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Excerpt: Touchdowns & Potions



Chapter 1


"Will you look at that guy? If he's the owner of this mansion…" Jenna Steele parked her car in the driveway of the client's home. The handsome and well-built man stood on the porch, as if waiting for her to get out of the car. He looked like he'd just gotten out of bed, wearing only dark blue shorts in the morning August air. Although she'd sworn off the good-looking macho type of man, she wished she could make an exception—he was that incredible.

The man's huge dog ran out of the house and off the porch toward her car. His bark was nasty as he bared his teeth. He jumped up on Jenna's car door, making Jenna move toward the passenger's seat.

Jenna wound the passenger's window down an inch and shouted toward the man, over the loud animal. "Are you going to help me?"

The man shook his head. "No. He's my watch dog and you're a stranger."

What a scummy man. "Very funny." She looked out the driver's side window. "He's scratching my paint. Help me?"

"Killer. Down," the man said, not even raising his voice. The dog dropped to the ground, sauntered to his master, and sat beside him. "You can get out now."

She still didn't trust the monster beast, not wanting to get out of her car. They could turn on strangers at any time, from what she'd seen in the past. "Are you sure he's not going to eat me?"

The man laughed, bent down, and stroked the dog's fur. "No way. Killer's no killer."

The whole situation made her angry, but she let it go. If this guy was the owner of the home, she had to remain professional. She was a real estate agent and he was her potential client. Her job depended on this sale, considering she'd lost two other sales that week. The company's new 'three strikes and you're out' policy was getting too close for comfort. In other words, she had to be nice to this man.

Jenna grabbed her things and got out of the car. She had to check on the scratch, so she rounded the car to the driver's side. The scratch was deep, so she ran her fingers over it. What was she going to do? She didn't have the cash to fix the thing, nor did she have the time. However, she couldn't get angry, because the dog's owner was, in fact, a potential client.

She turned her attention to the man, who still stood on the porch with his arms folded. Best not to say anything about the scratch and just ignore it. Considering her car was old, no one would believe a dog made it worse.

After smoothing her blue skirt, she shook back her hair and approached the man. "I'm looking for Mr…" She opened her portfolio and glanced at the name. "Andy McKnight."

"That's me," the man said with a grin. "You must be from We-Sell Lincoln Realty."

"Yes, sir." Once she got closer, she reached out and shook his hand, the heat from his fingers searing her skin. Even sexier up close, he made her catch her breath while staring at his brown hair and very blue eyes. His strong face was bronzed with slight stubble on his chin, his smile revealing his incredibly white straight teeth.

She took a small breath, unable to shake the power this man had over her. "I'm Jenna Steele. It's nice to meet you."

His expression turned puzzled. "Do you know who I am?"

"Sure. You're…" She checked her portfolio again. "Andy McKnight." Turning her gaze to the mansion sitting in front of her, dollar signs danced in her mind. "You want to sell this beautiful home, right?"

"Yes, I do. I'm building something farther out and need more space."

She jerked her head toward him. "More space? Do you have a family?" The place was already enormous.

"No family, but I have goals for my future and need more space."

She wanted to ask him what he was talking about, but kept it to herself. She had to see the inside of the home before she asked more.

His hand went to her upper back as he directed her toward the front door. She felt uncomfortable, so she moved away from him. His touch was more than she'd bargained for. She had to keep her distance and keep her eye on her goal—getting the commission from the house and keeping her job.

"Do you know who I am?" he asked.

Didn't he ask her that before? What was his problem? "Andy McKnight."

"At least you didn't have to check your files again," he muttered. "Have you ever heard of me before?"

"No, sir. My boss handed me your file and now I'm here. I'm to assess your home and see who can sell it for our company." She had to give herself an out in case this job was more than she could handle. She'd been with the company for only a few months, and given the size of the home, she may not have the connections to sell the place.

As they climbed the steps to the porch, the dog followed along. Andy opened the front door and they entered the foyer off the kitchen. With cathedral ceilings, light wood, and dark trim, the house was gorgeous. But at this moment, it was a disaster. What seemed like hundreds of beer cans littered the floor, with pizza boxes and trash of every type strewn everywhere. It looked like no one had cleaned for months. The dog went right to work, sniffing and hunting for any stray food.

