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The Red Stiletto Bookclub Bundle - Audiobook

The Red Stiletto Bookclub Bundle - Audiobook

The Complete Series

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 8396+ 5-Star Reviews

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The Magnolia Inn Synopsis

If my mother thought that restoring the run down family inn would break me, she was wrong.
The hardest part of falling in love with the small town of Magnolia and my grumpy handyman is knowing at some point, I'm going to have to sell the inn and leave.

Maggie

My ex-husband left me for my best friend. I’m 36, unemployed, and about to be evicted. My only option is to ask my estranged mother for help. She offers me a deal: fix up the run down family inn on the small island of Magnolia and any of the proceeds I can make off the sale, will be mine to invest.

Determined to start believing in myself, I roll into town with an unhealthy amount of optimism. The only person who is going to stop me, is me. That is, until I meet my grumpy handyman. He has more walls built up around his heart than the three story inn I’m restoring, but I’m determined to break them down. Even if he’s determined to stop me.

Clementine

I meant to leave Magnolia at some point in my life. With a full ride scholarship to Juilliard, my dream was to dance. But Dad got sick and I needed to stay to run the local hardware store. Plus, there’s no way I can rely on my older brother, Archer, who can’t outrun the ghosts of his past.

When Maggie blows into town, I can’t help but feel inspired by her desire to reinvent herself and when she asks for the local handyman, it becomes the perfect opportunity to provide Archer with purpose and perhaps, a little bit of sunshine.

As our friendship grows, I realize just how much I needed a sisterhood. And when I catch Archer smiling, I realize that he needed Maggie as well. I just hope that when the time comes to sell the inn, Maggie fights to stay, because I’m not sure we could handle the heartbreak if she leaves.

Chapter One Look Inside

Maggie

And there it was.

Eye level and taped on all four corners. Whoever had put it there
meant business and wanted me to see it. And they’d succeeded.

The notice was smaller than I’d expected. And oranger.

I snorted.

I’d never had an eviction notice cemented to my door before, so
what did I know? I’d also never been divorced and had my entire bank account
drained by the man who’d sworn to love me forever.

Apparently my thirty-sixth year was the year fate decided to land
all the blows it could. I was divorced, penniless, and now—homeless.

I cursed under my breath as I fought the tears that stung my eyes.
In my slow descent into madness, I didn’t notice Mrs. Jacamo, my nosy and judgy
neighbor, until she stepped around me. She tsked, lowered her head, and
scurried by. She was carrying her dog, Baby, in a bag that was tucked under her
armpit. I could see his black eyes stare at me as she retreated.

I thought for a moment that Baby had it worse than me. Living in
her owner’s armpit had to be bad—but with one more look at the note taped to my
door, I dropped that thought.

I had it worse.

I grabbed the piece of paper, crumpled it in my hand, and shoved
my key into the lock. I fought back the tears as I turned the handle and
slipped into my apartment.

It had started out as our apartment, Sean’s and mine, but
ever since Sean packed up his belongings and left with Tracy—my now
ex-friend—it had become my apartment.

In a few short weeks it wouldn’t even be that.

I threw my purse and computer bag on the table and pulled out my
phone. I sent a quick SOS text to Brielle, my best friend and designated
cheerleader. She texted a thumbs-up and then an ETA of five minutes.

I set my phone on the charger and busied myself with making some
coffee. Since I couldn’t afford fresh coffee grounds, I had to resort to buying
the instant crap that tasted bitter and chalky.

By the time Brielle banged on my door, the coffee had cooled to a
sippable temperature. I held my mug in my hand as I walked over to the door and
pulled it open. Brielle’s face peeked up over two brown bags packed full of
Cheng’s to-die-for Chinese.

“Bri, you didn’t have to bring food,” I said as I took the
six-pack of wine coolers that dangled from her fingers.

She shrugged as she followed me into the kitchen and set the bags
down on the counter. “They’d just dropped it off when you texted.” She began to
open the bags and took out the small white containers.

The smell of sweet and sour chicken and fried rice had my mouth
watering.

“Besides, I ordered too much. Brent was going to come over for
dinner, but he got held up at work.” She finished unloading the bag and blew
her dark-brown curls from her face. “So I figured you could use some
sustenance.”

