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Love Saves Collection - e-Book Bundle

Love Saves Collection - e-Book Bundle

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Love Saves is the story of women with visions and men who love them. Everyone has situations, and the women of Chusada have more than their fair share. From runaway brides to fake relationships, it's not easy trying to live your dreams in a town that thinks dreams are for kids. Come join in the fun and adventure as women find themselves, men are challenged, and love is found.

Main Tropes

  • Grumpy Hero
  • Forgiveness
  • Women Friendship

Synopsis

Love Saves is the story of women with visions and men who love them. Everyone has situations, and the women of Chusada have more than their fair share. From runaway brides to fake relationships, it's not easy trying to live your dreams in a town that thinks dreams are for kids. Come join in the fun and adventure as women find themselves, men are challenged, and love is found.

Intro into Chapter One

Chapter One

New York City

July

 

Smack, smack, smack.

The two sizes too
small hot-pink flip flops snapped against Liam Butler’s heels as he hurried
down the alleyway. He tightened the towel, which barely covered his thighs,
around him and let out a sigh of relief. He’d managed to escape his date by
slipping through the bathroom window and had made it down the three blocks to
his hotel.

As
he headed for the building’s rear door, he grimaced at the stench in the alley.
When the slight July breeze came through, it brought a very pungent smell along
with it.

 The narrow passage was dark and he could hear
some questionable movement in the back. When Liam looked on the ground, he had
to avoid the murky puddles of what, he didn’t even want to guess. “Ugh! I don’t
know what’s worse, my situation or the smell of the garbage.”

“Well,
if you don’t like the smell, you can leave,” sneered a voice. Liam turned to
find who had spoken, but all he saw were some broken down boxes in the corner,
a large dumpster, and some black bags.

“Come
out! I’m Liam Butler. I own this hotel and this alleyway.”

First,
he saw a metal shopping cart filled with bags and a small dog on top. The dog
was some kind of terrier, and at one time, it might have been white, but now
was a dingy gray. The terrier eyed Liam as if he were a new toy. As the
shopping cart came out from behind the dumpster, Liam saw an elderly woman was
pushing it.

She
wore clothes that were nothing more than rags and unfortunately smelled. Her
hair was silver—what he could see of it, anyway, but he was unable to guess her
age.

“Standing
there in a towel, you don’t look like you own much of nothing, especially not
my alleyway.”

Liam
was about to argue with her when he realized just what she was looking at. He
hitched the towel around his hips and took a step toward her.

She
pulled a baseball bat out of her cart. “You stay back, you freak!”

“Whoa!
I’m not trying to hurt you. I’ve already told you, I’m Liam and I really do own
this hotel. What’s your name?”

“My
name’s Jane. You don’t look like you own the hotel.”

“Listen,
I do own it. If you tell the doorman around the corner to tell Travers I’m
here, I’ll give you a reward.”

Jane
shook her head and gave him a long look. “If I go to the doorman, he’ll put me
in jail and take Mr. Butterscotch. No, I have a better idea. You get out of my
alley and take your crazy ways with you. I mean, you may own a hotel and all,
but running around the city in a towel, wearing pink flip flops… Something
ain’t right with you.”

Liam
frowned and shook his head. Could this day get any weirder? Liam couldn’t
believe he was trying to prove his sanity to a homeless woman.

“Okay,
okay.” Liam hitched the towel again. “Let me just make sure the coast is
clear.”

Then
it happened all at once: Mr. Butterscotch jumped from the cart and tried to
grab the edge of Liam’s towel; Jane shoved her cart and started to swing her
bat; Liam ducked just in the nick of time as he picked up Mr. Butterscotch and
tucked him under his arm.

“Don’t
hurt him,” whispered Jane.

She
looked genuinely frightened. Just when Liam was going to say something to her,
Mr. Butterscotch started to give him kisses. He glanced at the dog to tell him
to stop and then looked back at Jane, who was all smiles.

“Okay,
I’ll go to the doorman for you,” she said.

Liam
was dumbstruck, but managed to stammer, “Thanks.”

“Keep
your thanks. Mr. Butterscotch knows people, and if he likes you, then you’re
okay. I’m doing this for him, but it’s gonna cost you.”

 “Fine.
Just give the doorman the message,” Liam muttered.