"Sorry for the mess," Andy said. "The maid hasn't been here for two days."

"Two days?" Jenna glanced around the room. "You did all this in two days?"

His hand touched her back, directing her away from the open door.

Jenna stepped over a black lacy bra. She pointed at the item. "I take it this isn't yours."

He laughed as he closed the front door. "No, not mine. That belongs to a friend's—"

"A friend of yours?" She glanced around to see if a woman was nearby. "I can come back at another time if you want." She had to remain professional, giving her client some space. At least that's what she'd been taught.

Andy laughed again. "No. You don't understand. A friend of mine has someone in one of the bedrooms in this place. It's not what you think."

Jenna crossed her arms over the brown leather portfolio she was holding. She hated people like this—no ambition, no drive, and no schedule. He let someone else entertain a woman in his house and didn't seem to care. It was horrible to waste one's life by playing all day. For most clients, she'd dive right in and try to help them with the mess, but this man seemed to be a spoiled brat. She made a mental note not to be the one to sell his house. They couldn't fire her for refusing to even try, could they?

Andy ushered her into the living room. The place was a nightmare for junk everywhere. With the sweep of one arm, he pushed everything from the couch onto the floor, making a loud thud. "Have a seat. Want something to eat or drink?"

"In this place?" Jenna said, wrinkling her nose. "I mean—no thanks." She wiped crumbs from the dark gray leather couch and sat on the edge so she wouldn't get anything stuck to her skirt. How could anyone live like this?

Andy sat in a chair beside the couch. "You're going to be my real estate agent, right?"

Jenna looked around the room. "Like I said before, I'm to assess your home then see who can sell it. From what I see in this place, I'm not sure We-Sell Lincoln Realty can deal with your living habits. Do you always keep it this messy?"

Andy glanced around the room. "It's what I pay the maids for."

"How many maids do you have?"

"Three. They come once a week and were here two days ago."

"Once a week and they were here already?" The place was a pigsty, and to think he'd have to live like this for six more days made her wrinkle her nose.

"I'll call them to make a special trip today. This is worse than usual. The guys—"

She looked around to see if anyone else was nearby. "Guys?"

"Yep. We had a late night last night and were just blowing off some steam."

"On a Sunday? A late night?" She pointed to all the junk. "This looks like more than just some steam to me. Sir, if you want us to list your house, you'll need to keep it cleaner than this. I can't risk my job because you're a slob."

He tilted his head and studied her. "How long have you lived in Lincoln?"

Why would he want to know that? She didn't answer right away, utterly confused. "Well, I've lived in Nebraska all my life, but only in Lincoln for three months. I'm originally from Omaha. Why do you ask?"

"So that's why you've never heard of me." He shot her a knowing look.

"Are you an egotist millionaire? Is that why you want me to recognize who you are?"

He cleared his throat as if irritated. "Not at all, except for the millionaire part. I've just never found anyone who didn't know Andy McKnight before. So you don't have me on some sort of pedestal? You just think I'm a slob."

"Pretty much." She glanced at her watch. 8:15 a.m. She'd only been in the home for seven minutes and she knew exactly what she thought. But she had to remain professional. "Look. I have work to do. Can we move this along, please?"

"Sure. But first, I want you to guess what I do for a living."

These games were going to make her late.

She sighed and glanced around the room. "You're a professional pig?"

"Ah, very close," he said, grinning. "But not quite. Try again."

She thought for a moment. "You don't have a job that requires a schedule because it's after eight and you're not at work."

"I'm usually at work by seven but because we worked late last night, I have the morning off."

"So this is kind of like a vacation?" That would make more sense.

"No. I have a vacation beginning in the late winter or early spring. That's when I go on real vacations, away from Nebraska."

"Hmmm. So you're not a teacher, or you'd have your summers off." She looked all around the room. "You're in an expensive house, worth at least a half million—"

"Probably more. My new house will have a pool and be much, much bigger. They've already started construction, and it should be done in the next month or so. I'm going to move my furniture to the new place as soon as it's ready."

