Kaleidoscope Office Building provides employment to nine hot, young singles–all about to make a love connection. Working 9 to 5 has never been so complicated…or so much fun!
KALEIDOSCOPE SERIES is a collection of all seven of the novellas in the series.
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Novella 1: Perfect Cadence
Word Count: 17, 723
Thirty-year-old Keri Woods has had it with her no-commitment, no-way boyfriend Rob. Planning to get her head on straight, she accepts her boss Angela’s offer to use the Lewis family’s cabin for a two-week skiing vacation over the Christmas holiday. Little does Keri realize that her boss’s cousin, Joshua Lewis, is already occupying the very same cabin at the very same time.
Ten years earlier, Keri and Joshua had shared a single, unforgettable day and night together that ended with a kiss that left them both desperately smitten. Yet Joshua’s life had been too complicated. At only twenty-six, he’d realized that there could be no long-distance, long-term relationship between them. He hadn’t been ready to have his whole life happen to him at once. His decision to leave and never see her again had come back to bite him in the butt. For years after confiding to his closest friend Dandy–the foreman on his father’s cattle ranch in Fever, Texas and the true father figure in his life–Joshua had had to listen to the old man encourage and berate him for not following his heart with Keri Woods.
Joshua has come to the family cabin after the recent death of Dandy, who’d made him promise to return to the cabin to “mend old regrets”. The last thing Joshua expects to find is the drop-dead beautiful woman he’d regretted abandoning a decade earlier naked in his bed.
Novella 2: In Cahoots with Cupid
Word Count: 12, 618
Angela Lewis, owner of Kaleidoscope Office Services and its companion business Lewis Graphics by Design, has devoted her life to seeing that everyone she cares for is happy. But when she returns home to Fever, Texas for a wedding, she remembers the one instance where she’d turned her back on something she wanted for herself. Kiowa Mackenzie is five years younger than she is and had pursued Angela with the energy of a stallion when they were younger. Even now, he seems to have no inclination to stop, though she insists she’s too old for him and she’s not interested in falling in love again. Best man Ki has every intention of tackling the bridesmaids to make sure maid of honor Angela catches the bride’s bouquet!
Novella 3: Behind Amethyst Eyes
Word Count: 13, 529
Amethyst-eyed, bespectacled Aimee Cooper has had a secret crush on muscle-bound accountant Rob Channing for years–even while one of her best friends dated him. When Aimee’s father dies after years with Alzheimer’s, she’s left to mourn and sort out the complicated mess his estate has fallen into. In life’s strange serendipity, this tragedy gives her an “in” to get close to the man of her dreams. But what does a life-long, freckle-faced wallflower know about capturing the interest of a bean-counting playboy?
Novella 4: Jordana’s Chair
Word Count: 18, 261
Soulful-eyed heartbreaker Dex Everett has been intrigued by his neighbor since she moved into his building a year ago–though, or perhaps because–she’s nothing like the made-up glamour girls he’s used to dating. Jordana DeSoto barely speaks English, has worn the same two handmade outfits in all the time he’s known her, and has never bothered with, nor needed, make-up. The few times he’s helped her carry furniture up to her apartment, he’s noticed that her living space is basically empty. No one he’s ever known could be content with so little simply because she earned it on her own or display such joy over a new chair. Jordana captures Dex the way no other woman ever has. Is this ladies’ man officially off the market?
Novella 5: Paper Tiger
Word Count: 18, 952
Billy LaPointe’s wife died only a couple years after they married, leaving him with a son to raise on his own. Nine years later, he’s found love again with Veronica Spencer and his teenage son Damian is just as smitten with her. But after years of hearing Roni hedge on his marriage proposals, Billy is desperate. Determined to make her his forever, he offers her an ultimatum that he soon regrets. What he doesn’t know is that Roni has a secret past she doesn’t want to look back and confront–a past that may have come back to haunt her. Can she risk losing Billy and Damian because of what could be a true threat…or merely a paper tiger?
Novella 6: Cabin Fever
Word Count: 22, 319
Shayna Cavanay divorced her lying, cheating, deadbeat husband three years ago and she’s only sure of one thing: The only good thing he ever did for her was give her their seven-year-old son Ty. As a single mother, Shayna divides her time between working enough to provide for her and her son and making up for the vast multitude of deficiencies of Ty’s poor excuse for a father. When Ty begins to exhibit an inability to cope with the lack of a father-figure in his life, his elementary school teacher reaches out to Shayna. But Shayna has been burned by do-gooders before. It’s up to hunky Dakota Loring–and Ty–to prove he’s the real deal.
Novella 7: The Longest Night
Word Count: 16, 431
When Jolie Everett married Jag Myrick, she was a reluctant model eager to settle down and have a family while he was a restless photographer eager for his big break. They both got what they wanted–separately. After three short years of a marriage spent mostly apart, Jolie has decided to get the child she wants and forget the naïve illusion of marital bliss. But Jag is nowhere near ready to let his beloved bride go. During one endless night, he tries to convince her he’s in their relationship for the long haul while she tries to distract him with every sweet seduction in the book. Unfortunately, their first night back together in almost two years starts out badly…and only seems to be getting worse.
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GENRE: Contemporary Romance Anthology ISBN: 978-1-922233-78-3 ASIN: B00KUJCXVA Word Count: 118, 737
“Keri is miserable with Rob.” Angela’s voice revealed her concern and frustration. “She doesn’t even need to say it to anyone. She shoots daggers at every man who comes through Kaleidoscope. She’ll definitely take my suggestion of a skiing vacation at the cabin over Christmas. No worries about that, Dandy.”
