Harper Talbot unlocked her bookstore Hidden Treasures and took a deep breath. Today she would begin working with a web designer to help her build more business. She loved looking for rare books and mostly by word of mouth, had built her reputation as the one to contact when a collector needed a very rare tome. Thanks to her grandfather’s love of books, Harper developed a love for them as well. Whenever she and her three sisters would visit, she could find him in his library. He showed her the wonders of rare books. When he passed away he left her money to help her start her own book shop.
She unlocked the door between her, and her sister Hainsley’s shops. Her sister owned and operated the coffee and tea shop next door called Happy Tea House. Once a month, Harper hosted a kids hour and read books to the local all-girl orphanage. Hainsley then hosted a tea party, along with enough American Girl dolls for each girl to read and have tea with. It was the highlight of the month and she hoped to get sponsors to help each girl take a book home each time. She was trying to make it a biweekly tradition or add other underprivileged children groups.
“Morning Harper!” Hainsley called, as she poked her head into the book shop office.
“Morning, how was your date last night?” Harper asked, looking up from her computer as she checked her emails. Her sister Hainsley was taller than her five foot three by two inches, had rich brunette hair and sky-blue eyes.
“He was so boring! All he talked about was stocks and how he makes thousands of dollars per trade. He also kept putting down our town and saying he couldn’t wait until a New York firm picked him up and he could move away. If you want to move away, why go out on a date with a girl who has a business in this town and will not move away?” Hainsley rolled her sky-blue eyes and tossed a brunette curl over her shoulder.
“I am sorry. How did you get set up with him again?”
“Mom, he is the son of one of the ladies in her painting class.”
“How many duds has she set you up with this month?” Harper asked. Being painfully shy around men and most adults, her mother Helen had given up on setting Harper up with anyone.
“Why not just say no? or better yet, pass them on to Hannah? She would roast them alive.” Harper laughed at the idea, Hannah was Hainsley’s twin sister and the exact opposite of Hainsley. Hannah wouldn’t hesitate to get up and walk out on a dud date. Hainsley was kind enough to see it through and then let the man down with her soft words.
“I tried, she’s in Maine doing a shoot for an outdoor wear company,” Hainsley pouted.
“Sorry, sweetie.” Harper gave her a pitying smile and opened an email.
“When is your meeting with the web designer? What was his name again?”
“Regal Murphy and in about twenty minutes. Julie should be here soon to mind the store while I have the meeting,” Harper explained. Her hands became clammy at the idea of meeting with a man, but she needed a better website. The one she’d made was not professional enough. She’d heard from her father and George Hartford, one of her most loyal customers, that Regal Murphy was the best in all of Black Wood Falls.
“Do you want me to help?” Hainsley offered all her sisters knew how shy Harper could be. Most of the time they ran interference for her at any gathering her mother forced them all to come to.
“No, I need to do this, holy crap!” she gasped, reading through an email.
“What?” Hainsley asked.
“Remember, George Hartford?”
“Wasn’t he that big collector who sought you out to help find a rare book?” Hainsley asked.
“Yes, I received an email from his lawyer saying George passed away last week. I am needed at the reading of the will tomorrow at three,” she explained, reading through the email one more time, making sure she missed nothing.
Dear Ms. Talbot,
This is Richard McAvoy, I am George Hartford’s attorney. I am contacting you to let you know Mr. Hartford passed away last week. You were mentioned in his will by name and are needed at the reading of the will tomorrow at three pm. Please meet me at my office. The address is below.
Have a good day,
“Oh no, I know you and George were close. He was one of the first people who came to you looking for a rare book.” Hainsley wrapped her up in a hug.
“Thanks, what could he have left me in his will?” Harper wiped away her tears, George had become a surrogate grandfather for her.
“Probably a book,” Hainsley guessed.
“True, oh look Mr. Murphy should be here soon.” Harper dried her tears. She would mourn properly for George later.
“Julie just walked in with a larger than life yummy man,” Hainsley commented with a low whistle, Harper looked up and gasped. The man Julie was smiling at had midnight black hair, muscles for days not well hidden under a tight polo shirt, and had to be over six feet tall.
“Holy wet panties!” Harper whispered and felt her body tingle between her legs when he pinned her with his striking hazel gaze.