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A Magnolia Adventure

A Magnolia Adventure

The Red Stiletto Bookclub Series, Book 7

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I wanted to forget my feelings for my brother's best friend, but when he shows up on my doorstep, I can't find the strength to turn him away.


  • Brother's Best Friend
  • Previous Pregnancy
  • Move-In
  • Bookclub/ Friendship
  • Small Town
  • Starting Over



I’m ready to start my life with Walker on Harmony Island. The best thing for me to do, is to forget Magnolia and especially, Colten. I’m determined to pick up again where I left off-- even if that means forcing myself to ignore the things about Walker I can't explain.

When Walker comes home and announces that he has another month trip on the oil rig, panic sets in. That is, until Colten shows up. Not wanting to shoo him away, I allows him to stay.

What started out as an innocent visit is suddenly making me feel extremely confused. If Walker is the man that I’m destined to be with, why can't I stop thinking about Colten? 


I’m ecstatic that Spencer has finally decided to reconcile with his daughters. So, we pack our bags and head to a small island town off the coast of North Carolina. Harmony Island is sweet and quaint and reminds me of Magnolia.

However, once we get there, Spencer starts to pulls away. Our vacation turns dark and suddenly, Spencer wants nothing to do with me. I know he's dealing with his wife's death and estranged daughters and I’m trying to be patient, but nothing I do seems to appease Spencer.

Especially when I mistakenly run into Abigail, Spencer’s youngest, and we hit it off.

My intentions were innocent, but my execution was lacking. When Spencer discovers that I’ve gone behind his back, he tells me to leave. I want to stay and fight but Spencer is making it impossible to do so.

If you love romances to curl your toes and small towns that make you want to move there, you'll love A Magnolia Adventure.

Grab your copy today!

Chapter One Look Inside


I loved the clicking sound that keyboards made as people typed. It
meant that words were being written and stories were being told. I wasn’t sure
how many times I would pull my attention from the spreadsheets on my computer
and lean back, just so I could listen to Victoria and Tracy, our new reporter,
type their stories.

Our first edition, Magnolia Move-ins, had been a hit. It sold out
the first two days after launching. The success only helped me confirm I was
where I needed to be. Magnolia. Magnolia Daily. This was my life.

It took me so many decades to get to this point, but now that I
was experiencing what pure bliss was, I was grateful for the road I took to be
here. I was finally home.

“Morning, Spencer.” Victoria’s voice turned my attention to my
office door.

My heart picked up speed as I waited for my boyfriend to appear. I
felt like a young girl, thinking those words, but it was true. Spencer and I
were dating. And I couldn’t be happier.

I was already out of my seat when he appeared in the doorway. I
wrapped my arms around him as soon as he was close enough for me to hug him. He
chuckled as he buried his face in the hollow of my neck and took in a deep

We scooted out of view of Victoria and Tracy. Once I was certain
they couldn’t see us, I kissed him. His lips were on mine, and we moved like we
were two teenagers hiding from our parents.

I loved kissing this man. He completed me in a way that I didn’t
think was possible. We were meant to be together. I loved him.

“I just saw you this morning,” Spencer said when he finally pulled

I groaned as he stepped back. I didn’t want him to stop kissing
me. I wanted to remain like this forever. “It’s been that long?” I asked as I
readjusted my shirt since it’d wrinkled from our embrace.

He nodded.

“I just can’t get enough of you,” I said with a wink as I moved to
sit down at my desk. Spencer dropped into the chair across from my desk and
scrubbed his face.

I winced when I saw that my red lipstick was all over his mouth. I
reached forward and grabbed a tissue from the box on my desk. “Sorry,” I

He chuckled as he moved to wipe his lips. “Hazard of the job, I

I nodded and then leaned back in my chair, bouncing a few times as
I studied him. “Did I forget something at home?” I asked.

His gaze was focused on the tissue that he was now folding smaller
and smaller. “I just wanted to let you know that I’m not mad.”

My chest felt heavy as the argument we had last night came rushing
back to me. Even though he’d said he was over it this morning, I could tell
that it had bothered him. Ever since Maggie gave me the addresses of his
daughters, he’d shut me out of that part of his life.

