Second Time Around by Melody Carlson

Second Time Around by Melody Carlson

Author:Melody Carlson
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Contemporary Romance;Novels;FIC042040;FIC027020;FIC027270
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Published: 2023-02-27T00:00:00+00:00

The week passed pleasantly and peacefully with shoppers and browsers in the store, as well as a couple of design consultations that seemed to promise work. Already Mallory was making plans to transform the back room into a design studio where she could meet with clients. She wouldn’t equip it like the one she’d had in her old basement, but she would try to have some basic elements on hand.

Mostly she wanted this to be a more laid-back sort of design business. She wanted to romance the home more than she wanted to completely restyle it. She remembered how many clients she’d served in the past. So many of them had unrealistically high expectations. As if they thought the perfect design and decor would be life-altering. Or even save their marriages and family lives.

Usually, the woman was the driving force behind a redo. Mallory didn’t even want to think of how many marriages had been on the brink of disaster. A case of too much money and not enough quality time were the usual culprits . . . a focus on things more than the relationship. As much as Mallory loved a beautiful home, she never wanted to create one that valued possessions more than people. It hadn’t always been easy. She was determined to do things differently in Portside.

By Saturday morning, Mallory had to hold back her disappointment that Grayson hadn’t come by to see what she thought of his mall design. She considered calling him but knew he was busy and tried to practice patience. So when she saw him entering her shop that afternoon, she was more than a little pleased. But then she spotted the stylish woman with him and felt a little green monster stirring within her. The handsome pair didn’t seem to notice Mallory in the back of the store, but she watched as Grayson led the Hollywood-gorgeous blond through her shop.

They took their time, carefully examining every display. What—were they planning to set up house together? Mallory silently scolded herself for her jealous cynicism. She watched Grayson as he led the woman about. He seemed to be enjoying himself. And why not? The stunning woman was impeccably dressed and a serious head turner. Even other customers paused to stare at her. Finally, Grayson and his pretty friend paused by the bedroom display. Grayson showed the woman the framed quote about the meaning of romancing the home. She nodded and beamed at Grayson like he was the next best thing to sliced bread. Mallory had to smile at the thought. Didn’t Grandma Bess used to say that? Suddenly she didn’t feel quite so jealous. But the curiosity was killing her. Who was this mysterious beauty?

To her relief, an elderly woman needed help finding an evergreen woods candle, forcing Mallory to the back room to unearth it. When she came back, Grayson and Ms. Hollywood were gone. Mallory handed the woman the candle. “Is this the right one?”

The woman took a sniff and her eyes lit up.


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