Me and Mrs. Jones
Renee Jones needed a new artist for her galley Divine Design and the gorgeous and very talented Travis Cole was just the man she was looking for. He would without a doubt help her business become the hottest attraction in Wicker Valley.
However, she never expected to become attracted to Travis Cole. But his rock hard body and killer smile are a hard combination for her to deny or resist.
Painter Travis Cole literally stopped in his tracks the second he spotted Renee in his favorite café. All he could think about is finding out all of her secret fantasies and making them come true.
He knows Renee might try to hold back from him at first, since she stressed a 'business only' relationship with him, but Travis didn't doubt for a second he had the right touch to make her change her mind about him and their future.
65,000 words, 165 pages
The loud irritating sound of the alarm clock buzzed for a third time before a slim caramel hand finally found its way from underneath the thick covers and hit the snooze button, ending the suffering. Pushing the covers off her body, Renee Jones stretched her arms above her head trying to chase the remainder of sleep from her limbs.
If today had been any other day, she would have made a feeble excuse to stay in bed late; however today was different. Taking into account the gratifying turnout for the show at her art gallery Divine Design last night, she was ready to get a jump start on her day. The first thing on her list was to add all of the names from the business cards she'd collected last night to her mailing and email lists. She was steadily increasing the number of people who wanted to be kept informed about her gallery.
She probably wouldn't send out another major announcement for about three months because it would be in the closest proximity to her next show. If she sent them out too early, it might get lost in the shuffle of her buyers' everyday lives. However, Renee planned to have a small show in a couple of weeks to debut two of her new artists who couldn't make it last night.
Renee had been more than a little nervous that the community wouldn't embrace her vision or the art she thought was worthy of her support. She felt that being able to use your hands in that manner was the highest form of creativity. In her mind, there wasn't anything more rewarding than making a living surrounded by original art, have people walk in and give praise to the artist and then pay you for your dream job.
Despite the recession, over fifty percent of the community showed up with their checkbooks in hand and the majority of paintings and sculptures along with several photographs sold in less than three hours. She wasn't too sure if some of the more modern art work would draw anyone's attention, but those were snatched up within the first hour of the doors opening.
Last night truly had been a dream come true for her because she had dreamt of having her own art gallery for as long as she could remember. If it hadn't been for her best friends Dana and Cruz, she might not have ever finally taken the leap to make everything happen. In order to accomplish this, it had taken her a while to carve out her own niche in the art world and claim it as hers.
At first, Renee had tried her best to know something about all of the artwork out there including African American painters, and even streets artists who did graffiti but she started failing badly. It finally dawned on her. Divine Design might run better if she picked one certain style of art and became the best expert she could about it. So, in the end Renee decided to go with all the impressionist artists she could find who would allow her to sell their talented work in her gallery.
Hardcore collectors appreciated detailed knowledge from educated dealers who knew the era they were selling and could relay such things as the significance of the art, style, and meaning without too much confusion.
Renee's smile slowly slipped from her face as she also remembered what else her two best friends had done for her. They had made her see that she wasn't going to get her art gallery off the ground if Robert was still in her life with his unwanted complaints whispered in the background. Dana's and Cruz's constant advice was finally what opened her eyes to how badly her ex-husband Robert had been treating her.
He wanted her to help him with all of his wild and unsuccessful ideas, but he hated the thought of being at her side for anything important. How she ever allowed herself to stay married to him for over ten years she would never know.
For the longest time, she thought Robert Jones was the love of her life and he could never do any wrong. Never in her life would she ever think he could be cheating on her with another woman...who turned out to be their real estate agent. Sheila helped them get this house when they ultimately made the decision to move from their fast-paced life in South Carolina to the smaller town of Wicker Valley, Texas.
God, what a fool she had been to not realize Robert wasn't working late all of those nights. She guessed she didn't want to believe in the cliché of it all, but sadly it ended up being true.
Renee never guessed her ex-husband was cheating until he came home from his 'late night meetings' smelling like Sheila's cheap perfume. The second she realized Robert was finding satisfaction in another woman's arms she waited up late for the lying asshole and confronted him. They had ended up getting into a huge argument.
What had gotten her the most was Robert actually had the gall to try to put the blame on her. He accused her of caring more about her worthless art gallery than trying to save their ten year marriage.
After that blistering insult, Robert continued to throw the details of his sickening affair in her face: about how, unlike her, Sheila showed him each and every night how much she needed him in and out of the bedroom.
Renee, tell me why would I want to be with you anymore? All you want to do is spend your time in a huge room with walls covered in useless art work? I have a woman now who wants me and I'm not about to give that up for you or anyone else.
She lost count of how many times she had heard the words repeated over and over in her mind. Robert's words were meant to be cruel and they were just that.
Once their huge fight was over, Robert packed up some of his clothing and stormed out of the house. Her ex-husband was so skillful at his mind games that he actually had her believing that it was her fault he was cheating on her with Sheila until Dana stepped in and made her see Robert was the one with the problem.
It had taken a while for her to finally comprehend. Robert had been growing resentful of her success for a while and was searching for a way to make her feel like she was worthless and the only one responsible one for their marriage ending.
So, after months and months of battling it out in court over small things, the judge finally granted her a divorce. But since she had come into the marriage with more money than Robert, she was ordered to pay him alimony until he was able to support himself or got remarried.
God, how could she have been such a damn fool?
Tossing the covers off her body, Renee sat on the side of her king sized bed and ran her fingers through her hair. Why hadn't she seen her ex-husband's true identity before they moved here? She had loved her life in South Carolina.
