Sweet on You
Sweet on You
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Molly O’Donaghue has photographed some of the most beautiful women in the world. For the last eighteen months she’s been living in Montana, building a business that keeps her feet on the ground and her heart intact.
Jacob Green is a successful property developer, and he’s definitely not Molly’s type. She’s had her heart broken by a man with more money than common sense and she isn’t about to go down that path again.
Her latest assignment wasn’t supposed to be complicated, but she finds more through the lens of her camera than she expected to see. With a family’s happiness at stake and a bride who can’t see past an emerald lake, Molly and Jacob have to work together to find a whole lot of happy endings. And one of them could be theirs.
Chapter One Look Inside
Chapter One Look Inside
Molly stood on the edge of the dance floor holding her camera. She waited, poised to catch the moment when the young bride and groom spun in front of her.
They moved closer. Jarrod took a step to the right, lifting Abbey off her feet.
Abbey leaned back and laughed. The play of light on her face, her veil soft and full, the love and excitement of what was ahead—it was all there. A perfect moment in time; a moment where magic and reality collided to create perfection.
With a sigh, Molly quickly took the shot, then another, and then a third. The light changed, the magic faded, and the world settled into an easy rhythm again.
“Do you want to stop for a drink now?” Rachel asked.
Molly took a quick photo of the woman standing beside her. She’d met Rachel a few months ago and, since then, they’d become good friends.
“I’ll only be a few more minutes.” Walking along the edge of the dance floor, she followed the bride’s sisters as they danced with their partners.
“You said that half an hour ago. The wedding won’t stop if the photographer sits down for ten minutes.”
Molly checked her watch. The bridal dance was over, the cake had been cut, and all the guests had been photographed at least once. She’d done her job, but there was so much more she wanted to do.
She would give Abbey and Jarrod memories they could treasure, memories that would help when times were tough. Molly believed in the power of love, maybe a little too much. But she knew there would be times when the only thing binding them together were the vows they’d made on this day.
“I want to get another photo of the flower girls. I promise I’ll only be five minutes.”
Rachel pretended to frown. “I’ll get you a glass of wine. If you’re not back at our table in five minutes, I’ll pull you away from whatever you’re doing.”
Molly grinned. Rachel would have to find her first.
The flower girls had disappeared half an hour ago, slipping away from the speeches before Molly knew they’d gone. Knowing the two six-year-olds, they were probably tucked under someone’s table, playing with their dolls.
As she wove through the wedding guests, Molly smiled at the people she knew. Bozeman wasn’t so different from the small Irish village where she’d grown up. The people were warm and friendly, ready to lend a helping hand or a quiet word when the need arose.
Searching the hotel’s ballroom, she tried to find places where two giggly flower girls could play hide-and-seek. Fortunately, at six-foot tall, Molly had no trouble seeing over the top of most people’s heads. But her extra height didn’t come in handy when she was hunting for two small girls.
She stopped at a table at the back of the room. Doris and her husband, Jake, were enjoying a lovely plate of dessert. “That looks like a fine way to end the evening.”
“Hello, Molly,” Doris said with a kind smile. “Would you like to join us?”
Molly shook her head. “I’m looking for Abbey’s flower girls. Have you seen them?”
Jake nodded. “They went to the bathroom with their mom. I think little Alison might have had an accident.”
Doris scowled at her husband. “It was nothing of the sort. Her sister spilled chocolate sauce all over her dress. Her poor mother’s trying to get the worst of it out before it stains.”
Jake didn’t look the least put out by his wife’s chatter. He simply nodded and pointed to the doors behind them. “They went that way, Molly.”
“Thanks. Have a fine evening.” She left Jake and Doris to their dessert and headed toward the big wooden doors. Molly thought about the photos ahead of her; the toss of Abbey’s bouquet, the moment the bride and groom said goodbye, the tears, the joy, and the laughter.
The doors opened and a man walked into the room. A man she knew all too well. She’d seen Jacob earlier, talking to the groom and watching the wedding with eyes that were far too serious.
He stopped and turned around, opening the door in anticipation of her exit. “Are you going this way, Molly?”
She nodded. He was taller than she was, as handsome a man as she’d ever seen. But there was something about him that irritated her beyond what was normal. Something she paid close attention to. “Did you see two little flower girls on your travels?”
