Lily's Dream (Unexpected Lover Series)

BOOK: Lily's Dream (Unexpected Lover Series)
12.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub







Unexpected Lover Series

                      Book 1
















This book is a
work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and incidents are the product of
the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.  Copyright © By Lea
Collins.  All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or
transmit in any form or by any means.














book is dedicated to my children,

Julia and Bert who have been

and helpful throughout this process.

love you, guys.



Lily drove into the parking garage of
the downtown mall with a sigh of relief. Yesterday she had taken four wrong
turns before finding her destination. Today was easier as she had learned from her
mistakes, well mostly…only one wrong turn today. She was dazzled by the beauty
of Miami. She thought it would be great to live in one of those tall white building
surrounded by palm trees and flowers.

She found it hard to believe she
actually was in Miami. She had a long drive from Ohio to Miami. She refused to
allow herself to think of the past but instead to plan for the future. She’d
started driving south and ended up in Miami. Destiny….here I am.  

She would find out if she was crazy or
talented. All she needed was an upscale store willing to stock her handmade
dresses. She thought they were beautiful and unique but would anybody else?
Hand beading was a lost art popular in past centuries. Or so she kept telling
herself. She had learned that the biggest mall was Town Center Mall so that was
where she started her search for the store just waiting to welcome her dresses.

 After yesterday she realized she was
naïve. She had walked the entire length of the first floor of the huge mall where
there were two high end dress shops. She had a sample dress carefully folded in
tissue and boxed with her but she didn’t even try to show her dress to anyone. The
sales staff of the stores ignored her and she felt negative vibes strong and

However, she was able to examine the many
dresses with famous designer labels. It was very revealing to her when she
realized that her sewing was equally as good as the most expensive dresses she
examined. There were no dresses with small beading like hers and this made her
dresses unique. It was just a matter of getting them noticed. Although this was
proving to be difficult, she reminded herself…
nothing ventured – nothing

She really needed a heavy dose of confidence
to risk a repeat of yesterday
. Her dresses were beautiful and unique and
there were women who would love to wear them
. Lily kept repeating this as
she exited her car and took the elevator to the second floor of the mall.

Lily stiffened her spine, lifted her
chin and stepped swiftly off the elevator right into a large masculine chest.
She looked up into the beautiful blue eyes of an extremely handsome face. Of
course she dropped everything…her dress box and her purse which opened and
spilled out its contents.  Startled, he grabbed her upper arms to keep her from
falling.  He smiled and said, “Whoa, you okay?” She just stood there staring as
if she had never seen a handsome man before.
What a hunk!

When she realized that she had been
staring at him like a love struck teenager, she mumbled, “Yes, thank you…oh,
sorry about bumping into you.” He helped her stuff her belongings back into her
purse and handed her the dress box and smiled a killer smile, waved and walked
up the mall turning into
Andre’s Salon.   

A very large dose of confidence is
needed after this debacle, she thought. She realized that this elevator had let
her off in the middle of the mall second floor. Directly in front of her, she
saw a dress shop with the name
and immediately liked the
name. Maybe this would be the lucky one. Strike three.

 Lily walked into Jacqueline’s and
immediately a handsome young man approached her asking if he could help her. They
were interrupted by a tall slim woman with dark hair and eyes. “Juan, we have a
shipment of clothes just in. Would you help Marcia unpack and get them ready
for display?” With his departure, she turned to Lily and smiled, holding out
her hand. “Hello, I’m Jacqueline. How can I help you?”

Lily was taken aback by the first friendly
response she’d received in any dress shop in the mall and this was the owner of
the shop.
Act confident
, she told herself as she shook Jacqueline’s hand
and explained her presence.  “Hello, my name is Lily. I am a designer and
producer of original and unique evening dresses. I have been interested in the
designer dresses and can see at a glance that you have beautiful clothes in
your shop. I have not seen anything like I produce. Would you look at the dress
I have with me and give me your opinion?”

