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The Friendship Pact Ebook

The Friendship Pact Ebook

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The Friendship Pact: A Small-Town Romance (Book 4)

Main Tropes

  • Friends to Lovers
  • Secret Identity
  • Return to Hometown


Sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

Kate Davis is ready for a fresh start, and moving to the small lake town of Deer Creek Falls to open a coffee shop is the perfect opportunity. When the sexy sheriff comes to her rescue at the side of the road, she’s not immune to his charms, but she’s determined to look and not touch. To keep from risking her heart again, she’s sticking to the advice she read in a magazine and living by the “Ten Rules for Keeping a Guy in the Friend Zone.” Unfortunately, rules can be hard to follow.

Newly elected sheriff Nick Reid takes the responsibilities of his role seriously. He doesn’t need any distractions, particularly not of the romantic kind, but the town’s newest resident, dark-haired beauty Kate Davis, makes him second-guess himself. To his relief, Kate’s not interested in getting involved either, and he’s happy to go along with her friendship pact. But can he stay in the friend zone when his heart tells him he wants more?

Find out what happens when the rules no longer apply.

Intro into Chapter One

Chapter 1


Kate Davis pulled to the curb outside her aunt’s bright blue bungalow in St. Paul,
Minnesota. The neighbor kids wore sweatshirts and boots and tossed a football
on the lightly snow-covered ground. Kate stepped out of her vehicle into the bright
sunshine and slight breeze. She tucked her dark hair behind her ear and grabbed
her overnight bag and the pet carrier containing her two felines.

The homes in this older
neighborhood were well taken care of, the landscaping impeccable. A large
harvest wreath adorned the front door, and sturdy clay pots holding yellow and
orange mums flanked the front stoop.

Helen, her mom’s younger sister by
four years, rushed down the front steps, her arms flung wide. “Happy

Kate stepped into her warm embrace.
At only five foot five, she towered over her aunt’s petite frame. “Happy
Thanksgiving,” she responded. Since she’d seen her, Aunt Helen’s hair had
turned white, but she still resembled Kate’s mom, who insisted on dying her
hair blond. The sisters both stayed fit and looked ten years younger than they

“I’m so glad you decided to spend the
holiday with me. Now, let me look at you.” Her aunt stepped back, scanning her
from head to toe. “You’ve lost weight. You look fabulous.”

“Thank you, I feel good.”

Rubbing her hands together, Helen
said, “Let’s get you all inside. What can I grab?”

Kate handed her the overnight bag,
and Helen bent down and peered into the pet carrier and cooed, “Hello,
sweeties. Let’s get you two out of the cold.”

Thankful her aunt loved cats, Kate
followed her into the house and glanced around the entry. Her aunt and uncle had
chosen not to have children, so framed photo collages of Kate growing up
adorned the walls. Warm, salty, and fruity scents filled the air.

“Dinner smells wonderful,” Kate

“Let’s get you settled, and then we’ll

With full stomachs after a fabulous
Thanksgiving dinner, they packaged the leftovers and washed the dishes. They
refilled their wineglasses and relaxed on the platinum-colored couch.

Aunt Helen handed her a crocheted
throw blanket. “There’s snow forecasted overnight. You may want to hold off
leaving until after breakfast.”

Kate rested her head against the
cushion, snuggling deep under the warm blanket. “I saw that too. I’m excited to
see my new place but I’ll wait. The roads should be fine if the snow wraps up
this evening.”

She glanced around the room and
breathed in the hearty smell she remembered from her childhood of wood burning
in the fireplace. The fire crackled and sparked, adding to the warmth of the
room. Nyla and Lucy, Kate’s felines, slept in their bed close to the fire.

“Catch me up, Kate. How are you really
doing after your breakup?” Helen asked.

Kate knew they’d get around to Jacques
eventually. She’d been pretty tight-lipped about their breakup because the
minute her seven-year relationship was over, her mother tried to set her up
with a friend’s newly divorced son.

