The Truth About Lilly
by Christy McKee
Lilly Talbot never imagined she would be starting her life over again. Losing her good name for something she didn’t do has driven her to move into an old lake house she inherited in Vermont. Upon arrival, she is shocked. Half the roof is about to slide into Lake Champlain. Even more upsetting, the man who can fix it will only agree if she trades him room and board for his labor. What will the good people of Haley think of her sharing a house with the handsome bachelor?
A man with a past…
Connor “Mac” McQueen, once one of the infamous Whiz Kids of Wall Street, spent three years in prison for insider trading. Only one thing sustained him during his time inside, the thought of owning Point Cottage, a home he’d fallen in love with years ago. He plans to turn the house into a stunning showcase for his eco-friendly home construction business.
Secrets and lies…
Now someone’s trying to drive Lilly from her home. Is it someone from her past? Mac has secrets of his own-- that could ruin lives if revealed. But if Lilly and Mac are to have a future together they must first delve into the past for answers and accept some difficult truths about each other. Only then, will they know if true love is in their hearts.
The timer buzzed in Lilly’s pocket, signaling her sticky buns were done. She picked up the carafe of coffee and trotted back down the stairs and into the kitchen. Mac was coming into the back hall at the same time she grabbed two hot pads and pulled the pan from the oven. Her mind was scrambling with a proposal to alleviate the grocery bills. Mac's arrival couldn't have been more perfect.
"Damn, Lilly. You are going to totally ruin me for any other woman," he joked. "Something that smells this good has to be packing major cholesterol."
This was going to be too easy, she thought. Maybe that old adage was true—the way to a man's brain was through his stomach. No, that wasn't it. It was heart. The way to a man's heart was through his stomach. Well she didn't want Mac's heart, only some extra cash for groceries.
"Give me just a second and I'll fix you up with a plate." She bent down to a cupboard containing her paper plates and napkins. Pink and green floral would have to do. "How many men are trouncing around up there on the roof?" It sounded like an army of boot stomping line dancers.
Mac put two sample books on the island. "Four guys. Why?"
She put out five paper plates and matching napkins. "I'm giving each of them a sticky bun."
"Aw, Lilly, you don't have to feed them." His eyes locked on the pan. "That only leaves eight for us,” he whined. “Besides, the guy's hands will get sticky."
"Is that the best you can come up with, sticky hands?" At that moment, the six foot four, tree of a man, sounded like a greedy five year old boy. Not that he looked like one. Not with his powerful legs inside his worn jeans or his broad, muscled chest covered in a body hugging navy t-shirt. What are you thinking? You have a business relationship with this man, nothing else. Get your mind back on the issue at hand—groceries.
"I will make these for you every Saturday morning for the next month." She plopped a bun onto a paper plate and slid it across the island to him along with a few paper napkins. She watched as he took his first bite of sticky gooeyness. His eyes closed and he hummed with pleasure.
"What do you want in return?" he asked with a mouth full of cinnamon and brown sugar. "I don't even care. Name it and it's yours."
Lilly was quite accustomed to pressing Atlanta merchants for costly items to be donated to her charity silent auctions for the hospital and research, but this was her first time bartering for herself. "It appears you like my cooking." She plopped a second gooey bun on his empty plate. "What if we worked out a trade? I'll cook whatever you like for breakfast and dinner if you'll buy the groceries. Just food. No cleaning supplies or any non food items."
"Deal," Mac said, wiping his sticky fingers on the pink and green floral napkin. "Tonight, how about meatloaf with mashed potatoes. Tomorrow, fried chicken and biscuits. Do you have a recipe for pecan pie?"
She couldn't help but smile at his Christmas morning enthusiasm when it came to choosing his meals for the week. Truth was, she did make a killer pecan pie.
"I forgot to mention it to you last night," Mac said. "Saturday is the annual fall arts festival on the square. It's really a big deal. Always well attended. You might make a few sales if that's what you're looking to do. If you're not interested in selling, it would still give you some great exposure. The booths are already assigned but if you want one, I can set you up."
That was three days away. Should she try to sell something? Lord knew she needed the money, but she had to add to her inventory for the exhibition, not deplete it. "I'll think about it."
Lilly put a stack of floral napkins on the tray beside the plates and headed to the back yard. She set the tray on the picnic table and turned to call the men down for a snack. Two of them were already on the ladder. Soon she was surrounded by four big men, enthusiastically enjoying their treats.
Mac had followed her outside. "First day on the job and you're spoiling my men already."
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Christy McKee began her career in TV news and eventually found her way into advertising and finally fiction. She believes a good story should be about characters who win your heart, sometimes move you to tears and occasionally make you laugh. As a reader, Christy hopes you'll be swept into her characters' lives enjoy getting to know them, experience the challenges they endure and be with them when they come out on the other side.
Christy will be awarding a $40 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host. You can find the tour stops HERE.