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- Small Town Romance
- Enemies to Lovers
- Second Chance Romance
Opposites don’t always attract. Sometimes they clash and spark fire.
Lonely orphan turned highly sought-after corporate trainer Kelly Thompson, is ready for a change of pace in the small town of Sweet Blooms.
Joshua Case, the haunted high school counselor who survived, is ready to take on a new project to help the teens in Sweet Blooms.
When Joshua and Kelly find themselves working on the same project, they’ll have to find a way to put their difference aside and work together. In so doing so, they will learn to trust together and love together?
This sweet story is a delicious clash of personalities who are striving for a good cause. You’re certain to be swept away and having Sweet Dreams in no time!
Get your copy today!
Intro into Chapter One
Intro into Chapter One
“I must have lost my mind. This place
looks like it’s never heard of Starbucks!”
Kelly Thomson got out of the taxi and
stepped into a real-life Norman Rockwell town. The streets were cleaner than
her last apartment. And there was no noise to speak of. If she considered the
three cars at the light noise, then she supposed one could say there was some
She was officially standing in front
of the crazy hotel. It said the word “Hotel” on it. The only time you saw that
was in a movie where the heroine was about to be killed in a very painful way.
How did this happen? Wasn’t it just an hour ago Kelly Thomson had been sitting
in first class on a plane to Florida? This was supposed to be an assignment to
help her find herself. After making money as a corporate trainer for the last
twelve years, she still wasn’t feeling fulfilled. She’d seen an ad in the paper
that mentioned a volunteer opportunity involving setting up a training center
for high schoolers for the jobs of tomorrow.
“Miss, here are your bags.” Kelly
looked at the young man. He must have been about 25, and he was standing in front
of her. She was 36 years old, but she had tracked a lot more miles on this
body. Realizing he was still standing there, waiting, she asked, “Is there
something I’m missing? Some local custom?”
The boy turned red.
“Lord, I haven’t blushed since high school!
Go ahead and tell me already.”
“Miss, you didn’t give me a tip,” he
said in a quiet voice.
“A tip?” Kelly looked at the boy and
then nodded. She got back in the taxi and saw it took credit cards, but she didn’t see the
place to put a tip. She got out of the
taxi and faced the driver.
“There’s nowhere for me to put the
tip on that machine,” she said in explanation. The driver's face fell.
“No, Miss, there isn’t. We haven't
got the new models that do that yet.”
Kelly knew her mouth was open. “I don’t
Now it was the driver's turn to have
his mouth open. He closed his mouth and told her to wait on the curb.
Kelly watched him go, thinking there
was no way he would leave her on the sidewalk in front of the hotel without
offering to take her bags in while he went inside. Well, she was very wrong.
“There you are! You must be Kelly
Kelly turned around, and what she saw
made it clear as to why the world had rural areas in it. He was magnificent.
She’d thought this trip would be a sour experience, but now it was looking up.
He must have been about six foot two, tall enough that she could dance with him
and he could make her feel all petite and girly at her five foot ten. He had
dark hair that she could run her fingers through. All of that was topped with
broad shoulders for her to hold on to in case of she didn’t even know what, but
they were there.
“Yes, I am Kelly Thomson. How can I
serve – I mean, help you.” As he approached, she realized he didn’t look as
friendly as he did before.
“I’ve been looking for you at the
airport for the last two hours.”
Kelly sighed. She understood a person
couldn’t have it all. “Did you call the airport for my flight number?” she
He seemed to clench his teeth and
then closed his eyes before answering her.
“Yes, I did call the airline, and I
gave them your flight number. They said it had already landed when I called, so
I thought I was late. When I got to the airport, you weren’t there. Then I just
got a call from the sheriff saying they knew where my stranger was because Davy
was reporting a woman trying to beat the fare.”
Kelly looked at him and then back at
the hotel. “Beating a fare? I’ve got enough money to buy that hunk of junk he
calls a cab.”
“You might, Miss, but you don’t have it
in cash, so you were going to beat me out of my due. Especially since I helped
you with all of those bags.”
Kelly looked down at the bags.
“You were reporting me for not giving
you a tip for two bags?”
The dark haired man decided to step
in at that time.
“Now, now, I can see there are some
tempers flaring between us. We need to go back to our corners and safe places
so we can talk.”
“My safe place is in New York. In my
condo. Who says that, anyway? What are you, some sort of guidance counselor?”
“It’s funny, you should say that
because it happens to be true.”
“There’s no way!” Kelly replied.
The dark haired man smiled. “It’s
true, and never have I been happier with my job choice than now.”
Kelly wondered if the self-defense
classes would work on him. She was sure he was still within the weight range of
the play attackers. Then the driver broke her concentration.
“So, Joshua, how do I get my tip?”
Joshua dug into his pocket and gave
Davy five dollars. “Here it is. Thanks for bringing her here.”
