One Suite Deal (Love in the Valley Book 4)

Cover of One Suite Deal by Michele Dunaway

She won’t play anyone’s fool 

But is her new romance life’s biggest ruse yet?  

Lana Winchester hates liars. She’d be appalled to know that billionaire businessman Edmund Clayton III hid his true identity during their snowbound one-night tryst. Learning the wealthy mogul is also her new down-to-earth friend and coworker, Peter, would be unthinkable! Edmund’s undercover-boss reality show demands he disguise himself as someone he’s not. Yet, soon private outings—and passionate kisses—with Lana feel more authentic than anything he’s ever known. Their romantic connection is real despite Edmund’s subterfuge. But can it survive Lana discovering the truth about the “men” in her life?   

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a good job and who has her own money, must still be in want of a husband.

No offense to paraphrasing Jane Austen, but what Lana Winchester really wanted was to make it to her next plane, which was why she was running through PDX.

She cursed the fact she hadn’t changed into her favorite flats. After traveling for work the last two years, she considered herself an expert traveler who definitely knew better than to wear suede boots with heels to the airport. But she’d wanted to look good for her last client meeting, which had run over. She’d made it to the Eugene airport with hardly any minutes to spare. Once aboard, her plane had sat on the tarmac.

And sat and sat while passengers with connecting flights, like Lana, kept glancing at their watches and wondering exactly when the plane would leave the gate and taxi toward the runway.

What was that about best laid plans? The first flight from Eugene had arrived late, putting her even more behind. Double curses to the airline app that told her she must check in with the gate agent in order to change her second flight. What good was technology if it didn’t allow her to do things?

She had to get on this specific flight from Portland—Oregon, not Maine—so she could make it home to Beaumont before a big snow storm hit St. Louis and the entire Midwest. If not, she might not make it at all.

Everything had conspired against her today, including Mother Nature. If it hadn’t been for a text from her mother telling her that the storm was moving in early, Lana would have been stuck in Oregon. If she didn’t get on this exact plane, every later flight to St. Louis would be canceled. The odds stood at 100 percent.

One bright side? She had one of those tickets that allowed for no cost, same-day changes as long as seats were available. According to the app, there were two left.

While she liked her time working in Oregon, she had to get home. Normally she might not mind being stuck in such a pretty location, but her younger brother Ryan’s eighteenth birthday was tomorrow. She had to be there.

With eight years between her and her sibling, she’d been in college before he’d even reached middle school. Engaged and disengaged before Ryan had started his freshman year. Now he was three months from graduating high school, and she refused to miss his birthday, especially as she’d already missed so many.

Even though they talked, with her constant travel, her brother was more stranger than friend. She’d never seen him play high school basketball. He was a shooting guard on varsity, whatever that meant. In a recent video chat, her mom had told her he’d received calls from coaches as far away as Gonzaga in Washington State, Duke in North Carolina and the University of Connecticut. Even the non-sports-watching Lana knew that meant her brother was good. He hadn’t yet committed, preferring to wait until the end of the season and hopefully a state championship. His one birthday wish? That she attend at least one of his games. She had determined that she would be there, Mother Nature be damned.

Refusing to disappoint her brother or her family again, Lana double-timed it through the thick crowd and tried not to crash into any of her fellow travelers. Today was the first Saturday in March, too early for the spring break travel crazy, but not too early for those who didn’t understand that airport etiquette meant they were supposed to stand to the right and walk on the left. She bypassed people on the moving walkway, yelling, “Excuse me,” and ignoring their surprised or miffed glances.

Pushing through with the fastest power walk she could manage without triggering an asthma attack, she felt her quilted, waterproof tote bag slip from her shoulder, the computer inside clipping the arm of someone who didn’t step out of the way soon enough. Without even looking back, she called, “Sorry,” and kept going.

Seriously, she could always tell the casual tourists who gave themselves hours to make their flight from the business travelers who knew how to get where they were going with better efficiency and far less luggage. Lana was in the latter group.

Once she’d taken the quality control job with Cederberg Interiors, she’d quickly learned how to fit two weeks’ worth of clothes in a hard-sided carry-on. Her iPad and her laptop were in the tote on her shoulder, along with a king-size bag of peanut M&M’s candy and a liter bottle of smartwater she hadn’t opened on the previous leg.

While many might not find her job as an installation supervisor interesting, Lana loved the challenge. As someone who lived inside hundreds of hotel rooms a year and oversaw the renovations of the rest as her daily job, the work she did mattered. She was the final sign-off after hotels upgraded their guest rooms and communal spaces. She ensured the decorative and installation work Cederberg Interiors performed exceeded expectations. In the case of Clayton Holdings, one of Cederberg’s longest clients, the standards were exceptionally high. Clayton Hotels made luxury and service synonymous, a fact proven by the company’s high number of repeat bookings from discerning clients.

Lana’s next assignment was the first time her work would bring her home for an extended period. She’d be in Beaumont for at least a week, staying on-site at the Beaumont Grand, the top-tier golf course resort hotel Clayton had opened last year as part of its master plan to revitalize the entire county. She’d be close to her family as she quality controlled the final finishing work on the Grand’s neighbor—the smaller, pricier and far more exclusive Chateau. The luxurious boutique hotel opened in April. Lana would double-check the installations of the fixtures, the furniture—pretty much everything from floor to ceiling—before signing off that Cederberg’s part in the project was complete. She’d get to spend some quality time with her family. Even if she wasn’t staying with them, she’d be in the same town and spend her nights visiting. Catch a game as Ryan wanted.

That was, if she could get a seat on this plane.

The gate was just ahead, on the left, and Lana saw two attendants behind the counter. One agent appeared to be talking to a tall man who had his back to her. Unlike him, Lana carried her coat, probably the only reason she wasn’t sweating from sprinting through three concourses. The other agent miraculously appeared free, which was never a good sign. Travelers always needed something. Please let me not have run all this way and be hyperventilating for nothing. Lana sent a prayer to the heavens and pushed forward.

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