It's a quick, fun romance - even the guys like it!
Here is an exerpt from the book.
Her landlady ushered everyone in and pulled chairs from other rooms to allow seating for her twelve tenants. "He should be here soon. I've put coffee on if anyone wants a cup." No one took up her offer and the gathering resembled a wake Kristen had attended for her friend's Polish grandmother.
Just then there was a knock on the door and Barbara flung the door open with a flourish.
A good-looking man in his mid-twenties with dark wavy hair and an amazing physique made his way in. He nodded to everyone, looking slightly awkward as he gazed at the silent, apprehensive crowd. Kristin felt her heart palpitate a little too quickly. What great eyes. She checked his left hand. No ring. Good sign. Oh, for Pete's sake -- so what. He's your new landlord. End of
"Well, everyone, it's very nice to meet you all. I'm pretty lousy remembering names, so I'll just get to meet you individually when I check out your apartments. I'd like you to make a list of any repairs needed or problems, and when I come by, we can talk about them. I'm going to try to keep everyone happy, but as your leases come up for review there may be some changes. I'll
be fair, but taxes and expenses continue to rise every year as you are well aware, so--"
"Mr. Turner," one of the elderly men interjected, "keep in mind that many of us are living on Social Security and it's a stretch to pay the rent as it is."
Kristen noticed David's eyes turn down as he nodded. "I'll keep that in mind. Now, I plan to mark the parking spaces in the back with the individual apartment numbers. If any of you have more than one vehicle, there will be an additional charge, as I'll have to clear another section and have it paved. Right now, I understand some of you park on the street, but I heard that parking is
going to be illegal on the northbound side beginning next May when the students go home for the summer. But we can work on that later. Most of the rules stated in your present leases will stay in affect, especially the clause about having no pets. Even fish will not be allowed."
You could have heard the proverbial pin drop. More than half the tenants had a pet of some kind. Barbara knew about them but had just looked the other way. Well, if that's the way he wanted it -- so be it. She'd just move, that's all. She'd probably be making so much money that she'd need a real house or luxury condo, anyway.
After a few more remarks, everyone stood up and Barbara tried to introduce some of her friends to the new owner. A couple slipped out without a word and Kristen moved toward the door. Just before she reached for the handle, Dave stepped in front of her. "You must be their mascot," he said softly, "since you're the only one without white hair."
"They're my friends. Don't make fun of them," she pronounced rather rudely, to her own surprise. He backed up.
"I...I really wasn't making fun of them. I only meant--"
"Sorry. They really are all very special to me and I know that it would be hard for them to move. Some have lived here for twenty years or more. So I hope you really will consider their finances before raising their rents."
"I'm not going to raise them any more than I have to, but I have a pretty hefty mortgage and I wasn't kidding about the taxes. I'm not trying to make a fortune, but I need to meet my expenses. Certainly you can understand that." His eyes took on a coolness she hadn't seen earlier.
"You're a realtor?"
"So you make money other ways."
"Ma'am, I'm sorry I don't know your name..."
"Kristen. Kristen Collins."
"Kristen, I don't know why, but you seem to dislike me already." His demeanor changed and he smiled as he continued, "It usually takes people a few minutes to dislike me, but how I earn my living is really no concern of yours. I'd really like us to be friends, so let's start over, shall we?" He extended his hand and she reluctantly placed her hand in his. His touch rather alarmed her. She did not like being drawn to him. She wanted to dislike him -- for some strange
reason. And of all things, she wished she'd worn her hair down and applied make-up. How ridiculous!
"I'll be calling you sometime next week to check out the apartment."
"Yeah. Fine. I'm very busy with my packed social life, so call early."
How infuriating. He saw right through her -- with his stupid crooked grin. "Right. I'll give you at least a week's notice. Or should I make that a
Kristen could feel her cheeks flush. What a giveaway. Would she ever outgrow that annoying sign of embarrassment?
"A week will usually suffice," she offered weakly and made it
out to the hallway -- too self-conscious to turn around and announce her departure to her friends.
Once in the protection of her own place, she leaned against the door and felt tears stinging her face. He so enjoyed taunting her. What kind of guy would get pleasure out of humiliating a poor girl, one who didn't even have a job?