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What’s an interior designer to do when her latest project blows up in her face? Escape L.A. and hide out in a small Iowa town customizing the motor coach for her sister’s concert tour, that’s what. Aubrey Carpenter has been running away from problems all her life, fearful of her mother’s opinions. 

That doesn’t stop her from attempting to fix the dysfunctional lives of the three McKenna brothers who own the motor coach spa, particularly Mitch McKenna, the younger, hunky brother who has put his legal career on hold to help his brothers recoup the financial losses of their late father. 

When Aubrey’s former client sues, Mitch is forced to reveal his dream to his brothers and team up with his mentor to take her case. But when it becomes apparent that Aubrey can only defend herself by asking her mother for help, she’d rather hit the road again than have her judgmental mother turn her down.

Aubrey Carpenter has been running away from problems all her life, fearful of her mother’s opinions. When her latest home reno project blows up in her face, she escapes L.A. and hides out in a small Iowa town where the motor coach for her sister’s concert tour is being customized. 

That doesn’t stop her from attempting to fix the dysfunctional lives of the three McKenna brothers who own the motor coach spa, particularly Mitch McKenna, the younger, hunky brother who has put his legal career on hold to help his brothers recoup their late father’s financial losses. The more involved she gets, the more attracted she is to the man. Though irritated by her interference, Mitch finds it increasingly more difficult to resist her. 

When Aubrey’s former client sues, Mitch can’t allow her to face the music on her own. But to defend her, he must reveal his dream of returning to the law to his brothers. Their growing relationship is put to the test when she must decide whether to stay and ask her judgmental mother for help or hit the road again, leaving Mitch behind.  

The Sleepover Clause

The Matchmaking Motor Coach Series Book 1

By Barbara Barrett

For the next half hour, they negotiated about every possible action she could take while working under their roof. When she could be there, how long she could work, no music, no hotplates—like she ever cooked—and no shorts or tank tops. She shook her head, said “No” more than once, and actually snorted on one item. She saw through their machinations and wasn’t going to let them snow her. 

Finally, her tolerance dissolved. “How many items are left on that list?” The three men went into a huddle and compared notes. 

“I think we’re done,” Graham said at last. He read off the lengthy list of conditions.

“You can have access to the vehicle at hours other than what we’ve agreed to with our advance approval,” Geoff added. He looked at his brothers. “Anything else, guys?”

The other two shook their heads and started putting their notes away.

Aubrey waited a beat and then unzipped her leather carryall and removed a folder. “Now, I have a few ideas of my own I’d like to discuss.”

Mitch had already risen in anticipation of her departure. “What?”

“My list,” she said innocently. “I’ve been patient and flexible about your stipulations. But I have a few concerns of my own to discuss. Starting with my office.”

“Office?” all three men replied, once again exchanging looks.

She was hoping for that effect. “Yes. I don’t need much space, but I do need a place to work on my laptop, make private phone calls and store my files. Surely you can spare me a few extra square feet?” she asked with a sweep of her hand.

Geoff raised his brows, Graham shrugged and Mitch emitted a sound like a low snarl. 

“I guess we could put her in the accountant’s office,” Mitch said after a bit, in a sort of last resort tone.

“The what?” Geoff asked. 

“You know? The room on the other side of the building?”

“There are just storerooms over there,” Graham said. “And the—” He shut his mouth, cocked his head, and turned toward his brother so Aubrey couldn’t see the exchange. “Right. The accountant’s room. That’s a great idea.”

“Okay, that’s settled,” Mitch said. “Anything else?”

“My environment has to be safe and efficient. No more slipping on oil spills because someone forgot to mop them up.” She shot a glance at Mitch. “Because it’s too dark in the garage.”

The men looked at each other and shrugged.

“Okay,” Graham agreed, “whatever.”

“Good,” she said. “One last point. Some days, I’ll need to be here twenty-four/seven. I’ll need a place to sleep at those times. I don’t want to be traveling back and forth between here and my lodging in the wee hours of the morning.”

Mitch was out of his chair again. “You want to stay here overnight? You do know we live here, don’t you?”

“No, I didn’t. But I don’t think that will be a problem.”

You don’t think it’ll be a problem. What a relief. Wouldn’t want you to be troubled about our living arrangements.” Mitch barked the words.

“I don’t need a fully functional bedroom. Just a private place to catch a few hours’ sleep. Maybe I could use the accountant’s office?”

“Uh.” Geoff mumbled. “Not a good idea.”

“Surely you could find a cot or air mattress to put in there?” she asked.

“The room’s not very large. And the bathroom, uh, is way across the building, over here by our offices,” Graham said, tapping his fingers on the desk.

“No shower or bathtub,” Geoff added. “At least down here.”

She lifted a brow. “But there’s one somewhere in the building?”

Mitch rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, yeah. I have one and so does Gray. But those are our private quarters.”

Why were they having so much difficulty with this? Most of the men she worked with would have offered up their own beds, let alone showers, for her. She returned a perplexed look. Who could possibly resist her request for a bed and shower? She even batted her eyelashes once, twice. 

“Ah, for Pete’s sake, guys,” Graham said, “this isn’t such a big deal. We’ll find an air mattress and you can use my shower whenever you need one.” 

“Thanks,” she smiled at him, feeling in control once again.

He merely nodded, not looking at either brother. 

Mitch stood, hands on his hips. “That the end of your list? We’re running out of time and patience.” 

Poor thing. You know you’ve been bested, but you’re not about to admit it. She closed the folder she’d been perusing and stuck it back in her bag. Wouldn’t do for them to know she’d been using her grocery list as her source of improvised demands. 

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