Page 25 of Suited for Love

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I grin. "You think so?"

"Oh, yeah. I'll be honest. I didn't think you could do it. A person can live here twenty years without accomplishing what you have today."

"I couldn't have done it without you."

She waves a hand dismissively. "All I did was give you some names and addresses of women to invite. You did the rest."

When she leaves, I lock the door, then sink onto the floor. Houdini leaps down from his shelf and comes over to rub against my legs.

"Hey there, buddy," I coo, stroking his fur. "Nice to see you're not a figment of my imagination. I thought I was going crazy there for a while." He purrs loudly, snuggling into my lap.

My cat. That’s what the mayor had said. She’d included me as a citizen of the town. My grand plan worked.

I can't believe how perfect the fundraiser went. Several designers donated to the silent auction. Stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces that I have no doubt went for astronomical amounts.

They wouldn't have donated pieces for Briony.

Oh, they may have donated pieces for some fundraiser she was organizing, but it would be for exposure and recognition. It wouldn't be forBriony.

But there's nothing to gain from donating to the town of Friendly, Georgia. They helped me because I'mme.Briony and hateful women like her may see me as a caterpillar, but that's not how anyone whomatterssees me.

And most importantly, it’s not how I see myself.

I want to find Tuck. I'm sure he's already heard about the fundraiser, even though it's only been a few minutes since everyone left. I glance at my watch. It's just after lunchtime. There are far too many hours until sunset.

And besides, it's about time we do things out in the light of day, where others can see us. There's no reason to hide on the rooftop anymore. The town has accepted me as one of their own. And Tuck has given up any designs he had on taking over my building.

It's time to be a couple. I touch my lips, still bruised from all the kissing from the night before.And the night before that…and the night before that…and the night before that…

Then again, maybe I'm not quite ready to leave Switzerland.

I look at Houdini. "What do you think? Should I wait until sunset? Or march over to Tuck's big ole' bucket of bait and plant a kiss on his lips?"

Houdini blinks his big, neon eyes slowly.

"Oh, look," I say innocently, finding the clasp to his collar and removing it. "Looks like you need a collar. As a resident of Friendly, I'm obligated to take you to the Keeper of Collars immediately."

I walk into The Bait Bucket with Houdini cradled against my chest. A teenager looks up from the counter, a goofy grin on his face. Hastily, he stuffs his phone in his back pocket, patches of red fanning out across his cheeks.

Busted.I wonder if his mom and uncle know about the girl he's texting. He obviously has feelings for her.

I smile warmly. "Hi, Jared, I don't think we've officially met yet. I'm Margo, from next door."

He nods. "Mom is excited that you're selling her stuff in the store."

"I'm grateful she's allowing me to carry her designs. Your mom is really talented." I bob my head toward Houdini. "Is your uncle around?"

He shakes his head. "Uncle Tuck went to the shrimper to pick up some more bait."


"Shrimp boat," he explains.

"Ah, well, Houdini needs a collar. Do you know where Tuck keeps them?"

Jared reaches into a box and pulls one out. I place Houdini on the counter so he can get his new collar. He patiently waits for Jared to snap it around his neck. Then he leaps from the counter and dashes to the door. He waits, poised to pounce.

I tilt my head, watching him. "What is he doing?"