Read An Unexpected Love Story (Love Story Book Two) Online

Authors: Rachel Schurig

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An Unexpected Love Story (Love Story Book Two)

BOOK: An Unexpected Love Story (Love Story Book Two)
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Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter twenty-six

Chapter Twenty-seven

Chapter Twenty-eight

Chapter Twenty-nine

Chapter Thirty

Epilogue

 

 

 

 

 

An Unexpected

Love Story

 

 

Rachel Schurig

 

 

 

Copyright 2012 Rachel Schurig

 

Kindle Edition

 

All rights reserved.

 

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the author.

 

 

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

 

 

For Katy

Who read the first one first and who has always loved me more than I deserved.

 

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

Thanks, as ever, to my wonderful parents, siblings, family, and friends for all of your help and encouragement. You guys are really the best!

 

Thank you to my editor, Shelley Holloway, for all your help, support, and advice.

 

Book cover design by Scarlett Rugers Design 2012

www.scarlettrugers.com

 

Special thanks to Andrea, without whom this book would have never been finished. Thank you for helping me to figure out what Brooke really wanted. Your support, help, late-night advice sessions, and willingness to indulge my crazy means more than you’ll ever know!

Chapter One

“Sweetheart? Sweetie, are you awake?”

I closed my eyes tightly, trying to block out the sound of my mother’s stage whisper. I had been having such a nice dream, skiing somewhere exotic, about as far away from my bedroom in this podunk town in northern Michigan as it was possible to get. My skiing instructor was named Sven, and he had the most beautiful blue eyes. And strong shoulders. And full mouth. If I could just close my eyes tightly enough, maybe I’d be able to feel his lips brush against mine—

“Brooke? Brookie?”

“Oh, for God’s sake, Mom! What is it?”

I pulled my duvet down away from my face and glared in the direction of the doorway, where my mother was hovering in her pink fuzzy bathrobe.

“I was just wondering if you were awake, dear,” she said, inching a bit farther into my room.

“Well, I am now,” I muttered, sitting up. As she inched closer still, I held up my hands. “Stop. What was our agreement about you coming into my room?”

“Oh,” she murmured, backing up again toward the door. “Well, I just thought…”

“Mom, please. We’ve had this discussion a million times. I’m twenty-six years old. I cannot live here if we can’t set some boundaries, so I can have some privacy.”

“I know, sweetie,” she said, concentrating on picking a piece of lint from her robe. I wondered if she had heard me at all. “But I wanted to know if you wanted breakfast. Dad was just going to make waffles. I know you don’t usually eat in the morning, but I thought you might like something. You know, I was just watching this special on Doctor Oz, he was talking about the importance of a good breakfast…”

I rested my head on my bent knees and covered my ears, trying to block her out. It was just no use arguing with her. My mother could agree to my terms for living here until she was blue in the face—the problem was, she never seemed to
realize
that she was breaking our agreement. In her mind, wanting to ask me about breakfast, or making sure I wasn’t too cold, or stopping for a chat about one of her favorite talk shows were all perfectly legitimate reasons for entering my room without my permission.

“Okay, I’m up,” I groaned, giving up on any hope of revisiting Sven in the Alps before work. “I’ll come down for pancakes, okay? Just give me a few minutes to shower.”

“Waffles, dear.”

Instead of leaving the room so I could start to get ready, like any normal person would, my mother instead chose to stand in my doorway and watch as I gathered up my shower things, keeping up a steady stream of conversation as I went. “Big weekend coming up. I’m a little surprised at how booked we are for this time of year.” Apparently feeling braver now, she abandoned her post by the door and walked to my dresser, picking up a picture of me with my best friend, Emily. She peered at it absentmindedly for a moment. “Such a pretty girl, that Emily. How is she?” Without waiting for an answer, she picked up the thread of her previous prattle, not seeming to care that I wasn’t participating in the conversation. “We usually don’t see this kind of crowd until later in the winter, when the ice fishing starts. Not that I’m complaining, heaven knows we need the business. It’s just odd. I wonder why that is? I mean, do you think a bunch of people just woke up yesterday and decided to book a trip to Alpena, Michigan? I wonder—”

“Mom!”

She looked at me, her face the picture of innocence.
Oh my God!
I thought. My parents drove me crazy, and coming back here to live was probably one of the dumbest things I’d ever done, but it was just impossible to stay mad at my mom. She was just too good, honestly and truly sweet, right down to her core. I wondered, not for the first time, how on earth she and my father had produced someone like me.

“I’m getting in the shower now,” I told her, struggling to keep my voice even and not snap at her. “I’ll see you downstairs in a minute, okay?”

“Okay, sweetie, I’ll just give you your privacy, shall I?”

“What a novel concept,” I muttered as she finally turned and left my room.

