Jane Austen Girl

Jane Austen Girl by Inglath Cooper Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Jane Austen Girl by Inglath Cooper Read Free Book Online
Authors: Inglath Cooper
Tags: Romance, Contemporary
under the warm spray for a good twenty minutes, her feet finally coming back to life along with the rest of her.
    She dug some running clothes out of her suitcase, opting for comfort over style, and then left Sebbie still sleeping while she went in search of food, heading out of the Inn and walking the two blocks that led to Main Street. At almost four o’clock, the sun was still hot so she pulled off her running shirt and tied it around her waist, the white tank top she’d put on underneath much more pleasant.
    She dropped her head back and breathed deep. Amazing that a place could have its own scent, Timbell Creek’s signature blend of freshly mowed grass and honeysuckle. She thought she could identify it anywhere. These streets were familiar to her, too. She’d once known them as well as she now knew Manhattan. Better, actually.
    Maple led to Sycamore. Sycamore to Hampton. And then across to Main where she turned right and headed toward the center of town, hoping Angell’s Bakery still sat in the same place. With the smell of fresh baked bread, she grew hopeful. But the name had changed. It was now the Maple Leaf Bread Company. The aroma promised good things though, so she went inside and stood at the front counter, reading the menu behind the register.
    A teenage boy with a nice smile popped out of the back, wiping his hands on his white apron. “Can I help you, ma’am?”
    “Yes,” she said. “I’ll have a tomato and Havarti on rye with a little mustard.”
    “Anything to drink?”
    “Iced tea, please.”
    “Sweet tea?”
    “Why not?” she conceded.
    The front door opened, the bell hanging above it jangling once. Grier glanced over her shoulder at the tall blonde woman who’d just come in.
    “Earnest,” she said, “you got any more of that cinnamon raisin bread y'all made up yesterday?”
    “Just baked some fresh loaves, Ms. Randall.”
    At the name, Grier’s ears perked up, and she gave the woman a sideways assessment. Darryl Lee’s Ms. Randall?
    The woman turned and looked at Grier, her smile wide and white. Grier smiled back, trying not to show her curiosity, then glanced away.
    But she reached out to press a hand to Grier’s arm. “Oh. My. Goodness. Are you the lady doing auditions for that show tomorrow?”
     “Ah, yes,” Grier said. “I am.”
    “Well I sure never expected to run into you here.” She stuck out a hand that featured perfectly manicured nails. “I’m Priscilla Randall.”
    “Grier McAllister.”
    “So nice to meet you.” She leaned in and lowered her voice to a whisper. “My daughter is auditioning. Poor baby, her daddy is just dead set against it. I’ve been tellin’ him what an exceptional opportunity this is for her. She’s always been a bit of a wallflower, and to tell you the truth, I was more than a little surprised when she agreed to put herself in the running.”
    “Ah, well,” Grier said, not sure what else to say.
    “Any tips you could throw her way?” she asked, sounding hopeful.
    Grier shrugged, forced a smile. “I’m sure everything will be covered tomorrow.”
    Earnest returned from the back with her toasted tomato and Havarti sandwich. She pulled some money from her pocket and paid him, a little uncomfortable under Priscilla Randall’s continuing stare.
    “I own the beauty shop just across the street,” Priscilla said. “Not to be nosy, but there was a rumor circulatin’ there today that your mama is Maxine McAllister. I said a woman who looks like you couldn’t possibly have a mama who. . .” She stopped there, as if suddenly thinking better of the remainder of her comment.
    For a moment, Grier could think of absolutely nothing to say, her mind a complete blank. She had forced herself not to think about her mama on the drive down since she had no intention of seeing her while she was here. A wave of shame rose up inside her for the fact that her mother had chosen men and booze over her.
    On the heels of that old shame, though, came

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