I’m super excited to give you a tiny sneak peek of Hooked on You, the first book in the Maple Falls Romance series. Hooked on You is set in the fictional town of Maple Falls, AR, and features Riley McAllister. When her grandmother injures herself sliding into third base, Riley must return to her small hometown to help run the family yarn store in this sweet, lighthearted romantic comedy. If you enjoy Hallmark movies and sweet romances, this book is for you.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 1.
A riot of colors, textures, and fibers filled the canvas in front of Riley McAllister. She tilted her head to the right. To the left. Then, with careful precision and pointed tweezers, she started to apply a hair-thin golden thread to the narrow bead of glue on the peacock feather in the center, the final touch to a project that had taken over three months to complete.
“Riley! Your Mimi called!”
Riley flinched and the tweezers pierced through the canvas, marring the multilayered feather. She started to mutter a curse but bit her tongue. She couldn’t afford foul language, not when she had almost zero dollars in her bank account. Besides, she was determined to win the cash in the cuss jar at the end of the month. There had to be over three hundred dollars in it already.
“Oops, my bad.”
She turned around and glared at her roommate. Melody had entered her bedroom–art studio–living room in the apartment they shared, a silver headband pushing back her short, curly black hair. Then Melody’s words hit her. The torn canvas and gold thread forgotten, she jumped up from her chair. Mimi. “Is she okay?” Riley asked, panicked.
“She’s fine, but she sounds a bit cranky. She said she must have called five times before I answered.” Melody took a sip of coffee out of her brand-new Probably Wine mug. The purchase was courtesy of her winning the cuss jar bounty last month. “You really should put your phone on vibrate at least. It’s a good thing I saw it light up on the kitchen counter.”
Dread filled Riley. “What did she say?” Her grandmother was no spring chicken, and as the years passed, she worried the next call would be the one. She grabbed her cell out of Melody’s hand.
“For you to call her. You’re welcome, by the way.” Melody scowled. “Geez, calm down. She’s not on death’s door, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Riley turned her back to Melody and tapped Mimi’s number on the phone screen. “How would you know?”’
“Because she said, ‘Tell Riley I’m not at death’s door.’ ”
Riley turned back around as she put the phone to her ear, relief flooding her. “I’m sorry. You know how I get when she calls.”
“You get crazy,” Melody said with a grin. At Riley’s pointed look, she added, “Crazy with worry, I mean.”
True. She tended to expect the worst when Mimi called, despite telling herself she was being ridiculous. But she couldn’t help it. If anything ever happened to Mimi . . . She drew in a deep breath as her grandmother answered. “Hi.” Riley forced a cheerful tone. “I’m sorry I missed your—” She looked at her roommate.
Five, Melody mouthed, holding up her hand.
“Five calls.” Riley winced. “Is everything okay?”
“Oh yes, sugar. Just the usual goin’ on here.” Mimi’s lilting Southern drawl filled Riley’s ear, triggering the tiniest spark of homesickness, which always surprised her. After nine years of living in New York City, she should be over it, but every time she heard Mimi’s voice, it came back again. Riley’s life in Maple Falls had been a big disappointment, but that wasn’t Mimi’s fault.
“The usual required five calls in a row?”
“If you had picked up the phone, there only would have been one.”
“You could have left a message, you know.” Riley plopped onto the pull-out sofa that was also her bed.
“I could have, but then I wouldn’t have heard Melody’s sweet voice. She’s a peach.”
Riley smiled and glanced at Melody, spying her friend’s frown as she inspected the ruined canvas. Her stomach lurched. With some time and precision, the artwork could be fixed. Still, Riley would always know it was imperfect. She had planned to put it in her show next week, but that was impossible now. The work was too flawed to display in public.
“Riley? You still with me, hon?”
“Yes, sorry.” She turned away from the canvas and focused on her grandmother, her prior concern rising to the surface. “How are you? Is everything all right?”
“I called because I haven’t heard from you in three weeks. According to your social media, you’ve been a busy young lady.” She sniffed. “Apparently too busy to call your decrepit old grandmother.”
To preorder (book only!) Hooked on You, click here.