He shook his head and smiled. “I like what you’re wearing.”
Heat warmed Molly’s cheeks. To hide her reaction to his softly spoken words, she looked at her dark blue dress. It was part of her working wardrobe; smart and dressy, with room to move for any awkward photographs. She’d always felt comfortable in the fine merino dress. Until now.
She glanced at Jacob. He might be irritating, but she wasn’t immune to the charm rolling off him in waves. She’d bet on her granny’s grave that Jacob Green would be trouble for a woman’s heart. Especially a woman who’d sworn off charming men for life.
He opened the door wider, leaving room for her to walk past him. “I haven’t seen you in a while. How are you?”
“I’m grand.” She stepped through the open doorway, ignoring, as best she could, the gleam in his eyes.
She could have told him half the reason he hadn’t seen her was because she deliberately kept away from him. The other half had more to do with his schedule than hers.
“I’m staying in Bozeman for a few more weeks.” Jacob said his words as a statement, an opening to things she wouldn’t be a part of.
Molly decided to smile and walk away—leave him to enjoy the company of the other wedding guests. “It was nice seeing you but, if you’ll excuse me, I have two little girls to find.”
A frown replaced the curiosity in his gaze. “I could help?”
She wasn’t prepared for his offer. Her grip on her camera tightened. “It won’t take long to find them, but thank you.” She walked past him, breathed in the scent of a man with expensive taste, and left him standing at the doors.
“We could have a drink together after you finish work?”
Molly heard a child’s voice coming from somewhere in front of her. “I don’t think so.”
Two little girls erupted out of a room on the far side of the landing. Their giggles echoed against the wooden floor. Molly lifted her camera and snapped a series of photos. The pictures would capture the bubble of excitement surrounding them, the joy of being six years old.
As they ran past her, she said goodbye to Jacob and followed them into the ballroom. She felt like a coward, a woman afraid of her own heart. But Jacob Green was a mystery she didn’t want to solve.
And some things, she’d learned, were better left undone.
* * *
Jacob stared across the ballroom, lost in too many thoughts that didn’t belong at a friend’s wedding. He wasn’t used to feeling so off-center, as if something that wasn’t right, could never be fixed.
Over the last ten years, he’d made more money than most people did in their lifetime. He had good friends and a family who loved him. But that hadn’t made any difference to where he was today. He was thirty-three years old, single, and wondering where he’d gone wrong.
As his gaze scanned the dance floor, he knew exactly where he’d gone wrong. Molly O’Donaghue looked into the eyes of the man she was dancing with. The slow, sexy smile on her face gave him another reason to feel sorry for himself.
He’d first met Molly at his brother’s bachelor party. Eighteen months later, she still didn’t want anything to do with him. She was smart, sassy, and everything he could get used to.
Emily, his sister-in-law, nudged his arm. “Are you going to ask me to dance?”
He pushed what he was thinking to the back of his mind. “I don’t want you going into labor. That baby of yours is huge.”
Emily patted her round tummy and grinned. “We’re weeks away from our due date. Come on. I promise not to stand on your toes.”
Jacob stood and helped her to her feet. “Considering you can’t see your own toes, I doubt you’ll be able to get close enough to mine.”
“You can’t distract me with the obvious. Lead the way.”
He looked for his brother. Alex was at the next table, talking with Pastor Steven and his wife.
Alex winked at his wife as she passed him and Emily blew him a kiss.
Jacob wanted what his brother and Emily had, but he had a feeling it wouldn’t happen anytime soon.
The music changed and another slow song drifted over the dance floor. He looked down at Emily and sighed. “I’ll waltz with you, but anything more upbeat and I’m taking you back to our table.”
Grabbing his hand, she pulled him forward. “I’m not having this baby tonight, so you can stop worrying about me. Alex does enough of that for both of you.”
“My brother should be worried. You’re five-foot nothing and as round as a ball.”
Instead of getting huffy, Emily smiled. “But I can still dance.” She turned toward him and held her arms open. “That’s if you remember how?”
The gleam in her eyes made him smile. From when they’d been little, his mom had taught her two sons how to dance. It was her way of smoothing over the bumps their bull-riding dad made in their lives.