“I like to see new designers enter the
market, Lily, and I will be happy to look at your dress.” Lily put her box on
the counter and lifted the dress out of the tissue paper and held it up. It was
one of her most elaborate creations in gold silk with small gold beads forming
a design of flowers around the skirt and bodice.

Jacqueline’s eyebrows lifted as she looked
at the beautiful creation. She examined the dress carefully in minute detail.
“Do you usually use silk?” she asked. “Yes, usually. I like the luxurious feel
and the way it flows. The small beads I use aren’t heavy but if they do affect
the drape of the dress, then I either change the design or double line. I have
seen some beautiful dresses in the mall shops but nothing like mine. I think there
is a market for my beaded evening dresses.”

Jacqueline was enthusiastic about the
dress and said, “Lily, this is one of the most beautiful dresses I have ever
seen. It is also well made. You are a talented designer and seamstress. There
is nothing available on the market similar to this. On the correct model, it
would be sensational. This one looks like your size. Do you make them in
different sizes?”

“No,” replied Lily.”I could alter slightly
but I don’t think a large woman should be wearing this style dress. Nor do I
want two women to show up at the same party wearing the same dress so I only
make one of each and don’t want duplicates made.”

“Actually I agree with you on this.
Wearing an original is something a woman would be proud of and pay for the
privilege. You have thought through this thoroughly, I see. Yes, Lily, I am
always on the lookout for new designers and I think I have just found one. How
about me keeping this one to sell on consignment with a commission and we’ll
draw up a contract if I can be the exclusive seller of the
line of
evening wear.” Jacqueline suggested.

“Agreed. We have a verbal contract until
we can get a lawyer to draw up one for us,” replied Lily.

“Now to additional practical issues. We
have to publicize your dresses and the best way to do that is for a stunning
woman to attend social events wearing one. I see you don’t get it. I’m talking
about you, Lily.”

“Me?” Lily looked shocked. “I’m not
stunning by any means.”

“But you could be. You just need some
help. We need Andre. His shop is across from mine. He’s a nice guy. He moved
from Chicago to Miami and opened his shop shortly after I opened
I’ll call him and see if he can take a break and come over. I think you might
help each other, actually.”

Jacqueline went into her office and
called Andre. “I have two favors to ask of you,” she told him. He hesitated and
replied, “Okay, I’ll listen but I’m not agreeing yet. What is it?”

“I have in my shop one of the most
exciting and talented young designers of evening dresses that I’ve seen in
years. She needs a makeover and in order to sell her line of clothes, she needs
to wear them to some social functions. For her to do that, obviously she needs
an escort. I think you’ll like her. She is very sweet and unsophisticated. You can
help her learn to function in society and she’ll get you out a bit.”

“I won’t make any promises but I’ll come
on over and meet her,” agreed Andre.

To Lily’s embarrassment, in the door
the hunk
she had bumped into earlier. He immediately recognized
her as the woman who had plowed into him earlier. In one quick glance, he saw
that she had a nice body, pretty face and possibilities.

Jacqueline introduced them and Lily
learned his name is Andre. To Lily’s relief, he didn’t mention their previous encounter
but shook her hand while looking her over from head to toe. She had not noticed
earlier that he was very tall and muscular with sandy hair. He also had the
most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen. She relaxed and was able to return
his smile. He looked at her face and hair for a moment and then nodded to
Jacqueline, “You’re right. Lily could indeed be a stunningly beautiful woman
with a little help.”

Lily laughed. “To accomplish that, Andre,
you must be able to work miracles.”

Jacqueline came over and put her arm
around Lily in a hug. “It is so refreshing to meet someone so naïve and unaware
of her possibilities. I guarantee Andre can make you beautiful, Lily. Take a
look at this unusual evening dress, Andre.”

Andre whistled when he saw the dress.
“It’s very different with all the exquisite beadwork and I think it’ll create a

Since we would be spending a lot of time
together, I think we need to get to know each other better.. Let’s walk up to
Marco’s and have a drink and discuss this.”

