by Whitney Dineen
(The Creek Water Series #3)
Publication date: March 10th 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
Bead shop owner Amelia Frothingham has been keeping a secret from everyone she knows.
She pretends to be the ultimate care-free bohemian chick, but the truth is, she’s the world’s biggest control freak. Much to the delight of her Southern family, Amelia’s life appears to be smooth sailing. That is, until bad boy rockstar Huck Wiley mysteriously blows into town like a spring tornado.
Like every other woman under eighty with a pulse, Amelia’s intrigued. So when Huck starts showing up in her shop with flirtation in mind, she finds herself getting sucked into the rock god vortex. But her previous attempts at long-distance love have always ended on a sour note, so Amelia has vowed never to repeat the experience.
What Amelia doesn’t know is that Huck has a secret of his own, and he has no intention of returning to Los Angeles before he’s good and ready.
Will Huck stay in town, scattering the beads Amelia has finally gotten sorted? Or will he head back to his glamorous life and take her last chance at spontaneity and love along with him?
Find out in this deliciously funny romcom about love and life in Creek Water, Missouri!
By the time three thirty rolls around, I haven’t had a customer in over an hour, so I decide to run upstairs and make a cup of tea. Just as I’m about to turn on the television while I wait for the water to boil, the bell over the shop door rings. Note to business owners, the ticket to more foot traffic is leaving the store in pursuit of tea. I might need to write a book. I could call it “If You Make Tea, They Will Come.”
I turn off the pot and run downstairs to see who my customer is. When I hit the bottom step, I have a clear view of a person standing next to my brightly painted apothecary drawer full of carnelian beads. I’m either in the throes of a major hallucination or dreams really do come true. Huck Wiley, or someone who looks enough like him to be his identical twin, is standing under one of the three beaded chandeliers hanging from the ceiling above my workstation. He’s looking at the necklace I was just working on.
He’s wearing jeans so faded and torn they look like they’re ready for the rag bin, yet I’m willing to bet he spent more on them than most people spend on ten pairs. The rock god is sporting a vintage U2 t-shirt and a black leather jacket. I can’t see what his shoes look like because there’s a display case blocking my view, but I’d put money on biker boots.
The floorboards creak as I step forward. My disbelieving eyes focus like a thirsty wanderer lost in the desert having just spotted a distant source of water. Whoever he is, he turns and looks right at me. His smile is so bright I may have gasped out loud in response. Seven more steps land me directly in front of him.
“Can I help you?” My tone is prim, reminiscent of a school librarian daring a student to try to check out a book before paying his overdue fine.
“Hey there,” he croons in that voice, the one I know so well from having spent hours listening to his music. My mouth hangs open like I’m a drooling idiot, but I can’t seem to close it. “I heard you gave beading classes and I was wondering if you have a special session for kids.”
I temporarily forget that he and I speak the same language. Did he just ask me about beading classes? I must be experiencing a particularly vivid fantasy. Rock star Huck Wiley can’t possibly be a closet beader, can he? Wait, he said “for kids” … Maybe I fell asleep when I went upstairs to make tea and this dream is making up for last night’s ball and chain fiasco. If so, it’s a good one.
The vision in front of me releases an easy laugh, a real laugh. Huck Wiley is probably used to odd reactions from strange women, and let me say, I’m doing my darndest to behave strangely. “Would you tell me when those classes are?” he persists.
Forcing myself to behave as normally as possible, I robotically tell him, “I have one on Wednesday and Thursday right after school, so four o’clock. They last for an hour and the price of the class includes the materials for one bracelet. It usually takes four classes to complete a project.” I don’t mean to brag, but my acting skills have gone untapped until now and I managed to get that whole sentence out without tripping over my tongue.
He nods. “Would you be available for a private lesson during the morning sometime?”
I shrug awkwardly like I’m having some kind of seizure. “For now, or during the summer?” What kid isn’t at school during school hours now?
“My daughter will be doing online school and I’d like for her to have a break during the day. You know, other kids get recess and lunch, I’d like for Maggie to get out and about.”
My jaw drops wide open. My earlier attempts at appearing normal have failed me. I’m back to feeling like I’m in a science fiction television show and I’ve just leaped out of my body. It’s like I’m watching me have this conversation with the biggest rock star of our time from the ceiling. The part of me that’s escaped its confines wants to shout down to the rest of me, “Close your mouth, girl!” But I can’t, so I don’t.
Instead, I say, “I’m sorry, but are you Huck Wiley?”
“Why are you here?” I demand. “Don’t you live in Los Angeles or something?”
“Or something,” he answers evasively. Before he can say anything else, I reach across the counter and touch the man’s face. His slightly stubbly beard scratches at my fingertips and then I swear I don’t know what comes over me, but I pinch him.
He jumps back and releases a short bark of surprise, assuring me he’s not some figment I’ve conjured. “I’m so sorry,” I say, quickly regaining my senses. “I thought maybe I was dreaming you up or something.”
“I think you’re supposed to pinch yourself when you think you’re dreaming,” he says, looking at me like I might be an escaped mental patient.
About the author:
Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries — not always in that order.
Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.
She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Gold Medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers’ Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.
Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.
Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017
Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017