The apartment even had a garage for one of their automobiles.

The agent switched on the lights as she walked through the apartment. “This is our largest apartment. We have washer/dryer hookups and, if you don’t own your own, we have a rental company that offers them to you at twenty-five dollars a month. Our leases are twelve months and require a credit check, insurance, and one month’s deposit.”

“What do you think, honey?” Dean asked her as they strolled through the sprawling apartment.

She glanced at her watch. Six hours had passed, and Reed had yet to return her or Amanda’s calls.

Dean frowned at her. “Lacey, honey, are you with me? Do you like it?”

“It’s nice. The rooms are the right size, I like the kitchen, but this is the first one we’ve seen. I think we should look at several apartments before we decide.”

He shook his head, obviously disappointed, and smiled at the apartment complex rental agent. “Thanks for your time. We’ll let you know.”

“No problem. Here’s my card.”

They walked back to his Jeep. “I really liked that apartment. It had everything we’re wanting.”

“It’s the first one we’ve seen. We may come back to it, or there could be one we like better that we’ve yet to see.”

“But what if this one is rented by then?”

“There will be others.”

She realized he was on the verge of being mad. “Do you want to go back and sign the lease? Are you ready to take that step?”

He frowned. “I guess not. You seem distracted today.”

Like he’d never been distracted? How many times had she waited for him? Missed him? Well, he could just damn well be understanding of her today.

She sighed. This waiting was getting to her, and if she wasn’t careful, she’d take it out on Dean.

“I’m sorry. I told you I’m waiting to hear back from Reed Hunter about the documentary. Everything depends on getting this film.” Lacey bit her lip. “I should have just done the damn thing.”

“Why did you turn it down?” he asked perplexed.

Now, he wanted to second-guess her. Now, when he hadn’t been here when she was wrestling with the idea.

“I…I don’t know. I wasn’t certain how he would depict my business. I knew I had this meeting with the television director, so I went with my gut. Now, I’m regretting my decision.”

“What’s changed? Do you know any more about this documentary?” Dean asked.

“What’s changed is that I need his documentary to get my television show. He’s not the type of man who appreciates what I do. For all I know, he could show my business as a simple dating service, taking people’s money and playing with their emotions.”

So much was riding on this documentary, and it was all out of her control. All she could do was speak to Reed and try to get a feel for him once again.

“But you’re going to take the chance because of the television show.”

“Probably.”

“And if he is doing a documentary about you as a scheming, money-making, date shop, what then? Have you got a back-up plan?”

The possibility of someone smearing the business she’d built from nothing was unthinkable, and her chest tightened in fear. Nothing could be worse. She’d experienced people who didn’t believe in her business. But usually after meeting her, hearing her success stories, and the results of her system, they admitted she changed lives. She helped people find mates that had meaningful partnerships. She put people together for life.

Frustration nipped at her like a dog biting her ankles, and she all but snapped at Dean. “I don’t know. I have no back-up plan. I’d want to help Mr. Hunter make the best documentary ever as long as it has a positive message about my company.”

Dean glanced over at her. “You’re taking a big chance, aren’t you?”

She must be making Dean miserable, but she couldn’t help herself. Everything was so unsettled. Once she talked to Reed and could put this anxiety behind her, she’d be fine. But everything hinged on a man she’d known a week.

“Yes.” She glanced over at him, suddenly feeling remorseful for her crankiness. “I’m sorry if I haven’t been very attentive or even excited about looking at this apartment today. You deserve my full attention. We’re about to embark on a new life together, and I should be focused on you.”

He pulled the Jeep out into traffic on the freeway, and then gazed at her. “That’s what I love about you. Even when you’re at your worst, you realize the problem and accept your part. You make me feel good.”

She smiled at him. “You’re welcome. Now where are you taking me for dinner? I’m starved, and I promise to think only of us.”

“How about the—”

Her ring tone started playing, and she grabbed her cell phone from her purse. “Hello.”

“Reed Hunter.”

Immediately, she felt a sense of relief. Finally, he was calling, and she could make some decisions. “Hello, Mr. Hunter. How are you this afternoon?”

“I’m well, thank you. Your marketing director, Amanda, called and said you wanted to meet again. Can I ask what this is about?”

“Mr. Hunter, I’ve reconsidered. I’d like to discuss the possibility of doing your documentary. But before I make my decision, there are some things we need to discuss.”

“How about dinner tonight?”

Lacey glanced at Dean. His forehead drew together in a frown. God, she wanted to go, but how could she go off and leave Dean? Yet, how could she wait another day without knowing or making a decision?

Dean mouthed at her, obviously hearing their conversation. “It’s okay. Go if you need to.”

“What time?”

“How about seven thirty?”

Lacey glanced at her watch and realized that would give her two hours to get ready and get to the restaurant. “Where?”

“I’ll meet you at Brucelli’s.”

“I’ll see you at seven thirty,” she said almost giggly with relief. Either way, at least a decision would soon be made.

“I’ll be there,” he said and disconnected.

Lacey glanced at Dean, a smile on her face. “Thanks, honey, I really appreciate this. I promise you once I get this settled, we’ll find that apartment, and soon we’ll be together all the time.”

He reached over and patted her on the thigh. “You go get the guarantees you need to make this film.”

“I will,” she said, but she didn’t feel as certain as she sounded.

She was about to wage her business and her career on a man who did documentaries for a living. Who exposed people? How would he expose her?

A chill rippled through her, and she felt like she stood on the edge of a cliff. One wrong move and she’d tumble over.

 

 

Chapter Five

 

L
acey strolled into the dimly lit Italian restaurant; the romantic ambience greeted its patrons at the door. Elevator music played softly, while candles flickered in the darkened dining room. Fragrant oregano drifted in the air with the sweet smell of fresh bread.

A seduction restaurant and she wondered at Reed’s choice. Everywhere she looked, couples engaged in the dance of courtship, leaning in close to one another, talking softly with desire reflecting in their gazes.

This hardly seemed the place for a business dinner. A dinner over which she would commit her business and her career to a man she knew very little about. Yet, if she wanted the television show, what choice did she have?

Standing in the entryway, she scanned the area and observed Reed sitting at a booth, waiting for her. When he saw her, he jumped to his feet.

BOOK: The Relationship Coach
12.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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