So he really was a millionaire. She hated the type. If she didn't need the money or her job so badly, she'd be out of there, not willing to deal with guessing his occupation just to make him feel superior. "Let's see. You don't strike me as the doctor or lawyer type, and I know surfer dudes don't make millions or live in Nebraska."

He laughed. "You think I look like a surfer dude?"

She raked her eyes down from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. "You're the spitting image."

"That's hilarious. I wanted to do that for a living, but Dad told me to go to college, so we compromised. I went to the University of Southern California."

"In what?"

He lifted a finger and grinned. "I can't tell you until you guess."

More games and the clock still ticked. "Let's see. What other professions make someone worth millions of dollars so they can sit around in filth?" She glanced at him for a moment. "A movie star?"

"Nope. I'd probably be in California or near a movie shoot for that."

"Right. I should've guessed. That only leaves sports, as far as I can tell, because I highly doubt you have any sort of professional job like an executive or a thief. They don't take vacations in the late winter."

"You're right about that one," he murmured. "And you're right about sports. Now, which one?"

"Not golf, because you'd be taking the whole winter off. I doubt you'd be training in the summer for any type of winter sport, and you probably wouldn't be worth millions. Baseball is out, because you'd be working in springtime. That leaves—" Oh no. Not that. Please not that. "—football?"

Andy grinned. "Yes, ma'am. My favorite game. I'm with the Lincoln Goldsparx. In case you didn't know, that's a professional football team."

She hated football but had to be nice. "I've heard of them. My dad watches sports, but I don't follow it at all."

He winked and grinned. "Now, what position?"

Jenna clutched her blouse closed at the neck. "Excuse me? I'm not that type of girl."

He shook his head and chuckled. "Not sexual position. What position on the field?"

She moved her hand off her blouse. "Oh, a stupid jock question."

"Stupid jock?"

"Yeah. I hate jocks and always have. Especially football jocks—no offense."

"No offense? Normally, I'd be offended, but in your case…" He glanced down over her. "I'm intrigued. Why do you hate football jocks?"

"I've hated them ever since high school, when the ditzy cheerleaders flaunted their bodies to the stupid football jocks and they fell for it. They couldn't have cared less about brains and were only after one thing."

Andy moved to sit beside her on the couch, making her feel rather uncomfortable. If he weren't handsome to begin with, it would mean nothing. But he was the type of man most women swooned over, and the sensual heat radiating from him was almost more than she could bear.

"Brains are my favorite," he said. "I never liked cheerleaders because there was nothing to them. I went for the college-bound girls because they were more interesting." He lifted his hand and stroked her hair, making her jump at his touch. It seemed to amuse him. "Did you go to college?"

Her eyes widened as she stared at him. "Sure did, why?"

"I love college girls." He leaned closer, nuzzled his nose into her hair, and kissed her cheek. "You smell so nice." He moved his lips down her neck.

She closed her eyes for just a brief moment because it felt so good. As soon as she realized where he was headed, she got her wits about her and moved away to the far end of the couch.

He shifted closer to her. She really wanted to run out of the room, but his blue eyes seemed to melt her heart for some reason and she couldn't break that grip. She couldn't move.

"Brains, ambition, desire…" His warm hand reached up and stroked her cheek in small but deliberate movements, his eyes glancing toward her lips before returning to her eyes. "Such pretty and soft brown hair, beautiful green eyes, curves in all the right places…" He moved his lips closer so she could smell his minty breath. She stared at his gaze, unable to pull away. He seemed to be able to peek into her soul as his lips inched toward hers.

Her heart beat double-time and the butterflies in her stomach seemed to take over. His touch was warm on her lips, controlling her every movement with his tongue. One of his arms surrounded her back. She desperately wanted to return the favor, but kept her arms still.

When he moved down to her chin and her neck once again, it was almost more than she could handle.

Jenna reeled to her senses, hopped to her feet, and threw her hands onto her hips. "Mr. McKnight. I'm a professional and I'd appreciate it if you'd treat me as such."

Andy looked surprised. "I'm sorry?"

"You're right, you're sorry. Now, do you want to sell this house or what?"

"Yes, I do."