The long-time foreman on Angela’s uncle’s ranch in Fever, Texas sounded old and frail. Following a burst of wet coughing, Dandy came back on the phone line. “And I’ll get m’boy Josh up there to the cabin ‘same time, Angel-face.”
“And once Keri and Josh are back together again…they’ll fall in love and everything will be fine.”
“Everything’ll be jes’ fine,” Dandy agreed. “Ain’t no way I’ll let m’boy make the same stupid mistakes I made at his age.”
Are you all right? hovered on the tip of Angela’s tongue when his coughing began again. What held her back was knowing the sweet old guy would just say he didn’t plan to live forever anyway.
Lately, Dandy seemed fixated on making sure Josh was happy. It was almost as if…well, as if Dandy believed this might be his last chance to make sure Josh got the future happiness he was currently denying himself. Dandy had called three times in the last week to check up on Angela’s progress in their matchmaking scheme.
Christmas was a season of miracles, wasn’t it? Her and Dandy’s Christmas wish for their friends and family just had to come true.
The cabin in the woods at the approach of evening was more picturesque than she could have imagined.
Too bad all I want to do is drop into bed and sleep.
After parking the rental car, Keri trudged awkwardly up the stone walk pushing an oversized rolling suitcase, the matching toiletry case slung over the same arm, skis and purse on the other. She noticed that the path from the road had been shoveled and could only guess that her boss and close friend, Angela Lewis, who’d offered her the use of her family’s cabin, had called ahead to have the path cleared for her.
The log cabin was rustic and old-fashioned looking, but beautifully kept up. Much as she wanted to appreciate that she had it all to herself for free for a full two weeks, she could barely keep her eyes open. She hadn’t slept the night before. Between that, the flight and boring airport time, then the drive out to the cabin, all she wanted was a warm bed.
The cabin would be cold inside. Angela had warned her that it was as rustic inside as out, though they did have running water and electricity. A fireplace in every room would heat the cabin during her stay here. In theory, it sounded romantic, but Keri wasn’t sure her crash course in how to build a fire would be any help when it came time to try it in a real fireplace.
The light over the front door came on at her approach. Propping her skis against the side of the door, she dug into her purse for the key Angela had given her. Her handbag was a cluttered mess. She finally had to set down the make-up case so she could go through it. Light snow fell around her. The cold seeped in while she tried to locate the key with the platinum moon keychain in the dark confines of the bag.
Perfect ski conditions, she told herself, growing frustrated as the key eluded her. Crouching down, she started taking things out of her purse. Angela had given her the key a couple weeks ago, when Keri took her up on her annual offer to her five employees to use her family’s cabin in Portland, Oregon, not far from Mt. Hood. The pile beside her began to grow as snow came down harder. I’ve come seventeen hundred miles. Without the key. What could I have done with it? I don’t remember taking it out of my purse since Angela thrust it in my hand.
Keri cast her mind back to the day Angela gave her the key, insisting she take it and use the cabin over Christmas. She’d been talking about how her grandfather had built the cabin, intending it to be a family heirloom. Angela considered her employees her friends and therefore her family. The rest of her birth family wouldn’t mind. If someone asks, just tell them you’re a friend of Angela’s… Only half listening, Keri had dropped the key into her purse.
The moon keychain finally came to light in the darkest depths of her handbag, and she pulled it out with a growl. As she piled the junk back in, she saw a receipt from Krispy Kreme. Rob loved Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The morning after their third date, she’d run out and bought them coffees and a dozen–
I don’t want to think about Rob Channing and his love affair with Krispy Kreme. Or how stupid I was to invite him to move into my apartment. Or what I was silly enough to think that move meant. And what a disappointment it’s been in the six months since. I’m here to forget all that. Sure, the plan was that he’d move out while I was here, but…
Keri rose on her feet with the key firmly in hand. After she shoved the door open, she frowned when she saw a glow of light ahead. Quickly, she scooped up her luggage, skis and purse, then entered. She couldn’t help wondering if Angela had called ahead and had someone make the house ready. It would be just like her. Still, hadn’t she said something about how rustic this place was? Keri would have to stock the kitchen on her own. Shovel the walk. Build her own fire to heat the cabin. That didn’t get into doing laundry, dishes and cleaning before she left so the cabin was as clean as when she came.
She’d almost chosen another place because of all that. What did she know about cooking, shoveling or building a fire? She ate in restaurants so she wouldn’t have to cook. All her life, she’d lived in places where caretakers shoveled the snow, mowed the lawn, kept up the building maintenance. The closest she’d ever come to building her own fire was lighting too many candles and almost setting the bathroom on fire when she forgot to put them out.
The cabin was cozy and warm. A fire burned in the main room. In the pleasant, crackling glow, Keri saw couches, a small table set up with a chess game, a king-size bed already made up. The main room connected with the kitchen nook. Modern appliances almost seemed to clash with the wood table and chairs set. She knew the room toward the back must be the combination bathroom and laundry room.
Glancing to the right, she saw a ladder near the bed that she figured led to a loft.
Ang, you knew I’d freak out about being in the backwoods and taking care of myself here. You must have been as surprised as I am that I came anyway. I just needed this time away, without a phone that might tempt me to call Rob.
Forcing herself not to follow that line of thought again, she dumped her things near the rocking chair in the dark corner beside the bed. When she shrugged out of her heavy parka, she realized the room was warm enough to warrant her usual sleep attire. Smiling for the first time in what felt like six months, she slid nude under the thick, down comforter. Not so bad, she thought on a sigh of pleasure. If she could forget Rob long enough to enjoy herself, her vacation could help her get her head on straight about the mess her love life had turned into.