Liam
pulled the towel closer, handed Mr. Butterscotch back, and waited for what
seemed like forever. Every little noise made him jump and duck for cover behind
a garbage bin. Finally, though, Travers, his dependable best buddy, showed up.
He appeared a little skeptical, but when Liam stepped out from his hiding
place, Travers shook his head and obviously tried to contain his laughter.

“Oh,
I can’t wait to hear what sweet little blonde left you like this,” he said as
he handed a robe to Liam.

“Did
you bring shoes?”

Travers
looked down and immediately pulled out his phone to take a picture. “I didn’t,
but as your best friend, I brought my phone to memorialize this new low you’ve
set.”

Liam
pushed him aside, and with all the dignity he could muster, he walked into his
hotel. Every step echoed from the flip flops hitting the marble floors; his best
friend following behind him and taking pictures like a
paparazzi photographer while giving colorful commentary; with his savior, Jane, the
odorous homeless woman holding her dog, grumbling that she and Mr. Butterscotch
weren’t leaving without her reward.

Liam knew two things:
he hadn’t avoided making a spectacle of himself, and his grandmother was not
going to be pleased.

* * *

Travers
leaned against the bathroom doorjamb in Liam’s hotel suite. “Dude, will you
tell me what happened?”

“No
one says dude anymore,” Liam said, trying to get his friend to talk
about anything else.

“Before
today, I would have told you that the days of seeing your bare butt after a
date were long over, but here we are. I wonder what other things are coming
back around.”

Before
Liam could reply, a wet nose nudged his toes, followed by furtive licks. When
he looked down, there was Mr. Butterscotch.

“Where’s
Jane?”

“Who?”
Travers appeared confused. “Oh, yes, Jane. I opened the door to the adjoining
suite, and she is preparing a bath.”

Liam
smiled. “It’s probably been a while since she’s had one.”

Travers
snorted. “Um, Liam, she’s running it for Mr. Butterscotch.”

Just
then, Jane called out, “Mr. Butterscotch!” The dog perked up his ears and then
ran out of the room.

Liam
looked into the bathroom mirror and saw his friend staring back at him.

“Liam,
what happened?”

He
tried to piece everything together. “It started with a call from Gran. She said
that what I needed was a girl who could think. She said she understood that the
other women she had tried to match me up with were all wrong for me and that I
needed someone who would look past my lack of imagination and limited growth.”

Travers
had his hand over his mouth, but when Liam lifted his eyebrow and looked at his
friend, Travers guffawed.

“Whoa.
Are you telling me Gran called the hotel genius, and one of the most wanted
billionaires in North America, boring and slow? That is so Gran! When I get
older I’m going to be able to say anything—you hear me?—anything, just like
her!”

Liam
silently groaned. “May I continue?”

Travers
settled against the doorjamb again. “Continue.”

“So
she told me there was a convention. There were 
a lot of college professors, I met this woman Sarah who told me it was a
symposium, not a convention.” When Travers looked a little confused Liam
clarified.

“You
know Sarah, the blonde that put me in this situation and the one I had to run
from this morning?”

“Right.
So what happened?”

“Sarah
wanted to go for a walk. I said yes. I didn’t like the crowd, either, and was
relieved to get out of there. As we were walking, she said she felt ill. Her
head was starting to pound, and it was the beginning of a bad migraine. She
asked me if I would see her safely back to her hotel room.”

Travers's
eyes widened. “Tell me you didn’t fall for that old trick? When in doubt, call
a friend, man.”

Liam
looked back at his reflection in the mirror. His blue eyes were red, probably
from the stress, his black hair was in such disarray that no amount of hand
combing was going to fix it.

Call
a friend,
Travers had said. Nope, Liam hadn’t even thought to
call a friend, because Sarah was a non- threatening five foot three blonde, and
he had become an expert in how to avoid uncomfortable situations. He had
developed the skills to fend off gold diggers and potential blind dates his
grandmother had tried to set him up with.

“When
we got to Sarah’s hotel, she could barely walk,” he said. “She handed me her
key to the room and pointed to the bedroom. Then she wouldn’t move, saying she
couldn’t get to the bedroom herself and didn’t want me to help her because I
would wrinkle my jacket. I took it off and threw it over a chair. We got to the
door and then she tripped me over her foot. I fell into the bedroom and she
closed the door, locking me in.”

