by Janice L. Dennie
Ashley Jacobs relishes in providing her customers with a soothing and healing environment at her day spa in the Silverado area of Napa Valley. She maintains her even temper and peace of mind, avoiding anger at all costs. But when she faces a vicious lawsuit, from someone she least suspects, her peace of mind comes to a complete halt.
Justin Underwood is a successful attorney with a stellar resume and a body of work that consists of winning civil rights cases for the disenfranchised. The moment he hears Ashley’s sultry voice and feels her gentle touch, he finds comfort simply by being in her presence. He becomes hopelessly drawn to the siren with the sexy bedroom eyes.
But Ashley has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. After taking her case, he watches her coast along, with her head in the clouds, turning a blind eye to the facts of her lawsuit. Can Justin get Ashley to commit to him, and open her eyes to the facts surrounding her lawsuit? Can Ashley overcome her family’s secret that prevents her future happiness?
THE UNDERWOOD’S OF NAPA VALLEY SERIES
The Underwood brothers have inherited the character DNA of their male ancestors, a line of old fashioned southern gentlemen who took great pride in protecting their families. The matriarch of the family, Henrietta Underwood, has dubbed each one of her five grandchildren with a character trait.
As the eldest brother, Kenton Underwood is “the protective one.” He’s protective of his family and environment, and stays busy running his family’s winery. Kenton has no room for love until he meets sexy, understated, Briana Rutledge, who finds a special place in his heart.
Justin Underwood is “the strong one.” He’s the hotshot civil rights attorney who carries his family with his strength in the court of law. He fights, in court, to protect the woman he loves. But, Ashley Jacobs, has a family secret that prevents her from totally committing to Justin. The Underwood’s of Napa Valley series takes place in a romantic setting that enhances love, passion and relationships, and changes personalities forever.
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JUSTIN’S BODY OF WORK
Unedited Book Excerpt: ARC Version
Ashley Jacobs drove her Mazda Miata convertible in the warm morning sun humming to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. She was happy because she’d just read an online review in the Napa Register News about her spa. Ashley’s Day Spa in Napa Valley is a hidden jewel that provides its customers with a tranquil and healing environment to rest and rejuvenate.
Her day spa was a jewel because she trained her employees to create a peaceful and harmonious environment at work. She taught them to approach customers with an even-tempered attitude, at all costs.
Ashley drove up the circular driveway and listened in horror as Christina, her female masseuse, and India, her top hair stylist, argued with voices so loud that she could hear them from her car.
Ashley entered her spa through the elegant glass doors and stopped at the receptionist desk. The arguing immediately stopped.
“What’s the matter Chris?” Ashley asked her best friend in a soothing voice.
“India is calling me names.” Christina held her hands on her hips.
Ashley placed her briefcase and purse on the reception desk and walked over to Christina. Taking her by the hand, Ashley led Christina to the massage chairs in the manicure room.
“Have a seat Chris. I want to talk to you.”
Ashley and Christina met each other in middle school when both of their father’s served in Desert Storm, and a time in their lives, when they were both awkward tweens. When they turned sixteen, Ashley had developed into a beautiful young woman, but Christina developed into a unattractive young woman with bad skin, that she concealed with heavy makeup.
“India come and have a seat with me. I want to talk to you.” Ashley took India by the hand and led her to the massage chairs in the manicure room. She sat between the two women.
“This is a place of healing. Our priority here is to provide our customers with a peaceful and relaxing environment, so we cannot have any arguing.”
“But Christina is always flirting with every man that walks through the door.” India barked out.
“This wouldn’t have anything to do with the new barber I just hired, would it?”
“That’s what this is all about,” India said. “Christina is already dating the man.”
Christina gave India a cool look. “You’re just mad because he didn’t ask you out.”
“Ashley’s Spa has standards of conduct. I had gone over all of that with both of you before you started working here. I’ll remind you again that arguing in this establishment is off-limits. If you two must argue, wait until you are off work and away from these premises. Do you both understand me?”
Christina turned away and inspected her nails. India nodded and turned her face away from Christina.
Ashley’s voice had a soothing effect on them.
“Now, while both of you are at work, I expect you to respect each other. No cursing or gossiping or loud voices. Why don’t you both come into the kitchen and have a cup of chamomile tea with me? There are some positive things that I want you to know about each other.”
The two women acted cordially toward each other in front of Ashley, but Christina cut her eyes at India, giving her an evil look, indicating that this fight was not over. Ashley put the entire incident behind her. She shared her thoughts on some of their positive attributes over a cup of tea. After the discussion, both women went back to their workstations, with a better attitude.
Ashley walked into her office and sat down at her desk. She twisted in her chair thinking about the changes she wanted to make to expand her spa. She wanted to add three more workstations, two more shampoo bowls, two hair dryers and another massage room in the back of the spa near the whirlpool.
An hour later, a man delivered an envelope requiring a signature to Amara, the receptionist, and water therapist.
“I need a signature for this letter.”
Amara looked at the letter and thought it looked important. “Please wait while I get the owner.”
Ashley came out and signed the letter. After opening it, she saw that it was a personal injury lawsuit naming Ashley’s Spa as the defendant and Kimberly Lewis as the plaintiff suffering from a neck injury caused by a massage at the spa.
She and Christina were the only masseuses at the spa. Ashley’s mouth went dry. She tried to remember, but the plaintiff’s name didn’t ring a bell. She’d never met a client named Kimberly Lewis. She picked up the appointment book and took it with her to her office.
“Everything okay?” Amara’s eyes clung to Ashley when she removed the appointment book.
“I’ll bring it back. I want to check something.” Ashley walked away from Amara. “I’ll be in my office if anyone needs me.”
Ashley sat silently for a long time on her white leather sofa in her office. She had a tendency to bottle up her feelings, in an effort to remain even-tempered. Crossing her legs, she leaned back and continued to read the document. She saw that the plaintiff was claiming damages in the amount of $250,000.
( Continued… )
© 2015 All rights reserved. Note: Unedited Book Excerpt. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Janice L. Dennie. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.