"Fine. Get a maid in here and clean it up. Keep it cleaned after that and keep your friends out. Then get a landscaper and fix up the outside so it's presentable. Most of this furniture needs to go, because it's cluttered in here. And—"

"Hey, QB. How's it hanging?" A man entered the kitchen wearing only boxer shorts. He leaned down and stroked Killer, who was chewing pizza in the boxes from the night before.

"Hey, Dave," Andy said. "I want you to meet Jenna. She's the real estate lady."

"If I decide to take your case." She crossed her arms, still standing in front of Andy, who was still seated on the couch.

The man from the kitchen was huge, at least six-foot-five and about two hundred and fifty pounds of pure testosterone and muscle. He entered the living room and assessed Jenna from top to bottom. "Hello, Jenna." He took a step toward her, yanked her to him, and gave her a huge kiss. She struggled to get away, but he was a lot stronger.

"Stop it!" Andy yelled. He got to his feet, pulling on Dave's arm. "She's not yours."

The huge man backed away, grinning. Jenna raised her fist, but Dave stopped her mid-hit and held her fist at her side.

"No one touches me," she said, lowering her voice in anger.

His face was mean and he was trouble. She also knew if she backed down, she'd regret it.

Jenna narrowed her eyes and moved closer to his face, clenching her jaw. "No one kisses me without permission." She pulled her arm from his hand. "Got it, buddy? My dad's a cop and I'm sure he'd love to have a chat with you about assault. I'd press charges, too." She turned toward Andy, standing right beside her. "That goes for you, too. Neither of you have permission."

Andy's eyebrows lifted. "I'm sorry."

"You'd better be."

"A cop's kid," Dave teased. "You're feisty, too." He turned to go back to the kitchen. "Possibilities, QB."

She collected herself, wishing she'd have reacted sooner, but Dave had caught her off-guard. She wiped her lips, wishing she could get the thought of him violating her out of her mind. But something else struck her funny, so she addressed Andy. "Why does he call you QB?"

"QB. Quarterback. It's a nickname Dave calls me, because he's a running back, or RB."

Andy didn't look smart enough to be a quarterback. He looked like a surfer with six-pack abs, defined muscles, sandy brown hair, blue eyes, and a tan that didn't quit, probably not even under his blue shorts. "You're a quarterback?"

"Sure am," Andy said. "And the best, according to all the surveys. I'm surprised you've never heard of me."

"She's never heard of you?" Dave yelled from the kitchen. He stepped closer and drank directly from the container of orange juice in his hand.

"Remind me never to eat at your house," Jenna muttered, wrinkling her nose. Drinking directly from a container was just gross.

She picked up her things from the coffee table and checked her watch. Exactly 8:28 a.m. She had to leave, because her day was already scheduled.

"Dav-ey!" a woman's shrill voice called from the hallway. "Are you coming back to bed?"

"Yeah, in a minute." Dave stepped into the living room. "Hey Andy, did my wife call?" He'd lowered his voice to almost a whisper.

"No, Dave. Remember? You're separated. She kicked you out last week."

"I wonder why?" Jenna muttered.

Andy shot her a dirty look. "Tell you what, Jenna. I have things to do here. I can't concentrate that well yet. It was a late night and some of the team wanted to blow off some steam at our preseason loss, so—"

"You had a game yesterday?"

"Sure did." He pointed to the garbage on the floor. "You don't think my house always looks like this, do you?"

"Yes, I do."

"Well, you're wrong. Not all jocks are slobs."

She pointed to the pizza boxes making a trail from the kitchen to the living room. "Yeah, I see that."

He bent down, picked up a box, and threw it across the room to the kitchen. It landed perfectly on the island. So he could throw and seemed to have great aim.

"Well," Andy said. "I'd like to reschedule this meeting, if that's okay with you."

Jenna glanced at her watch. 8:29 a.m. This meeting was over, because she had to get back to the office by nine. "Fine. What time and where?"

"Eleven tomorrow, your office." He thought for a moment. "No, here."

"I'll be here at 11, but your case is still pending. I highly doubt I'll be doing your sale, because…I'm busy." She figured she didn't need to burn any bridges, but was going to make sure she didn't have to list the house. "What time do you have to be at work tomorrow?"

"I work in the morning. I have off from 10:30 till 1. Is that enough time?"

"Yes, sir." She headed toward the door. "Until tomorrow." She walked out of the home toward the car.

