In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love by Beth Ciotta Read Free Book Online

Book: In the Mood for Love by Beth Ciotta Read Free Book Online
Authors: Beth Ciotta
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
her mind worked. “That wasn’t a declaration of love.”
    “Thank God.” She was gawking at him, but she’d tempered her breathing. Her mind was racing. He could see that. No secret, they mixed like oil and water. She narrowed her eyes. “What do you get out of it?”
    “Aside from hot sex on a regular basis?” Aside from a companion to fill the void in my life? “A mother for Ben and Mina.”
    “I don’t want to be a mom.”
    “Then go back to Canada or purchase a husband on Craigslist.” Okay. That was harsh. But Harper pushed his buttons. Nothing was ever easy with this woman. Marrying the first time had been a breeze. So perfect. Then again, he and Paula had been head over heels in love.
    Harper snatched her phone from the leather-topped, black lacquered coffee table—another Rocky score. She scanned her texts, probably hoping her firm had sent a retraction, but not seeing one. “Bastards.” She massaged her chest, breathed slow and deep.
    “Don’t overthink it, Harper. Bottom line, we’ll both benefit. Think of it as a business deal. We can work out details and guidelines later.” He glanced at his watch. As much as he wanted to stay, he needed to go. “The kids—”
    “Are waiting.”
    “You okay?”
    “Hunky-dory.”
    They engaged in a stare-down that rocked Sam to his core, amplified by a dose of déjà vu. As if they’d gone this marriage route before—together—which they hadn’t.
    The air crackled. That was familiar ground. Intense sexual sparks that often prompted sex. Only this time there was something more. That nagging hint of something deeper.
    She didn’t move. Maybe she was waiting for him to take back the marriage offer.
    He didn’t.
    “Think it over,” Sam said as he turned toward the door. “Let me know.”
    He walked out into the night, breathed the fresh country air. His whirling thoughts settled the farther he got from the house. His pulse rate doubled. Holy shit. He’d just proposed marriage to the most vexing woman he’d ever met—a woman with kick . Two steps from his pickup truck, his phone pinged—an incoming text from Harper.
    YES.

FIVE
    Sun streaked through the lacy mint-green curtains of Harper’s bedroom. Those same curtains fluttered a ghostly dance, compliments of the morning breeze blowing through the partially opened panes.
    Groggy from a restless night, she kicked aside her rumpled blankets and hugged a pillow while gazing across the room at the two windows facing Fox Lane. According to legend, Mary Rothwell had sat in front of those windows every day, for hours on end, waiting for a glimpse of her husband, Captain Joseph Rothwell. Even though she’d been told he’d gone missing in action, she believed with all her heart he’d find his way home. To her. She’d died. Waiting.
    Harper remembered the first time she’d heard that story. A native of Toronto, Canada, she used to pop into the U.S. on breaks from the university. Sometimes she and her schoolmates would drive down to New York City—a weekend of shopping and theater in the Big Apple. Sometimes just over the border to Vermont for a spontaneous ski trip. A few of those trips had landed her in Sugar Creek. She’d heard about the haunted Rothwell Farm from the proprietor of a bed-and-breakfast on her initial visit. The sad, romantic tale had seeped into Harper’s being, and years later when she’d been looking for a vacation home, a place to retreat and rejuvenate far from the chaos of L.A., she’d thought of Sugar Creek. She’d never dreamed the Rothwell Farm would be available, but it was. And—bonus—it had been a steal. She hadn’t cared that it was rundown or that there was a dogged depression associated with the house. This house had history and surely some of the residents’ emotions had seeped into the walls and floorboards over the decades. Maybe the house had never recovered from Mary’s sad tale because no one stayed long enough to imbue the walls and floorboards with

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