As the owner of a successful florist shop, Khloe Harper trusts her instincts. She has a strong bond with her family and friends, but after being betrayed by her last love, she’s kept herself at arms’ length from romance. When dashing entertainment attorney Derek Thomas walks into her store, Khloe’s interest is piqued. What at first seems like a business relationship quickly turns into romance, and Derek slowly plucks away the petals she’s been hiding behind. Just as Khloe lets down her guard, she discovers that Derek may not be worthy of her love after all.
Frumpy Connie Albright has a faux fascination with an imaginary man named Walt, thinking that by sending herself flowers from him she’ll feel less out-of-place with the “mean girls” she works with. When she comes face to face with her possible prince charming and thinking she might have a happy ending, when a truth is revealed, she wonders if she’ll ever have a Cinderella story.
A recently widowed senior, Gabby Lewis, isn’t ready to give up on love—which means releasing herself from survivor’s guilt and taking a chance on finding happiness and companionship again. After signing up for an online dating site for senior citizens, much to her surprise, she’s matched with Harry, an energetic and loving man, who quickly eases himself into her heart. Will Gabby take the leap of falling in love again, knowing it’s possible to have two loves of her life?
As each woman’s story develops through flowers and cards sent from Khloe’s shop during the Fall months, they begin to learn that love can only truly blossom when you trust your heart.
Excerpt from the Book
Finding Charlie splayed across the kitchen floor was the most horrifying thing Gabriella had ever experienced. After an ambulance rushed her husband to the hospital, she sat by his side day and night, trying to be strong, hoping for a miracle that he’d recover. Four days later, the machines he’d been hooked up to loudly shrieked, and Gabby quickly ran to get a nurse. In what seemed like seconds, her life of forty-five years was over, and Charlie was dead. Having no other family, Gabby was alone. Though, thanks to her friends and a lot of prayers, she was growing stronger each day.
Before leaving to meet her Scrabble group for the second-to-last game of the year, she put on her black wool coat and checked herself in the mirror. She hadn’t worn the coat in years, but it was no longer snug, due to her weight loss, while grieving Charlie. Not too shabby, she thought, admiring her thin figure. Then, with her purse over her shoulder and a sweet potato bourbon Bundt cake in her hands, she headed out.
After making the fifteen-minute drive to the nearby church where the group met every other Tuesday, Gabby parked the car and looked at the white brick building, hit by the memories she had there. Aside from Charlie’s funeral, getting married and signing up to be part of the Scrabble group were two of the great ones. She’d made so many wonderful friends within the church, too. Gabby didn’t know how she would have made it these past few months without the church services or her friends by her side; somehow she was surviving, which she took to be a blessing. Without allowing her eyes to get misty, she turned off the car, reached for the cake, walked up the small pathway to the church, and entered through the light blue double doors. It was time to play Scrabble.
“The cake is served,” she told her friends as they each took a slice. Gabriella, the last one to sit at the square table, joined her friends Clara, Wilma, and Fern. “Well, what all did I miss?” she asked, reaching her hand into the silver bag that held the lettered Scrabble tiles.
“I was telling Clara and Wilma about my grandchildren coming to visit over the holidays. Apparently, my grandson wants me to meet his new girlfriend,” Fern said. At sixty-five, the same age as Gabby, Fern was a retired teacher. Her curly white hair was cut short, and she wore gold-rimmed glasses, which
she donned as more of a fashion statement than a tool to see. She’d been married to her husband, Bob, for thirty-four years, and had one son and two grandchildren. Fern’s family was her life. While at times she could be overly dramatic when she told stories, she was also one of the most honest friends Gabby had.
“That should be fun,” Clara replied, taking the bag from Gabby.
“Yes…I’m sure it will be,” she began, sounding hesitant. She placed her hands over her heart, adding, “I just don’t want him to get hurt again.”