As soon as she opened the driver's side door, someone shut it from behind. "Not yet. I don't like the first impression you must have of me." Andy was right behind her, his mouth at her ear. He moved his hands to her shoulders. "I want you to have an open mind tomorrow. Deal?"

"I guess." Jenna turned toward him and moved back an inch, away from his hands. "How did you get out here before I did and why didn't I hear you?"

Andy grinned. "I'm sneaky and fast."

She crossed her arms over her portfolio. "I just bet."

"Just on the field. Not in life, so don't worry." He touched her cheek. "I intend to prove that to you, too."

She backed away from his hand. "Don't try too hard. I don't like jocks."

Andy laughed. "I get it. No means yes."

"Not in this case." She turned and opened her door, but he closed it again.

"Are you married or dating?" He stroked her hair.

She spun around in exasperation, grabbed his hand, and threw it off her hair. "No."

The guy seemed amused. "Available then?"

She narrowed her eyes, more than irritated. "For some men, yes."

He bit his lip and nodded. "Tomorrow at 11, here."

"Yes, sir. Now am I allowed to leave to go back to work?"

Andy backed away. "Sure. Just don't write me off yet."

Jenna opened her door and got inside. She intended to do just that to Mr. Andy McKnight, super-egotist, because he was history in her mind.

She backed out of the driveway and headed toward her office, her protected safe haven away from the evil men of the Lincoln Goldsparx.

Her mind raced while she drove, not able to get the strange quarterback out of her thoughts. He was exactly the type of man she always fell for, which made her angry. Those types usually had no brains, no ambition, and no goals. She, on the other hand, wanted desperately to get a job in her field of counseling and social work. If there only were jobs available, she could quit real estate and her part-time night job and move on, making her name known throughout the social work community.

Jenna pulled into her assigned spot at the real estate office. Once she wrote the appointment for the next day in her day planner, she got out of the car and went inside. She entered her cubicle before nine, which meant she was on time. Her life was so scheduled that she didn't have time to let anything slide.

As soon as she was seated, her boss, Marion, walked in and sat down on the chair beside from her desk. "How did it go?"

"How did what go?" Jenna asked.

"The meeting with Andy McKnight," Marion whispered.

"It went fine. I set up a meeting with him tomorrow at 11, because he wasn't quite ready to talk business."

Marion leaned closer. "What does that mean?"

Jenna sighed. "He had a late night with his football buddies and had just woken up. He wanted to reschedule."

"Did he have a girl at the house?"

"Yes, but it wasn't his girl, if that's what you're asking."

"Want to be less cryptic?"

Jenna raised her eyebrows. "You want details?"

Marion sighed. "I figure if I'm going to be interviewed for the five o'clock news for dirt on Andy McKnight, I want to know how to answer."

"You're kidding, right?"

"No, ma'am. Whose girl was it?"

"I don't gossip," Jenna said. "I'd recommend our company not take him on as a client and give him the card of one of our competitors. He doesn't care about selling his house and I don't want to be his agent."

"That's a very strong assessment." Marion studied her for a moment. "Meet with him tomorrow and let me know what you think then. The owner of our company is a very close friend of the owner of the Goldsparx and knows it'll be good for publicity to sell it." She leaned closer, her jaw clenched. "If we don't sell it, it'll come back on your shoulders as another failure, which means you'll be out."

It didn't seem fair to Jenna, because she always got the tough clients. "You should've seen the place. It would take years to get it clean, and keeping it clean for tours would be impossible."

"Handle it. I'll see if I can get another agent to take care of the sale, but for now, it's up to you to get him to sign for us. Is that understood?"

Jenna hated her job. She hated bowing down to the almighty bosses at the top who had no idea what she went through to sell a home. She sighed, blowing off the steam building inside. "Yes, ma'am."

A tall blonde woman popped her head over the cubicle wall. "Marion, I have a client calling for an agent to sell her house, but I'm booked. Can you give it to someone else?"

"Yes, Kylee." Marion took the piece of paper and glanced at Jenna. "Want another one?"

"Sure." She shot Kylee a dirty look. "I'll take the leftovers."

