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Falling for You

Searching for Love Book One

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A MODERN CINDERELLA STORY

Living in her beat-up RV while running from her past, Reese has lost all hope that she’ll find her happily ever after. But when handsome Brody saves her from drowning on a beach in Malibu, she’s smitten. Too bad she believes he’s way out of her league.

Brody is intrigued by the mysterious Reese, but she’s resistant to his attention. Good thing he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win her over.

Scroll down to read the first chapter.

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Chapter 1

“Darn propane,” Reese Montgomery muttered when only cold water streamed out of the kitchen faucet in her RV. She gazed out the window over her tiny sink. “But look at that sunrise. My first in Malibu.” A smile of excitement curved her mouth as she forgot about the water. She grabbed her camera off the table and carried it down the two steps of her RV to the hard-packed ground outside her door. 

While looking for the perfect spot to take pictures, she gazed at the scene in front of her. From her vantage point on the cliff overlooking the Pacific Coast Highway, the crashing ocean was so close she could hear the hiss of the waves flowing over the sand—when the rush of cars ebbed for a few moments.

The oranges, reds, and yellows of the spectacular sunrise grabbed her attention and she began snapping photographs. Absorbed in her work, she barely noticed the cool ocean breeze that swept over her, although when goosebumps rose on her arms she vaguely wished she had thought to put on a sweater before coming outside.

When the sun had risen high enough to wash out the vivid colors, Reese browsed through the digital images on her camera with a concentrated frown.

One or two were worth keeping.

Pleased with her work, she smiled, then turned and looked at her twenty-two foot RV. It was old—over thirty years old—but she owned it outright. Trying to ignore the bits of rust, she smiled. Home sweet home. And maybe one of the sunrise photos would bring in some income.

Several months before, she had begun uploading her best work to a website that promoted the work of unknown artists. Since then she had sold a number of prints, which brought in a meager income. But her needs were minimal, and it had been enough to scrape by.

Back in her RV, she fixed herself a breakfast of cold cereal knowing she needed to refill her propane tanks if she wanted to use her stove—not to mention have hot water.

Later that morning, with her camera slung around her neck, she headed to the beach for a walk and a hunt for more interesting and unique photo opportunities. The late spring day was sunny and pleasant, and in addition to looking for interesting scenes to photograph, she was excited to dip her toes into the ocean.

From the Midwest, Reese was new to California and had never been in the ocean. The idea of actually going into the water and allowing the waves to flow past her both thrilled and terrified her.

It took only a few minutes to walk down to the Pacific Coast Highway, which was right below the RV park. Cars whizzed by, but when a wide gap opened in both directions of onrushing traffic, Reese dashed across the highway. 

Moments later her feet sunk into the sand. She kicked off her sandals—leaving them next to a rock—then made her way to the ocean’s edge, where she stopped. Closing her eyes and tilting her head back, she let the salty ocean breeze caress her face.

“Mmmm,” she murmured as the sun kissed her skin.

A few moments later she opened her eyes and gazed down the beach. A large sandy area surrounded her, but farther down the beach houses lined up side by side. A wide strip of sand lay between the houses and the ocean, and she decided to walk in that direction. Those houses would make good subjects for her lens.

Only a few other people walked along the ocean’s edge, and as Reese strolled along, her toes sunk into the damp sand. Occasionally she walked close enough to the incoming waves to allow the foaming sea to slide over her feet and up to her ankles. The cold water made her step back, but soon she grew used to the temperature and it didn’t seem cold at all. Maybe she would go for a dip later.

The thought brought a nervous smile to her mouth. Not a strong swimmer, and with zero experience swimming in the ocean, she wasn’t sure she was truly up to the challenge.

But that was what this was all about, right? Challenging herself. Figuring out where she fit in to this big, wide world.

Biting her lip, her gaze shot toward the blue-green water and the crashing waves. Maybe she wasn’t quite ready for that challenge.

With a shake of her head, she continued walking, stopping to take pictures when something interesting caught her eye. Before long the beach houses she  had seen from a distance loomed beside her. Each was two or three stories high with enormous pylons sunk into the ground to support them and keep them from being flooded when the high tide rolled in.

Glass-fronted balconies faced the ocean, and as Reese walked along, her gaze drifted toward the houses. She tried to imagine what it would be like to live in—or even visit—such a magnificent home. Who lived in those places? Who could even afford such a thing?

To her shock, the only person she saw on one of the balconies of the incredible beach houses was a woman—clearly a maid—pounding a rug that hung over a railing.

Where was everyone? 

With a nod, the answer came to her. At work. Making money to pay for those places.

Her gaze skimmed over the closest house.

Maybe she should get a job as a maid. Then she could get inside one of those houses.

Smiling ruefully at the thought, she looked away from the structures. She doubted she could even get hired as a maid. Who would hire her? An uneducated drifter living out of an RV? 

A frown pulled down the corners of her mouth. 

Especially if they knew her background.

Several small brown and white birds scurried away from the waves in front of her and she quickly snapped several photos, her morose thoughts forgotten. The sight of the birds’ tiny feet racing across the sand made her laugh.

Movement on the beach house side caught her eye, and when she looked in that direction, she saw a man stretched out on a lounge chair setting a glass on a table beside him. 

He didn’t look like a maid.

Not wanting to be caught staring, she looked toward the ocean as she passed the house and continued down the beach.

* * *

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