HARD WORK

Hard Work

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A sexy standalone novel in the Finding The One series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author K.M. Scott!

Zane Gilford has lived a blessed life. The only son of the owner of The Gilford House Inn, he’s benefitted from his mother’s extraordinary success. But Vermont was never where he wanted to be, and the day after graduation, he put the quaint country inn and everything about it behind him and never looked back.

Until now.

The death of his mother left Zane a very wealthy man, but in her will she also left him a surprise. For an entire year, he must run that Vermont inn he’s hated all his life if he wants to get one red cent of his inheritance.

Becca Fox has worked her way to the top of the advertising business and has the personal and professional scars to prove it. In her rare time off, she loves visiting her favorite bed and breakfast in the mountains of Vermont. When she finds a new owner running The Gilford House Inn, she wonders if her favorite getaway place has been ruined for her. He’s sexy as all hell and incredibly good looking, but he’s so cocky and arrogant.        

From the first moment he sees her, Zane knows he wants Becca, but to get a woman like her, he’s going to have to learn to be a better man than he’s ever been. He’s got an inn to run and a woman to win. Neither is going to be easy. And time isn’t in his favor.

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HARD WORD EXCERPT: 

On Saturday morning, I paced back and forth across that ugly rug in my room while I waited for my meeting with Becca. I was very rarely nervous about seeing people and even more rarely nervous about how I looked, but with each pass by the mirror, I wondered if I should change my shirt from the blue one I’d chosen.

I didn’t necessarily feel insecure, but I wanted to be someone more than the person she thought I was. I looked good, but I wanted to be more than that.

More than just an attractive outside like I’d always been.

Stopping in front of the mirror, I looked at the man in the reflection and saw what I’d always been. Dark brown hair, brown eyes, my mother’s son.

And that was the problem, wasn’t it? Zane Gilford, the spoiled son of Deidre Gilford was all I’d ever been, so how could I expect to be something more now, even if I wanted to be for Becca?

I ran my hand through my hair and tried to dismiss those thoughts from my mind. I could be more than that person.

Pep talk finished, I walked downstairs and immediately was bombarded with employees in my face asking me questions as soon as I stepped foot into the lobby.

Mr. Gilford, a man called today asking when you were planning on sending the payment for the repairs in the bungalows. What should I tell him?” Mandy asked.

Mr. Gilford, I need next weekend off to go help my brother move. Is that okay?” one of the maids asked.

Mr. Gilford, for the Saturday night meal, what should we be preparing for dinner? No one has sent me any menu, and as such, I have no idea what to order,” Tim, one of my two diva cooks, asked.

Nothing like being met with a cacophony of questions the moment my feet hit the dark red carpeting. I suspected they thought I’d snap at them, but I needed to keep trying not to be that man.

Even if I wanted to walk right past all three people right out the front door.

In turn, I answered each of their questions. “Mandy, if he calls back, tell him I’ll send the payment out tomorrow morning. If you need time off, talk to Kathy about scheduling or try to switch shifts with someone. As for dinner, I honestly don’t know, so I’ll leave it to your expert judgment. Cook what you want, Tim.”

It may not have been the happiest version of myself, but it was certainly civil. I was trying, if not always succeeding, at making an effort at being the kind of owner The Gilford House Inn needed.

While they hurried off to do their jobs, I headed to my office to get ready for my meeting with Becca. I’d compiled all the data I could find on the inn going back for the past five years. Tapping the papers on the top of my small desk to straighten them, I wondered if my mother had ever thought of doing any advertising for her beloved inn. Somehow, without spending anything, she had been able to keep the hotel filled most months out of the year.

But now, I wanted to see if I could do better.

A knock on my office door pulled me out of my daydreaming about how my mother had built a successful business on little more than word of mouth, and I stood to open the door.

Mandy smiled at me and said, “Becca Fox is here. She’s waiting at the front desk.”

I grabbed the papers and headed out to see Becca standing in front of Mandy, the two of them talking like they knew each other. She looked good in a pair of black pants and a pink shirt that hugged her body perfectly. Suddenly, the last thing I wanted to do with her was talk advertising.

Becca, thank you for making the trip. I truly appreciate it. Can we get you anything? I’ve got a cook or two around here somewhere who I’m sure would be happy to whip you up something.”

She smiled and looked a little surprised at first before shaking her head. No, no I’m fine, but thank you so much for offering. It’s very sweet of you.”

“I’m sure you’d like to relax after your drive, so what do you say to meeting up for dinner at seven?” I asked, changing plans and hoping this time she wouldn’t say no to my offer.

She smiled and nodded. Well, since it’s for business, I don’t see how I can say no.”

Seven o’clock it is then. I’ll meet you right here,” I said, my smile growing larger as I saw a look of confusion come across Becca’s face.

Why wouldn’t we just meet right here in the dining room? What better spot to talk about how to advertise this wonderful place than right in the thick of things?” she asked.

Because I’ve got another place in mine that I think you’ll love. I’ll see you at seven, Becca.”

I left her standing there with her key in hand, her mouth hanging open, and her eyes wide. Good. That’s exactly what I wanted. She was curious, which was a good thing. The more Becca was unsure about what I wanted, the better.