I reached out and pulled Brielle into a hug. She always seemed to
know just what I needed. “Thanks,” I said as my control on my emotions slipped,
causing my voice to come out in a whisper.

She chuckled as she pointed to the cupboard. “Plates,” she said.

I nodded and fished them out. One was a pale yellow and the other
had flowers painted on one side. They were the perfect representation of my
current status: disjointed and mismatched.

I swallowed as I focused on grabbing two plastic forks from a
drawer and handing one over to Brielle. There was no way I was going to look at
the status of my dishware like a Rorschach test. I didn’t need an inkblot to
tell me what I already knew.

My life was one giant failure that I couldn’t get out from
underneath. No matter how hard I tried.

Once our plates were overflowing with food, I grabbed a wine
cooler and made my way over to the faded floral couch in the far corner. I
settled down on it as Brielle followed and did the same.

We ate in silence for a few minutes before Brielle sighed and
turned toward me. I could see the questions she had for me. They were written
in her gaze.

Knowing I couldn’t go the entire evening without an explanation
for the SOS, I tucked my straight blonde hair behind my ear and faced her.

“I got a note today,” I said after I swallowed the bit of sweet
and sour chicken I’d been chewing.

Brielle raised her eyebrows and got a mischievous look on her
face. “A sexy note?” she asked.

I shook my head. “Ew, no. Who would write me anything like that?”
The ink on my divorce papers wasn’t even dry. Six months was way too soon to
start testing the waters once more.

In fact, I doubted that I would want to dip my toe into the dating
pool ever again. When you are nearing forty, that water is black and murky with
all kinds of ungodly things swimming around in it.

My one experience with online dating had ended horribly. My date
had shown up drunk, with his earlier date on his arm. It ended with me calling
a ride and slipping out through the bathroom window.

From then on, I swore that I would never let Brielle convince me
to join any sort of dating app. Ever.

“Margaret Brown, you are a sexy, available girl. You shouldn’t let
one bad date turn you off from a lifetime of fun.” She speared her mushroom
chicken with her fork and slipped it into her mouth. She raised her eyebrows as
she studied me.

I waved away her comment. It wasn’t just one bad date. It was one
messy divorce followed by one bad date. I doubted I should test my luck again.
Apparently fate was still pissed off at me for something, even if I wasn’t sure
what it was. I figured I’d take my time to ease back into her good
graces.

I’d already told Brielle these theories, but she’d responded by
telling me I was crazy and that there was no such thing as fate. If there was,
fate would be holding seances against Sean, not me. He had his day coming where
karma would catch up to him. It was only a matter of time.

Then she would end with telling me how beautiful I was and how any
guy would be lucky to have me.

Ten years ago, that might have been true. But age and a
dysfunctional marriage had taken its toll on my body—namely my hips. They got
rounder and wider with each passing year.

“Thanks, but no, that wasn’t the kind of note I got.” Glancing
around, I found the crumpled-up notice that I’d chucked into the corner. It was
nestled in the jumbled mess of cords beside the side table. I set my plate down
on the floor and walked over to pick up the paper.

I opened it and smoothed it out on my leg. Then I handed it to
Brielle.

She took it, and a moment later, she gasped. I could feel her blue
eyes as they stared at me. Not wanting to verify what I already knew—that I
was, in fact, a loser—I settled back on the couch, with my plate balanced on my
thighs, and stared at my remaining food.

“What are you going to do?” she asked.

I shrugged as I continued eating. “I need to find a job that
actually pays.” Working as an intern at Jacobson’s Designs was my dream, but
without a paycheck, it was becoming a nightmare. Even so, I seemed physically
incapable of letting it go. In my stubbornness after the divorce, I’d figured
I’d be able to make it work. But apparently, I’d been foolish. The funds in my
bank account never increased past the double digits, and I couldn’t bring
myself to admit that Sean had stolen this last bit of my happiness from me.
Forcing me to give up my dream because of him. Again.

My throat felt tight with each swallow, and I couldn’t stop the
hopelessness that was slowly suffocating me. I felt empty inside, and maybe I
was hoping the food would fill it up. I guess there are worse things to bury
myself in.

