Finding Sunshine (A Pinetree Romance, #1) | Chapter One

May 10, 2018

 

Finding Sunshine (A Pinetree Romance, #1)

 

 

Aspiring photographer, Nina King, is searching for a place to belong. 

Ex-con, Aaron Masters, is searching for redemption.

It’s time for the Valentine’s Day Date Auction at the exclusive Boston nightclub St. Andrews, and Aaron would rather be anywhere else. That all changes when he catches a glimpse of Nina, the woman he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about since their recent chance encounter. When they met her smile—for a precious moment—warmed the darkness inside. Now he’ll stop at nothing to make her his woman, keep her, and protect her from the truth of his rough past.

Nina hasn’t been able to get a certain handsome man, with long hair and gorgeous blue eyes, out of her thoughts—or her dreams. As her professional internship has recently ended, she’s now out of work and trying to find herself while struggling to build a viable career.

Aaron and Nina’s relationship soon heats up, but not everyone in their lives is excited about this new development.

Will Aaron’s dark past derail the couple’s bright future?​

Chapter One

 

~ Aaron ~

 

Mid February – Boston

 

“Next!”

 

The booming voice of the harried Starbucks employee shakes me out of my zombie-like stupor. My body is protesting being awake this early, but I have a shift at the animal shelter in thirty minutes. We’re beginning our six-week puppy obedience training workshop, and I oversee all of the shelter’s training programs.

 

All I really want to do is collapse in a warm bed with something soft and cuddly—preferably a woman and not Russell, my three-year old chocolate brown English Labrador.

 

God, I hate Mondays.

 

Sadly, the reason I’m dead on my feet has nothing to do with being up all night enjoying myself. I wasn’t exhausting myself hitting some hot piece, or getting into any other kind of trouble. I don’t even want to think about how long it’s been since I’ve gotten laid, it’s just too fucking depressing. My sex life—my social life—has been pretty pathetic lately.

 

As in, I don’t have much of either.

 

I haven’t sought out any sort of relationship for nine months. Nine long months of self-imposed abstinence. I’d grown bored of meaningless relationships with woman who I only mildly tolerated. The truth is, I probably don’t deserve any woman who I would want to form a long-term and meaningful relationship with.

 

The real reason I’m a Walking Dead extra this morning is because I covered someone else's shift last night at The Pint, where I bartend. It has a pretty rough clientele. Pimps, drug dealers, and local bosses are all frequent patrons.

 

Why am I working there? I have a degree in Business Management from BC, for fuck’s sake!

 

In this economy, a man with a past as rough as mine can’t be too proud when looking for a job. I’m lucky enough to be able to do what I love and work with the animals at the shelter. I usually spend my mornings there, and then I bring Russell back home to our studio apartment above The Pint for his afternoon nap.

 

Dealing with the more rowdy, disgusting animals at the bar in the afternoon and evening seems like a fair tradeoff. Not to mention, I make pretty decent tips—mainly because the patrons know I keep my fucking trap shut. They reward me in a roundabout way for my discretion.

 

I was hired by Troy, the manager, under the bar’s legitimate business heading, and every two weeks, I’m given a paycheck, where I see my taxes and social security have eaten up all my hard work. I do my best to ignore the disreputable clientele, though. I keep my head down and do my job. Pouring drinks, filling bowls with pretzels, wiping down the bar, and decontaminating the johns.

 

Fuck, I hate my job!

 

Life never seems to go the way you imagine it will.

 

“Hi, how are you today?” asks the sweetest voice in front of me, pulling me from my depressing thoughts and waking me to my surroundings.

 

I’m standing in line at a small-overcrowded Starbucks with a dozen other Bostonians, waiting for my morning fix of caffeine. I usually go to the Dunkin Donuts across the street from my apartment, but this morning, for some reason, I felt like trying one of those ridiculously expensive, specially brewed coffees that my younger sister, Sarah, is always going on about.

 

“What’s ya’ orda’?” is the curt response from the haggard and clearly overworked employee.

 

“Could I please have a grande, no-whip mocha, with an extra pump of mocha? Thank you,” the voice says pleasantly, undeterred by the cashier’s borderline rudeness.