After unsuccessful writing stints on both coasts, Paul Howell returns home to New Hope. He's shocked to discover that his sister has sold the family business to a beautiful woman. With the encouragement of his neighbors, he reluctantly agrees to write Dani's next musical.
Working together, they discover more similarities than differences and grow close. When Dani's former best friend and America's sweetheart, Kara Kensington arrives, their blossoming relationship is threatened in more ways than one.
“Seems fair, very Jill-like.” He nodded, and the corner of his mouth lifted.
“Very.” She rubbed her upper arms, smoothing down the tiny hairs. His contagious smile warmed her from the inside out. “I’m still getting used to her deference.”
“Me, too.” He chuckled.
His low laughter tugged at the tight coil wrapped like a belt around her fluttering stomach. She caught her lower lip with her teeth and stumbled, her shoe catching in a crack on the pavement. Stretching her arms forward, she brushed his bicep with a hand.
Wrapping an arm around her waist, he lifted her against his body.
She focused on his dilated pupils, her chest rapidly rising with shallow breaths. “Sorry,” she murmured. “Thank you. I’m tossing these shoes.”
He lowered her to the sidewalk. “What a shame.”
Staring at the ground, she stepped away from his heat. His actions were merely the polite behavior of a concerned friend and certainly nothing to warrant her jumping pulse. She spotted the square cut in half by a deep, jagged crack. She frowned and craned her neck to study the storefront. The brick building had gaps in the mortar and chipped paint on the window frames. She couldn’t march inside and complain to the owner. More than likely, a bank possessed the deed.
On second glance, she studied the detailed masonry. The bricks over the door and front window formed a diamond pattern. At the top, dental molding created a detailed border under the roofline. Once upon a time, someone loved and cared about the building. Warmth flooded her body, and she tapped her tingling fingers against her thighs. With the success of her business, she could spur more businesses to thrive downtown. If she focused, she could do some good.