Saying Yes to the Mess by M. Kate Quinn

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  • Sycamore River Series 1

    On Rylee McDermott’s 30th birthday, she doesn’t have much to show for her life. Dumped by her sometimes boyfriend, she’s living back home with her mom and stepfather number three. But when she inherits her grandmother’s bridal shop, she is determined to make it work.

    Darius Wirth, host of TV’s business-rescue program, Wirth More, needs just the right fit for the show’s season one finale, one that will both wow their main sponsor enough to garner a second season and keep him from letting his father down again.
    Rosie’s Bridals fits the criteria, and before long Darius and Rylee begin work on the episode. Sparks fly, despite the no-fraternizing clause in their contract. So it’s hands off.

    But what’s a girl to do when all she wants is her hands on the guy? Can these two wounded hearts find both success and their way to love?

    Rating: Spicy
    Page Count: 242
    Word Count: 58823
    978-1-5092-2264-3 Paperback
    978-1-5092-2265-0 Digital


    Chapter One


    Rylee MacDermott dragged the point of a box cutter along the seam of a storage carton, spread the flaps open, and stared at the shipment of lacy garters. Yup, she’d done it again. Slit the top one right in half as if she’d meant to.

    “Un-freakin’-believable.” She kicked the carton.

    “Honestly, girl, must you talk like that?” Rosie Mandanello, Rylee’s grandmother and owner extraordinaire of Rosie’s Bridals, clucked her tongue. “It’s your birthday. Be happy.”

    No easy task being happy to turn thirty when life was a shit show. Getting evicted from her apartment was a nice way to start her week. She’d had a gut feeling about her roommate from the get-go, so it should have been no surprise when Melanie, a blue-haired girl who had enough studs pierced to her face to throw off a metal detector had pocketed six months’ worth of rent payments and disappeared, taking Rylee’s too-expensive turbo-charged blender with her. She hadn’t used the smoothie-making machine much, but still.

    Now it was back to her mother and stepfather’s house, back to her childhood bedroom where Paula Abdul was forever her girl in a giant poster on the wall. The image had been a teenage strategy of inspiration to stop eating peanut M&M’s at night before bed, a habit she did not break then or now.

    Was it too much to ask for things to fall into place for once? Freddie, her quote, unquote boyfriend, popped into her head. Bless his struggling-musician heart, Freddie had offered to move her into his place, share the expenses and cabinet space, which, of course, meant share life. Be a couple. A solution, yes, but something told her the prospect of moving in with a guy shouldn’t make her feel like waiting for her turn at the dentist’s office.

    She appreciated Freddie and his one-bedroom walk-up across town. Her biggest problem with him, aside from his crazy-musician schedule of always working weekends and their dates usually amounting to her sitting alone at a café table listening to him play acoustic guitar during his coffeehouse gigs, was that she just didn’t feel the zoom.

    Her closest friend, Kit, the best seamstress on the planet and a big reason why Rylee’s working at her grandmother’s bridal shop didn’t seem so lame, always laughed at her reference to the zoom. At the moment Kit was perched at her desk in the workroom of the bridal salon, hand-stitching delicate crystal beading on an illusion neckline of a client’s gown. She smiled as if there was no tedium in the task, it maybe even giving her a little zoom.

    Maybe she was idealistic to buy into the existence of the zoom, the chemical explosion between two people, the whoosh to your insides like an express-elevator ride from lobby to penthouse, that was the divining rod of all things relationship. But Rylee did. Granted, she’d watched a lot of old romantic movies with Rosie over the years, and despite her very good real-life reasons for skepticism, Rylee believed. And the fact was she and Freddie didn’t have zoom.

    Which didn’t help that tonight Freddie was taking her for a birthday dinner to Rob’s Steak House, the most expensive place in Sycamore River, where entrees cost as much as a cell phone payment. And for sure, he was going to bring up her moving in. She just knew it. And a big fat no waited in the back of her mouth like a canker sore oozing for release.

    She strode across the wide-planked floor of the shop, put the box cutter back in its box, and flipped the latch. “You can’t trust me with sharp objects, Rosie,” she said. “I ruined another garter. This time I mean it. Take it out of my paycheck.”


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Saying Yes to the Mess

Saying Yes to the Mess

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