Scene from The Problem with Being Laura by Sue Donymko

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From the author: At twenty-three years old, rigid Laura Bayani is the breadwinner of their family. A job promotion opens up at work, and her manager tells her to loosen up and learn to mingle and appear to be more approachable in order to be a viable candidate for the position. Along the way, Laura finds romance with Miguel, the brother of her friend and ardent supporter as she grows up into a person she didn't think she could be.

This time, Laura couldn't help but turn to look at him. "I didn't do anything."

Miguel chuckled and scooted closer to her.

Laura didn't move away. She didn't want to play games—not with Miguel—because love wasn't a game.

"That's just it," he said ruefully, smiling at her. "You didn't have to do anything but be Laura and I found myself unable to stop thinking about you. I wanted to be around you all the time. You didn't play games and was always straight with me. You were so brave, so determined to reach your goals. You didn't hesitate in letting go of your inhibitions to do what you wanted or what needed to be done," he said admiringly.

He lifted her hand and kissed her hand again. "You inspired me. You made me realize I was playing it too safe in life. You make me forget my fears. Or at least swallow my fears if that meant holding your hand through a vomit-inducing ride that I don't think I can ever ride again."

"I can't imagine spending my days without you," he said, staring deeply into her eyes.

"I got a job offer in Peter's company. I'm going to be the creative director in his startup company," she blurted out.

Miguel was confused. He swallowed for a moment, hesitating to ask, then, "Is that all Peter wants? For you to be the creative director?"

Laura looked away then back at Miguel, smiling softly. Maybe it was the cool breeze that made her shiver. Maybe it was the sunlight that glistened off Miguel's hair and made him sparkle in her eyes. Maybe it was the clear blue skies that made Laura giddy. But looking into the eyes of the man who had been right there since the start of her journey—supporting her, protecting her, encouraging her whenever she needed it—she knew it was all him that made her lean closer and tilt her head back and take the biggest risk of all.

Miguel looked deeply into her eyes and cradled Laura's cheek. Then he kissed her slowly, savoring the feel and taste of her lips. Her eyes fluttered to a close, and his did too, as they learned the shape of each other's lips.

When Laura pulled back, she was breathing hard. Miguel continued to caress her. She leaned her cheek closer to his hand and covered his hand with hers.

"I just got a new job, Miguel. And I just discovered this whole new personality. I'm not sure I can commit yet but I'd like to see where this—us—is going," she said a little breathlessly.

Miguel took her lips in another sweet kiss. "We can go as slow as you like, Laura. I'm not going anywhere."

This time, when she pulled him for another kiss, it felt like a promise and the start of something wonderful.

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