A CHARMED LITTLE LIE
by Sharla Lovelace
Pub date: 4/18/2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Charmed, Texas, is everything the name implies—quaint, comfortable, and as small-town friendly as they come. And when it comes to romance, there’s no place quite as enchanting . . .
Lanie Barrett didn’t mean to lie. Spinning a story of a joyous marriage to make a dying woman happy is forgivable, isn’t it? Lanie thinks so, especially since her beloved Aunt Ruby would have been heartbroken to know the truth of her niece’s sadly loveless, short-of-sparkling existence. Trouble is, according to the will, Ruby didn’t quite buy Lanie’s tale. And to inherit the only house Lanie ever really considered a home, she’ll have to bring her “husband” back to Charmed for three whole months—or watch Aunt Ruby’s cozy nest go to her weasel cousin, who will sell it to a condo developer.
Nick McKane is out of work, out of luck, and the spitting image of the man Lanie described. He needs money for his daughter’s art school tuition, and Lanie needs a convenient spouse. It’s a match made . . . well, not quite in heaven, but for a temporary arrangement, it couldn’t be better. Except the longer Lanie and Nick spend as husband and wife, the more the connection between them begins to seem real. Maybe this modern fairy tale really could come true . . .
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In retrospect, I should have known the day was off. From the wee hours of the morning when I awoke to find Ralph—my neighbor’s ninety-pound Rottweiler—in bed with me and hiking his leg, to waking up the second time on my crappy uncomfortable couch with a hitch in my hip. Then the coffeemaker mishap and realizing I was out of toothpaste. Pretty much, all the markers were there. Aunt Ruby would have thumped me in the head and asked me where my Barrett intuition was.
But I never had her kind of intuition.
And Aunt Ruby wasn’t around to thump me. Not anymore. Not even long distance.
“Ow! Shit!” I yelped as my phone rang, making me sling pancake batter across the kitchen as I burned my finger on the griddle.
I’m coordinated like that.
Cursing my way to the phone, I hit speaker when I saw the name of said neighbor.
“How’s my sweet boy?” she crooned.
I glared at Ralph. “He’s got bladder denial,” I said. “Possibly separation anxiety. Mommy issues.”
“Uh-oh, why?” she asked.
“He marked three pieces of furniture, and me,” I said, hearing her gasp. “While I was in the bed. With him.”
“Ralph was in the bed?” Tilly asked.
“That was the part that caught your attention?”
“Well, I just don’t allow him up there,” she said.
“It wasn’t by invitation,” I said. “I woke up to him staring down at me and then he let it rip.”
I liked my neighbor, Tilly. She was from two apartments down, was sweet, kinda goofy, and was always making new desserts she liked to try out on me. So when she suddenly had to bail for some family emergency with her mom and couldn’t take her dog, I decided to take a page from her book and be a giver. Offer to dog-sit Ralph while she was gone for a few days.
“Oh wow, I’m so sorry, Lanie,” she said.
“Not a problem,” I lied. I’m not really cut out to be a giver. “We’re bonding.”
Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs. Her novels include The Reason Is You, Before and Ever Since, Just One Day, Don’t Let Go, and Stay with Me.
Sharla writes modern day, quirky love stories with dysfunctional families, love problems, and snarky humor. Because who doesn’t love a love story? Especially one with strong women and drama and baggage and hot men that can’t get enough of them.…