Please give a warm welcome to Rylee Harper from Sweetheart Cottage by Mindy Hardwick today as we sit down and see what makes him/her tick.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not saving (the world, clients, your mate)? I love to sew with the gals in the sewing circle. We’ve been working on vintage aprons and I’m using gingham material I found in my grandmother’s sewing room.
What is it about your love interest Bryan that makes you crazy in a good way? Bryan Shuster used to work on cars with my Grandfather when I visited my Grandparents in the summer. I had such the big crush on him! Finally, the summer of my junior year he asked me out. Bryan knew me “when” and that can be both good and bad!
Do you sometimes want to strangle your writer? Thrash her/him to within an inch of their life? Make them do the stupid crap they makes you do? Ah….you know Mindy isn’t so bad. She gave me a great setting—Cranberry Bay is such a fun small town on the north Oregon Coast. And I love the cast of characters I get to play with—especially sixteen-year-old Maddie who is helping me find fun vintage treasures for the river front cottages!
Favorite food? Anything from Sasha’s bakery!!!
Tell me a little bit about your world. What are your greatest challenges in that world? Cranberry Bay is a small river town. As a child, I visited my Grandparents every summer and always felt safe from Dad’s gambling problems. The hardest thing about living in Cranberry Bay is it’s hard to keep secrets and my family has a big secret! (I can’t tell because that would destroy your reading experience!)
Describe yourself in four words. Independent, determined, creative, and hopeful
What do you do for a living? I am a decorator. I owned a very successful business in Vegas but my partner ran off with my fiancé and bankrupt the business. Now, I’m helping Bryan Shuster stage a set of six vintage river cottages and trying to get my feet back on the ground.
What do you fear the most? My father’s gambling debts which could lead him to prison or death.
Blurb: Can a bet to save a dying town bring two high school sweethearts together for a second chance at love? Self-reliant and determined never to fall in love again, Rylee Harper is traveling with her dog, Raisin, to Cranberry Bay, a small Oregon Coast town. Rylee intends to make friends with no one least they discover the family’s long-held secret. But when former high school sweetheart, Bryan Shuster, offers her a job staging his vintage river cottages, Rylee finds her guard softening. However, when Bryan’s plan threatens to unearth Rylee’s shameful family secret, will Rylee run away or will she trust Bryan with her heart and stay?
Genre: Sweet Contemporary romance
“Can you grab that bracket?” Rylee pointed to the windowsill as the ladder wobbled.
“I’ve got it.” Bryan picked up the hook, handed it to Rylee and wrapped his fingers around the steel ladder. His fingers brushed against her ankles, and he inhaled the familiar scent of her perfume, jasmine vanilla. He was transported to the summer nights they had snuggled in each other’s arms and listened to the summer concert series in the park.
“I’m just about done here.” Rylee placed the drill bit against the wall. As she stretched forward, her foot slipped, and she slid down two steps of the ladder toward Bryan.
“I’ve got you.” He wrapped his arms around her.
She squirmed around to face him. Her eyes widened, and her cheeks flushed. But she didn’t try to move out of his arms.
“That was a close one.” He drew light circles on her back. Bryan stared into Rylee’s eyes and swirled with emotions he’d spent years pushing away.
Rylee parted her mouth, and without thinking, Bryan lowered his face to touch her lips. But before he reached her, someone said: “Anyone here?”
Startled, Bryan broke away from Rylee. “Hey Dennis.” Bryan cleared his throat and tried to pretend he hadn’t just been caught kissing the girl of his long-ago summer childhood dreams.
Raisin shook himself and stood. He wandered to Dennis and nosed against his palm.
Dennis petted the dog and grinned. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt anything.”
“You’re not.” Rylee stepped away from Bryan. She smoothed her hands over her jeans. “What can we do for you? Would you like to see the cottages? They’re not quite ready, but we’d be happy to show you one or two.”
Rylee was talking so fast, Bryan couldn’t help but think she was just as nervous about being caught with her lips near Bryan’s as he had been. They were both grown adults, and yet something about kissing Rylee Harper made him feel sixteen again.