“And what is Marco’s?” asked Lily.

“It’s a bar owned by a friend of mine,
Marco Santini. He’s a second generation Cuban. You’ll like him. Also he is
discreet when necessary and a friend of mine is a friend of his,” replied

On the walk up to Marcos, Andre was
thinking about the pros and cons of this arrangement. One thing he definitely
did not want was another woman hitting on him. He never wanted to care deeply
for a woman again and he hated aggressive women. He had learned to keep his
life full with work and sports.           

Andre was greeted very warmly by Marco,
a large man with a moustache and twinkle in his eyes. The bar was filled with
small round tables and wicker chairs with the necessary bar. “We need a very
private table, Marco, for a special discussion.”

“Ah, this sounds very interesting, “Marco
winked at Lily and said, “I have just the thing for you” and showed them to a
secluded table in the back corner of the room. After ordering, they sat quietly
for a few moments looking into each other’s eyes.

“I just can’t believe this has happened!
Someone likes my dress and wants to sell more. It’s a dream come true for me,” Lily
said excitedly. “I almost gave up after yesterday.”

Smiling, Andre reassured her. “You’re
very talented, Lily, and Jacqueline recognized that. I think your dresses will
be very popular as soon as they are exposed to possible buyers. Women here like
the latest thing and are always trying to outshine each other. I think they
will create a sensation. For your sake, I hope so.

Since we’ll be spending a lot of time
together, I think we need to get to know each other better. Tell me something
about yourself that is your personal experience, something not everyone knows.”

“Well, I was engaged and caught my fiancé
making out with my sister. I immediately threw my stuff in my car and started
driving. I drove south and ended up in Miami. On the long drive here I decided fate
had changed the path of my life. I would use this experience as an opportunity to
totally change directions, to follow my dream, take chances and quit being so
dull and careful. I have always loved to sew and my dream is to have a Lily
line of clothes that will sell and I can make a living doing something I love
to do. There you have it,” Lily said.

“I admire you for making something
positive out of a situation that must have hurt you. You have been honest with
me. Now I will be honest with you. I am quite happy with my life as it is and
am not interested in anything romantic. After your experience, you probably
aren’t interested in a romantic relationship either. I will do this favor for
Jacqueline and you with the agreement that we will be friends, nothing
romantic. In public we probably should act like it’s a romantic relationship
but in reality, definitely not.”

Lily smiled, “Yes, this is exactly what
I will be comfortable with.  I won’t have to worry about you hitting on me.
Just friends is perfect. I hope you don’t mind going out with me. I am looking
forward to it. It’ll be a totally new experience and neither of us will have to
worry about sex and stuff. We can be like brother and sister.”

Andre laughed and said, “Lily, I think you
and I are going to get along fine if we adhere to these guidelines. Hopefully
we will have a lot of fun. Just the look on people’s faces will be something to

“What type of business agreement do you
have with Jacqueline?”  Lily looked puzzled at the question and said, “She said
she’d sell the dress on commission.” Andre responded, “Jacqueline is a smart
businesswoman and you will have to learn to be smart, too. You never depend on
verbal agreements so you need to see a lawyer and have a signed written
agreement.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet taking a
business card out. “Here is the information on my lawyer and I recommend that
you see him early tomorrow. Get an agreement signed before the sale of any more
dresses. He will recommend the terms of the agreement. After the contract is
signed, come on over to my salon and we’ll turn you into a gorgeous knock-out.
Where are you staying?”

Lily told him she had a room at a bed
and breakfast about thirty miles north of Miami. Andre replied, “You are really
in luck. One of my tenants has just gone on an extended business trip to Europe
and has asked that I get someone to stay in his apartment just to look after
it. He also has a car and driver for your use. The building is downtown because
I like to live close to where I work. I live on the top floor so it’ll be very
convenient for us. You will be in 24A if you agree to this arrangement.”

BOOK: Lily's Dream (Unexpected Lover Series)
12.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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