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A Little Secret About Love

A Little Secret About Love

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When Dina moves to the small town of Silver Ridge, she sets up some new rules for herself since the old ones obviously hadn’t worked and her dating life is in shambles. 

First rule: Try a one-night stand. The only issue is that she didn't expect to fall for her best friend’s brother-in-law and make him her first one-night stand. The problem is that after trying out the first rule, she never gets to the second rule, which is don’t fall for the target.

Main Tropes

  • Best Friend's brother-in-law
  • Undercover Love
  • Happily Ever After


Emilia Hudson has never been one to consider arranged marriages, especially if it meant her fifty-five year old parents would have a say, but with her dismal love life, she’s almost reconsidering.

After her latest dating disaster, Emilia writes a simple blog post that goes viral. Worse yet, people start considering her a relationship expert, and all she feels like is a fraud.

As the emails and speaking engagements start rolling in, she realizes her only option is to take the bull by the horns and run with the unexpected fame.

What she doesn’t want to do is talk about the real reason why she won’t ever fall in love again.

However, when she gets an offer she can’t refuse from a major publisher, that’s all they want her to write about, but It isn’t until she meets the man behind the proposal that she realizes why…

Intro to Chapter One

Dina Romano stared at the tiny storefront of her brand new shop. She’d dreamed of this moment for years but to actually see the white twinkling lights dangling from the windows, the wedding gowns clothing the mannequins, and tulle daintily wrapping the columns made her life seem nearly complete. In fact, it wasn’t only pure happiness that pumped through her veins. It was pride.
For years she’d been told she’d never make a living designing and sewing wedding dresses, but she had, and this was where her efforts had led her, to a quaint little mountain town called Silver Ridge where Autumn Tucker, her best friend of a million years, had recently moved and Dina couldn’t help but follow.
There was something about Silver Ridge that had seemed magical whenever she’d visited, and she needed the peace and quiet. Living in Los Angeles for so many years made her crave something that Silver Ridge offered, but she wasn’t even quite sure what that was.
Well, maybe part of the reason was the fact that she didn’t have four ex-fiancés lurking around this town like she did in Los Angeles. Or was it five?
A double honk startled Dina, and she turned to see the local delivery driver for the hardware store pulling up behind her. She hopped away from the curb onto the sidewalk and waved. She’d recently ordered a few things to help complete her worktable and loved that they had free delivery since her two-door Ford hatchback wasn’t exactly a practical construction vehicle.
Or snow car for that matter.
“Hey, Larry.” She smiled in his direction as he opened the door.
The older man with greying hair hopped out of his truck and whistled as he stared at Dina’s store.
“This is a real gem, Dina. People are going to flock here from states away.”
Dina’s cheeks warmed, and she couldn’t help but smile. “I really hope so.”
The truth was that over ninety percent of her orders were online so if it took a little bit of time to get established with a physical retail location that would be okay, but she certainly did hope to attract a new clientele.
“Where do you want your supplies?” Larry asked, unstrapping some of the lumber from the truck. “Workroom?”
“Yup. That would be perfect.” A little flutter of excitement bounced around Dina’s belly as she thought about the finishing touches to her store. She was officially opening her retail store in three days, but her online business never stopped. In fact, she had an order for two bridesmaid dresses that she needed to finish by tomorrow night.
Larry wheeled her supplies into the store, and she glanced longingly at the coffee shop across the street. One more latte wouldn’t hurt anything. It would only help.
“Anything else you need?” Larry asked, already wheeling his empty cart back onto the sidewalk.
“I think I’m finally set. Unless, you know of some people who want to help me unpack at home.” Dina laughed but quickly realized Larry had taken her joke seriously as he searched his memory to help. “I’m only kidding. I’m good. This is perfect. One step at a time.”
“You take care,” Larry said, waving before he climbed back in his truck. “Don’t overwork yourself.”
Dina hid a little smile and let out a long, slow breath as his words trickled over her. There was no such thing as a business owner who wasn’t overworked, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. She loved being in control and watching her dreams come to life, not someone else’s.
She glanced at the box in her red hatchback and decided she might as well get the overflowing box of pink satin inside and get back to work. The bride who belonged to these bridesmaid dresses had gone from picking pretty periwinkle blue to splashy magenta to bright yellow and then somehow landed on a beautiful pale pink.
It wasn’t too unusual for a bride to change her mind a few times, but usually they did it before the fabric had been purchased, but not this bride. She only hoped that she didn’t get one last phone call before she sent out the dresses.
Dina opened up her hatchback and began tugging the huge box of satin out from the trunk when her heel caught on the back of the curb.
She fell backward, falling to the concrete with a thud as the box of pink material spilled everywhere. As she stared completely dazed at the ripples of pink all around, a dog’s nose began incessantly sniffing her.
“Oscar, get back here.”
Dina immediately recognized the man’s voice and glanced over to see Joel North, her best friend’s fiancé, staring at her sprawled in the middle of the shiny pink satin.
“Are you okay?” Joel asked, horror darting through his gaze. “That was a nasty fall.”
“Just another day.” Dina laughed as embarrassment threaded through her veins. “But stay where you are. I can’t let anything happen to this fabric.”
