Delphinium “Fin” Bloom returns to her hometown with one goal: get the mayor—her former flame—to approve a location shoot in Good Hope. But business turns personal when the two become entangled in a fake engagement to comfort his ailing grandmother.
For Jeremy, the romantic façade hits close to his heart. Still reeling from the way things ended between Fin and him all those years ago, he sees the fake engagement as an opportunity to get her out of his system once and for all. But instead of laying the past to rest, Jeremy quickly discovers he can’t envision a life without her.
Now engaged to another man, Fin had long ago given up on the dream of a life with Jeremy. Why is it, then, that her fake engagement feels more genuine than her real one? As the sleepy days of summer come to a close in Good Hope, will Fin and Jeremy give love a second chance? Or will the revelation of a devastating secret put an end to the fairy tale?
“You and Jeremy spent the night bowling.” Marigold’s husky voice was incredulous. Then her blue eyes narrowed. “Are you making that up?”
When Fin stopped by her youngest sister’s salon the next morning, Marigold promptly pulled her into the chair. There weren’t many people she could trust with her hair, but Marigold was one of them.
“What was I supposed to do?” She gave a laugh that sounded hollow. “Have wild, hot sex with him?”
“Sounds better than Wii bowling.” Marigold gave a little snip. “You are engaged.”
“Not to him.” Fin wasn’t sure why Marigold seemed determined to forget that important fact.
The bells over the front door jingled. Marigold spoke without looking up. “I like Jeremy. He’s cute, in that scruffy, surfer-dude kind of way.”
“Happy I meet with your approval.” Humor laced Jeremy’s voice.
Marigold turned, batted her long lashes. “Did you miss the scruffy part?”
“I didn’t think I’d see you until tonight.” Fin struggled to keep her voice steady, even as her heart skipped a beat. It was as if she was sixteen again. “What a nice surprise.”
“Ditto.” He crossed to her, pleasure filling his blue eyes. “I was walking by and saw you through the window.”
“Fin didn’t really need a trim.” Marigold’s gaze turned sharp and assessing. “But you could use one. Why don’t you exchange places with her? I won’t charge you since you’re almost family.”
Fin thought about reminding her sister—again—that her engagement to Jeremy was only temporary, but kept her mouth shut. To her way of thinking, the less said about the arrangement the better. Sometimes in Good Hope, it seemed as if the walls had ears.
“Thanks, but not this time.” Jeremy gave Marigold a wink. “I promise to make an appointment soon.”
Marigold waggled her shears at him. “I better not see you going into Golden Door.”
The upscale salon was Marigold’s fiercest competitor on the peninsula.
Jeremy swiped his fingers across his heart. “Never. We’re family. Almost.”
His teasing smile made Marigold grin as she swept off the cape and motioned to Fin to get up. “Go. Keep your fiancé company.”
Fin remained seated. “I didn’t think you were finished.”
Marigold gave a little shrug. “You only needed some fine-tuning.”
Rising slowly, Fin gazed at the littlest Bloom. At five foot three, Marigold might be the smallest in stature of the sisters, but she was also the feistiest. “Thanks for the trim.”
“Stop by again. Or maybe Cade and I will stop out sometime.”
Fin smiled. “I’d like that.”
She and Marigold had battled wills many times in the past, most recently when Fin had pushed hard to get Marigold to relocate to LA rather than New York. In the end her youngest sister had fallen in love with Cade Rallis and decided to stay in Good Hope, making the decision moot.
The door pushed open.
“Am I invited to this party?” Other than the weapon at his hip, Cade looked very un-sheriff-like in jeans and a henley.
Marigold beamed and rushed to his side, lifting her face for a kiss. “I believe we can make room for one more.”
Cade’s mouth closed over hers. The welcome kiss lasted a little longer than Fin anticipated and had her and Jeremy exchanging smiles.
Although she didn’t know him well, Fin liked Marigold’s husband. Physically, he reminded her of Beck with his dark hair and lean frame. But Cade had a few more muscles and just seemed more . . . physical. Like Beck, he clearly adored his wife.
Fin swallowed the envy that rose to her throat.
With his arm slung around Marigold’s shoulders, the sheriff turned to her and Jeremy. “I’m sorry I couldn’t make the dinner at Ami’s house the other night. The stomach flu was making an early appearance in the sheriff’s department and there was no one who could take my shift.”
“We didn’t even miss you.”
Jeremy’s comment had Fin widening her eyes. Then she heard Cade chuckle and realized these two men were friends.
Cade’s gray eyes turned serious. “I’m happy for you both.”
Jeremy took the hand he extended. “Appreciate the good wishes.”
Fin stilled. Had she slipped into some kind of Twilight Zone? Surely Marigold had told Cade that her and Jeremy’s engagement was a farce? She glanced at her sister, but Marigold was looking up at her husband with such love that Fin felt as if she was intruding on a private moment.
“Will you be able to make the engagement party Saturday night?” Jeremy asked Cade.
“Count on it.” Cade shifted his gaze to Fin. “You’ve got yourself a good man here.”
What else could Fin do but agree?
About the Author
Cindy Kirk started writing after taking a class at a local community college. But her interest in the written word began years earlier when she was in her teens. At sixteen, she wrote in her diary: “I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t be a writer.” When she returned to her first love—writing—she jumped feetfirst into book-length fiction. She loves reading and writing romance because she believes in the power of love and in happily ever after. An incurable romantic and an eternal optimist, Kirk loves seeing her characters grow and learn from their mistakes and, in the process, achieve a happy ending through the power of love. She and her high-school-sweetheart husband live in Nebraska with their two dogs.