Worth Waiting For
By: Delaney Diamond | Other books by Delaney Diamond
Published By: Astraea Press
Published: Oct 22, 2011
ISBN # 9781936852604
Published By: Astraea Press
Published: Oct 22, 2011
ISBN # 9781936852604
Word Count: 27,000
Available in: Epub, HTML, Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket (.mobi), Palm DOC/iSolo, Adobe Acrobat, Mobipocket (.prc), Rocket
DescriptionJulia Newman doesn’t have time for love. Been there, done that, and she’s got the scars to prove it. Instead, she’s focused on her career. For the past few years, she has been living the life she wants. She drives a silver Mercedes, just purchased a four bedroom house in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, and she’s on her way to becoming the youngest female partner in the history of the venture capitalist firm where she works. Life couldn’t be better. Or so she thought.
Frederico “Freddie” Mendoza is the owner of Mendoza Construction. He hasn’t given up on love, but he is fed up with women who are fascinated by the fantasy of being with a blue collar man and then relegate him to a certain part of their lives. His newest customer, Julia Newman, is the kind of woman he’s decided he’ll avoid from now on. He needs to work on expanding his business. Besides, she’s not his type. Or so he thought.
This is a sweet romance.
Reader Rating: (1 Ratings)
Excerpt:The sound of thunder rumbled across the sky and the heavy downpour increased in response, severe and unyielding in the attack of everything that failed to get out of its path.
Julia Newman cursed herself yet again for not taking the time to empty the three-car garage of all the furniture and fixtures stored in it from the last house. On a day like today, when she didn’t have an umbrella, sliding into the garage would have been a welcome relief from being drenched by the torrential rain.
She hurried toward the front door of her house as quickly as her slim legs could propel her. Her favorite black purse slipped from her shoulder, and she grappled with it, trying not to drop the two paper sacks filled with groceries. Balancing one bag on her hip, she twisted her body, shoved the key in the hole, and pushed open the door. Inside, she rested the soaked bags and her purse on the table against the wall.
She stepped out of her pumps and moaned in relief, wiggling the toes on her aching feet. With her feet planted on the hardwood floor, she picked up the paper sacks and proceeded to the kitchen down the hall to the right.
She unpacked the groceries, making sure to leave out the small tray of vegetables and ranch dressing she’d picked up for dinner. Settling onto one of the stools around the island with a bottle of water from the refrigerator, she proceeded to return the ten texts sent by her subordinates in the time it took her to travel from the grocery store to home.
Checking voice messages was the next task.
“Hi, Sugar Plum, this is your Dad.” As if she wouldn’t recognize his voice. Who else would be calling her Sugar Plum? Julia smiled as she rolled her neck to ease the tense muscles. “It’s raining awful hard out there, so I’m spending the night at Martin’s after our card game. It’s too dangerous to drive in this kind of weather at night. I’ll give you a call later and let you know if my plans change. Love you.”
Maybe I’ll have a glass of wine and watch a movie, Julia thought.
With her father spending the night at his friend’s, she would have the house to herself for the first time since they moved in three months ago. After her hectic day, she welcomed the thought of relaxing in front of the fireplace and watching a movie alone.
The next message started. “Hello, Ms. Newman,” an unfamiliar male voice said. “I’m sorry I’m running late. My last appointment went longer than planned, and traffic is backed up on the highway. I’m on my way there and should arrive soon. If you prefer to wait until tomorrow, give me a call and I’ll stop by first thing in the morning before I head to any of my other jobs.” The male voice then rattled off a number.
Julia hopped from the bar stool and made a dash toward the master bedroom on the main floor. She’d forgotten someone from Mendoza Construction was coming by to give her an estimate on finishing the basement. Calling him to cancel was out of the question because she wanted the work to start in a couple of weeks. She stripped off her wet blouse and skirt and pulled on a pair of faded blue jeans and a button-down, long-sleeved green shirt.