“Do you need to live with me?” Brielle asked. Her eyes were wide,
and I could see her concern etched on her features.

I appreciated her gesture, but it wasn’t even possible. She was
already sharing her studio apartment with Jasmine, the granola foodie who
didn’t believe in showers or washing her clothes. There was no way I could fit
in there as well. It was the curse of living in New York. Affordable real
estate was hard to come by.

I shook my head as I tucked my feet underneath me and set my plate
on my knees. “You don’t have the room.”

Brielle paused before she nodded and glanced around. “What about
your mom?”

I almost swallowed my tongue at the mention of my mother. Penny
Brown didn’t take handouts—not like she needed them—and she certainly didn’t
give them. She believed everyone needed to earn their way in the world. Even
her only daughter.

“That’s a big fat no,” I said, shoveling more food into my mouth.
I hated that my emotions spiked at the mention of my estranged mother. It
sucked.

“But she’s your mom. She owes you.”

I shook my head more fervently this time. I didn’t want to talk
about her. I didn’t want to entertain the thought of asking her to help. What
if I did and she turned me down?

There was a reason why I’d chosen to live with my dad when they
divorced. He was warm and cuddly. Penny was cold and distant. There were times
I wondered if she held my choice to stay with Dad against me. And in my
booze-filled moments, I wondered what our relationship would have been like if
she actually liked me.

My stomach ached, so I stopped eating and set my plate down on the
floor next to me. I grabbed a nearby throw pillow and curled up with it. I laid
my head on the back of the couch and peered over at Brielle.

She was poking around at her food, not really eating any of it. I
could tell she was mulling things over. She wanted to find a solution. It was
sweet, but she needed to face the truth just like I did.

There was no solution.

“I hear the Branson House is nice,” I mumbled.

Brielle’s gaze snapped over at me. “No. Nope. Nuh-uh. There is no
way my best friend is staying in a shelter.” She leaned into me as she shook
her finger in my direction. “You are one of New York’s best interior designers.
You had so much potential until that loser Sean convinced you otherwise.”

She stood and began to pace in front of me. “You can’t give up
that dream. Maybe working for Jacobson’s Designs is dumb, but there has to be
something more.”

I sighed as I reached down and collected my plate and then
Brielle’s. I brought them into the kitchen, where I began to spray them off.
“It’s not going to happen, Brielle. I just need to find something that pays.” I
stared at the food as it slipped off the plate and down the drain.

It’s a sad day when you find yourself relating to food as it’s
discarded.

“But that’s the thing. What if you found both?”

I blinked as I glanced over to see Brielle standing next to me.
She had both hands pressed onto the counter in front of her and she was leaning
toward me with wide eyes.

“I’m sorry, what? In what universe does something like that
exist?”

Brielle leaned back, folding her arms across her chest. “Listen, I
write grant proposals all the time. I can help you write a proposal.”

I studied her. “Who would I be writing a proposal to? And for
what?”

She studied me. I could see the excitement that she was trying to
hold back. She knew me so well. I was risk averse. Especially after Sean.

She paused as she stared at me, tapping her fingers on her forearm.
“A proposal for your design company.” She said each word slowly. Her eyebrows
rose as she waited for me to respond.

I turned off the water and then faced her. “Are you talking about
Studio Red? Bri, come on. That was a ridiculous dream I had years ago.”

Brielle raised her finger up to silence me and then turned and
marched down the hallway. I scrambled to catch up with her. I knew where she
was going. I knew what binder she was looking for.

But nothing I did stopped her. She marched right into my room and
located that ridiculous dream binder I’d created years ago. Back when I felt
like the world was my oyster. Back when I was happy.

“This isn’t a ridiculous dream. If it was, you wouldn’t have kept
this for so long.” She settled down on my bed and flipped it open. She began to
read the business proposal I’d written. It was complete with yearly projections
and a business motto.

“I want to design beautiful living at affordable prices,” she read
as she pointed her finger at the page and tapped it a few times. “Maggie, you
loved this dream until Sean stole it from you. He’s a loser who’s out of your
life. Maybe dreaming big is what you should do now.”

