Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂
Series: The Carolina Girls #1
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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"A dynamic start to a series with a refreshingly original premise." —Kirkus Reviews on The Magnolia Sisters
She always followed the path of least resistance…until it leads her to a small town where she can follow her dreams.
When Emma Cantrell’s marriage imploded, she learned a fast and painful lesson about trusting her heart. Then, on a visit to Magnolia, North Carolina, to see her brother, an elegant, if dilapidated, mansion for sale presents the opportunity to start over. Risking everything on her dream of opening the Wildflower Inn, Emma buys the house…just as the storm of the century hits, severely damaging the structure. But a chance meeting with Holly, a bride-to-be in desperate need of a new venue, gives her hope…and the name of a contractor who’ll work fast and cheap, allowing Emma to repair the inn in time to host the wedding and save her investment.
A furniture builder who hasn’t picked up a tool in the five years since his wife died, Cameron Mitchell has no intention of agreeing to help this beautiful—and, he’d guess, entitled—woman insisting that he fix her inn. Until he learns that Emma was sent by Holly, the little sister of his late wife. Grudgingly, Cameron agrees to do the work, with one condition: that he be left completely alone. But the more time they spend together, the more Emma touches a part of his heart he was sure died long ago, forcing him to try making peace with his past.
The Carolina Girls
Excerpted from Wildflower Season, by Michelle Major. Harlequin, 2021. Reprinted with permission.
She’d gone to the dock south of town as Holly instructed, only to be told Cam was at home today. The guys that gave her directions to his property appeared both curious and amused a woman was seeking him out. But they’d been nice enough to her face—polite in a down-home kind of way—even with the comments about Cam not having friends or entertaining ladies at his home.
Emma could see why as she approached the house. It wasn’t run-down per se, and the front yard was relatively tidy compared to the chaos on the way in. But there was something unapproachable about the cabin. A weighty emptiness hung in the already thick, sultry air.
If only one of the contractors she’d contacted earlier had returned her call. Maybe she should turn around and try them again. Or insist Holly come with her to talk to Camden.
“Can you read?”
She stopped in her tracks at the question that carried to her from the cabin’s front door, spoken in a deep, almost disbelieving tone.
“Yes, I can read.” She plastered a smile on her face and took another step forward. “Are you—”
“Then you need to turn right around, ma’am. Because the signs posted are pretty clear to someone claiming to be literate.”
“I’m not looking for trouble.” She lifted her sunglasses to the top of her head, held a hand over her eyes and squinted up at the porch, but all she could make out was the silhouette of a man in the door.
He chuckled, a rusty sound that reverberated through her like the vibration of a tuning fork. “Somehow I don’t believe you.”
The screen door squeaked open. Emma heard a booming bark and caught a streak of tan fur and then she was on her backside in the dirt with at least a hundred pounds of damp dog circling her in glee.
Emma liked dogs, all animals, really. She’d never actually owned one, but when she ran her family’s charitable foundation they’d funded various local shelters and animal rescue organizations.
The dog seemed overenthusiastic but not threatening. “Good boy,” she said, peering under his belly to confirm he was indeed a boy. She got to her feet as he ran back to the house with her sunglasses in his mouth.
Sunglasses that had cost her over three hundred dollars and that she couldn’t afford to replace on her current salary of less than nothing. She wasn’t about to explain that to the man who stared down at her from the top step.
Her breath hissed out like she’d just taken a blow to the stomach. Holly had failed to mention that her former brother-in-law was hot as all get-out, in a Paul Bunyan sort of way. Rugged had never been Emma’s type. Her ex-husband was handsome enough, polished and a little nerdy. But Cam Arlinghaus was every lumberjack fantasy Emma had never had come to life. He had dark, wavy hair and a shadow of stubble covering his angular jaw. It was nearly ninety degrees so there was no flannel to be seen, but he wore the low-slung cargo shorts and faded T-shirt like he was a cover model for a deep-sea fishing guide magazine.
“You ignored the No Trespassing and the Beware of Dog signs,” he said, his voice flat. “Those signs are there for a reason.”
She nodded, her flummoxed mind trying hard to put together a coherent thought in the face of all that strapping masculinity. It rolled off him in waves and felled Emma like a riptide. Turn around, her sense of self-preservation screamed. Run as fast as you can.
The Carolina Girls
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