He told me that it was something he was going to have to conquer
on his own, and I tried to be understanding. I did. But the holidays were
coming up, and I’d wanted to know if I should plan for more people at the

He got upset and told me that I was pushing—which I was. I feared
that Spencer was just going to keep sitting on this without actually doing
anything. Having had a strained relationship with my own daughter, I realized
how precious time was. A commodity that I couldn’t control and one I couldn’t
get back.

I feared that he would regret taking his time like this.

“I’m sorry for pushing you again,” I said with a soft smile. I
wanted him to know that I was willing to follow his timeline—with a few gentle
nudges from me.

He nodded, but it didn’t detract from the serious expression on
his face. He wanted to talk further about this, so I pinched my lips.

“I know you want the girls to come to Thanksgiving, and at first,
it hurt.” His voice grew quiet, and my heart ached for him.

He spent so much of his life running from his past, and here I
was, forcing him to face it. I knew it was painful, but I also knew he would
feel an undeniable freedom once he accepted and faced the parts that made his
heart ache.

He would feel more complete if he rebuilt his relationships with
his daughters. At least, that was my hope.

“Rosalie was the one who always planned our holiday get-togethers.
So, when you brought it up…” His voice drifted off, and I could see the
heartbreak in his gaze.

I wanted to jump in and tell him that I was sorry. But I didn’t.
Instead, I kept quiet even though I was aching inside. I wanted to take away
his pain, but I knew that was impossible.

“It was hard to think about doing something without her.”

“I know,” I whispered.

He grew quiet, and I could tell that he was choosing his words.
“But I know she would be disappointed in me for how I’ve treated the girls. I
should have never let our relationship get this stale. I should have stuck it
out.” His voice cracked, so he waited a minute before continuing. “I should
have fought for them.”

Tears were brimming my eyes, and all I could do was nod. I knew
that he was broken; I could see it in his eyes. But there was nothing I could
do to fix his past. All I could do was love him while he worked to fix his

“I think I want to go to Harmony Island to find Abigail and

I paused. This was the first time I’d heard him say their names. I
already knew them because of Maggie’s detective skills, but to hear him say
them meant his decision to see them was real.

“Are you sure?” I asked, shifting in my seat. I was equally
nervous and excited for him.

Spencer nodded. “I am.” Then he furrowed his brow. “Will you come
with me?”

I couldn’t fight the smile that emerged on my lips. I nodded
slowly. “If that’s what you want, I’d be honored to go with you.”

He blew out his breath as if he were attempting to blow out the
stress. “I want that.” Then his worried lips tipped up into an irresistible
smile. “I want you.”

My entire body flushed. My heart pounded as desire rose up inside
of me. We’d both decided to take this relationship slow, but it was becoming
more and more apparent that he was a man and I was a woman. I was ready to be
reminded of that.

“Hush,” I whispered as I peered over at Victoria and Tracy. If
they heard, they didn’t move to acknowledge it. I knew it was probably
impossible for them to hear what we were talking about unless they’d suddenly
obtained Superman-like hearing. But still, prudence was the name of the game
for me.

“So, when do you want to head out?” I asked as I threaded my
fingers together and set my hands down on my desk.

“When can you take time off?”

I scoffed. Victoria was the go-getter I needed. I doubted she
would be sad to hear that I needed to take a few days off. At times, I wondered
if I got in her way. She took every story, every aspect of this newspaper, by
the horns and corralled it into submission. This place was running like a
well-oiled machine, and it wasn’t because of me.

“I doubt I will have to fight Victoria about me taking some time
off.” I shrugged. “So, whenever you are ready, I’ll let her know.”

Spencer cleared his throat. “Tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow?” For some reason, my chest tightened. Perhaps it was
because the reality of what was going to happen came crashing into me. I was
going to be meeting his daughters. I was going to help him heal from the trauma
he was carrying around.

That was a big task. One that I was starting to worry I would be
unable to carry out.

“Will that work?” Spencer asked, pulling me from my thoughts.

I contemplated saying no. That I needed a day or so to process
this. But I didn’t. This wasn’t about me. This was about him. “Sure,” I said,
and then the tone of my voice carried to my own ears, and I realized how
uncertain I sounded. So, I followed it with a determined, “Yes.”

Spencer looked visibly relieved as he smiled and nodded. Then he
sighed. “It’ll be work, but with you next to me, I think I can conquer it.”

I smiled. I wanted him to rely on me. This was what I missed about
relationships and what I’d spent my whole life running from. And now that I was
presented with it, I ran toward it at full speed.

