The Professor Woos The Witch

Page 59

He clutched at his chest and pretended to be wounded. “Geeks are so under-appreciated.”

“Now, now.” Her gaze took on a wicked glint as she dipped her head to meet his mouth. “Let me show you how much I appreciate you.”

The next morning, Pandora caught her mom just as she was unlocking the door to Ever After. “Hey Mom.”

Corette turned. “Good morning, darling. On your way to a showing?”

“Nope. I’m on my way here, to talk to you. I do have a showing but not until later. You don’t have any brides first thing, do you?” It was a quarter to ten, the same time Corette opened the store every morning.

“I have one at ten thirty. Half an hour enough time? I need to pull dresses for her, so that’s the best I can do.”

“It’s plenty. And I can talk while you get things set up.”

“Come on in.” Corette pushed the door open.

Pandora walked in and took a breath as her mother locked the door behind them. A faint floral scent always lingered in the air, but beyond that, there was something so fresh and hopeful about her mother’s shop. All those wedding dresses on the racks and displayed on the mannequins just waiting for the right bride. Someday… But maybe not any day soon. Not with Lila in town.

Corette flipped the lights on, and the crystal chandeliers and overheads brought the place to life. Fresh flowers, supplied by Marigold’s shop, naturally, adorned the front table. Everything was done in soft, flattering pastels, allowing the brides to be front and center.

“I need to turn the sound system on and get the coffee on. Will you keep an eye out for Delaney? She should be by any moment with today’s refreshments.”

“Sure thing.” Delaney Ellingham, recent wife of Hugh Ellingham, who was one of the vampires who’d founded Nocturne Falls, provided the sweets that Corette set out for her customers every day. Pandora smiled. No wonder Ever After was so popular. Who wouldn’t want to shop here?

“Thanks. Back in a jiff.” Corette disappeared into the offices.

A minute later, easy, romantic jazz filled the store.

A minute after that, Delaney knocked on the front door. She cradled a large pastry box in one arm, the words Delaney’s Delectables printed in whimsical script on the top.

Pandora unlocked the door and let her in. “Morning.”

“Hey, you’re not Corette.” She grinned. “How are you?”

“Good, you?”

“Fabulous, thanks. Here are today’s goodies.”

Pandora took the box. A delicious aroma wafted up at her. “What’s in here?”

“Mini coconut cupcakes, lemon petit fours, frosted sugar cookies and white chocolate buttercream truffles.”

Pandora stared at the box. “I think I became a diabetic just listening to that. Although I’m a little sad there are no brownies in that mix.”

Delaney popped her eyebrows and frowned. “Talk to your mother. She won’t allow anything that could stain the dresses. No chocolate, no red velvet, no berries. You get the idea.”

“Makes sense.” Pandora put the box on the front table.

“I’m glad you’re here,” Delaney said. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you. I have a friend who’s interested in moving here, but she doesn’t have a ton of money. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. What I mean is Roxi’s not vampire rich. Although with the way her books are selling, who knows? Anyway, she’s got plenty of money, but I don’t think she wants to blow it all on a house. Is there much on the market in the way of starter homes?”

“Wait, back up. Her books?”

“She’s a romance author! Roxi St. James. Isn’t that cool?”

“Wow, very. I wonder if Willa knows her. Willa loves romance novels.”

“I’ll ask Willa next time I see her. I told Roxi this place could be really good for her. If you can’t be creative in this town, you just can’t be creative.”

“I’m sure I can find her something.” Pandora pulled a card from her purse. “Give her my info and have her call me. Is she a supernatural, by any chance?”

Delaney took the card. “Nope. Regular old human. But she’s fresh out of a divorce and looking for a new start.”

“I’m happy to help.”

“Thanks.” Delaney tucked the card into her purse, then put her hand on the door. “Talk to you soon.”

Pandora locked the door behind her just as Corette walked out. “Was that Delaney?”

“Yep, and the box she dropped off is on the table here.”

“Thank you.” She clasped her hands in front of her. “Now, what can I do for my favorite redhead?”

Pandora took a breath. “Cole’s ex-wife showed up two days ago, and every fiber of my witchy being tells me she’s up to something.”

Corette blinked once, then her eyes narrowed. “Did she come to try to get Cole or Kaley back?”

“No idea. Maybe both. Kaley called her, which she says is the reason she came, but Mom, I don’t trust her. She came to see me at my office yesterday right after she paid Cole a visit. And somehow, during the course of that visit to me, she got me to agree to talk to Kaley about her taking my place as Kaley’s mentor. Cole and I decided last night that we weren’t going to say anything to Kaley until I talked to you about it today.”

“What exactly happened?”

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