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“Oh no, not
now!”Mia scowled at the red check
engine light and gripped the steering wheel tighter.“Come on, I filled you with premium gas you
old clunker.What more do you want from
me?” she grumbled but when the light flickered and then went out she managed a
slight smile.“That’s more like
it.”She patted the battered dashboard
making the miniature hula dancer swing her ample hips.“Okay, I take the old clunker part back,” Mia
added in a soothing tone and then settled back against the worn seat.
child raised by a long string of disinterested au pairs, Mia Monroe was no
stranger to talking to herself or to inanimate objects.Since she had often been left alone to
entertain herself, Mia’s possessions became treasured friends and admittedly
were probably one of the reasons that as an adult she had become a shopaholic.“Dad just doesn’t understand.”She sighed and glanced over at her shiny
black Prada purse that appeared ridiculously out of place perched on the worn
cloth seat that must of have been red at one time but had faded to a dusty
rose.The lack of credit cards inside of
her matching wallet made her shiver even though the battered Camry’s air
conditioner had failed her two states ago.“Shopping is my therapy,” she explained defensively.
Mia flipped her long platinum blonde hair over
her shoulder only to have the warm wind from the open window blow it right back
across her face momentarily blocking her view of the road.She swerved into the right lane drawing the
deep angry honk of a massive truck.
Mia winced as she jerked the car back into her own lane.The hula dancer’s hips bounced[AU1][ED2]like crazy
and Mia giggled in spite of her dire circumstances.She decided that when she purchased a new car
the happy hula chick was coming with her.Oh and she would purchase a brand new car with her very own hard
earned money.“And I’ll pull up that
circular drive and park it right at my father’s front door!” she announced to
the hula dancer who wiggled her head as if in disagreement.“Oh don’t go shaking that head of yours.I will if it’s the last thing I ever
do!”Of course Mia didn’t have anything
ironed out like where she would live or a really super job lined up or anything
of that nature.Minor details, she
thought with a lift of one shoulder but then frowned when she recalled her last
conversation with her dad.“You’ll be
back by the end of the summer,” Mia mocked in her father’s deep tone of
voice.“Labor Day,” he had added,
“Something you’ve never had to do.”
said and smacked the steering wheel hard enough to make her hand smart.“I have… skills!And just who does he think is going to plan
his lavish parties at his house?Huh?Entertain his clients?”She flipped one hand in the air and swerved
again.“And just who will find
impossible to get Cubs and Bulls tickets to seal the deal?”She gave her hair another toss only to have
it fly back once more across her face.She gave it an impatient swipe but several strands clung to her lip
gloss.“I was his personal assistant and
did it for free!” she grumbled.“He’ll
never be able to replace me.I have
connections all over Chicago.”She glanced at the hula dancer.“So what if I ran up a few credit cards?Bought a few things here and there and well…
everywhere?I’m helping the economy
right? ” She waved her French tipped fingers back and forth and the sunshine
glinted off her diamond tennis bracelet.
When the hula dancer stared back at her with
accusing brown eyes Mia sighed.“O-kaaaay, so I abused the credit cards a tiny bit.Traveled a little too much in the company
jet.”She lifted one slim shoulder.“But that jab about me never having a real
job was uncalled for.And my fine arts
degree is not worthless!I worked hard
for my father.He just didn’t appreciate
my efforts.”She pressed her lips
together in an effort not to cry. “I should have been on the official payroll!”
she sputtered but it wasn’t that tired old argument about her working that had
driven Mia away from her home and out into the cold, cruel world without credit
cards or her baby blue Mercedes coupe.It was overhearing her father negotiating a ruthless business deal that
had turned her blood cold.When[ED3][AU4] her father
had calmly explained that deals like these had paid for Mia’s lavish lifestyle
she’d hotly declared that she no longer wanted his money and would fend for
herself from this day forward!