“Sign on the dotted line and we’ll have a deal.” Haley gazed upon Luke’s rugged finger as he pointed to the bottom line of the contract. It seemed he couldn’t wait until she signed the lease. He appeared standoffish, almost put out by her presence. Didn’t he want to rent the space to her? Haley wondered for the hundredth time since seeing the place. Every time she came within feet of him he moved across the room as if she had the plague or something. Haley Richards had never experienced such behavior from a man in all of her twenty-eight years. Well, maybe that’s not totally true. There was the time when she had kissed David Black in the sixth grade. He had been a shy boy. Haley had fallen hard for David, even with his braces she couldn’t resist the urge to make him her boyfriend, but David wanted no part. She tried on numerous occasions to convince him that they were meant to be, but he flat out refused. Being the head strong person Haley Richards was she refused to take no for an answer. So one day after the bus had dropped them off on the corner she had called David over in front of a group of friends. Reluctantly, David had walked up to Haley. She planted a kiss dead on his lips. The kiss was magical to her. Love had been in the air that day. They would be a couple and grow up and get married. Certain he had felt the magic too, Haley proclaimed her love for David. Only Haley miscalculated the magic. David ran off screaming and crying for his house. After that day David steered clear of Haley. He stopped taking the bus. He had his mother pick him up from school every day. He’d run the opposite direction in the hallway if he saw her coming. David Black had rejected and broken her that day. One thing was certain, he hadn’t deterred her men altogether. David was a learning lesson every kid learns. It wasn’t until her ex Tim that Haley had sworn off men once and for all. She had to admit if it weren’t for Tim none of this would be happening. Strange as it was, in a way she had Tim to thank for her future.
Haley’s eyes trailed up the length of Luke’s arm. She looked into his blue eyes. Lost like a boat in the ocean, she wondered what made a man like Luke run from someone like her. She hadn’t come on to him. Yes, he was drop dead gorgeous which made it all the more reason for her to stay away from him.
Luke cleared his throat, steering her mind back to the matter at hand.
“This is really happening, isn’t it? I’m really finalizing this?” Excitement filled her voice. After months of searching for the perfect space, she finally found this one. Haley searched many cities, and looked at numerous dumps. The flats she saw were either too small for the high prices, too dumpy, or in a bad area.
Luke’s building was perfect. It was in a safe neighborhood and the price was reasonable. The four room flat would make a fabulous place to run her magazine. After years of dreaming about owning her own magazine, she was about to make that dream reality. In only a few moments a new life would begin. Her dreams were coming true.
Her heart pounded as she reached for the pen. Was this possible? Hadn’t Tim knocked her idea? Told her she’d never accomplish something so grand. Said she’d be nothing without him. Yes, he had. But Haley was ready to prove him and anyone else who didn’t believe in her wrong. After years of being a senior writer on the staff of Skyze Unlimited she was ready to take on new role; editor and publisher. Her deadlines would be more demanding now, but she’d be running the show and calling the shots. She was
ready for the challenge. Haley would make the decisions as to what did and didn’t grace the pages of her magazine. This was her baby. There was no man by her side helping her climb this ladder. She was doing this all alone. Haley Richards was an independent women. She didn’t need or want a man in her life. She was going to prove to the world just how successful and independent she was.
Adrenaline pumping rapidly, Haley looked down at the paper Luke held under her nose. They’d been sitting at the small card table, the only furniture in the room, for the last half hour going over every detail, until Luke stood up and walked behind her. He bent over, leaning very close to her back. She felt his hot breath on her neck. The hairs stood on end, aware of his closeness. Again, thoughts of his lips on her body filled her mind. Desire stirred inside her. She had to sign and get him out of this room immediately.
“Are you ready?” His voice barely a whisper, so seductive, she wasn’t quite sure what he was implying. Could Luke possible be hinting innuendoes?
“Ready for what?” She asked nervously. Anticipation filled her as she waited with baited-breath for his reply.
Luke backed away cursing himself for the thoughts running through his head. Standing that close breathing in the sweet smell of Jasmine drove him mad. “To finalize this deal!” He came across a bit rougher than he’d expected, but he couldn’t help it. Haley Richards affected him in ways he didn’t like and wouldn’t stand for.
“Let me have that pen.” Quickly, she signed her, Haley Richards.
“Congratulations, our deal’s complete!” Luke extended his hand. “As your new landlord let me welcome you to the neighborhood.” After shaking her hand, he raked his fingers through his wavy black hair, thankful the deal was finally complete.