Fortunately for her, the heavy rain, which had turned her normal thirty minute commute and Friday night stop at the grocery store into a two hour affair, had also forced him to be delayed. As always, whenever a heavy rain fell in Atlanta, accidents cropped up on the highway like weeds, and traffic slowed as rubberneckers ogled the collisions. If she hadn’t gotten familiar with taking the back roads after she purchased the house, she’d probably still be stuck on the highway instead of being at home.
Julia brushed the sides of her damp hair, patting the tightly held French roll as if it was about to slip out of place. Moments later, the doorbell rang.
At the front door, she peered through the peep hole.
“Yes?” she called cautiously.
She couldn’t see the face of the man standing outside. All she had was a distorted view of his chin and chest, and since night had fallen, she wanted to be sure it was Mr. Mendoza before she opened the door.
“Good evening. Ms. Newman? It’s Frederico Mendoza, with Mendoza Construction.”
Julia undid the lock and swung open the door.
She drew a silent, involuntary breath at his height. Behind him, big drops of rain sluiced down against the backdrop of the black sky. She stepped back to allow him space to enter.
Tall, lean, and wiry, Frederico Mendoza’s shoulders practically spanned the width of the foyer. He certainly commanded attention. She guessed his height at six-foot-two or six-foot-three, giving him a height advantage of seven or eight inches over her.
“Sorry about coming by so late. It couldn’t be avoided.”
Warm brown eyes smiled into hers, and Julia lost her voice. When she caught herself, she offered a faint smile. “No problem.”
It wasn’t often Julia found herself robbed of speech. In her position as principal at her firm, she long ago learned to speak up in a room full of men. It was unsettling to have this man render her speechless.
“It’s really bad out there,” he said.
A musky combination of rain, sweat and dirt emanated from him. Rather than being repulsed by it, she found it somewhat appealing. Her gaze fell to the tattoo of a Puerto Rican flag on his sculpted right arm, revealed because the sleeves of his blue T-shirt were cut off.
His olive skin glistened from the layer of water coating it, and his wet shirt clung to his chest, hinting at more muscles underneath. While he politely wiped his feet on the rug, she continued her shameless perusal.
He was certainly good-looking, in a rough sort of way. A real man’s man, with a rugged square jaw and big hands. His ebony hair, pulled back into a curly ponytail, had beads of water dotted throughout, as if someone had glued tiny diamonds to random strands.
Without warning, he lifted his gaze from the rug, and the heat of embarrassment coursed up her neck and into her cheeks.
“Um, well, thank you for coming despite the weather, Mr. Mendoza,” she said, affecting a brisk tone.
She was irritated with herself. Her breathless response made her sound like a teenage girl trying to play grown up when encountered by her crush. Time to pull herself together.
She stuck out her hand. “I’m Julia Newman.”
“Frederico Mendoza. But please, call me Freddie. Everyone else does.”
When he took her hand, the rough texture of his skin suggested years of labor and hard work. Warmth which had originally settled along her neck and face transferred to the hand he held in his. Little sparks scurried toward her shoulder, setting off alarm bells that she was way too attracted to this man.
With an abrupt tug, she severed contact and freed herself from the invasive warmth activated by the innocuous touch. “If you’re ready, I’ll take you downstairs and show you the basement.”
Freddie nodded. His inviting, sensuous lips turned up in a smile. Julia moved to the basement door, determined to ignore the fluttering in her stomach.
Perturbed by her silly response to a complete stranger, her hand gripped the handrail on the way down the staircase. She shoved aside her feelings. She hadn’t been attracted to a man in a long time, and in walks a tall, strapping, blue collar type. It was the uniqueness of it all. That must be it.
She didn’t want to be bothered with men, choosing instead to concentrate on her career. Once she had been foolish, had placed her dreams on hold in exchange for being supportive of the man in her life and the certainty of a future together—which hadn’t been certain at all.
She brushed off her instant attraction for Mr. Mendoza and saw it for what it was: an abnormal occurrence best ignored. At this point in her life, she was happy. Men brought nothing but complications, and she didn’t have time for complications.