As Mark stepped towards the counter, his brain whirled with surprise. Why he was surprised he wasn’t sure. He’d walked into Dahlia’s Delights, so it made sense to see Dahlia in her store. Maybe the surprise was his body’s reaction to her. His heart double-tapped, and his blood coursed quickly through his veins.
She’d grown up.
The little girl he’d teased in his youth was gone, and an attractive woman stood in her place. There was no denying the beauty before him was Dahlia. Her auburn hair was piled in a messy bun atop her head. A few stray wisps had slipped out of place and framed her creamy, pale skin. And those emerald eyes robbed him of rational thought.
Licking her lips, she tried to get moisture back into her mouth so she could speak. “Mark Lang?” she managed. “Wow, it’s been forever.” And just like that, her crush was back. Her pulse picked up speed, nerves danced a staccato in her belly, and a flash of heat swept over her.
His lips slid into a smile as he stepped up to the counter. “Dahlia Collins.”
The smooth, drawn-out sound of her name falling from his lips sent a wave of goose bumps over her. She prayed that he’d say something else, just so she could revel in the deep timbre of his voice.
“I heard you were back,” he continued. “I’d ask what you’ve been up to, but it’s obvious that you’re following in your parent’s footsteps.”
“Yes, yes,” she tilted her head in reply and did her best to control her racing heart. “The oven mitt didn’t fall far from the oven.” God, had she literally said that?
He breathed out a laugh and appreciated the pink flush that washed over her face. “I guess not. You’re working for your parents.”
“No,” she stated adamantly. “I bought the business. It’s mine now.” Hers to flourish or destroy. And why it mattered to her that he knew she owned it she didn’t know.
That’s not true. She did know. She wasn’t an awkward teen anymore. She wanted him to see her as a successful business woman. Someone with confidence and abilities that set her apart from the rest of her peers.
Karen Tjebben lives in central North Carolina with her wonderful husband, twin daughters, two hamsters, four guinea pigs, an axolotl, and a school of various fish. When her girls left for kindergarten, Karen discovered that she needed to fill her days with something, and that was the beginning of her writing career. She loves to create worlds filled with unique characters that will delight and raise goose bumps on her readers. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and seeing the world through her daughters’ eyes.
buddy's Thai immigrant mail order bride. As she discovers the power
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at the train station prepared for anything but the lovely forlorn
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to solitude, Weston is driven crazy by the obliging Song. But as Song
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Leigh Podgorski’s stage plays have been produced in Los Angeles, New York
City and regionally. She had the privilege of interviewing Dr.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross for her one-act play Windstorm, which was
presented as part of the annual festival CelebrateWomen that Leigh
also co-produced. We Are Still Here, the story of Cahuilla Indian
elder Katherine Siva Saubel, was premiered at the Gene Autry Western
Heritage Museum as part of CelebrateWomen 2000. The play has been
presented throughout Southern California at college campuses,
Universities, and Indian Reservations and Casinos.
published through Meriwether Publishing, Ltd..
in 2007, which she also wrote and directed. The film has screened at
the American Indian Film Festival, Sherman Indian Film Festival, Cal
State San Marcos Native American Film Festival, and the Talking Stick Film Festival.
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