The young man took the money, gave
Kelly a nod, and got into his car. It appeared to Kelly he couldn’t get away
fast enough. When the taxi was gone, and only she and the man named Joshua
stood on the street, which was still incredibly barren, Kelly started.
“I think I’ve had enough of your
interruptions for the day. Now, the least you can do is help me into the
“Interfering? You’ve been nothing but trouble, and you’ve
been here less than a day. You can’t follow instructions to stay at the airport
for a pickup.”
“I would have, but the heat was a
killer, and they didn’t have an air conditioner. The taxi did. Besides, I’m not
sure you were really at the right plane anyway. I mean, Delta has a lot of
different gates and -”
“You weren't supposed to be on a Delta
flight. You were booked on a Jetblue!”
“Yes, well, that was obviously a
mistake! Jetblue doesn’t have first class.”
“Who needs first class coming from
New York to Florida?”
Kelly was totally confused. “No one
needs first class just because they are coming from New York to Florida.”
The dark haired man put up his hands
in relief. “Finally, some reason.”
Kelly continued. “I suppose if you
were just coming from Florida to New York, it wouldn’t be necessary. However, I
fly first class everywhere, so I never have to consider such things.”
He just stopped and looked at her. He
had stopped for such an extended amount of time that she had to ask, “Are you
She left her bags and slowly walked
towards him. “I think being in the airport with no air conditioning can be very
traumatic for you.”
She was right next to him, and she
could see now the reason he was so still was because he was taking deep breaths
as if he were in a yoga class. She patted him on the shoulder, and his eyes
“Good job. I’m so glad that you are
so in touch with your feminity that you can indulge in such things.” With that,
Kelly left him standing there to put her own bags in the hotel.
This day couldn’t be happening.
Joshua Case knew this was a bad idea from the very start. He’d told them that
this was going to be a bad idea, yet no one had listened to him. Why would
they? He was just the guidance
counselor. He was the one who knew how
things worked. Most importantly, he was the one who would be here long after
the experiment was done.
When Cade Designs was being built,
they decided that they would also start a vocational program for the kids here.
When he had been approached, he’d thought it was a great idea. Lydia Mason, soon to be Lydia Young, had
decided to call on him because they both ran a young men’s outreach. What he
didn’t count on was Ethan and Adam Cade calling in a trainer. He had been
guiding the students of Castle High School on what to do and how to discover
new ways to land their chosen career. But it seemed that while he could guide
them to a career, he wasn’t the one to train them.
Offering some last minute input, he
asked if they could propose the position as a volunteer position. Joshua
thought if he put it up as a volunteer position, then they would find someone
who was committed to the craft of training.
Two weeks later, Adam Cade sent in a
picture of one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen, and she was supposed
to be the trainer. If they hired this woman, they’d have all the guys applying
to the class, but no one would be learning.
When he asked them what they thought
about her qualifications, a lot of chuckles filled the room. At first, he
thought that meant they were joking about hiring her. Then, when the laughter
died out, Ethan held up his hand to quiet everyone and passed out a paper.
It was her resume. She was one of the
most wanted trainers on the East Coast. After he read that, and then looked around
the room, that was when he knew that it didn’t matter if he agreed or not; he
was about to get Kelly Thomson as his new trainer.
He had resigned himself to that fact.
At least he thought he had resigned himself to that fact until today. Her
photos didn’t do her justice. She had auburn hair that danced around her
shoulders. She had on pants and a top that hugged a slim frame whenever an
errant breeze came through. Joshua thought there must be some mistake; this
woman wouldn’t do anything for free. Just her statement alone that she didn’t
fly anything unless it was first class was enough for him to know she was the
Her? Around kids? That was just never
going to happen. She had the sensitivity of a rhino. She couldn’t even tell the
difference between him trying to find the strength to keep his voice at an
appropriate level when dealing with a woman and her misconstruing it with him
getting in touch with his feminine side. He was sure all of his sides were
It didn’t matter. He had to put all
of this behind him. What really mattered is what would work for the kids. The
sooner he got her out of here, the sooner they could find someone who could
Joshua went into the lobby of the
hotel. He could see the clerk getting flustered. When the clerk saw him, he was
relieved, and he could see the young man pointing at him. When Kelly turned
around, she had a frown on her face. The frown did nothing to detract from the
woman’s beauty. When she saw it was him, he could see the moment of sympathy
flutter across her face before she started her walk to him.
“You know, with all of the back and
forth out there, I’m afraid we have not had the opportunity to have a proper
introduction. I’m Kelly Thomson, I can train anything, and I’m at your service.”
Joshua was speechless. It must have
shown because she laughed at his response.
“Don’t worry. I’m not just another
pretty face, and I can make that statement because I can back it up! Now, do
you think you can find your tongue and talk to me, or is it going to be like
this the whole time I’m here?”
When Joshua finally did get his
speech back, he said the first thing that came to him.
“You do know there isn’t any payment
Kelly gave him a smirk and put her
hands on her hips.
“Do I look like I need money?”