All of her family and friends were there plus she had been about to get a promotion at her job at the art museum. Everything was going perfect for her until Robert came home one day and informed her that he had gotten fired for getting into a fight with his boss.
What person in their right mind would threaten their boss?
Yes. Robert had a bad temper, but she never thought it would get that out of hand. Her ex-husband was lucky enough that he only got escorted out of the building instead of led out in handcuffs.
Leaving her home town had been a hard decision on her part, but when Robert was blessed enough to finally land a job out here after searching for over six months she didn't have the heart to tell him not to accept it because he was her husband and she wanted to support him through his struggles.
God, what a mistake her choice had turned out to be. Within the year, Robert had found his way into Sheila's bed. If she was honest with herself, Robert's affairs might have begun earlier than that because she seriously doubted Sheila was the first woman he'd cheated with during their tedious marriage.
The only good thing that came from Robert dragging her miles away from South Carolina was her new home. She loved the Spanish design feel. Keeping the house was the only thing she fought for during the divorce since Robert didn't have anything she wanted.
Her lying and cheating husband had already taken so much from her, and Renee wasn't about to back down from the one thing she wanted the most. Surprisingly, Robert had let their house go without any kind of fight on his part.
Renee wasn't going to give Robert any more of her life. Thank God! He wasn't her problem anymore. Sheila wanted him and now she had him. She wouldn't take Robert back in her life even if someone paid her a million dollars.
Getting out of the rumpled bed, Renee was on her way towards the shower when the phone on her nightstand rang. She came back over to it and smiled at the number on the Caller Id.
"Good morning, Dana," she said, getting back into the bed resting her back against the pillows. "Why are you calling me so early in the morning?"
"Good morning to you too, girlfriend," Dana replied. "Did you forget what today was?" The sound of people talking and dishes rattling in the background caught Renee's attention.
Renee knew that it was Friday, but she couldn't think of anything really special about the day. "I'm sorry. I guess I did forget. What's going on today? I'm still feeling the high of selling so many paintings at the art show last night."
"I have to admit I was stunned at how fast some of those drawings sold but that isn't the reason I'm calling you," Dana replied.
"Okay, do you care to fill me in?" Renee was a bit concerned, because Dana only called her before eight o'clock in the morning when she wanted something from her.
"I just wanted to make sure that you're still coming to my speed dating event this afternoon. Remember, you told me last week that you would stop by and check everything out. I really would love for you to come. I know you can meet someone to get your mind off your jackass ex-husband."
Speed dating....had Dana completely lost her mind?
She wasn't interested in spending two minutes or five minutes with any guy she had no interest in dating. The only relationship she had in her life right now was Divine Design.
Didn't she just get rid of Robert? Why would she want to replace him with another man so soon?
"I think I'm going to pass," Renee replied quickly. "You know that after the hell I went through with Robert that I'm not interested in getting involved with another man. Hell, I'm not sure if I ever want to get into another relationship."
Renee heard Dana's loud sigh on the other end of the phone. "Come on, Renee. You can't allow Robert to keep having such power over you. Didn't he get remarried? If he could marry that slut Sheila, you have the right to have someone new in your life, as well. Your divorce from him has been final for almost a year."
Dana didn't understand that she wasn't upset at all Robert had gotten remarried so quickly after their divorce. What pissed her off the most is that her lousy ex-husband had been married for almost three months before she found out. She had been paying him alimony for all of those months when she didn't have to.
Who knew that Robert would be sneaky enough to go down to Las Vegas and get a quickly marriage to his mistress? Well, Robert and all of his drama were totally in her past now. She made herself a promise not to waste another moment of her life thinking about Robert or anything else that wasn't good for her.
"Dana, I'm not going to do this speed dating for you. No way in hell. Now, do you have my tea in yet?" Renee asked, changing the subject. "I came by your café earlier in the week and one of your employees told me it would be in today." She loved Dana's black tea. It instantly relaxed her after a long day at work.
"Yes, it's here. I have it in my office," Dana answered. "Are you going to come by today and get it? I'm going to be here all day because of the speed dating."
Renee didn't like the idea of making a trip to Dana's shop while she was having the dating event going on, but she was out of her favorite tea and she knew she would be craving a cup tonight while she was working on her mailing lists.
"Okay, I'll be by there later on to get it," Renee said finally giving in against her better judgment. "Just make sure you don't try to sneak the speed dating on me again because I've already told you no and I'm not about to change my mind."
Even without seeing her, Renee knew Dana was doing one of her famous eye rolls. "Fine, I won't try to help you find a good man. But you are going to have to take a chance one day with someone. You're too great to be alone."
Renee wasn't going to get into this conversation again with Dana. She was done with it. Dana was a good friend, but once she got her mind set on something it was hard to get her to change her mind.
"Bye, Renee," her best friend said and then hung up the phone.
Pushing the end button on the phone, Renee placed it back on the nightstand. She got out of bed and headed back towards the shower. She knew Cruz was probably already at the gallery working on something since he was up at the crack of dawn anyway. .
Renee had to make sure her assistant Cruz got the Realism butterflies paintings she needed hung on the walls. Last week, when the artist came in and showed them to her, she couldn't believe how much they swept her away. After seeing them, she knew there was no way she could turn away this upcoming artist.
Yes...it would take a special collector to see the same beauty in them as she had, but she knew the right person was out there.
In the bathroom, Renee turned on the shower and then went to find her favorite body wash. Hopefully by the time she left the gallery and made her way over to Dana's café, the speed dating event would be over and then she could just pick her up tea and leave. She had a very sneaky feeling if it wasn't; Dana would try to find a way to get her involved.