Title: An Inn Decent Proposal
Author: Sharon Buchbinder
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Can an hotelier with a past and a chef with a future revive the grand dame in a neglected old inn?
Jim Rawlings takes the biggest chance of his life—bidding at auction for a once-grand inn. Genie King attends the hotel auction, never expecting another LBC employee to bid at the sale—much less the guy she had a major crush on in high school. Working together means Jim must share long-hidden secrets. Will Genie reject the man with a past? Or will she love the man he's become?
Recovering gambler Jim Rawlings works as a mid-level manager at one of the largest casino resorts in the country, LeBonne Chance. Despite employee rules about gambling on site, temptation calls his name on a daily basis. Sous Chef Genie King is living her dream, working in one of the finest restaurants in the casino, if not the country. The only problem is the executive chef is a madman and she longs to have a place to call her own.
After finding himself standing in front of blackjack table once too often, Jim decides he can’t stay in the casino, no matter how good the money is. He takes a drive around town and finds a down on its luck hotel for sale. It’s as if his prayers are answered. He must have it.
When a frying pan nearly hits her head, Genie runs out of the kitchen and jumps into her car. She has no idea where she is going, but she can’t go back to that job. When she sees the aging mansion with the for sale sign, she knows she must have it.
Jim decides to take the biggest chance of his life--bidding at auction for the once-grand inn. But to make the hotel a success, he needs a world class executive chef. Genie attends the hotel auction, never expecting another LBC employee to bid at the sale—much less the guy she had a major crush on in high school.
Together, Jim and Genie purchase and rehab the inn, but working together means Jim must share long-hidden secrets. Will Genie reject the man with a past? Or will she love the man he's become?
After the hotel auction, a stunned Jim Rawlings and excited Genie King go to Sips, a local coffee house. Overwhelmed with self-doubts verging on buyer’s remorse, Jim begins to question his sanity. Genie, on the other hand, is bursting with enthusiasm and ideas…
“Why did you want this place?”
“The old girl called to me, begged me to save her.” He gave Genie a wistful smile. “Do I sound crazy?”
“You call the Inn ‘she,’ too?”
“Yes, she’s like a grand old dame who’s fallen on hard times. Remember the parties? The famous people who stayed and played there? Celebrities came to the Inn because they knew their privacy and secrets were safe with us. If those walls could talk! Every day was new and exciting. I would love to bring back her glory days.”
Genie leaped up, ran around the table and hugged him. “I have the same dream. We can do it.”
He hesitated for a moment, then returned the gesture, his hands unable to resist lingering on her luscious curves just a tad too long. Genie’s inviting cleavage made him wish they were somewhere private. He could scarcely breathe and had to shake his head to dispel naughty images of nuzzling her soft breasts. “We can do what?”
She sat down again, but clung to his hands. “I’ve done the research. The Inn should be in the National Park Service Historic Registry—but it isn’t. If we can get her added to the Registry, there are laws and standards about how we make the rehabilitation. We can bring it up to modern codes, but have to use certain treatments—”
“I hate to burst your bubble, but where will we get the money to do all this?” He wasn’t sure he could afford too many more big gambles like this last one.
Her face flushed and her sapphire blue eyes sparkled. “If we can get her added to the Registry, we’ll qualify for special low interest loans. And for a major tax credit. And we have a million dollars in equity.”
“Pretty, smart—and you say you can cook? If you can do all that, you are a genie.”
She released his hands, pulled her shoulders back, and inadvertently gave him a better glimpse of her bosom. Genie gave him a scalding look. “Are you challenging my cooking, Mr. Rawlings?”
Uh-oh. He never dreamed of Genie having a little temper. He couldn’t resist tweaking her. “I’m sure you’re a solid cook.”
She stood, almost knocking her chair over. “Solid? What the hell does that mean? Average? Good enough to make the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner for the family—but not good enough to cook for guests? Tell you what, Mr. Critic, you come to my house for dinner tomorrow night.” She scribbled her address on a business card and threw it on the table. “My food makes men go weak at the knees.”
Hypnotized by the sway of her voluptuous ass as she stalked out of the nearly empty café, Jim bet it wasn’t just this saucy woman’s cooking that made strong men weak.
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Sharon Buchbinder has been writing fiction since middle school and has the rejection slips to prove it. An RN, she provided health care delivery, became a researcher, association executive, and obtained a PhD in Public Health. When not teaching or writing, she can be found fishing, walking her dogs, or breaking bread and laughing with family and friends in Baltimore, MD and Punta Gorda, FL.
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