“Hon, are you all right? You’ve been in there a while, and I . . . ”
Amy opened the door. “I’m fine.” Her voice wobbled. She would not ask to borrow the phone. There had to be another way.
“No, I don’t think so,” Gracie said. “You come out and have your eggs and bacon.”
Oh crap. What was she supposed to do now?
“I . . . I . . . don’t. I mean I can’t . . . ” She let go of a long, trembling breath. “Daddy locked me out of the house yes- terday and told me I had to marry Grady Carson. Then he took all the money out of my checking account. And I probably should call Grady, but I have to borrow your phone.” The words came out in a terrible, hoarse whisper.
She expected Gracie to yell at her for using the bath- room without having any intention of buying food. Or, worse yet, to take her into the back room and hand her a phone. But instead Gracie draped her arm over Amy’s shoulder. “Come get your breakfast. You can pay me for it later, after you sort things out with your father. And no woman should ever marry someone she has second thoughts about. Shame on your daddy.”
The tense muscles in Amy’s neck and shoulders relaxed as Gracie led her to the counter, where a plate of eggs and bacon awaited. “Eat your breakfast. You’ll feel better.”
Amy did as she was told, downing the eggs and bacon like a starving person. She had no idea where her next meal would come from, so she allowed Gracie to refill her coffee cup several times while the diner filled up with the usual Saturday crowd.
Pippa Custis, the owner of Ewe and Me, the yarn shop in town, came in for a bowl of oatmeal.
Walter Braden came in holding hands with his new wife, the former Poppy Marchand. For a couple of old peo- ple, they were sweet. They ordered two big breakfasts and spent the entire time gazing into each other’s eyes.
Alicia Mulloy, the hygienist at Dr. Dinnen’s office, or- dered three different kinds of donuts. Amy wondered if Dr. Dinnen knew about Alicia’s sugar habit.
And then Dusty McNeil strolled through the door and turned Saturday into Man Candy Monday. Wow. He was like some unholy combination of Thor and Captain Amer- ica all rolled into one gorgeous example of maleness.
Gracie swooped down on him with a cup of coffee and a plate of eggs and bacon, as if she’d been expecting his arri- val. He gave Gracie a smile full of laugh lines and dimples and white teeth. And then he turned toward Amy.
Unlike the other customers, he didn’t pretend she was invisible. Oh no. He gave her a long, assessing gaze that made Amy’s pulse jump. Dusty McNeil had a badass repu- tation as a player who preferred the showgirls and cocktail waitresses who worked up at the casinos in Charles Town, West Virginia.
So why was he ogling her?
She had no idea, but she returned the favor. Who wouldn’t enjoy gazing at that chiseled face or those bright baby blues or all that golden blond hair?
And that’s when a crazy idea popped into her desperate head. Maybe she could invite herself over to his place for some Netflix and chill. Spending a night with him wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice. And it would probably be way more fun (and warmer) than sleeping in the Z4.
Or sleeping with Grady for that matter.
But no. Initiating a booty call would not be the right next step. She’d chosen to sleep in her car instead of falling back on a man. She’d taken a principled position. So she pushed the ridiculous idea of sleeping with Dusty McNeil out of her mind and concentrated on her coffee mug while she tried to figure out what her next step ought to be.
She came up with exactly nothing.
“Y’all seem to be busy up at Eagle Hill Manor these days,” Gracie said to Dusty. And since Amy didn’t have anything better to do, she eavesdropped.
“Yep. Ever since that article in Brides. Willow’s hiring another event planner. Know anyone who might be inter- ested?”
Gracie shook her head. “No, but I’ll keep my eye out.”
Why hadn’t Amy thought of that before?
A job would solve all her problems. And becoming an event planner sounded like the perfect fit except for the fact that she had zero real work experience. But she had been her sorority’s social secretary and had planned all kinds of themed parties and charitable events. She’d even had a hand in helping several of her sorority sisters with their wedding plans.
This was perfect. She’d get a job instead of a husband.
And wouldn’t that blow Daddy’s mind?
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: A SMALL-TOWN BRIDE
Author: Hope Ramsay
Series: Chapel of Love, #2
On Sale: March 28, 2017
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook: $5.99 USD
The second book in USA Today bestselling author Hope Ramsay’s Chapel of Love contemporary romance series about a small-town wedding chapel is perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber, Robyn Carr, and Sherryl Woods.
Amy Lyndon is tired of being the Poor Little Rich Girl of Shenandoah Falls. In her prominent family, she’s the ordinary one – no Ivy League education and no powerful career. But when her father tries to marry her off, she knows it’s finally time to stand up for herself, despite the consequences. Now that she’s cut off from the family fortune, her first challenge is to fight her attraction to her handsome new boss.
When Amy shows up looking for work with his landscaping crew, Dusty McNeil thinks there’s no way such a pampered princess will ever get her hands dirty. But as Amy proves him wrong and gets down to the nitty gritty, Dusty’s admiration turns to like, then lust – and then love. But can a high-society woman like Amy ever fall for a man like him?
BUY THE BOOK HERE
THE CHAPEL OF LOVE SERIES
A FAIRYTALE BRIDE, #.5
A CHRISTMAS BRIDE, #1
A SMALL-TOWN BRIDE, #2
HERE COMES THE BRIDE, #3
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hope Ramsay is a USA Today bestselling author of heartwarming contemporary romances. Her books have won critical acclaim and publishing awards. She is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her Southern heroes. She has two grown children and a couple of demanding lap cats. She lives in Virginia where, when she’s not writing, she’s knitting or playing her forty-year-old Martin guitar.
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