“We know you don’t,” Gabby said. “How did they meet?” Gabby looked at her tiles, switching them around to see if she could make any words with them, but all Gabby could spell with what she had was a four-letter word: l-o-v-e.
When Fern didn’t reply after a few moments, Gabby, Clara, and Wilma looked at her quizzically.
“Oh, in a quite scandalous way,” Fern finally said in a whisper as she leaned in. “They met on the internet,” she said in a whisper, and then she shook her head. “I just can’t believe what this world’s coming to.”
“Oh, it can’t be that bad,” Wilma said with a laugh. “After all, like I told y’all, that’s how Frank met his new wife, on one of those dating websites.” Like Fern and Clara, Gabby widened her eyes, and Wilma continued. “Oh, don’t be so shocked. After all, he worked in the computer industry. While our marriage failed, our friendship didn’t. Besides, I’ve gained another friend in his new wife, Lady Bell…”
“You told us this before, but I forget. Is Lady Bell her real name?” Clara asked.
“It sure is,” Wilma said with a nod as she placed the letters c-o-u- p-l-e on the board. “That’ll be twenty-two points,” she said to Gabby, who was keeping score.
Wilma was in her late fifties, worked part-time at a women’s clothing store, and had been married to Frank, her second husband, for eleven years. Two years ago, on a random day when Wilma took him his forgotten lunch to a
construction site where he worked, she found him kissing a young brunette in the trailer. Instead of confronting him, she furiously drove home, thinking about how she would conduct herself that evening, and if she would confront him.
“The day I found out, I had Frank’s favorite dinner—chicken- fried steak and mashed potatoes—ready for him on their dining room table, then asked, ‘Have a good day, dear?’ and that’s when he placed his fork down and admitted everything, which explained what he’d been doing on the computer when he should’ve been in bed with me.” Gasps echoed around the table, but she shook her head.
“Believe me, I know how bad it sounds.” Wilma raised her shoulders, shrugging it off. “Anyway, a few weeks later, we parted ways on friendly terms, and when Frank introduced me to Lady Bell, surprisingly, we became friends.” She held up her hands, as all three of the other women began to speak. “And yes, while to some, my relationship with my ex-husband and his new wife might seem odd, I don’t care what people think. All three of us are very happy.” She laughed.
It was finally Gabby’s turn to play. “L-o-v-e, and I get eleven points,” she said, writing down her score. She took the bag from Wilma, reached for four more tiles, and looked up at her friends. “Would any of you try online dating?” When more gasps came from around the table, she chuckled, raising her hands in defense. “Okay, I’ll take that as a no.”
She sat back in her chair and looked at the word she just played. Since the love of her life was gone, it saddened her to think about not experiencing that feeling anymore. For the past few weeks, Gabby had started to wonder if there was more to life than sitting at home alone each night, studying the Scrabble dictionary and watching The Tonight Show.
“What about you, would you do it, Gabby?” asked Clara. The youngest of the group at thirty-three, Clara was also the quietest one of the bunch. After meeting her at a church service, Gabby invited Clara into the Scrabble group. At first Clara was hesitant, but Gabby promised her it was just about a few girls getting together to have fun, build their vocabularies, and indulge in a dessert or two. Clara said she’d think about it, and to Gabby’s surprise she showed up the following Tuesday. Fern and Wilma instantly took a liking to
her, accepting her with open arms.
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About the author: Isabella grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. She focuses her time on featuring other writers on her blog, Chick Lit Goddess, along with organizing Goddess Book Tours, and is a member of the Romance Writers of America.
She lives in Dallas with her husband, enjoys spicy Mexican food, margaritas, gin on the rocks (with a splash of lime). She loves spending time with family and friends and cheering on the Texas Rangers. Not only is Isabella an author, she’s also a Scentsy consultant and hoarder.
Isabella is the author of The Right Design and Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop. Her short story, “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe,” was featured in Simon & Fig’s Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright. She’s currently working on another book.