I was ready to depend on him and have him depend on me. “You’ll do

We made small talk for the next few minutes. I could see Spencer’s
fear lessen and his confidence grow, which only made me more excited for him.
By the time he moved to go, he was actually smiling. His dimple on his left
side deepened, which made me happy. I knew when that showed up, he was truly

“I’ll see you tonight?” he asked as he moved around the desk and
wrapped his hands around my waist.

My heart pounded. It always made me feel feminine and small when
he touched me. I nodded. “I’ll help Victoria wrap up this next edition, and
then I’ll be home. Maybe we can go to the inn and eat with Maggie since we’ll
be leaving?”

Ever since Maggie told me that she and Archer were trying for a
baby, I’d been worried about her with each negative pregnancy test. She was
trying to remain positive, but I knew she was hurting. If I could conjure up a
positive test for her, I’d do it.

Unfortunately, I lacked that ability.

Spencer kissed my nose. “Of course.”

I smiled and slipped my hands from his shoulders up to the nape of
his neck. He responded by pulling me close.

“Thanks for loving me,” he whispered as he buried his face in my

I smiled, reveling in the feeling of his body pressed to mine. The
feeling of warmth that I always got when I held him.

“I love you,” I whispered.

“I love you, too.”

It took a minute before we let each other go. Spencer cleared his
throat, threw me a wave, and headed out of my office. As he opened the door,
Victoria hurried in.

“Afternoon, Spencer,” she said as she zeroed in on me. She had a
clipboard in hand, and I prepared myself for whatever she wanted to
discuss—which was most likely everything.

Spencer just chuckled, said goodbye, and left.

With my distraction now gone, I turned my focus to Victoria, who
didn’t miss a beat and was already hammering me with all her questions.

I settled down on my chair and gave her my full attention.
Tomorrow, I would worry about Spencer and his daughters, but for now, I would
focus on the paper.

* *

At seven, Spencer and I pulled into the last parking spot at the
inn. Thankfully, I had enough forethought to text Maggie after my three-hour
long meeting with Victoria just to let her know that we were coming. She’d
texted back that she’d save us a table, and I’d sent her one of those heart
emojis that turned into lots of hearts when you opened the text.

I was excited to tell my daughter about our plans to head to
Harmony Island. I had a feeling she would be equally excited. With the lack of
a baby on the way, she threw herself into everything else. All in an effort to
keep her mind off what she felt she was missing out on.

Spencer gestured for me to wait and then climbed out of his seat.
I unbuckled my seatbelt and watched as he rounded the hood and pulled open my
door. His hand appeared, ready to take mine and help me out.

My lips tipped up into a smile. Spencer seemed rough around the
edges, but he was a gentleman through and through. I felt so lucky that I’d
found a man who treated me this way.

The inn was bustling when we walked through the front door. Guests
were either moving around the first floor or sitting in the living room,
reading and talking. I’d never seen this place booming like this. My heart
swelled. My daughter had worked so hard for this, and I couldn’t have been

She’d brought so much happiness back to this small town and to me.
I just wanted the best for her.

“Hey, Mom.” Maggie appeared in front of me. Her cheeks were pink,
and she looked tired but happy.

We hugged, and I gave her an extra squeeze. I wanted her to know
that I loved her and was here for her.

“It’s busy tonight,” I said once she pulled back.

She tucked her hair behind her ear and nodded. “Yeah. I can’t
believe it.”

I smiled as I scanned the room. Maggie had come here with the
intent of helping me sell the inn to fund her interior design business, but
now, it had become something different. People were changed when they came
here, and Maggie was the one who started it all.

“It looks amazing in here,” Spencer said. He was scanning the
different rooms we could see from where we were standing.

Everything was decorated for fall. Pumpkins sat on every surface.
Garlands of leaves were draped along the fireplace mantle and around the
banister. It looked beautiful.

“I can’t wait to see what you do for Christmas,” I said as I
turned my attention back to my daughter and gave her an approving smile.

Maggie smiled back. “I have lots of plans.”

I reached out and squeezed her hand. “I’m sure you do.”