Kelly laughed. “I have that effect on
people. Now, your name?”
“Joshua Case. My name is Joshua Case,
and I’m the school guidance counselor at Castle High.”
“Ah, you’re the rookie that’s riding
shotgun while I set this up.”
Joshua just let it go. “I guess we’ll
Kelly gave him a smile that would
have given anyone pause. “Now I’m sure you wanted me to know your name and your
function. Which I appreciate very much, but was there anything else you wanted
to tell me?”
Joshua was looking at how her lips
were perfect. They were a perfect bow. When they stopped moving, and his brain
caught up, he shook his head and replied, “Yes. We thought it would be too
inconvenient for you to be in the hotel. We have a cottage for you to stay in.
I’ll drive you over.”
“That would be great. My bags are at
the front desk. Once you get those, we can be on our way.”
Kelly didn’t need a lot of time. She
looked over the cottage and made some notes in her notebook. She made sure she
had her flash drive and a laptop just in case. The trip to the community center
was short, and when she arrived, there were two men there. One of them she
knew--Joshua Case--and the other one was someone she’d only seen via
Facetime--Ethan Young. When she walked in, Ethan turned to greet her.
“Hello, Ms. Thomson.”
“No, please call me Kelly. I’m so
happy to be here today.” She looked over at Joshua, who looked as if he had
just swallowed a lemon.
“Please, Kelly, feel free to call me
Ethan. If you said Mr. Young, I’d think you were talking about my father.”
“Joshua,” she said with a nod. She
didn’t wait for his response. Kelly always kept herself focused, and the focus
was the client, Mr. Young. He had
offered her his first name, but if this presentation didn’t go the way he
wanted it, they’d be back on last name basis.
Kelly had tons of clothes, but she
must have spent the better part of a day picking every outfit she had brought
along. Today she was wearing a red and white top with black pants and mini
heels. The whole effect was supposed to give off a friendly, feminine, and
knowledgeable vibe. She had passed that
hurdle because she saw no worried glances between the men.
This presentation was a beast for her
to make. Normally, she knew exactly what her clients wanted. She knew what they
wanted to accomplish. When she had been interviewed by Ethan, he had given one
of the most honest replies she had ever received.
“We’re new. We have funding money, but we
don’t know what we should be presenting to our children in our high schools. We
care about our children, but we don’t know how to get them beyond our sights.”
The message was bold, and when she
heard it, she was sure that she had made the right decision to take this
assignment. She’d worked hours on putting together a simple but elegant
presentation. The presentation was a walk through what was already known to
what could be.
Now that she was here and about to
present, the butterflies started; it was as if it were her first presentation.
Kelly put on her best smile and started the presentation. This is what she did.
She learned new things, and then she taught them. Now it was time to earn her
keep for someone else.
“We all want our children to be
prepared for the future. But we fight over where they should go and how they
should do it. Depending on when you were born, you were raised thinking there
was a safe occupation that your child could go into. It used to be doctors and
lawyers. Today you’ll hear more people talking about computers and security.
The vision I have for the training center is this: we first teach
problem-solving and creativity and then show them how to take that into their
chosen fields. Children are unique and adaptable. We shouldn’t try and catch
the new wave; we should show them how to manage and excel in a field that
She followed it up with several other
graphs, building layouts, and projection costs. By the time she was finished,
she had to excuse herself for a moment to get water. When she came back, the room was all smiles.
“That was exactly what we were
looking for,” Ethan said. “This is a near and dear project to my fiancee’s
heart. I know she will be very pleased when I show her the presentation and the
plan. What do you think, Joshua?”
Joshua nodded. “I have to admit I was
impressed. I really liked the approach and the way you’ve taken into account
the uniqueness of each child. It didn’t feel like a cookie cutter solution. I
have to ask, who helped you with the presentation?”
Ethan’s eyebrow raised as he heard
the question. Kelly caught Ethan’s movement and placed a hand on his forearm.
“Please, Ethan, don’t look poorly on
Joshua. I have to say that I have more than once been prejudged by others. I
spend a lot of time working on how I look so I can’t get upset when it sends
off the wrong signals.”
She turned to Joshua. “As for your question, no one helped me. I do
happen to have a Bachelors in Business, a Master’s in Education, and I’m
working on my Ph.D. in psychology. I try to keep ahead of the curve when it
comes to my career.”
Joshua bowed his head. “I stand
“Really, it’s no bother.”
Just when it looked like Joshua might
have said something else, Ethan jumped in.
“Just so the both of you know, I will
be going back to New York. Lydia has decided to run a large fundraiser to get
more money for this project. She wants it to be a pilot for other places. If
you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to my assistant, Penny.”
Ethan patted Joshua on the back and
then shook Kelly’s hand.
“I’ll leave you two to it, then.”
When he left the room, Joshua waited
for her to gather her items and then offered to drive her to her place.
“Are you ready, Kelly?”
She picked up her head and nodded.