Less than a week till you can be reading LEADING MAN. Let me introduce you to Ashleigh Jessup. She teaches dance, owns her own business, and will soon be limping after her first lesson with Nick. Currently 20% off if you pre-order it from Liquid Silver Books.
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Another dream ruined, squashed beneath her feet like a dropped Churro on the Santa Monica Pier. Ashleigh Jessup figured she should legally change her name to Goldilocks these days. She already had the blonde hair, and she’d seen every commercial building in a twenty-mile radius and found them to be either too big or too small. None of them were just right for her new location.
She had three months before she had to either renew her current lease or find a new and permanent home for Jessup Dance Studio. Ashleigh was still stunned her business had outlasted her lease. When she first opened her doors, she hadn’t been sure she’d make it a year. To have been successful for five shocked everyone, her most of all.
She picked up the real estate listing she’d dropped and studied it again. The strip mall property in front of her had the identical floor plan as her current place. Ashleigh wanted much larger. Ideally, with one main studio area and one or two smaller private rooms which were rentable as private classrooms. This one wouldn’t do.
“No go?” Caitlin Kelly yelled from the car.
“No go,” she replied. Ashleigh climbed back into Stella, her trusty little Nissan, and started her on the second try. She was sure the car would last until Lease Day. If Ashleigh didn’t move, she’d have the funds to buy a brand new one, making a major down payment and ending up with tiny monthly payments. If she moved her business, it would be the reverse. Either option was good so long as she got a new car out of the deal. Even Nissans didn’t last much longer than fifteen years; Stella was half as old as she was.
“Too bad. It’s a good location,” Caitlin sympathized.
“It’s not as good as the Duncan Building.” Ashleigh sighed as she recalled her dream studio. She’d made an offer on the perfect space four months ago but had been outbid at the last minute. Since then, nothing she’d viewed had compared.
“It’s gone. Move on.” Caitlin took a draw on her iced green tea. Her friend had a personal interest in Ashleigh’s potential new studio, being as she’d have first dibs on the private studio. Ashleigh had been Caitlin’s personal instructor for going on ten years, back from when the two had met in college. Caitlin had branched off into music and acting as well as dance but she continued to work with Ashleigh regularly. “Where to now?”
“Home. Tomorrow is another full day of classes.”
“Saturdays pay the bills,” Ashleigh corrected. “Technically we could look at one more but honestly, I’m too wiped and it’s half an hour from here. I say we blow it off and order in some Pad Thai, unless you’re on a budget this week.”
“No budget, but it’ll have to be rice and veggies for me. I’m working next week.”
Ashleigh jammed the gear shift back into Park. “Excuse me.”
“I got the part!”
“You’re supposed to tell me stuff like that.”
“I got the call when you were checking out the building.”
Ashleigh beamed at her friend. College had been a lot of fun, but after graduation, Ashleigh and her group of friends settled in for a long haul to achieve their dreams. It was great to see everybody’s hard work finally paying off. “Call Sydney. Chris is working tonight. We’ll celebrate.”
Their mutual friend Sydney Richardson ran a charitable foundation which had gained public support since its inaugural gala back in February and was now doing well. Not to mention, she had a super-hot, super sweet boyfriend. Caitlin had another acting job, and they were beginning to come with near regularity. She also might have a super-hot boyfriend but she was being awfully cagey about it. Ashleigh’s own business was booming. There wasn’t much that could make things better for her. Except a super-hot boyfriend of her own.
It was a shame there weren’t listings for that.