Kylee narrowed her eyes and stuck out her tongue behind Marion's back. Jenna took the piece of paper from Marion and picked up the phone. Kylee was such a spoiled brat, raised with a silver spoon in her mouth from day one. Her parents were wealthy, but they wanted her to get a job to learn how to work. She didn't need the money, rubbing it in whenever she could. That's why she could pick and choose her clients, making her look like the model employee.

"Whenever you want to give me details, my door's open." Marion chuckled and walked away.

Jenna dialed the number from the paper. She knew immediately why Kylee didn't want to sell the house as soon as she heard someone answer the phone. The woman was old and probably on a fixed income, which meant the house was cheap and the commission non-existent.

"Hello, is this Edna Bluebright?" Jenna asked.

"Yes, dear. And who am I speaking to?"

"My name is Jenna Steele and I work for We-Sell Lincoln Realty. I understand you'd like to sell your home."

"Oh, my, you're efficient. I just got off the phone with someone named…," some papers rattled, "Kylee Lyons."

"Yes, she works with me, but is very busy. Can I meet with you some time?"

"How about now?"

"I'll be right there." Once Jenna got the address and ended the call, she headed over to the woman's small home, arriving at 9:24 a.m. As soon as she parked in front, she knew the house had potential, because the woman took care of it.

Jenna got out of the car and opened the small white fenced gate to the front yard, which was overflowing with beautiful flowers in every color. With the amazing floral aroma, Jenna took in the landscaped yard, each blade of grass perfectly manicured. This was more like home than any mansion owned by a slob of a rich quarterback.

She stepped up the three steps onto the porch, and before she could even knock at the door, an elderly gray-haired woman opened it with a huge grin. "Hello. You must be Jenna."

"Yes, ma'am. And you're Edna, right?"

She ushered Jenna inside the home. "Sure am. You're good with names, huh?"

"I try." Maybe she should've remembered Andy's name before she met him.

Jenna looked around the living room, which was clean and decorated in light tones with tasteful knickknacks on the coffee table and end tables. "You have a gorgeous house and it's so homey."

"Let me take you on a tour." They walked through the three-bedroom home, and Jenna took notes as they toured.

"It's beautiful," Jenna said. "Other than a window or two that need to be loosened so they can be raised, I don't see a lot of problems with this home. Why are you moving?"

The woman seemed upset. "I was told I couldn't take care of it anymore and have to go to an old folk's home."

"Who told you that?"

She frowned, her eyes seeming to sadden. "My daughter. She wants to control my money and my life. I don't seem to have much of a choice in the matter. She's kind of pushy."

"That doesn't seem fair to me. You get around fine and seem healthy."

"I am healthy, especially for my age." Edna ushered her into the kitchen. "Sit and talk to me for a bit. I don't get many visitors."

Jenna desperately wanted to talk the woman out of selling the last thing she had in life, even though Jenna's bosses would be livid.

She took her place at the small kitchen table while Edna put a teapot on to boil. The home reminded her of her childhood, and Edna, her mother.

"So, tell me," Edna said. "Are you married?"

This woman was more like her mother than she thought. "No, not married."

Edna's face lit up. "Seeing someone?"

"Not right now," Jenna said. "I'm kind of waiting for Mr. Right."

"Don't you go waiting for Mr. Right. He'll never come along if he knows you're waiting for him. You have to go find him, grab him by the arm, and tell him you're the one for him."

This woman was hilarious. "You know, you're right. Where do I go to find Mr. Right?"

"Do you have any male clients right now?"

"Well, I met with one today, but he's not right. He's a professional football player."

"One of those? I'm so sorry." Edna thought for a moment. "However, consider him practice." She sized Jenna up. "I think you've been out of the dating field for a while, right?"

"Well…"

"I thought so." The teapot whistled so Edna got up from the table. She poured two cups of tea and handed one to Jenna with cream and sugar on the side. Edna then grabbed the cookie jar from the corner and laid out a plate of chocolate chip cookies. "Have some. They're my secret recipe."

Jenna grabbed a cookie and took a bite. "Amazing. Your secret recipe, huh? Is it legal?"

Edna laughed as she sat. "Yep. Now, about this practice man. What's his name?"

Jenna took a sip of the tea. "Andy."