I sighed and flopped back down on the bed, wishing I could just go back to sleep. My parents’ inn was empty today, and that meant little work for me. An empty inn was pretty common for a Thursday morning, particularly in mid-November. We got people in for entire week stays during the summer and fall, and sometimes later in the winter, but this was our dead zone. The retirees in search of autumn color were long gone by now, the families with children looking to enjoy our Lake Huron beachfront gone before them. And the winter sportsmen wouldn't be showing up for a while yet.

This was the time of year that made me nervous.

I caught a whiff of something cooking downstairs. Was that bacon? I grinned a little. Count on my dad to go all out. I pulled myself up from the bed once again, deciding I would shower and then join them after all. I rarely turned down bacon.

I tried to relax under the hot water of my shower, but I couldn't get rid of the knot of tension in my shoulders that had formed as soon as I started thinking about the slow period. My mom was right about this weekend—we had a rather large party booked, the result of my successfully negotiating with the organizer of some video-game guild looking for a site for their annual conference. In a matter of days, we would be overrun by no fewer than thirty of northern Michigan’s most avid video game enthusiasts.

I could hardly wait.

But that wasn’t what had me feeling tense. Geeky guys and their toys did not faze me at all. In fact, I was massively thankful for their patronage and knew I would do everything I possibly could to ensure they had a great time. The more events like this we could host, the better off we would be. I had not forgotten the abject terror I had felt at this time last year, when our bookings were down even lower than they were now. A wonderful summer season had gotten us back on our feet, but I hated the thought of having to count on that again.

As I washed my long black hair, I marveled at my own concern for the inn. Growing up, I had absolutely hated the place. Hated living in the attached apartment, hated not having a house and yard of our own. Hated the guests that were constantly there—in what should have been my own space—taking up my parents’ time.

If you would have told me ten years ago that I’d end up right back here after college, I would have laughed in your face. But nevertheless, here I was, putting my bachelor’s degree to work by basically running the inn, for all intents and purposes. Sometimes, I still couldn't believe it myself.

Someday
, I reminded myself.
This is only temporary. You will not be here forever.

After my hair was clean, I considered hanging out under the hot water for a few minutes more. My parents kept the apartment downright freezing, and I dreaded the thought of facing the cold November morning. But I knew my mother would be back soon to check up on me, wanting to make sure I was okay and remind me that the waffles would soon be cold. Sighing, I turned off the water, reaching out of the shower for a towel to wrap up in.

If it was a choice between a cold bedroom and another run-in with my mother before I’d even had coffee, I’d take the cold bedroom any day.

Chapter Two

“Bill, I want to help you out, really I do, but I just can’t justify any new staff right now.”

Bill Billingham—seriously, that’s his real name—had been my parents’ neighbor for the past fifteen years. He was now peering at me with wide, accusing eyes. I felt a stab of guilt, but pushed it down. It was hardly my fault Bill had a new girlfriend who insisted on “fancy dining” four nights of the week, according to him. And why should I be concerned with the fact that she had apparently gotten access to his social security checks and was bleeding him dry with her Home Shopping Network addiction? Besides, what was I supposed to do with a man whose only skills appeared to be woodcarving?

“Your old man always threw some work my way when things got tough,” Bill said, his voice reproachful. “He wouldn't have even thought twice.”

Yeah, well my old man also almost ran this place into the ground
, I thought to myself, feeling the familiar flash of bitterness at the thought. “Sorry, Bill,” I said in my brightest voice. Maybe if I was nice he’d just leave. “I handle all the hiring these days. And I mean it when I tell you that we just don’t have anything right now. It is the slow season, you know.”

“Is your dad around?” he asked, peering over my shoulder, clearly not listening to me at all. “I wouldn't mind having a little chat with him. Just for old times sake, you know.”

“He’s busy,” I said firmly, checking my watch. I had just about reached the end of my patience, as well as my free time. I had work to do. “Tell you what, why don’t you stop by after Christmas, and I’ll see what I can do. Things have usually picked up by then for the winter sports.”

“After Christmas?” he asked, his eyes wide and disbelieving. “You think I’ll be working after Christmas? When the hell would I have time for ice fishing if I was working?”

I rolled my eyes. This was so typical. Half the people in this town seemed to think of this place as little better than a lending institution. Need money fast? Stop by Murray’s Inn and get some half-assed work for a week or two. Old Man Murray was good for it. Well, the days of that kind of crap were long gone now.

“That’s the best I can do, Bill,” I said, standing up from the table, glad that my heels gave me a few extra inches of height. It made me feel more in control. “Take it or leave it. We’ll see you soon.”

I left him grumbling at the table. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Paul, our bartender, cracking up. Figuring eleven-thirty wasn’t too early for a shot of something real, I decided to join him.

BOOK: An Unexpected Love Story (Love Story Book Two)
10.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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