The Professor Woos The Witch

Page 43

At least there appeared to be some hope for a future for them if things went well. Cole seemed to be willing to entertain the idea of staying in Nocturne Falls if that was the case. But that was kind of a double-edged sword. If she wanted him around, she was going to have to make him fall for her. Make him want to stay.

She stared at herself in the bathroom mirror. “I’m not sure I need that pressure.”

She looked down at her cat. Pumpkin was curled up on top of the hamper lid, a place she could reach only by jumping onto the toilet seat first. “What do you think, Fatness Everdeen? Is Cole worth the effort?”

But Pandora didn’t need Pumpkin’s opinion to formulate her answer. Deep in her heart of hearts, Pandora wanted to love again. She still wanted the white-picket-fence life. A big comfortable house with a tire swing hanging from one of the trees in the backyard. A wonderful husband who was as crazy in love with her as she was with him. Rambunctious, smiling kids who would make too much noise and draw her Mother’s Day cards on construction paper and give her gray hair and laugh lines.

But that dream required commitment. And she was scared spitless of going through the same kind of hurt and pain she’d endured with Ren. Right next to the part of her that wanted that dream, however, was a part of her that also wondered if finding a new love might heal a lot of her lingering pain.

But was Cole that guy? Was anyone?

Cole was tempting on so many levels. He was smart, and she loved smart. He was handy, and wow, that was hot. Physically, there was no question he was her type. That lanky, casually fit guy had always been her go-to dream man. Add to that Cole’s piercing eyes and sexy-geeky glasses, and she was a goner.

And that was before she factored in the part about him being a familiar.

A man capable of fixing both her heart and her magic.

She leaned her forehead against the mirror. She had to give it a shot, didn’t she? The rewards outweighed the risk.

She hoped.

Pumpkin jumped down and wound around her legs, making a tiny meow that was precursor to the big song and dance that would follow if dinner didn’t appear shortly.

Pandora pointed down the hall. “Kitchen.”

Pumpkin didn’t need to be told twice. She scampered off.

“That’s right,” Pandora said. “Burn off some of the calories you’re about to eat.”

She followed Pumpkin into the kitchen and opened a can of diet cat food while Pumpkin went into her frantic “I’m near death with hunger” meowing.

“All right, already.” Pandora put the dish on the floor and picked up the old one to put in the sink. Pumpkin fell on the food with all the grace and etiquette of a prison inmate.

The doorbell rang, and a second later, the door opened and a familiar voice called out, “Pandy?”

“Marigold, hey. I’m in the kitchen.” Pandora ran water in Pumpkin’s old food dish and let it soak.

“Hey there.” Marigold came in with a pretty bouquet in her hands.

“Hey there, yourself.” Pandora leaned against the counter. “What brings you by?”

She held up the flowers. “Deliveries.”

“I thought you had someone to do those.”

“I do, but it’s Sunday. I close at five, and this one’s for you.”

“Really?” Pandora lifted her brows in surprise, then realized who they must be from. “Let me guess. Ivan sent them.”

Marigold frowned and set them on the counter. “I didn’t know he was in town. And no, these aren’t from him.”

Pandora reached over and grabbed the card.

Thanks for giving me a second chance.


She glanced at her sister. “This is unexpected.”

Marigold grinned. “He likes you.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“You don’t seem impressed.”

“It’s not that, the flowers are really sweet. It’s cool that he came in to your shop and got them, but—”

“He didn’t come in. The order was called in via Floraline. I was the closest fulfillment center to your address. Still, he had them sent, so same gesture. Just a little less personal. What was the but for?”

“It’s just…I don’t know. Long story.” She stuck the card back in the flowers and opened the fridge. “You want a Coke?”

“No, thanks, I have to swing by Mom’s and pick up Saffie before the meeting. I can’t stay long. You still bringing Kaley?”

Pandora grabbed a Coke for herself and popped the top. The caffeine was a necessity at the moment. “Yes.”

“I’m glad you and Cole worked things out, because I really like him. He’s cute and smart and has the tightest little—”

“You already read the card, didn’t you?” She watched her sister as she took a long drink of the icy soda.

“Maybe.” Marigold toyed with a loose blonde curl. “What second chance are you giving him? Is this about him moving back to North Carolina?”

Pandora swallowed the mouthful of Coke. “You’re so nosy.”

“I’m your sister. It’s my job.”

“It’s about us going to dinner tomorrow night.”

“Ooh. Dinner. Sounds fancy.”

Pandora laughed. “You’re just saying that because you’re a single mother who hasn’t been out on a date since forever.”

Marigold cocked an eyebrow. “Says the woman who hasn’t been on a date since high school. At least I’ve had sex.”

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