“So, that giant paw print on the corner might be a bad thing?” Joel grimaced as he leaned down to pet his golden retriever-chow mix who looked completely amused that Dina was at his eye level.
Dina’s stomach knotted as she saw the giant brown stain embedded in the pale pink material. As long as no other fancy footwork appeared on the fabric, she could just cut the corner off. It wasn’t great but neither was staying put on the sidewalk for the entire town to see.
“Do you think anyone saw?” Dina asked. Her elbow was aching, and her palms stung, but her ego was nearly intact.
“Nah. I mean…” Joel glanced across the street at the congregating crowd by the café. “Well, maybe a few people.”
She followed his gaze and groaned before waving to them all that she was fine.
So much for her ego in a town this small.
Just when she thought it couldn’t get any worse, she saw Joel’s brother, Sam, jogging across the street with his grandmother hurrying behind him.
“Are you okay?” Sam asked, slowing down next to his brother as she stood up. “I didn’t know a body could bend like that.” A hint of laughter laced through his words, and she couldn’t help but smile.
Sam North’s piercing blue eyes landed on Dina, and she nearly fell over again. She’d done an amazing job keeping him at an arm’s length away since she’d met him at his brother’s engagement party, but he just kept popping up at all the wrong times.
Which wasn’t good. After her last failed engagement, she’d promised herself no relationships, but with Sam North, all she could think about was—
“Dina?” he asked again, a sexy smile slowly spreading across his full lips, which she also shouldn’t be noticing. “You okay?” He took a step forward, and she immediately took one back.
“Yeah. Totally fine. No big deal.” She shook her head and wiped her hands along her jeans, feeling the sting of friction between skin and fabric. “I just thought my afternoon wasn’t exciting enough without some acrobatics thrown in.”
His smile only widened, and she felt an uptick with her pulse as her gaze lowered to the puddle of pink surrounding them.
Besides meeting Sam briefly at the party, she’d spotted him around town a few times, and every single time, she ran in the opposite direction. Not because she was scared of him, but because she was scared of her inability to resist him.
And as he stood less than a foot away, the same set of sparks sizzled into her, making her skin hot and her mind useless, but she knew it made absolutely no sense.
Granted, all the North brothers were sensational, and he happened to be the best-looking one of the bunch, but he was just a man, a mere mortal. She shouldn’t lose her marbles over being in his presence.
But as his eyes locked on hers, another flutter erupted and her cheeks warmed. She was definitely a weakling when it came to falling for attractive men.
And there was no doubt about it, all of the North men looked like they’d stepped out of the pages of some outdoor magazine, and Sam looked like he could save them all in his red plaid shirt tugging across his chest, a thigh-hugging pair of jeans, and a pair of nicely worn leather work boots.
Ugh. He was hard not to fall for.
“Are you okay?” Grandma Martha asked, finally catching up to her grandson. “I saw the tumble from inside. I was sure you smacked your head.”
The older woman’s bright blue eyes twinkled with a bit of mischief and a whole lot of worry. She’d just opened up a second bakery across the street that Dina had recently become addicted to.
“I lucked out. I have plenty of cushioning and bounced back perfectly.” Dina rubbed her behind, causing her palms to sting again and Grandma Martha chuckled.
“You sure? How about I bring over a slice of pecan pie? That always makes my grandsons feel better.” She squeezed Dina’s arm and smiled.
“No, really. I’m fine. I don’t want to be any trouble,” Dina assured her, but Grandma Martha was already on her way back across the street to her sandwich shop.
Sam traded a quick glance with his brother as Dina’s eyes dipped to the sea of pink surrounding them. She didn’t really want to bend over and start sorting and rolling in front of them, but she had no choice. They weren’t budging from the sidewalk, and she needed to get the material off the ground and inside to work on.
“Let me help you,” Sam said, picking up the corner where Oscar made his mark.
“I’ve got it,” she assured him, kneeling down, but he was already by her side following her lead as Joel began to speak.
“I actually came by to invite you to dinner. Autumn is positive you’re working too hard and need a home-cooked meal. But something tells me this pink fabric has something to do with your evening plans.”
“You’ve got that right.” Dina began rolling up the fabric. “Or I’ll have a very angry bride.”
Joel scratched his jaw and glanced at his brother. “That’s not gonna fly with Autumn.”
Dina laughed and rolled her eyes as she took the last of the fabric from Sam and placed it back into the box. That didn’t surprise her about her best friend. Once Autumn got something in her head, she wouldn’t let go until the mission was accomplished.
“So since she knew you’d already have an excuse for dinner, she made me promise that you’d meet us up at the lodge after you’re done, say ten for a late happy hour?” He scratched Oscar’s ear and grinned. “You know there’s no way out, right?”
Dina chuckled and nodded, the box digging into her hip. “Yeah. I pretty much gathered that. I’ll see you two at the lodge at ten.”
Sam cleared his throat and Dina’s gaze flashed to his. “I think I might have to join you. I can’t miss out on a happy hour with my brother.”
Dina froze in place and felt the heat overtake her body as Sam took the box away from her, their fingers barely touching as another current of electricity ran through her.
“If you don’t mind,” he added, glancing at his brother, who seemed to be getting a kick out of the situation unfolding.
“Why would I? It’s not like I’ve been avoiding you or anything.” She bit down on her lower lip the moment the words slipped out.
“That’s good because I’d almost be willing to bet you have.” Sam started toward her store, and she knew she should be right behind him, but her legs felt like wet noodles.
“That okay with you?” Joel asked in a lowered voice.
The sparkle in his eyes gave it all away. This had been her best friend’s plan all along, and she knew there was nothing she could do about it.

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