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Excerpt from ALL HE NEEDS


Shirley Hailstock

Renee Hart stepped out of the conference room. She was going to burst. Without a word, she rushed past the secretaries and headed outside. The glass entry doors were the air pressure variety, yet she slammed them both open. Sunlight and humidity hit her like a hot oven. Renee welcomed it as she would a dive into a tropical pool. She needed a place to conceal the echo that was roaring inside her. She walked fast toward her car, but she knew she wasn't going to make it.

She got as far as the tree-lined divider that separated the upper parking lot from the lower one. Then she howled. She let the sound inside her go. All of it. Elation erupted like a volcano. Every emotion she'd ever had thundered and rolled with psychedelic pleasure. She was happy, so happy. Tears broke from her eyes and ran over her cheeks.

Renee hadn't known when she'd accepted the bridal consultant position at Weddings by Diana that it would be the key to her heart's desire.

Two weeks ago, she'd presented her idea to the two partners, and after jumping every time one of them opened her door, they'd finally given her the go-ahead today.

Standing under the trees, Renee smiled at the sky through the water in her eyes. The universe had finally favored her. She stood for several minutes, taking it all in. She didn't know how much time passed before she felt the press of heat and humidity on her skin again. Back on solid ground, she returned to the office.

Humming one more wedding as if the phrase were the lyrics to a popular song, she pulled up the file for the Griffin-Shephard nuptials on her computer. Twenty minutes later, she was still staring at the screen, with no idea what she should do next. Yet her mind was racing with things that needed to be done for her new venture.

A bridal magazine. Her own creation. Directed by her. With her ideas. There was so much to be done. Vendors, suppliers, layouts. Did she still have her contacts in the industry? She had to find a place to work, hire people…she needed to talk to Teddy about using her designs in the first issue. The first issue. She nearly screamed.

And a name.

What was she going to call the magazine? She had control, complete control—the partners had given it to her. Releasing a breath, Renee threaded her fingers through her hair, holding her long mane away from her face as her thoughts whirled. A boulder-weight of decisions crushed her shoulders. Where was she going to start?

And how long would it be before Carter found out?


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