Page 2 of Suited for Love

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Briony runs over to chat with the instructor and I take a quick peek at my phone. There are a few texts from my best friend and roommate, Cara, and a missed call from a number I don't recognize. They left a voicemail. I'm about to tap the button to hear it when Briony waves an arm to get my attention.

Sorry, mystery caller. Briony beckons.Hastily shoving my phone into my bag, I give her my full attention.

"Margo," she says, "first thing tomorrow, I'd like to see you in my office to talk shop."

I nod like a bobblehead before I can rein in my excitement. "Talk shop" is one of Briony's catchphrases, and she never uses it with junior buyers. She just makes demands that we eagerly follow.

This can only mean one thing: after nine years, I'm finally being promoted to senior buyer. When she turns away, I'm tempted to jump with joy.

If my arms and legs didn't feel like Jell-O, I totally would.

Chapter 2


Theorangeglowofthe rising sun casts shadows on my bedroom wall. I roll over to hit the snooze button, only to see that the alarm isn't set to ring for another hour.

Why am I awake?I usually sleep like the dead.


Ah. There's the culprit.

The person ringing my doorbell is either very brave—or very stupid. I'm not known for being Mr. Brightside first thing in the morning.Or ever.

Bleary-eyed, I force myself out of bed. Sliding my feet into flip-flops, I stumble down the narrow staircase that separates my apartment from the shop.

Can't beat the morning commute.But I'm also never really off the clock.The doorbell rings again, proving my point.

The stairs lead into the cramped breakroom at the back of the shop. Kayaks line the walls, making the tiny room even more claustrophobic. Turning sideways and sucking in my stomach, I squeeze between a giant sea kayak and a kitchen table.

After running the gauntlet, I sprint down the center aisle, past shelves of fishing lures, tackle, and hooks, to answer the door. Through the large display window, I see the chief of police, "Coop" Cooper, with his face pressed against the glass.

He's on duty, but only a local would know it. He's wearing his standard uniform: khaki pants, muck boots, and a Hawaiian-print shirt. His long, gray hair is tied back, same as always. When he's not working, he tops off the look with a floppy fishing hat adorned with gold fishhooks.

This morning, a blue ballcap is perched atop his head, emblazoned with the words FRIENDLY PD.

And tucked under his right arm is an enormous orange tabby cat.

I crack the door and squint against the first beams of sunlight. "Do you know what time it is?"

He shields his eyes and looks toward the sun, as if gauging the time of day by its position. "Seems to be morning."

"Come back later," I snarl, attempting to close the door. Coop blocks it with a booted foot.

"No can do, Keeper of Collars. Houdini needs your services."

Grumbling under my breath, I flip the cardboard sign in the window from "closed" to "open." There's no use trying to go back to bed now. The Bait Bucket may as well open for business.

Coop sits the cat on the floor and they both follow me to the checkout counter. Next to the register is a box of break-away collars. I scoop Houdini from the ground and set him on the counter.

Plucking a collar out of the box, I snap it around his neck. He shakes his head and the metallic bell tinkles melodically. Then he stares at me, his neon-yellow eyes expectant. With a sigh, I reach into another box for a cat treat and toss it to him. He gobbles it up and leaps from the counter, hunting for a stray fishing lure to bat around.

I turn my attention back to Coop. "The town needs to find another Keeper of Collars. I declined the position, remember?"

He shrugs. "You were appointed by the mayor. You'll have to take it up with her."

I blow out an exasperated puff of air. I've been taking it up with her since the day of my so-called appointment—more than five years ago."She's the most unreasonable woman in Georgia."