“You know, I’m doing well . . . Better now that I have a plan for
my life. One that doesn’t include a man.” Sitting straighter, Kate finished her
pinot grigio and placed the empty glass on the table. “When Jacques secured a
reservation at one of the most renowned restaurants in Chicago, and after being
together for seven years, I thought he was going to propose.” She stared into
her wineglass and shrugged. “Instead, it was more of a celebratory dinner for

Helen quirked a brow. “How so?”

“He was offered a head chef
position in France. Foolishly, I thought I’d join him. Instead, he said he’d
miss me.”

Helen’s eyes widened in shock. “What
did you do?”

“I stood, wished him well, and
left. Then I cried for two days straight.”

“Oh, honey, I’m sorry. That must
have been heartbreaking. Nobody deserves such a brush-off, especially when you
were together for so long.”

Helen finger-combed her hair to
drape over one shoulder. A telltale sign Kate’s mother also used before saying
something that might not be received well.

“I’m a big believer in things
happening for a reason, and although that may seem cliché and nobody is ready
to hear it right after a breakup, I’m happy you didn’t waste a minute longer
with him.” Helen looked down at her glass and swirled the remaining liquid. “Besides,
I never did like him.”

“You didn’t? Why?”

“Oh, he was an excellent chef, I’ll
give him that, but he never put you first. You need someone who will cherish
you, who wants to grow old with you . . . a soul mate.”

Kate rested back against the
cushion. “I don’t know if I believe everyone has a soul mate out there waiting
for them.”

Helen reached forward and patted
her leg. “I found mine, and you’ll find yours too. I know it.”

“Well, he’ll need to find me
because I’m not looking. Even if I was, I’m not ready for another relationship.
I’m focusing on me and what I want.”

“And you should. You’ve got to
create the new you and focus on starting your business.”

Kate always loved chatting with her
aunt. She was a strong, independent woman who enjoyed life to the fullest, even
after her husband, Kate’s Uncle Morris, passed.

“I’m so proud of you. I can’t wait
to visit Deer Creek Falls. It sounds absolutely wonderful.”

Kate studied her empty wineglass
and sighed.

“I know that look. What’s worrying
you?” Aunt Helen asked.

“What doesn’t. Fear of failure.
Losing my life’s savings. Going into debt and never being able to recover if
the coffee shop closes after the first year.” Kate fiddled with the soft
blanket. “I’m well aware twenty percent of new businesses fail within the first
twelve months.”

“Honey, there are no guarantees in
life, but I know you. Once you commit to something, you’re all in, and that
determination makes you successful in everything you set your mind to.”

“Except relationships. I haven’t
had much luck in that department,” Kate pity-mumbled.

Helen tipped her head questioningly.
“Or maybe you were too determined to make a broken relationship work? Don’t
compare the two.”

Taking another sip of her wine, her
aunt continued. “If I remember right, wasn’t it your goal to create wedding cakes
for A-list clientele after finishing culinary school? That was ambitious,
seeing as you had just graduated and hadn’t yet found a job. But you did it.
You have always had a healthy intrinsic motivation. I have every bridal
magazine featuring your wedding cakes.”

Kate nodded. “You’re right.” She set
her empty glass on the table. “Do you think I’m wrong to give all that up and
start a coffee shop in a small northern Minnesota town where the tourist season
is only six months long?”

Helen grasped her hand. “I think the
breakup sent you into a tailspin. But you also don’t make irrational decisions.”

“But . . .” Kate
wanted to tell her aunt that buying the church was a spur-of-the-moment
decision, except her aunt was on a roll, so she let her continue.

“Don’t you think the town of Deer
Creek Falls could use a pastry chef and a coffee shop? The last time we talked,
you said they didn’t have either.”

“True. They don’t, and they don’t
have anywhere that offers healthy-alternative desserts. I plan to remedy that.”

Helen squeezed her hand. “There you
go! You’ll be successful, I know it.”

Helen stood. “Come on, you need
your rest. You have another big day ahead.”

Success or failure, only time would

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