As soon as a desperate David Chandler walked into the small-town Laundromat, his stained shirt vanished from his mind. His new focus: the beautiful woman at the center of the Suds Club.
But the dynamic Naomi Shannon wasn't looking for love--she was four months pregnant, and memories of her failed relationship still stung. Little did she know her new friend Dave wasn't the regular guy he seemed. On the run from his life as a New York City captain of industry, the big-city tycoon was in search of something to fill the void in his heart. Had he finally found what he was looking for--or would the relationship come out ruined in the wash?
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February 29, 2008
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Excerpt from Mommy and the Millionaire by Crystal Green
When the man with the blazing tomato stain on his shirt entered The Suds Club Laundromat, Naomi Shannon was sitting by the dryer and paging through a community college catalog.
The bell on the door went ding and--boom!--there he was.
Or maybe a better way of saying it was--boom!-- there he calmly exploded.
It wasn't really that he seemed "dangerous" as he headed straight for the detergent dispenser. He just had a very smooth method of looking fit to be tied, if she said so herself. The way he moved--so assured, so confident--caught her eye because he basically commanded the room without even trying.
But what didn't catch the eye about him?
As he stood in front of the ancient dispenser and rested his hands on his hips like an admiral inspecting a wrecked ship, Naomi told herself to stop staring. It wasn't polite, first of all, and, most importantly of all, it wasn't on her list of things to do.
Yet...she couldn't help herself.
Dark-blond hair cut in a conservative, neat style. New-looking jeans and a crisp, light-blue button-down that matched his piercing eyes. Work boots that seemed fresh, too. He was slender, but strong and muscular, the veins in his arms etching the surface of his tanned skin. A muscle clenched and ticked near his jaw but, for all her close scrutiny, he still managed to seem as collected as rain in a bucket.
Not that Naomi was a rocket scientist, but she could guess why he might be a bit put out and also why he was in a Laundromat. The nasty red stain on his otherwise perfect shirt did a lot of explaining.
She kept her eyes on him. He was taking a long time to look at that machine, enough time for her skin to get a few goose bumps....
Shaking her head, she went back to her college catalog, inspecting the accounting classes with double the focus.
Bomp, bomp, bomp, went her clothes in the dryer. The cadence echoed her heartbeat.
But Naomi hadn't traveled nearly cross-country from Kane's Crossing, Kentucky, here to Placid Valley on the outskirts of San Francisco, to get caught up in a man again. Lord knows she had enough male trouble to deal with already.
On the TV, the theme song from Flamingo Beach filtered through the detergent-laden air, and Naomi's glance shot toward the screen. Finally, time for her soap. She wasn't going to look at the stranger again. There were better things to take in.
Across the room, the usual crowd had gathered below the tube, which was bolted to the corner of the wall near the ceiling. Though fairly new in town, Naomi had already gotten to know some of the women. Whether they had TVs and washers in their apartments or not, there were about ten people who met on and off here every weekday to watch the soap together and, little by little, they'd made her feel like a part of their group. Today there were only about six other diehards present, all doing their laundry.
Friends, she thought. It's nice to have some in this new town.
Then she corrected herself, skimming her hand over her still-flat belly. Not to say we can't make it on our own.
She patted the place where her baby was growing, then went back to watching TV, all the while knowing that the stranger with the tomato stain was still behind her. She felt his presence with every rogue tingle buzzing up the skin of her neck.
But then, as Flamingo Beach went to commercials before the drama really began, a blond woman madly stuffing the last of her darks into a dryer called to Naomi.
"We've got plenty of seats over here." After finishing her task, she motioned for Naomi to join them while walking to her own chair, sitting and crossing one long leg over the other, then smoothing down the skirt of her smart pink dress.