Author Note: Today I found out the news that Taylor Swift's mom is sick with cancer. So, I'm dedicating this chapter to her Mom, and wish her strength and courage to fight the disease.

I hope you enjoy this chapter. The baggage starts to get in the way. Look for the title explanation in this chapter. It is explained finally. Enjoy! -Marilyn 

                                                                        Chapter 14

Julie's POV

Peter was getting back from his trip in an hour. He'd already called from the airport. I double-checked my desk to make sure I had all the estimates organized and ready for him to go through. I got out the list of other properties to check out besides the train station hotel. I had found 3 other properties. Each was a little gem waiting to be saved. I was sure of it.

I pulled a wisp of hair that had escaped from my pulled up mass of hair. I'd secured it with a hair scrunchy this morning. I tucked it behind my ear, and chewed on my pencil as I added notes from my research to each location. The old farmhouse I had found would make a cute B &B. Plus, down in the next town was an old saloon and hotel that would be a really interesting restoration. It's history spanned over 150 years.

I was lost in my thoughts, my glasses falling down my nose when I heard, "Buried in work, I see."

I sat up quickly, startled by the voice. The thing was, it wasn't unpleasant to hear Peter speaking, ever. His temperament was always so at ease. Words flowed off his tongue. But I had forgotten myself in my work again. "Yes. I'm in here, in your office. Getting things ready for you to go over them."

"My Dad was right. You are the best assistant I've ever had."

I nodded, and sat down on the couch near his desk. "I'm glad to hear I'm appreciated."

"More than you could ever know." He stared at me an awfully long time. I got lost in his eyes a moment, and shook my head to break his spell.

"Well. Um. Thank you Peter. I'm glad that you appreciate me for this job."

He edged around the desk and sat on the edge. "You know I appreciate you more than that." His suit rustled as he moved on the desk. "You know how I feel about you."

I stopped for a moment moving files on my lap. "No. I'm not really sure."

"After our kiss before I left, I thought I'd made myself clear."

"Actually, I was more confused by it really. It wasn't very clear."

His brows furrowed for a moment. "I've never felt such a powerful attraction before. I wanted you to know how I felt. That's why I kissed you."

I stared at the files. I didn't have the courage to look at him now. I felt him move to the other side of the couch. "What are you thinking Julie?"

"That if this continues, I'll lose my job. And not just that." I looked at him square in the eye. "No. It's more than that. I'll lose my heart. I've already had it happen to me once. I don't want to lose it again." I knew this couldn't go on. It was starting to tear me apart. I didn't know how to feel anymore. "I need to save my heart Peter. Maybe we should just keep all this business."

He sat up a bit straighter. He drew in his breath. "I see." He got up and moved to his desk.

Peter's POV

Shit. What happened? She was on cloud nine when I left to see my father. Now, she'd closed up. "You sure about this?"

"Yes. I've been thinking. I need this job Peter. Don't get me wrong. You're very attractive. I just need..." She paused and licked her lips. He tried not to watch them so closely. It just made him want to kiss them. "I just need space."

"Ok. I understand. We can stop." Leaning towards her, I said to her, "That will be all Julie. I'll go through the estimations on my own."

She came over to the desk, leaning near me to hand the files over. I grabbed them and watched her leave. She turned to get the door, and then walked out. I couldn't ignore how the skirt hugged her curves. This summer was going to be a hard one.

                                                                                        ***  

 Julie's POV

"You did what?"

Mark looked at me like I'd grown a third head. "I told him I needed space." We were having an emergency meeting at the coffee shop. I wanted to see what Mark thought. Boy, was I finding out.

"Shit, what were you thinking?"

"I needed to keep my job."

He stared me down still. He sighed. "Well, I hope you like that job. You just might have killed your chances with him."

"If he likes me, he'll wait."

"A hot guy like that? Hell no. Well, maybe. He has to really be hooked. I hope he is."

I licked my lips, and grabbed my lower lip with my teeth. "I just can't right now Mark." I couldn't tell him about Stephen. It just hurt too much.

"Well, I hope you like hanging out with me. It might be the closest you get to a man for awhile."

"I like it that way. You're safe, you know."

"Like a teddy bear. Except a damn cute one."

"You know it." I winked at him. "I had to do it. I felt a relief lift from my shoulders. Being involved with my boss would have made too many complications that would be hard to deal with. And I did need this job. I guess this summer was just going to be hanging in a coffee shop with you and checking out properties. It's a good thing I love coffee." 

We clinked coffee cups as I thought that the summer wouldn't get any better than this. Boy, was I wrong.

**End of Part 14***

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Again, My blog tour is still going through April 13. Info is posted on my website at: marilynvix.com. And if you have a loved one, let them know they should get checked for cancer if they have it in their family. Early detection really helps to fight the disease. My boss had a chance after she got a test. She found breast cancer in the early stages, and fought it with Kimo. She's still around to talk about it since she wouldn't give up. Cancer can be beaten. Just finding out about it is half the battle. Hug your Mom, Dad, or grandparents. Have a fabulous week! -Marilyn

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