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- Friends to Lovers
- Holiday Romance
- Sworn off Relationships
She’s keeping a secret… He’s determined to uncover it…
In need of inspiration, Paige Turner, New York editor and up-and-coming author, fashions her romance hero after her high school crush—the sexiest, most famous man in her hometown of Deer Creek Falls, Minnesota. When she returns home to run the family bookstore while her grandfather recovers from a fall, she’s surprised to find her books have become popular, threatening the secret she’d like to keep. Unlucky at love and thinking her happily-ever-after is meant only for the characters she writes, Paige comes face to face with her real-life muse.
Pro baseball player Ethan Reynolds is reeling from an injury and a broken heart. Trying to keep busy, Ethan agrees to search for the author behind the pen name who writes the sports-themed romance books the locals love so much. When he runs into Paige Turner, she’s no longer the awkward, shy girl next door he remembers; instead, she’s a stunning blonde bombshell who makes his heart race. But what is it that she’s keeping from him? As much as he’d like to get close enough to find out, the last thing he needs is to fall for a woman with no plans to stay.
Find out who catches who in this unforgettable small-town romance.
Intro into Chapter One
Intro into Chapter One
Turner loved her early morning walks to work. Manhattan came alive with the
scent of fresh-baked bread and ground espresso. As she pressed her shoulder to
the heavy brass door of Cagney and Cahill Publishing, Paige tucked a strand of
her wavy blonde locks behind her ear and hurried to the coffee cart inside.
“Good morning, Charlie.”
the latest book? Is it a real page-turner?” His brows bobbed over their
ongoing joke. Only Charlie and Paige’s best friend, Chloe, could get away with
the punny name jokes; with Charlie, it was their thing.
rolled her eyes. Her mother had thought it amusing to name her Paige, since her
grandpa owned a bookstore. A bookstore in the small town her mother couldn’t
wait to flee from. The place that helped shape Paige’s love for words.
your pops doing?” Charlie poured milk into a stainless-steel pitcher and placed
it under the steamer.
raised her voice over the hiss of the steaming milk. “I talked to him this
morning. He’s out of the hospital and having a hard time getting around. I have
a few things to finish up at the office today, and then my flight leaves
tonight. He’s going to need someone to run the bookstore while he recovers.”
a good kid.” Charlie poured the steamed milk into a cup. “The land of 10,000
lakes, that’s gotta be somethin’ to see.”
bet.” He topped off her drink with an ample serving of whipped cream and handed
it to her. “Here you go, a tall double-dark mocha with a splash of mint for my
inhaled the rich scent, took a sip, and sighed. So good.
best coffee in the city, Charlie. Oh, I almost forgot.” Paige fiddled with the
clasp of the worn brown leather satchel stretched across her chest and flipped
the flap open. She reached inside, pulled out a book, and handed it to Charlie.
“This is for Henrietta. I guarantee she’ll love it. L.C. Brooks is an
up-and-coming author I highly recommend. It’s the first title in a series. The
third book hits the shelves in July.”
first to be exact, and every time she thought of the deadline looming over her,
she had to fight off a panic attack. Paige had counted on using her
well-deserved vacation time to finish the book, but family came first, and it
was time to return home. Besides, she hadn’t visited in years and she missed her
grandpa. She wasn’t like her mother, who couldn’t wait to leave the small town
she grew up in for the big city, but the big cities were where the jobs were.
Paige breathed deep and tried to calm her mind.
accepted the book and ran his hand over the cover. She loved people who still
appreciated paperbacks: the smooth touch, the inky smell . . .
physical books were the lifeblood of her grandfather’s business. Charlie
studied the cover then quickly flipped it over and skimmed the back.
Me. It’s about baseball? She’s gonna love it. Heck, maybe I’ll even like
it,” he said with a wink.
might. Give it a try.” Paige knew Charlie’s wife loved both baseball and
romance. He always showed Paige the latest selfies taken at Yankee Stadium.
They talked about baseball often, she a Boston fan, he a die-hard Yankees fan. Every
day, he wore the same black baseball cap turned backward over his short-cropped
dropped a few bills into the glass tip jar. “Alright Charlie, have a good one.
I’ll see you in July.”
nodded. “You bet. Enjoy.”
stepped out of the elevator on the fourth floor and made her way through the
maze of cubicles. She liked the quiet time before most of her coworkers started
set her bag and coffee on her desk. She couldn’t help the snort of humor that slipped
out as she picked up a crocheted Babe the Blue Ox that had been left for her.
morning, sunshine.” Henry, her cubemate, smiled at her over the padded half-wall.
held up Babe. “This is great, Henry. Thank you, I love it.”
had extra yarn. And I wore this for you.” He adjusted his buffalo-plaid bow tie.
moved her fingers over the soft yarn of the ox while a smile tugged at her lips
over Paul Bunyan’s famous baby-blue sidekick. It was both a silly and
thoughtful reminder of home. “How very lumberjack of you.”
with his stylish blond hair and boyish good looks, would be adorable in any bow
tie. Before he and Michael had become a couple, he had dated more cute guys
than Paige had.
thought it fitting since you’re leaving me for two months to go live in the
land of big, burly men in checkered shirts.”
be back in New York for the gala. If you run into any problems, don’t hesitate
to call me.”
give the gala another thought. Michael has everything under control.”
her cubicle felt as if it were closing in on her like a padded cell. But
because of Henry and his good-natured fun, she wasn’t in a straitjacket yet.
She needed this vacation, even if it was a working one.
do you fly the coop?”
must be excited Allen’s tour brings him to Minneapolis. Will he be spending
time in Deer Creek Falls with you?”
She and Allen were done spending time together. Paige turned on her computer. “I
have no desire to see him anytime soon.”
me guess. You told him you published your own books and he insisted he couldn’t
be with anyone who wasn’t traditionally published.”
lowered her voice as more of her colleagues filed into the office. “No. I didn’t
tell him and he didn’t break up with me. I ended it.”
glanced around the room and waved to a newcomer. “Good. I didn’t like him much
I couldn’t tell.”
an egotistical ass. Good riddance. Tell me this: if Margo decides to sign you,
will you tell Allen you’re a”—Henry made air quotes—“published author?”
doesn’t matter much anymore, now does it?”
glanced at the glass-enclosed office of the acquisitions editor.
should be here soon,” Henry said. “Any word yet on your manuscript?”
I hope to catch her before she runs off to a meeting.”
sat back down, disappearing behind the wall.
placed Babe by her mouse pad and restacked her Post-it notes. She set her out-of-office
reply and dusted off her desk, waiting for Margo to arrive.
Henry popped back up, his wide-eyed expression setting off her alarm bells. “Allen
just walked in the door.”
Paige panicked, grabbed her
briefcase off her desk, crouched low, and crawled around the cubicle wall and
under Henry’s desk.
Yes, she was a coward. She’d broken
up with him by text message. If she had written him a letter, he would have
found fault in her writing and corrected the damn thing.
“He really is ruggedly handsome,”
Henry observed. “Too bad he’s such a jerk . . . Paige? Where did
Paige yanked at Henry’s pant leg
and he let out a high-pitched yelp. Shit. She shouldn’t have done that. He
always startled easily.
Henry peered under his desk. “What
are you doing under there?”
She held a finger to her lips.