The winner is love, p.1
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       The Winner Is Love, p.1

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The Winner Is Love
The Winner is Love

  1st book in “The Winner” Series

  Revised Edition


  Stephanie Payne Hurt

  The Winner is Love ©2015 Stephanie Payne Hurt

  The Winner Series

  Originally published 2012

  Horseshoe Publishing

  Cover Designer: Kaleigh Payne

  Any person mentioned in this book is not based on any person, living or nonliving.

  This book is a work of fiction. This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the publisher.


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  Chapter One


  It was an unusually cold November morning in Atlanta. Stacy got up and made her coffee just as she’d done for the last ten years. She looked at the thermometer on her back deck and shivered. As usual she was running late. Thank goodness, the secretary was always early. Everything would be running smoothly when she got to the accounting office she’d owned for five years.

  Stacy went upstairs and ran through the shower, taking only fifteen minutes to get ready. Grabbing a cup of coffee, before she ran out the garage door. She started the engine and let it warm up while she gulped down her coffee. Flipping on the radio, she listened to the local news. As she backed out of the drive she heard her name on the radio. Slamming on the brakes as she turned up the volume.

  “Congratulations again to Ms. Stacy Cauthen of Atlanta for winning the 'Weekend With a Star Contest'. It’ll be in a rustic cottage in the Colorado Rockies.” Stacy sat there afraid to move. How on Earth was this happening? She hadn’t entered a contest, so it must be a mistake. Maybe there was another Stacy Cauthen in Atlanta.

  At that moment her cell rang, she saw it was her best friend, Randi. That had to be it. Her crazy friend was playing a trick on her. “Good morning Randi. How’d you do it? Did you pull some strings with the radio station to get them to announce a bogus contest and list me as the winner?”

  “Good morning to you too and I did no such thing. It’s totally legit.” There was a long pause as Stacy tried to make a rational sentence, but nothing came out.

  “Stacy, earth to Stacy!”

  “I'm here. But I know I heard you wrong. You’re joking right?” She heard her friend's laughter and knew this was real. Randi had entered her unknowingly in this contest.

  “Why? Just answer me that. Have you completely lost what’s left of your brain?”

  “Don't you want to know who the actor is that you’ll be with in this cozy little cottage in the snow covered hills of Colorado? Aren’t you the least bit curious?”

  “Okay, I'll play along. Who is it? Some offbeat actor trying to score some publicity?”

  “Nope, not even close. Who’s your favorite actor? You have all of his movies on DVD.”

  Stacy's head ached from all this early morning drama. Then it dawned on her what Randi had said. “You mean its Slade Collins! THE Slade Collins?”

  “The one and only. What I wouldn’t do to be with you at this very moment.” Her friend was almost giddy with excitement.

  “That's exciting, but I'm not going. You know yourself he’s nothing but a playboy. I’m not going to be his toy for the weekend.”

  “He may not really be that way. It may just be his agent's publicity stunts. He may be a real nice guy.”

  “Randi, why would you do this to me? Why?” She may have raised her voice if her head hadn’t started pounding when she heard the news.

  “Come on Stacy, you need to get a life. You spend most of your time nose deep in ledgers and tax returns. For once, take a walk on the wild side. You need a vacation and this is a free trip with Mr. Heavenly himself.” Stacy could hear her friend's muffled giggles. She was really enjoying this.

  “Randi, you know I hate to fly.”

  “Think of who’ll greet you at the end of the flight. That’s got to be some kind of incentive.”

  Stacy backed out of her driveway and started toward the office. She didn’t know what to think of all this. “Randi, let's talk about this later. My head is pounding and I'm late for work, as usual.”

  “Okay, but be thinking about what you'll pack. We probably need to go shopping for you some snow clothes.”

  “That’s if I go Randi. I need to know more about this trip.” She sighed realizing that she was giving in a fraction of a bit.

  “At least you’re open to it. Have a great day and call me later. Love you Stacy.”

  “Love you too, but not liking you right now.” She ended the call and turned into the parking deck of her office building.

  When she got to the guard office beside the elevator, Mr. Olsen, the security in the morning, looked up and smiled. He walked out to greet her. “Good morning Ms. Cauthen. Oh, and congratulations on the contest. My wife would give her teeth, if she still had them, to win a trip with that actor. You must be excited.” Stacy grinned, picturing his wife with no teeth. She had met her at a barbeque that the owner of the building gave in July.

  “Well, thanks. I can honestly say that I was surprised. Have a good morning.”

  She stepped on the elevator. Had everybody been listening to the morning news on the radio? She got her answer when she stepped off the elevator and her secretary had a banner on the wall that read “Congrats Boss!” Great, now she’d have to go through this all over again. She was going to strangle Randi when she saw her in person.

  Abigail jumped up from her desk when Stacy rounded the corner, “I can’t believe you’re spending a whole weekend with Slade Collins. I could just die.” Abigail pretended to swoon, leaning towards the dramatic side as always.

  “Well, Randi entered me without my knowledge. I guess I’m still in shock.” She started toward her office door. Abigail followed with her messages and appointment schedule. So the day had started out with a bang.

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