Florist to the stars Vin Robbins is in high demand in LA, but he hates working for someone else. When he returns to his Pennsylvania home to help his widowed father, he finds an opportunity he never expected with his first love, but learns that someone’s been taking advantage of the unused family greenhouse.
Casey Lombard wasted too much of his life denying who he is and what he wants, but he won’t do that any longer. His biggest regret is letting Vin go, so running into Vin again when he gets called to investigate who planted pot on Vin’s family’s property sends him reeling.
Vin ignites feelings Casey thought long dead. But Casey has a daughter, and Vin is only home for a visit. Surely the bright lights of Hollywood will call him back to the City of Angels, so how can Vin and Casey build the life they both wish they had?
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Casey unlocked the door and went inside first. He checked over the shop before letting Vin follow him.
“This looks the same as I remember. It’s just a lot dirtier.” Vin ran his hand over the old work table that his mother had used for all those years. “I’ll stay in here while you take care of what you need to,” he told Casey.
“Thanks.” Casey continued on into the greenhouse, where the wilted plants now sat dying on the floor and the bins sat where they’d left them. He pulled on gloves and checked them over more carefully, then lifted the plastic trays and began carrying them out. He placed them in the back of the SUV. He hoped that he might be able to get some information from the containers or the equipment he found. Once he had everything, Casey got large plastic bags, shoved the remaining plants inside, and stacked the pots and trays. Then he logged each container, noting all the numbers and contents before sliding them into the back of his vehicle.
“Is that all?” Vin asked.
“Yeah. I bagged up the plants and have everything else locked in the back of police vehicle. I want to make one more pass, and then the place is yours once more.” Casey was glad this was over and that Vin was going to do something with the building. “I can almost feel your mom here.”
Vin chuckled. “Yeah. She loved this space and the way she had things set up in it. It was perfect for all the arrangements she put together for weddings, funerals, and everything else in between. It’s where she taught me all she knew and encouraged me to experiment with my own style.” He slapped his hands to get the dust off. “She was the one who encouraged me to take floral design classes.”
“Do you think she wanted you to take over for her?” Casey asked. It seemed like a natural fit, at least to him.
“I know that was what Dad had hoped for.” Vin hesitated. “But when she passed, things here changed for me. I needed to find my own way.” The lingering hurt in Vin’s eyes told Casey that a lot of that change had been instigated by him. And he really couldn’t blame Vin for leaving. Casey had made decisions back then that had cost him dearly.
“I had family living in LA,” Vin continued. “It seemed like a good place to try to make a fresh start.” He seemed far away.
“It sounds to me like maybe you’re second-guessing that,” Casey said.
“Maybe a little. But I couldn’t just take over for my mother. If I had tried, everyone would have expected me to do things the way she did and to make the same kind of arrangements. That wasn’t what I wanted. I guess I needed a chance to prove myself, to find my own style. I needed to know who I was and what I could do. You know?”
Casey understood that feeling. He was just starting to let the real Casey out to play. And the freedom it offered was intoxicating.
Casey checked the greenhouse area and then told Vin that the coast was clear. He could start the cleanup. Casey had what he needed.
“I’ll be working out here tomorrow,” Vin said. “Were you serious about helping?”
Casey smiled. “I’ll be here.” He couldn’t help the burst of excitement he felt at seeing Vin again. They had been friends for years, and Vin would be going back to Los Angeles in about a week, so that flutter in his belly couldn’t be anything more than basic animalistic attraction. It had been too long to be anything else.