Annie O’Malley’s dream of owning a secondhand bookstore in tight-knit Audubon Springs is coming true. Still reeling from her parents’ sudden deaths, she believes that signs or messages can be found within the pages of books. She loves her job and has made plenty of friends but longs for the acceptance only love and a family can provide.
Tony Iuliano is there to fix the wiring in her shop. He doesn’t believe in fate, magic, or the power of a good book. All this combined with his sexy-as-sin presence and all-knowing attitude infuriates Annie. The quirky bookworm intrigues him enough to accept her bet to read a book from her shop. When he discovers a stack of fifty-year-old love letters in the book, he wants to leave the past alone, but seeing it as a sign, Annie challenges him to read the letters and search for the long-lost lovers or lose the bet.
While shaking the dust off several ill-fated romances and fighting their attraction at every turn, the pair soon become the town gossip daily special. If they can stop arguing long enough, they may just discover this particular sign was meant for them all along.
“Are we going to shake on this?” He extended his hand and grinned.
Annie hesitated for a split second. Had she ever touched Tony? Shaking his hand with that sexy, superior glint in his eyes unnerved her, but she needed to seal the deal.
His warm hand engulfed hers, shooting a jolt of electricity through her veins. He had a solid, firm grip, the kind to hold a shaky person steady. Lifting her gaze to his, she smiled when his eyes widened in a flash of surprise. It had been a long time since she’d really touched another person. When the warmth from his hand made its way dangerously close to parts of her that had lain dormant for years, she abruptly let go.
“There, deal.” Flushed, she returned her focus to the book in his hand. “Open it, but first, look at how worn it is, you can tell it’s been read a few thousand times.”
Tony flipped the big, hardcover book open. Instead of the expected well-worn pages, a small stack of what looked like letters bound by a string sat nestled inside. The pages were yellowed, the string frayed. The owner cut a neat and deep square into the center of the pages, nearly removing the entire contents of the book. Tony pulled them out, squinted, and weighed them in his hand.
Equally stunned, a burst of adrenaline hit Annie. Of all the treasures she’d uncovered in the two years since dealing in secondhand books, she never came across anything quite like this. This was a sign – from her parents, or other forces at work in the universe – but this book, and all its possibilities, was important to someone, somewhere.
“Now do you believe me when I say every book has a story to tell?”
About the Author
RoseAnn DeFranco grew up in upstate NY with her nose in a book and a song in her heart. Following the pursuit of a musical theatre career in NYC, she turned her creative energy to writing romance. RoseAnn blogs about her writing experiences with her critique partners at www.the violetfemmes.com. A NJ shore transplant, she enjoys time spent at the beach with her family. She would love to one day live in a quaint shore town like the fictional town Audubon Springs from her BROTHERS OF AUDUBON SPRINGS series. More information about these Contemporary Romantic Comedies can be found at www.radefranco.com.
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