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Alexa is beautiful, smart, and alone in the world, a result of devastating losses in her life. She purchased a diner in the quiet, out of the way town of Startup, Washington, and hired employees to help run it. She's just beginning to feel secure in her loneliness.
Her world is jolted awake by Cayman, a handsome young stranger that enters her diner seemingly from nowhere. Event's happen quickly and soon Alexa is deep into secret lives and dangerous deceptions. How will she work her way through the maze of heartache and pain? The pull she feels in her soul for Cayman brings with it mistrust and fear, feelings that make her defensive and suspicious. Somehow, Alexa must follow her heart and her brain at the same time. She must somehow learn to trust again, and that is the hardest lesson of all.
Author's Website : http://www.jlredington.com
It was raining again in Startup, Washington, the kind of rain that came down sideways, sounding like a million tiny hammers on the roof. It did that a lot during a Pacific Northwest spring. Alexa Menetti stood staring out the window, her dark hair hung loosely about her shoulders, deep blue eyes scanning the cloud filled sky. Being from sunny, dry Arizona it always surprised her how so much liquid could pour from the skies. She never tired of it, though, to her it felt cleansing.
Alexa lingered at the window, watching the weather. Her slender five foot seven inch frame silhouetted against the dark clouds and heavy rain.
This particular kind of weather also brought in customers anxious to find a dry seat on a cold, wet day. The diner was just the spot, perfectly placed on the corner in the middle of town. Today was no different than any other sideways rainy day. While the rain poured outside, the customers poured through the door and the slow day became steadily busy.
The diner was a wonderfully warm place that Alexa had decorated with ideas from years of dining with her father. She’d adopted a fifty’s theme with all the memorabilia she could find (and afford). There were bright red seats in each booth, swivel rotating bar stools at the long bar that encompassed nearly the whole length of the diner, reserving some space along the end of the counter for two more booths. There was a life sized cardboard cutout of Elvis at the end of the bar, rusty weathered gas station signs and photos of groups like The Platters and The Everly Brothers on any walls that weren’t windows. Large picture window’s opened to a quiet little town with quiet little streets, nestled right up against the Mt. Baker/Snoqualmie National Forest. The peace and quiet was absolute, and she loved it. She loved everything about it; her diner, the small town, the rain and the forests. She’d named the diner appropriately ‘Alexa’s’, and she smiled with pride as she watched customers file through the doors.
She was happy to have the customers on these rainy days. She’d purchased the small diner a year ago when she’d come to Startup after reading about it in an ad from a real estate brokerage. It sounded perfect for what she was looking for; a quiet little out of the way place with one stop light and nice people who enjoyed good old fashioned hometown cooking. A name like Startup, was also perfect for her new beginning. With Thomas and Billy trading off in the kitchen and Tahleah helping with the tables, she had what she needed with the lowest possible overhead.
Alexa paid for the diner with the last of her life insurance money from her father. Not a huge policy, but enough to allow her to become her own boss, and that was her number one priority. Her last boss had turned into her lover, then her fiancé, and then, two days before their wedding, he’d become her father’s killer. She vowed never to take another lover, and never to have another boss.
Alexa had been depleted of all emotional strength with the death of her father. The trial and incarceration of her fiancé only served to cement that weakness into place, and she felt she’d never again be the independent woman she’d once been. Her father had taught her to be strong and she’d learned a lot of it just by watching him. Now, however, that was all tucked away somewhere inside her and despite her best efforts, she couldn’t find it. Her determination to stay single, alone and free of ‘upper management’ was the only thing that kept her going.
The one hitch in her plan came into play when the diner purchase came down to talking money. She was twenty thousand dollars short. Twenty thousand dollars and it may as well have been a million, because it didn’t matter how she scraped, what loan she applied for, who she talked to, she was still short twenty thousand dollars.
However, mysteriously, two hours after she figured the deal was off, the money showed up at the escrow office with no name on it, except hers. She had no idea who it was from or how it got to the Escrow office. Even the receptionist was unaware. She’d walked some paperwork to back the offices and when she returned to her desk there was an envelope lying there with “Deliver to Alexa Menetti” scribbled across it. The whole incident left her feeling a bit uncomfortable…well, a lot uncomfortable. However, the joy of having her own place and being her own boss completely superseded the discomfort.