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Bet the House by Erika
about to marry into the family of Dunn-Right Preservation’s biggest
professional rival, but the historic bungalow of her dreams has just been
bought by the most infuriating (not to mention exceedingly handsome and
notoriously wicked) man to ever hammer a nail in Magnolia Bay, Knox Loveless.
coveted bungalow as its prize, Willa is sure her bad luck might finally be
turning around—until Knox surprises her with a passionate kiss, and suddenly
all bets are off.
two rivals finally surrender to a long-simmering attraction and declare a truce
once and for all?
Sweet Home Carolina by Kim Boykin
the best bed and breakfast in Magnolia Bay. But the key to her success lies in
the hands of the Historic Preservation Society run by the Bloom bitches who are
embarrassed about their father’s connection to the storied house and they have
no intention of validating it with a spot on the society’s registry.
Bay to lick his wounds and has no plans to stay. Until he falls for Darcy.
Things heat up between the two until Trent’s good intentions to help Darcy go
sideways. While Darcy works to save her
house, Trent fights to win her back and keep her in Magnolia Bay for good.
Excerpt from Bet the
House by Erica Marks ©Copyright
uneven front steps, Willamena Dunn made a vow: No matter who stood on the other
side of the cottage’s peeling door, she would not lose her temper.
learn that another buyer had outbid her for the historic home she’d dreamed of
owning since she was old enough to blink. Yes, she’d said unspeakable things
about whoever had dared to steal it out from under her when she’d learned the
awful news the day before. But no, her personal feelings didn’t change her
ensure that the neglected house would finally get the restoration it deserved.
As Staff Historian for Dunn-Right Preservation, her goal was to make sure the
historic architecture of Magnolia Bay, South Carolina, was maintained and
respected. Whoever had bought the nineteenth-century bungalow would have to
understand the responsibility that came with owning a historic home in a
landmarked district. And if they didn’t, Willa would gladly—and
trusted Willa to carry out this introduction alone, too worried that she would
let her passion for preservation override her professionalism. Willa had promised
it would not.
use foul language.
inside and saw the most infuriating man to ever hammer a nail in Magnolia Bay
inspecting the crumbling green tile of the home’s fireplace surround.
you doing here?”
stepped back from the fireplace and flashed Willa the same devilish grin he’d
been flashing her nearly her whole life. At a little over six feet tall,
blessed with hair that resembled poured molasses and eyes to match, he was a
hard man to ignore—though God knew Willa had been trying long enough. “Here to
welcome me to the neighborhood?” he asked.
wiping his palms on his thighs. “I outbid you, fair and square.”
nothing fair or square about the way Loveless Brothers Construction did
business, trying to shoehorn new homes in among the town’s most cherished
historic properties. Their lack of regard for Magnolia Bay’s architectural
history was one of the main reasons Willa’s mother, Lily, had opened the doors
of Dunn-Right Preservation thirty years ago. Now the firm was known up and down
the coast for its soup-to-nuts services to historic home owners. From
contracting repair and restoration professionals, to filling out applications
for tax credits, there was nothing Dunn-Right couldn’t or wouldn’t do to promote
the well-being of Magnolia Bay’s rich architectural history and charm.
arrogant building developers out of business to that list.
sweetheart, and hand me that tape beside you, will you, Meen?”
coined it for her when they were teenagers, claiming it was short for Willamena
but she’d never quite believed him, and she’d certainly never liked it—which,
of course, explained why Knox still used it.
measuring tape on the windowsill. She’d hand him the tape, all right. Hand it
right to the side of his miserable, underhanded skull. From this distance, she
could get some serious speed.
sauntering across the floor to retrieve his tape measure. “You always get that
cute little line right there between your eyebrows when you frown and then you
pull at it all day to smooth it out.” He reached toward Willa as if intending to
plant his finger on the exact point.
know this building is in a protected district and that any alterations you make
will have to be approved by—“
finished for her, returning to the window. “Yes, I know. I’m on the board,
the meetings, I forget.”
sash. “Now that’s not fair. I was there just last week.”
“So you were watching me.”
crossed her arms tightly, hoping to squeeze herself hard enough to slow down
her racing heart. She blamed its rapid beat on the shock of finding Knox
there—and not on his dimpled smile. The fierce topknot she’d secured of her
wavy blond hair now wilted down one side of her head. She gave it an
exasperated push to realign it. “Knox, there are plenty of old houses for sale
in Magnolia Bay. Why did you have to take this one?”
read the measure.
casing. “Since I dared you to break into it when you were fourteen and I was
sixteen, which—if I remember—resulted in you needing five stitches in a very
tender place.” He looked at her thigh; Willa slapped her hand over the spot as
if he could see through her jean shorts to the jagged scar underneath.
Kim Boykin is a women’s fiction
author with a sassy Southern streak. She is the author of The Wisdom of Hair,
Steal Me, Cowboy, and Palmetto Moon (Summer 2014.) While her heart is always in
South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, 3
dogs, and 126 rose bushes.
Erika Marks is a women’s fiction
writer and the author of LITTLE GALE GUMBO, THE MERMAID COLLECTOR, THE GUEST
HOUSE and IT COMES IN WAVES (July, 2014). On the long and winding road to
becoming published, she worked many different jobs, including carpenter, cake
decorator, art director, and illustrator. But if pressed, she might say it was
her brief tenure with a match-making service in Los Angeles after college that
set her on the path to writing love stories (not that there isn’t romance in
frosting or power tools!) A native New Englander, she now makes her home in
Charlotte, NC, with her husband, a native New Orleanian who has taught her to
make a wicked gumbo, and their two little mermaids.