Page 14 of Suited for Love

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Ihavetoconfessthat there is one area where Friendly does impress. Sunrises. The sky is on fire with shades of orange and peach and pink.

Most of my inventory has been placed on shelves, racks, and mannequins now. But the display window remains empty. I've been waiting for inspiration to strike. And now it has.

I’ll curate a Sunrise Collection for the window! Several of the designers I've handpicked for Sticks & Stones work with these color combinations.

As I walk along the beach, I'm careful to avoid fishing lines. There's only one fisherman today, and though he's an attractive man who appears to be in his late thirties or early forties, he's not Tuck.

I'm a little disappointed about that.

And I hate myself for it. I shouldn'twantto see him again. And I don't. I absolutely do not.

Except that I kind of do.

The question iswhy?

I still have the hoodie he loaned me, so I have an excuse to pop by hisole' bucket of bait.But just picturing his smirking face as he said those words makes me see red all over again.

After my anger faded, I spent longer than I'd care to admit replaying the meeting in my mind.

Who am I kidding?It's been several days and the cut on my foot is nearly healed, but I still can't stop thinking about it.

He let me go on and on about the town, and even listened to me complain about the "mayor's kid," knowing full well that I had no clue who he was.

That wasn't exactlyniceof him, but can I really blame him for that? It's not like he coerced me into running my mouth.

And he certainly had no obligation to patch me up, loan me a sweatshirt, or carry me home. Why had he done all that? Was it just so he could gloat when I found out who he was?

Maybe. But somehow, I don't think so. I think he was being genuinely kind.

But then he'd ruined it all at the end, mocking me.The joke's on you, Margo.Hardee. Har. Har.

As I'm walking back up the dune, I cross paths with a pretty blonde with the cutest little dog. What really catches my eye are their accessories. The dog has the sweetest little booties to protect her feet and a matching collar and leash. The pattern is similar to my favorite skirt—the one that reminds me of a Funfetti cake. It may even be the same fabric. In any case, it's a very on-trend pattern for spring.

But what really amazes me is that the woman's floppy sun hat and tote bag both match, too.

It's the sort of thing that can teeter the line between tacky and stylish, but in this case, it's done masterfully.

I need it in my store. It'll sell like hotcakes.

"Excuse me, sorry to bother, but I'm dying to know where you purchased those accessories?" The dog wags her tail and I bend to pet her.

The woman's skin turns a lovely shade of pink. "I made them."

"You're kidding! Do you sell them anywhere?"

"I have an Etsy store." She reaches into a bag and hands me a business card.

I read it aloud. "Doggy Designs by Hazel."

"I also design for cats," she says quickly. "In fact, my best seller is a bowtie collar for cats. It went viral a few years ago and still sells very well.”

An image of a black and white cat floats to the surface of my mind. “I remember that! The cat was in a firefighter’s wedding, right?”

Hazel’s blush deepens. “That’s right.”

"I love it." I hold out my hand and introduce myself. "I'm Margo Sterling. I own a new shop in town. I'd be very interested in selling your designs."