She showed us to our table, tucked in the back corner of the
dining room. There was a reserved sign in the middle, which she took
away. “I’m going to let Brett know you guys are here. He’s been wanting to test
some new dishes on friends before he puts them on the menu. I hope that’s

Spencer unfolded his napkin and placed it on his lap. “Bring it

Maggie didn’t wait. She left the table before I could ask her to
sit. When we were brought our waters, it was by a local kid named Tyler. I must
have been worrying my lips as I glanced around the room, because Spencer was
suddenly holding my hand and attempting to catch my eye.

“You okay?” he asked.

I studied him, contemplating if I should tell him, and then shook
that thought from my head. Spencer was my companion. I needed to be honest with
him if we were going to make this relationship work.

“I’m just worried about Maggie, that’s all,” I said, emotions
choking my throat.

Spencer glanced around the room before he met my gaze once more.
“She’ll be okay. Archer takes good care of her.”

I nodded, knowing that what he was saying was true, but that did
nothing for the pit that had formed in my stomach. “I know, but she’s just so
vulnerable. What if all of this work is what is causing her struggle to get
pregnant?” I could feel the panic start to rise inside of me. I wanted to fix
this for my daughter. I wanted to make it right.

“I’m sure she’s fine. She’s a healthy woman. When Rosalie and I
were trying for Abigail, it took a few months.” He patted my hand with his free
one. “Sometimes, these things take time.”

I nodded, knowing that what he was saying was true but struggling
to fully accept it.

Thankfully, Brett appeared with two plates of what looked like
creamy linguine Alfredo, and hunger overtook my worries. Spencer and I ate in
silence. The food was so good that all thought left my mind and all I could
focus on was eating.

By the time Maggie found us again, our plates were empty and our
stomachs full. Life seemed easier to process when I wasn’t hungry.

“How was Brett’s lobster Alfredo?” Maggie asked as she sat down
next to me.

I kissed the tips of my fingers like an Italian chef. “Amazing,” I

“Yeah. He made some for Archer and me, and I about fell out of my
chair while I was eating it.” She patted her stomach. “I may need to buy bigger
clothes if he keeps cooking like this.” Then she winced, and I wondered if the
same thought had entered her mind. The idea of having to buy new clothes for
pregnancy instead of just weight gain.

I reached out and patted her hand. “Spencer and I are headed to
North Carolina tomorrow,” I said, hoping to shift her attention to something

Maggie moved her gaze from me to Spencer and then back. “Really?”

She knew where Abigail and Sabrina lived. She’d found their

I nodded. “We’re going to find Spencer’s daughters.

Her smile warmed my soul. “That’s great news,” she said as she
glanced over at Spencer. “It may seem hard, but it’ll be worth it.”

Tears filled my eyes as I thought about what she said. It was so
true. Fixing a broken relationship was worth all the pain and heartache.
“You’ll be okay without me here?” I asked. Was it wrong that I wanted her to
say no? That she needed me and wanted me to stay?

She smiled and shook her head. “I’ll be fine. I’ve got Archer and
the inn to keep me busy.”

My stomach dropped a bit at her words. I knew she was trying to be
strong, but I didn’t want her to pretend. Pain had a way of finding you again.
It never really stayed away like one would hope.

“Call me if you need me. I’ll come right home.”

Maggie met my gaze and then nodded. “I will.” Then she turned to
Spencer. “Good luck. I want to hear all about it when you bring my mom safely

Spencer gave her a salute, and she moved to stand. After a long
hug, she pulled back. “Love you, Ma,” she said.

I patted her hand. “I love you, too. When I get back, let’s go
shopping over the bridge.”

“Sounds good.”

We didn’t see much of Maggie the rest of the night. After dessert,
I was stuffed and tired, so Spencer and I stood and pushed in our chairs. I
managed to give Maggie a quick wave as we left. She was standing at the
reception desk, talking to a guest. She gave me a nod but didn’t break from her

Spencer led me out the door, and once we were on the gravel
leading to the parking lot, his hand found mind.

“You okay?” he asked as he peered down at me.

I wanted to say no—because that was the truth. But stressing about
something that I had no control over wasn’t healthy. So, I just smiled and
wrapped my free hand around his arm and drew myself close to him.

“I’ll be fine,” I whispered.

That was all I could offer. I was going to be fine. Regardless of
what the future held for Spencer or Maggie, I was going to be fine.

I had to be.


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The Red Stiletto Bookclub Series

A bookclub started out of desperation soon because exactly what the women of Magnolia needed...a sisterhood.