The night I met Greer Palmer was no coincidence.
The plan was perfect.
Everything was in place. All I had to do was get her attention and the rest would take its course.
What I didn"t plan was my reaction the first time she spoke.
"Are you okay""
Three little words"
That"s all it took for her to steal my breath and shatter every thing I"d expected.
She was supposed to be a spoiled socialite, a pampered princess, an elite heiress" anything other than the striking beauty that blew my misconceptions to pieces.
One kiss and I became obsessed.
One night and I became addicted.
One month and she became my world.
Suddenly, my plan wasn"t so perfect.
To her, I am sunset kisses, whispers of seduction, and promises of forever.
It"s all a lie"
I"m Lawson Hall.
My name and reputation speaks for itself as one of the most successful architects in the industry. Conceited, arrogant, egotistical, ruthless" I"ve earned it all.
In reality, I"ve bided my time, done my job, and waited my turn.
Now is my chance.
Greer thinks we met by accident, but she"s wrong.
Once the lies are exposed, will the truth be enough"Books by Author:Ahren Sanders Books
"You look stunning, Kimberly. Absolutely breathtaking." A lump forms in my throat as the woman in front of me studies herself in the three-way mirror.
She tilts, turns, and twirls before facing me. Her smile beams brightly as the tears brimming her eyes spill out. A small sob escapes, followed by another, until she can no longer hold her head up and drops her face into her hands.
I grab the box of tissues and wrap my arms around her, careful not to mess up her perfectly styled hair. She trembles gently, whispering, "Thank you," over and over.
"You"re going to be the most beautiful woman in the room tonight, and it"s an honor that"s due. This is a celebration of you, Kimberly."
She takes a few deep breaths, blotting her cheeks with the tissue. "Greer, I can"t believe that"s me in the mirror. For the first time in a year, I feel normal. Maybe even a little pretty."
"Pretty! Hell no, I said stunning and I meant it," I tell her honestly. "Your husband is going to fall to the ground."
"Yes, he is. Considering I"ve spent so long in hospital gowns and pajamas, this is going to knock him out."
"Then I"ve done my job."
"Greer, what did you do to my masterpiece"" Haley, my hairstylist and make-up artist, comes in to find Kimberly"s face streaked, her meticulous make-up now smeared and spotty.
"It was my fault, Haley. As soon as I saw myself, I cracked," Kimberly confesses, a shimmer reappearing in her eyes.
"I"m not surprised. Most of Greer"s clients usually have to take a round two in my chair. She has a knack for making people cry."
"These are tears of joy and appreciation. I can"t wait to see the faces of my family and friends."
"How about you get changed into the jumpsuit I"ve laid out." I pat her shoulder and step back, giving her a small smile.
She nods and disappears into the dressing room while Haley grabs my elbow and leads me to the other room.
"I say this all the time, but you are incredible. Working with you is the highlight of my job."
"She did look beautiful, didn"t she""
"All your clients look beautiful."
"You say that about most of your women clients. I think it"s called deep compassion and love for your job."
I shrug and look away shyly. She"s right; I do love my job.
Being a personal shopper could be described as a dream. I catch the envy in people"s voices all the time, but I"m more of a specialty shopper. My client roster is filled with women who have been affected by cancer.
It"s a fluke career I"ve fallen into. Truthfully, my mind is geared toward math, science, and technology. But after my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time, I found joy in helping her feel beautiful.
When she made the decision to have the double mastectomy, I overheard her crying to my dad in anguish about the situation. To him, and anyone else who loved her like we did, it was inconsequential. She felt she was losing a piece of her womanhood.
As soon as her scars were healed and she was feeling better, I brought her right here to Blakely"s Department Store, where we worked to find her the perfect items to re-establish her confidence.
I may not have formal training in fashion, but I know how it feels to cherish, love, and sympathize with a woman going through cancer.
When we lost my mom, Dad became my business partner. He had his lawyers draw up the paperwork and approached Blakely"s Department Store with a proposal to run my personal shopping business out of their Women"s Department. Being a high-end store, they were thrilled with the idea. I bring in a stable revenue stream since I do ninety percent of my shopping within these walls.
One of the greatest perks is I get to contract with some of the best hair and make-up artists in the city on special occasions like today.
"Is there any way to salvage this mess I"ve made of my face, Haley"" Kimberly joins us in the space I use as an office and salon.
"Absolutely! I always expect a few tears when it comes to Greer, so I saved the main color pallet for after you saw her results."
"Good plan." Kimberly comes to my side and takes both my hands in hers. "Please consider attending my party tonight. I swear to God, I won"t embarrass you by crying or gushing too much."
"I"d love to, but I have plans with my dad and a few friends. Call me with every detail tomorrow."
"I"ll do more than call you; I"ll bring coffee and give you a play by play."
"Sounds like a plan." I grasp her hands and take a deep breath, knowing what I say next can bring a fresh round of tears. "Kimberly, I want you to listen to me. Cancer can take your hair. It can take your strength and resolve. It may change your body, and in your case, it can take your breasts. But what it can"t take is your spirit. Don"t let it get your spirit. Wallace loves you more than you can ever imagine, and your children need you, too. If a few pretty clothes, new lingerie, and a full spa day make you feel better, you come to me anytime."