She closed the binder and set it on my nightstand. “This is your
do-over. How are you going to change things? The world is open to you.” She
stood and rested her hands on my shoulders. “Don’t let fear keep you down.
That’s what it’s done for the last ten years.” She met my gaze and held it.

I wanted to tease her and tell her she sounded like those
ridiculous motivational posters people buy, but I couldn’t. Tears were brimming
my eyelids as I stared at her. She was right. I’d been living in fear for way
too long. Fear that I’d disappoint Sean. Fear that I would succeed where he’d
failed. Fear that I would never be good enough for him or for myself.

Fear was a dark and sticky world. Once you got there, it was hard
to leave. It clung to you and didn’t let you go.

I broke her hold on me as I flopped down on the bed. I stared up
at the ceiling and blew out my breath. Brielle did the same, her elbow resting
next to mine.

I closed my eyes and allowed myself to imagine what my life would
be like if I said yes. What if I didn’t go back to Jacobson’s Designs? And what
if I didn’t take a job at the local grocery store that seemed to always shove a
Now Hiring flyer into my hand every time I left?

“Can you see it?” she asked.

I peeked over at her and then shrugged. “What am I supposed to
see?”

“Maggie,” she groaned as she grabbed a pillow and whacked me with
it. “You’re impossible.”

I shielded my face from any further attacks. Thankfully, my
sadness had erupted into giggles. I’d cried so much over Sean, I didn’t think I
could do it again.

Brielle must have grown tired of me and scooted to lean against my
headboard. I rolled onto my side and propped my head up with my hand as I drew
circles on the comforter in front of me.

I glanced up at her. “Okay. Tell me your plan, and I’ll tell you
if you’re crazy or not.”

A slow smile began to spread across her lips as she leaned forward
and rubbed her hands together.

I knew I should have taken her excitement as a warning sign. A
big, blinking neon-red sign that said Run Now. But I didn’t.

After all, what other plan did I have?

I’d already messed up my life so much, what was another few years
traveling down the wrong path? At least this time, it would only be me.

This time, I wouldn’t have a deadweight named Sean around my neck
telling me I wasn’t good enough for anything.

I was starting my new life with someone who was telling me I could
do it, and that was heads above where I’d been before. If Brielle was excited
and confident, I’d lean on that for a while.

I was desperate. So, for right now, I’d play along.

 

⭐ TWO Books in this bundle were USA Today Bestselling Books!

A NINE book series for ONE price! (Plus, the FREE ebook of book 1 of the spinoff series)

I have a secret crush on my best friend's grumpy older brother, but he doesn't know I exist. Last night, I was sleeping on the couch when he came home drunk, and tried to sit on me.

I scrambled to stand only to have him mistake me for someone else before he wrapped his arms around me and buried his face in my neck.

When he asked me if I forgave him, all I could whisper was, "Yes," before he passed out on the couch. I had no where else to sleep but in his bed.

This morning, he doesn't seem to remember what happened last night. His piercing blue eyes stare down at me as he whispers, "Why were you in my bed?"

Continue reading The Magnolia Inn if you like:  

  • Best Friend's Brother
  • Redemptive Hero
  • Heroine Starting Over
  • Small Town
  • Force Proximity

"Grabs you right from the beginning. Great characters, sweet story showing the kind of baggage the all of us carry around and try to overcome. You can with supportive friends." --⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader

"I love finding a new author that can make me laugh and cry! This book hit all my feel good points. I usually go for horror and dark, but every once in awhile I need something to cleanse my soul and this book definitely did that for me. Thanks Anne-Marie." --⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader

"I really enjoyed this warm cozy story. I felt connected to the characters as their story unfolded. I recommend reading this book on a day you have time because you won't want to put it down." --⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reader

WARNING: Each series contains books that you can't put down. 

INCLUDED BOOKS

  • The Magnolia Inn
  • A Magnolia Homecoming
  • A Magnolia Friendship
  • Magnolia at Midnight
  • A Magnolia Wedding
  • A Magnolia Move-in
  • A Magnolia Adventure
  • A Magnolia Christmas
  • A Magnolia Kiss

Return and Refund Policy

All sales are final.

There are no refunds given on digital products.

Any personalized paperbacks are non-refundable.

7 day full refund for un-personalized paperbacks that are in the condition that they were shipped in.

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