Liam
looked up. Travers, with his arms wrapped around his middle, was doing his best
not to laugh.

“She
had this all planned as she had already prepped the room by ensuring the
windows were blocked. Realizing my phone was in my coat, I yelled, kicked the
door and stomped my feet. Finally I heard someone come to the door, and it
seemed like she apologized and told them I was emotionally disturbed, and these
outburst could happen. The person outside said they understood but had just
come to check on her to make sure everything was all right!”

Doubled
over, Travers shook with laughter. When Liam stopped talking, Travers looked up
with tears in his eyes. “Man, you have to tell me more.”

“I
asked her to let me out. She said she would if I undressed and put on a towel.
I would have said yes to anything to be able to leave. After I undressed, she
let me out of the room and then locked the bedroom with a key so I was unable
to grab my clothes. So, I’m in the living room and she starts what she thinks
is a normal conversation.”

Travers
held up his hand.  “You can’t skim over
things like this. Inquiring minds want to know; did she make you do a strip
tease? Does she watch – does she?”

“I
heard the question! I didn’t ask her if she was watching but I did see the
camera in the room and I turned from it and threw my shirt over it so I wasn’t
flaunting the family jewels.”

Travers
sat on the rim of the tub trying to catch his breath after hearing that last
remark. “What kind of conversation does a kidnapper have that’s normal?”

“She
told me everyone at the symposium had been expecting me. She said Gran had told
them I’d make an appearance. She also said that Gran said I was looking for a
wife, so she wanted us to spend some time alone together.”

“Ahh.”

“Then
Sarah asked if I was a real billionaire or just a stocks-and-investment
billionaire. I assured her I was a real billionaire with the cash and
properties to match. I guess she wanted to make sure all the hassle of the
kidnapping was going to be worth it. I suppose it must be a common problem for
women to target men they thought were rich but turn out not to be. Anyway, by
that time, I was fed up. I told her to give me back my clothes or I would leave
in the towel, she said I wouldn’t dare. I saw a pair of flip flops by the door
so I grabbed them and then walked right out of her hotel. I walked the three
blocks back here ending up in the alleyway where I ran into Jane and bribed her
to go and get you.”

Liam
had just put on jeans and a blue top when the doorman showed up at the door,
per Liam’s request, and he thanked him with a hefty check. Once the door had
closed, Travers continued his laughing.

“I
want you to know, I think your experience was awful. It’s horrible right now,
but I have it on my phone, and later on, we will be able to laugh about it.”
Travers held his hands up and grinned. “Okay, okay, I can see you’re not there
yet, so let’s deal with the problem at hand. Why does Gran keep sending these
women, and why do you deal with it?”

Liam
took a seat on the pearl-colored couch in the living room section of the suite.

“Travers,
I’ve told you before, Granddad left me 49% of Butler Hotels. He left the
remainder to Gran. Gran wants to give me the rest of it, but she wants to make
sure work doesn’t eat me up. She believes I need a woman, girlfriend, or
preferably, a wife.”

Travers
waved the problem away. “Hire yourself an actress and then dump her.”

Liam
let out a breath before he spoke. “Been there and tried that several times.
Gran always winds up separating us and then asking some odd questions that make
it obvious we are not a couple. The last actress I had, I thought for sure
would be a go. Gran was alone with her for twenty minutes before the woman came
out crying, saying I was pond scum for trying to trick such a sweet woman like
Gran.”

Travers
sat back on the pearl-colored love seat opposite the couch. “I didn’t know your
gran had those kinds of skills, that’s impressive.”

“Anyway,
that’s how I ended up here now.”

“Your
gran, as good as she is, is only one woman. Let’s put our heads together and we
will figure something out. We’d better get it done quickly, because we also
need to pick a caterer for the opening of your new hotel,” Travers said.

The
door to the other suite opened, and with it came the smell Liam would
forevermore associate with Jane. In her arms was Mr. Butterscotch, now fluffy
and white. Jane gave Travers a look and then shook her head.

“If you need to
figure something out, maybe you need another partner.” Jane gestured to Liam.
“The last time he thought he knew something, he wound up in an alley with Mr.
Butterscotch and me.”

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