Home > Steal My Magnolia (Love at First Sight #3)

Steal My Magnolia (Love at First Sight #3)
Author: Karla Sorensen

Prologue

 

 

Grady

 

 

In the end, it was my complete lack of organizational skills that ended up being my downfall. Or my savior. Depended on how you wanted to look at it.

And there was a long list to choose from, ways that I could have easily messed up the entire scheme of moving to Green Valley from California. Trading out a tech job that I was good at (but hated to the very depths of my bored soul) for a fledgling idea of a guided hiking and camping business on the cusp of the Smoky Mountains came with a host of ways to monumentally screw up.

But I was the kind of person who refused to dwell on a single item on that list.

Which was how I found myself in a leased office space that was probably too big for my needs, with gear and inventory that I most likely didn't need until I got my business up and running, and without a single employee to help me with the mess I was quite literally buried in.

"Holy hell, Grady," my twin sister, Grace, muttered as she surveyed the disaster that housed the brand-new business. "What have you done?"

"It's fine," I insisted. "You know that when you're organizing, it always looks worse before it gets better."

One eyebrow, the same dark gold color as my own hair, lifted slowly, rife with disbelief and the slightest hint of pity.

"Don't give me that look."

She sighed. "I just think ... I think maybe you should take a step back, you know? You've got all these amazing ideas, Grady, and no one can fault your enthusiasm."

But.

I held my breath and waited for it. I didn't want to hear the but. I didn't want to hear all the ways this could go wrong, or how I may have bitten off just a tad bit more than I could chew.

"But," she continued, "if you'd let someone help you, you could focus on the parts of this you're so, so good at."

Using the edge of my booted foot, I pushed a box of hiking gear to the side to clear a path back to the paper-laden desk. "I'll hire someone." Rifling through papers, I grimaced when I couldn't find my laptop. "Eventually."

"Tucker can help you," she said, referencing her boyfriend and my only actual friend in Green Valley.

"I know he can. But he still has a lot of responsibility at the law firm, and that's okay because once we're up and running and I get some customers, then Tucker will have more time to help with the fun stuff. The 'let's spend our time in the beautiful outdoors' stuff that we both want to do."

Grace had followed my lead when I decided to move to Green Valley, even though I'd been the one with the grand plan. So, it was with no small amount of irony that my twin sister was running a successful photography business in town. She'd also fallen head over heels in love with literally the first man she met once she passed the city limits.

"Can I help you find some office help, maybe?"

"No," I said firmly. "I will hire my own employees, thank you. Besides, shouldn't you be packing?"

She grinned. "Yes. I can't wait for Mom to meet Tucker."

"What if she hates him?"

Grace slugged me in the shoulder. "You know she won't."

I wanted to rub at the spot where she nailed me, but if I did that, she'd know it actually hurt. And that was my own fault because I'd taught Grace how to throw a jab when we were fifteen and some guy at school had a terrible habit of grabbing her ass when I wasn't around. She'd clocked him in the left eye, and I caught him behind the school and threatened to pull his balls off with a socket wrench if he ever touched her again.

"I know," I agreed, "because he's perfect."

Her answering smile was dreamy and happy and so lovesick that I wanted to roll my eyes.

"He is." She sighed. "It doesn't even seem right that I'm so happy." Her eyes turned devious. "You know that means you're the last single Buchanan left standing, right? It's only a matter of time."

I pointed a finger at her. "Don't you start with me."

"Keep your eyes peeled, Grady," she said in a singsong voice. "You never know when she's right around the corner."

"Which is why I keep my eyes straight ahead when I walk anywhere in this town."

It was true. Unless I was forced into conversation with any woman under the age of forty in Green Valley, I pretended they didn't exist.

And like the jerk my sister was, she cackled. "You can't avoid it, Grady. Didn't you learn anything from me and Tucker?"

I rubbed the back of my neck. "Grace, I know because you found your perfect match that you think our juju family love curse is real, but ..."

"It is," she cried. "Mom and Dad didn't work out because they didn't meet here. I'm telling you, when you meet her, Grady, you are going to know it in the depths of your soul, and there will be no avoiding the fact she's your soul mate."

A growing sense of unease gnawed at my gut. Her surety was something I'd been trying to avoid ever since she met and fell in love with Tucker Haywood. We'd grown up with stories about the Buchanan love curse, something buried deep in the southern lore of our family tree. Grace and I never believed it, not even for a little bit, because our parents had divorced years earlier and were much, much better people because of it.

It almost felt like a betrayal that my twin sister now believed this with every fiber of her being.

"Can we go back to talking about my lack of help, please?" I begged. "I'd take any subject except this one."

She laughed. "Fine. But bro, you need help, and you need it bad. Please promise me you'll work on finding someone to whip your sorry ass into shape while we're gone."

I held up one hand. "I do solemnly swear."

Once more, she glanced around the space at the stacks of unopened boxes, the shelves I wasn't sure how to fill in the most efficient way, and the empty filing cabinets that would eventually hold ... papers and shit, if I could get a better system than the one I currently favored (piles on the desk). "You sure you've got this, Grady?"

Her tone wasn't light or teasing anymore. It was chock-full of sisterly concern and a slight edge of pity that I seemed to be drowning in my own grand idea.

"I have this," I told her, then shoved her gently toward the door. "Now go. And give Mom a hug when you see her."

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