Falling for Grace

Falling for Grace

Maddie James

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PUBLISHED BY: Turquoise Morning
ISBN:
PUBLICATION DATE: 2010
WORD COUNT: 55000
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 3 3 3
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Romantic Fiction
KEYWORDS: contemporary, romance, comedy, small town, ballet dancer
 

EBOOKS BY Turquoise Morning

EBOOKS BY Maddie James

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Maddie James/2010

“Okay, Sleeping Beauty, let’s get this over with.”

 
Carson whispered the words ever so softly because he had no desire to wake Gracie from her more-than-tipsy state as he carried her through his bar, ascended the back stairway, stepped through her apartment, and gently deposited her on her antique four-poster bed. Constance had made sure Gracie’s apartment was unlocked before she’d left when it became obvious that the women were not going to budge her from the small nest she’d made at the bar. Luckily, it had been a slow night and Gracie hadn’t made a nuisance of herself while she chugged martinis and slam-dunked olives into glasses. She was a quiet drunk, lost in her own little world. Her friends were pretty much amazed, he knew, and when he realized that they were just letting her get drunk, he even questioned why they would do that.
 
“Do her some good,” Constance had said.
 
“She needs to loosen up a bit,” Kelly chimed in.
 
“She’ll be old before her time if she doesn’t get out and live a little,” Ellen added.
 
“Been doing nothing but running that shop for ten years,” Wanda said. “Shame for a young woman like that to waste away.”
 
“She needs a life,” Bets told him.
 
“She needs a man,” Constance said matter-of-factly.
 
And when those same women just abandoned her, just left her there for him to take care of, he was at first flabbergasted, then furious, then nervous, and then finally extremely curious about the entire situation.
 
Of course, then it dawned on him.
 
The old biddies were matchmaking, pure and simple.
 
They wanted him to be Gracie’s man.
 
It was a good thing he had his head screwed on good and tight and he could see through their ploy. He just hoped Gracie did. He sure as hell would hate for her to slip into their matchmaking scheme, and fall in love with him, only for him to break her heart.
 
Because no matter what the Happy Hour Honeys were thinking, Carson Price was not the man for Gracie Hart.
 
Trying to dismiss all that from his head, Carson glanced down at Gracie snuggling into her pillow. She’d curled slightly onto her side after he’d laid her there, drawing her knees up and tucking her hands up next to her chin. Strands of her dark, silky hair had partially fallen from the clip which held it in its usually neat French roll at the back of her head. The clip looked to be a little askew and uncomfortable, forcing her head into a crooked position on the pillow.
 
Contemplating for a second, Carson placed one knee on the bed and reached for the clip. Carefully, he removed it, trying not to tangle and pull her hair. The remainder of her silky mane tumbled about her shoulders. For a second or two, he just stood over her, watching the light from her bedside table lamp dance over the shining highlights of her hair. She moaned and rolled over and Carson moved back. Twisting to the other side now, Gracie’s hair fell completely over her face.
 
Without thinking, he leaned forward again and brushed the locks away from her face, smoothing them back over the pillow. Her hair was soft and so was her cheek where his knuckles briefly touched her.
 
That was where he made his mistake. And he knew it immediately. That slight touch, that ever-so-gentle caress of his knuckles against her dewy skin and the feel of her silky tresses on the pads of his fingers, sent one mega-warning spiral into his gut.
 
A deep spiral that jack-knifed and plummeted into somewhere he’d never felt before.
 
He had to get out of here.
 
Abruptly, he pulled back, placed the clip on the bedside table, and reached for the switch on the lamp. But something stopped him and he glanced back once more.
 
Oh hell...
 
With a few jerky and swift movements, he moved to her feet and removed her sandals, careful not to linger over the feel of her foot in his hands, the delicate curve of her arch, or the blaze red toenails which always took him a bit by surprise. Then he covered her with an afghan lying at the foot of her bed.
 
There. At least she looked a bit more comfortable.
 
For the second time, he reached for the lamp, his hand slowing as he glanced at the pictures on her bedside table he hadn’t really noticed earlier. Two antique, Victorian-style frames were placed on either side of the lamp. Not sure why, he bent closer to look into one, and then the other.
 
The first picture was of a woman, a ballet dancer, her hair swept off her face and on top of her head in a tight knot. Her legs were long, her body graceful, her chin tilted high into the air striking an almost regal pose, her arms perfectly placed as she stood in some dancer’s position of which he had no clue of the name.
 
The ballerina, he was certain, was Gracie. A younger Gracie.
 
That would probably explain the satin ballet slippers placed strategically before the picture.
 
The other picture was of Gracie and a man. Which despite the statements he’d heard earlier this evening, required no explanation at all.
 
The look between them told all he needed to know. The two were obviously very much in love.
 
 
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