"Wait. It isn't Andy McKnight, is it?"

Jenna tilted her head as she took another bite of the delicious cookie, the overabundance of chocolate chips melting in her mouth. "Yes, it is. How do you know him?"

"Dear Jenna, if you're going to get a man, you need to watch sports. He's the most fawned over man in all of Lincoln and probably the nation. He's hot, and every woman would love to have him. I heard he has so much fan mail, they had to hire six people full-time around the clock just to open the letters."

"He's that famous?" She had no idea that a slob such as Andy could be that famous. But fan mail? She hoped it wasn't groupie women.

Where did that come from? Was she that infatuated with the guy to have something like that creep into her brain?

"Are you sure you don't want this guy?" Edna asked.

Jenna lowered her eyes. "He's not right for me, that's all." Especially if she had to compete with lovesick women.

"Why?"

"I can just feel it." Jenna wasn't the type to gossip and didn't want anyone to know what she knew about the slob, Andy McKnight.

Edna paused in thought. "I think he is right for you. I bet he even made a pass at you, didn't he?"

"Well…"

"He did?" She leaned closer. "What did you do?"

Jenna lowered her head and covered it with her hand. "I…uh…walked away from him in anger."

"Good."

She raised her eyes to see the old woman. "Good?"

"Yes, ma'am. It shows you're not easy. He needs to respect you and not think of you like the women fawning at his feet, willing to do whatever he wants. Tell me more."

"I don't think I can. He's a client and that's just not right."

Edna bit her lip in thought. "Tell me about his house. I promise it won't go anywhere else."

"It's huge and he has a dog."

"A dog and a big house? Was he alone?"

Jenna felt trapped, because she didn't want to gossip. She took another bite of the cookie and weighed her options. "Sort of."

"I get it," Edna said with a grin. "He had some of his friends over and they had a party. The place wasn't clean, was it? I bet one of them even had a girl over. Am I right?"

Jenna chuckled. "How do you know that?"

"It's written all over your face. But remember, he made a pass at you. You were more important than the girl who was visiting. When do you meet him again?"

"Tomorrow at 11 at his place."

Edna smiled. "Good. Wear something like you're wearing now and be yourself. I also want you to try something out for me."

"Huh?"

Edna got up from her seat, reached into the back of her cabinet, and removed a small vial of a clear liquid. She opened the container and sniffed it. "This is a love potion. I'd like you to see if it works."

"A love potion? I don't think I can—"

Edna grabbed Jenna's arm and put just a drop on her wrist. "It won't wash off for exactly a week, so don't even try. Nothing can make it go away." She grabbed Jenna's other arm and put a drop on that wrist as well. "It only takes a few drops because this is powerful stuff." She screwed the lid onto the bottle and put it back in the cabinet. "I'd like you to tell me how it goes."

Speechless, Jenna stared at the woman, her mouth falling in surprise. She looked at both arms, sure this was just a bunch of hooey. Since her arms looked the same, she sniffed her wrists, which smelled like vanilla. "Okay, we'll see how this goes." She checked her watch. It was 9:51.

"It's not what you think," Edna said. "It smells a little like vanilla, but it's got more in it than that once it dries. Only men can smell it, too. I want to know how it all goes tomorrow as soon as the meeting's over."

Jenna almost laughed at the woman. "I'll call you and let you know. In the meantime, I have plans for your home, if you still want to sell. You don't have to, you know. You could live here for a long time if you wanted to."

The old woman's expression brightened. "You're the most honest person I've ever met. Most people would see the dollar signs, but you see much more. I think I'm ready to sell, but not sure I want to go into an old folk's home. It's so final, like I'm just waiting to die."

"You're right about that," Jenna said. "So think about what other options you have."

"I'll do that. In the meantime, I want to help you. Let me know how it turns out with Andy, and I'll do my best to make sure your practice on him works."

"What if he's not the right one?"

"Don't worry, honey. He's your practice man right now. If he turns out to be Mr. Right, you'll know it. Then I want you to grab him and make sure he knows it."

"I'm really not that kind of girl."

Edna leaned looking like she was telling a secret. "You need to become that kind of girl."

What was Jenna getting herself into?




~~~~~





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