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Not in the Plans

Not in the Plans

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Adelyn is an expert at planning and making lists—including one with the required qualities for the perfect man. Jason, has been slowly falling in love with Adelyn for more than a year, but she sees him only as a buddy. How does he get her to see that he is the perfect man she describes on her list?

Main Tropes

  • Opposites Attract
  • BFF's Brother
  • Unrequited Love
  • Cinnamon Roll Hero
  • He Falls First


Adelyn's list describes the perfect guy. Jason is determined to prove he fulfills every item.

Adelyn is an expert at planning and making lists--including one with the required qualities for the perfect man. This mythical specimen, unfortunately, seems harder to find with every passing year. She tells herself she's not picky, she's discerning, but sometimes it's hard to be sure.

Her best friend's older brother, Jason, has been slowly falling in love with Adelyn since returning from his final deployment with the Army more than a year earlier, but she sees him only as a buddy. So how does he get her to see that he is the perfect man she describes on her list? It's time Adelyn took another solid look at her plans.

Intro into Chapter One

Jason McCormick was anxious to get to a woman who didn’t love him. He glanced at his watch and then turned his beat-up Chevy toward the city office. He’d told Peter he would pick up the building permit for tomorrow’s job, but he’d been at the lumber yard longer than expected and now the city offices were about to close. With any luck, Adelyn would still be there.

The air was clean and balmy after a spring rainstorm earlier in the day and he rolled down the window to breathe it in. He loved Kansas in the spring and the fresh air was especially nice after a long day of sanding mud off sheetrock in an office building downtown.

Letting out a breath of exasperation, he slowed at a red light and speed dialed Adelyn’s cell phone number.

“Hi, Jason, what’s up?” As usual, her sweet voice soothed and pricked at him at the same time.

“Are you still at the office?” Please say yes.

“I’m about to lock up. Do you need something?”

He tapped his fingertips on the steering wheel and stared at the red light, willing it to change while a single car puttered through the intersection. “The permit for the Parker complex. You do have it ready, right?”

“Of course. It’s been sitting here since yesterday. How far away are you?”

“Getting close. I’m stuck at the light at the corner of Maple and Grove.”

“I’ll wait for you, then.”

“Thanks, you’re the best.” Jason was relieved he had caught her before she left. Peter wouldn’t have been happy if the excavator couldn’t start the new project first thing tomorrow morning because they didn’t have the permit to post on the property.

“I know. See you in a few.” She hung up.

He eased on the gas as the light turned green, sliding the clutch back down as he shifted the truck into second gear. The fact that he’d get a chance to see Adelyn was enough reason to hurry on over there, even without the thought of keeping Peter, who owned Elliot Construction, off his back.

He glided into the parking lot four minutes after five and pulled into the spot beside Adelyn’s car in the otherwise-empty stretch of asphalt. It was a good thing he’d called ahead. Had everyone left early for the Easter weekend? Like two days early?

She was waiting for him at the glass door, her blond hair coiffed back in a smooth bun on one side. She let him in and locked it behind him. “Lucky you called me. I’d have been out the door at five—it’s been a very long day.”

“They left you alone?”

“Just for the last half hour.” She circled around the customer service window and brandished her key card to get into the office area. The place was perfectly ordered; her desk held only one piece of paper, which she picked up, along with her purse, which had been tucked out of sight under her desk. “We’re short-handed because the schools are out for spring break and a couple people took vacation while their kids are free. Mandy and her family flew to Florida to spend the week at Disney World.” She glanced at the space around her, then flipped off the light.

“Sounds fun.”

“If you like that kind of thing.”

“Who doesn’t like that kind of thing?” He thought of Worlds of Fun only half an hour away and tried to remember the last time he had been there.

Joining him back in the foyer, Adelyn passed him the signed permit. “Everything is good to go. Despite Elliott Construction pulling out of the Indulgence Row project, they’re still keeping you busy, aren’t they?”

“Definitely. There’s plenty of work to go around.” Jason waited for her to lock up and walked her to the car, glad to have a few minutes to talk, even if that’s all it could be. She was always so pretty and put together in her business suits and pearls. It was more appealing than he would have guessed before he’d started noticing them on her.

“Are you guys doing anything fun for Easter?”

“Coloring eggs and then Easter dinner. Mom has been looking forward to having a grandchild to spoil, and Felicia will fit the bill.” Since his parents would become defacto grandparents to the third-grader when his sister married his best friend, Ben who was Felicia’s uncle and guardian, in a few months, they were jumping into grandparenthood with both feet.

She shook her head. “Is Angelina going to make it home?”

Jason frowned as he thought of his youngest sister—she’d moved to New York City almost the moment she graduated from high school and apparently hadn’t looked back. After seven years away, she’d not hit on any real success on Broadway, but she wouldn’t consider coming home, either. “Angelina is always busy with something in New York. Someday maybe we’ll get lucky and she’ll grace us with her presence again.”

Adelyn chuckled, her tones musical—had it always been that way? He couldn’t remember. He never noticed her like this when they were growing up and she, Piper, and his sister Maddie had been running in and out of each other’s homes like they were community property. No, his fascination with her was much more recent. And ridiculously hopeless. She didn’t even notice he was a man—he was just Maddie’s family.

“Hey, are you doing anything Friday night?” she asked, pulling him from his wayward thoughts. “I mean, I know you aren’t seeing anyone and it sounds like you guys aren’t going out of town.”

“Not really. What’s up?”

“I wondered if you’d like to go out.”

He nearly got whiplash, he looked over at her so fast. “You mean like a date?” Had he stuttered?

She looked nervous and embarrassed, gripping her purse strap tighter just below where it looped over her shoulder. “Well, sort of, I mean, Piper challenged us all to get dates, and the deadline is coming up for me and I don’t know who to ask out, so could you do me a favor and go with me? Otherwise I’ll be the idiot who didn’t follow through and I hate that.”

His heart went from racing double-time to thunking down into his boots. He should have guessed—of course she was only asking him out because she’d gotten desperate. Why else would she notice that he was datable? Obviously, she only thought of him as a convenience, someone to take for granted, and he didn’t want that.

He needed to get a life. “You know, I don’t think so. But good luck finding someone.” He yanked open the door to his truck and slid inside, fuming—mostly with himself—for this pointless attraction he felt for her. Apparently, it was all one-sided.

Her eyes widened in confusion. “But why not? I mean, it wouldn’t have to mean anything.”

“I don’t think that’s what Piper had in mind.” Any other answer would be too revealing, and he honestly didn’t need to deal with her knowing that he had fallen hard for her when he returned from Afghanistan a year and a half ago. The fact that he hadn’t been truly interested in anyone else since was his own stupidity.

He might be in love with her. Maybe. But he wasn’t going to be her pity date.

As Jason sat back in his truck, he wished he could figure out how to make her see him as something more than a buddy, but he had no idea where to start.

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