HERE TOMORROW 7 PM PST. LENORA WORTH AUTHOR OF: CLOSING THE DEAL (SEE EXCERPT)
7 PM PST.
Sarina Gabriel recently inherited a Victorian money-pit of a mansion. Logic dictates that she sells it, but still grieving her grandmother’s death, she longs to keep something from her mysterious past. As she explores the house, she discovers some family secrets that just might put the historic mansion on the Hill Country map and give Sarina the roots she’s always wanted. But can she trust Drake Dunmore who promises to help her restore the mansion to its former glory, or will he break her trust and her heart?
Drake Dunmore knows a good deal in houses, and in women. He wants to buy Sarina’s historic mansion and develop the property. Confident, he sets out to charm and persuades the beautiful owner, Sarina, to sell it to him. A funny thing happens. He falls for Sarina and volunteers to help her restore the mansion and discover her heritage. His father and his ex-girlfriend stand in their way. Can he prove to Sarina that he has her best interests at heart?
Leaving the doors open to let in the fresh air, Sarina took in the wide central hallway and the parlor and dining room across from each other, the scent of roses and peaches lingering from the potpourri Nana always kept out on the side tables.
She’d started toward the kitchen when she heard a banging noise coming from the back garden. Hurrying up the hallway toward a matching set of doors leading out to the porch, Sarina opened them and walked out onto the porch that faced Blossom Springs. The beautiful crashing water gurgled over rocks and hills to form a small waterfall in full view of the house. That view had been the setting for hundreds of wedding photos.
Looking out over the yard, she spotted a man standing underneath the huge white gazebo near the water, blooming jasmine vines all around him. He wore jeans and a dark T-shirt, a tool belt nestled against his hips like a gunslinger might wear a holster.
Kayla and Mona would call him hot.
She’d call him trespassing.
“Hey,” she said, marching down the rickety steps and crossing through the old oaks and mushrooming magnolia trees. “What are you doing here?”
The man turned and shot her a dazzling smile. “Waiting for you, apparently.”
Confused because he was not what she’d expected, Sarina hurried toward him, her long floral skirt wrapping around her legs and her high-heeled sandals digging into the soft spring grass. Pushing at her ponytail, she stopped with her hands on her hips. The contractor had obviously arrived early. “I’m sorry. Didn’t we have an appointment for later this afternoon? I wanted to look over the entire house before we got started with renovations. I haven’t decided if I want to sell this as-is or remodel it and try to make an actual profit.”
He glanced around, sheepish now that she’d caught him. “I’m not—”
“You don’t need to apologize. I just need more time to prepare. But you get points for being prompt.” And points for being hot, she had to admit.
Perplexed, he chuckled. “I’m prompt and more…but I’m sorry, who exactly are you?”
Sarina puffed up and lifted her head but tried to remember her manners. “I’m Sarina Gabriel, the new owner of Falling Blossoms Inn. My lawyer mentioned you’d be able to help, but you should have called me before showing up with your hammer.”
Lifting one dark eyebrow, he opened his mouth to speak and then shut it.
Feeling proud for taking matters into her own hands, Sarina decided she wouldn’t let any contractor get the better of her. Although this one hadn’t technically tried to do that.
“You’re right,” he said, turning to leave. “I should have called first.” With a shrug, he lifted his hand into the air. “But to tell you the truth, when I came around the corner and saw this view and this amazing gazebo, I had to give it a closer look.”
She melted just a bit at that admission. This place was amazing. But still reeling from losing her grandmother, she had to be sure. “With a hammer?”
“I got the hammer out of my truck,” he explained. Then he pointed to a loose board hanging from the center of the curved gazebo’s open-beamed ceiling. “I think the weight of these old jasmine vines, and a bad case of rot, caused this to fall apart. I wouldn’t want you to get sued if a bride or her groom were to get hit on the head during their nuptials.”
Well, he did have a point. And he did look adorable.
“Thank you,” she said, feeling sheepish. “But you should have called first.”
“I’ll leave you alone,” he replied, slinging his hammer into the tool belt with practiced ease. “I’ve seen enough for today.”
“Good.” Deciding she wasn’t ready to deal with this yet, she said, “Give me some time to make a list and come back later.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, one hand pushing through his thick brown curls. “Sorry to intrude.”
“Trespass,” she corrected with a slight smile. “You were trespassing.”
“Didn’t see any “Stay Away” signs.”
Sarina gave him her best businesswoman glare. “Okay, I’ll forgive you because I need your help. And you do have a point about the gazebo. It needs to be repaired.”
He grinned, gave her a once-over that left her a little shaky and then turned to stare at the gurgling springs again before pivoting back to give her a pointed glance. “Like I said, an amazing view.” Then he brushed past her and headed to an old pickup truck parked out past the carriage drive.
Sarina watched him get into the truck. He gave her an exaggerated wave, his grin still intact. “Honestly, he never even told me his name.” Well, she’d been so caught off guard by all that hotness and charm, she’d forgotten who she’d actually hired. And why was her heart doing funny dips and leaps while she talked to herself?
When she saw yet another truck pulling up, this one with bold lettering that said Frederick Construction, Sarina did a double-take.
An older man wearing a battered straw cowboy hat got out of the truck. “Howdy, ma’am. Sorry, I’m running late. Where do you want to start?”
Sarina let out a sigh. “Who are you?”
“I’m Ed Frederick, come to help you figure out how to make this fine old lady a beauty again.”
Sarina stared at him and then at the truck turning out onto the main road. “If you’re the contractor, then who was that?”
“I have no idea,” the man said, giving her a puzzled stare.
“And neither do I,” she replied. “But I intend to find out.”
Barnes and Noble:
Working Title (Falling Leaves)
Still in the works. Aren’t you all LUCKY!!!
After designer Mona Perez meets bad boy Ryne Kilpatrick at her friend’s wedding, she tries not to think of the man. But he’s in her head after flirting with her at the rehearsal dinner and reception. Mona had hardened her heart after her parent’s divorce so she’s not ready for someone who seems out of her league. But when Ryne, a contractor who salvages old wood from falling-down cabins and buildings, comes back to Blossom and starts building his dream cabin near her Falling Leaves Boutique, she had to face him head-on. The spark of attraction between them is soon burning brightly. How can she deal with him being right next door?
Ryne has a thing for beautiful Mona Perez. She’s sleek and dresses like a fashion model but she’s way out of his league. Besides, he lost the love of his life in a tragic accident so he can’t deal with opening up the wound inside his heart. Yet he can’t seem to stay away from Mona. Soon the progressive, modern bridal designer begins to open his closed-off heart. But can a man who lives to salvage the past make it work with a woman who wants to charge into the future without him?
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