For most of his childhood, weekends had been spent at rodeos. They’d mixed with cowboys, buckle bunnies, and over-excited fans. During the week, when they weren’t at school, Jacob and Alex spent most of their time mucking out the barn, mending fences, and riding bulls.
Growing up on a ranch in the middle of Montana had been one of the greatest gifts anyone had given him. Jacob and his brother had made the most of their rough and tumble life, and neither of them took what they had for granted.
Emily poked his shoulder. “You’re doing it again.”
Jacob blinked. “What?”
“Drifting off somewhere that isn’t here. What’s going on?”
He maneuvered them around another couple and kept going. “Nothing’s going on.”
“You could have fooled me. Does the faraway look in your eyes have anything to do with a certain photographer?”
Jacob looked at his sister-in-law and frowned. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Sure you don’t. You haven’t taken your eyes off Molly since you arrived. Why don’t you ask her on a date?”
He wasn’t about to tell Emily he’d already tried. Being turned down three times in the last two months wasn’t exactly good for anyone’s ego. After tonight, he’d gotten the message. Molly didn’t want anything to do with him.
Molly O’Donaghue, the tall brunette with a pixie haircut, chose that moment to dance past him. When she looked at him, her green eyes widened, softened, then quickly turned to her dance partner.
“She likes you,” Emily whispered.
Emily didn’t know how wrong she was. “Molly has other priorities.” When she opened her mouth to disagree, he jumped in ahead of her. “What names do you like for your baby?”
“You can’t change the subject that easily. But because you asked nicely, I won’t be rude and ignore you. We’ve narrowed the list down to four names. Alex and I can’t agree on which one we like the best.”
“You might not need to.”
“Unless we use all four names at once, I can’t see any way around it.”
“You could always save the other three names for more babies.”
Emily sighed. “I don’t know if I want to go through three more pregnancies. Morning sickness, swollen ankles, and a sore back aren’t fun. The only good thing is that I probably won’t get to full-term with this baby.”
“You’re telling me this now?”
“Don’t worry, you’re safe. Doc Johnson’s perfectly happy with how things are going. If my baby’s born a couple of weeks early, it won’t matter.”
He wasn’t sure his brother would agree.
“Have you found buyers for the land you’re selling?”
“Someone from Los Angeles is arriving tomorrow afternoon. I’ll show him around and see what happens.”
“You never see what happens. You plan each day down to the last detail.” Emily frowned. “Do you really want to sell the property?”
He shrugged. His block of land sat beside the Big Sky Resort, one of the best ski resorts in America. Over the last year, he’d subdivided the three thousand acre block into four smaller parcels, creating an exclusive subdivision. By now, he’d hoped to have sold three of the properties. But fate and a few uncertain buyers had stopped anything from happening.
“I need to liquidate some assets. I’ve found a building in New York City I want to buy.”
Emily laughed. “The only liquidating I do is in my juicer. Why New York?”
“The potential returns are better than what I could get here.” Jacob did a quarter turn and led Emily around the two flowers girls. They were twirling in the middle of the dance floor, spinning in circles that would leave them giddy.
“There’s more to life than profit margins and tenancy agreements.”
“Maybe.” He wouldn’t disagree with his pint-sized sister-in-law. Not when she was about to give birth to his brother’s first child.
As he looked to his right, he saw Molly and her dance partner walk toward the bar. It must be karma. Just when he was ready to settle down, he couldn’t get someone who didn’t want him, out of his head. At least Molly had been honest with him. To a man with more money than friends, that meant a lot. More than anyone would ever know.
“You could always stay in Bozeman permanently?” Emily said softly. “Your mom and dad would enjoy seeing more of you.”
Jacob shook his head. “I’ve been here too long as it is. The sooner I leave, the sooner I can get back to my normal life.”
“Are you sure it’s better than what you have here?”
Jacob didn’t want to think about that for too long. He knew the answer, and it wasn’t something that made him happy. “Maybe not, but it’s all I know.”
“Don’t settle for second best, Jacob. Make every moment count.”
He’d spent his whole life making each moment count. It hadn’t done him much good. After he sold Emerald Lake Ranch, he’d purchase the property in Manhattan, secure the tenancy agreements, then look at other properties. He might not have the life he wanted, but he had enough money to make it better.
Fans of Netflix’s Virgin River series will love this small-town, feel-good romance!
Molly's latest photographic assignment wasn’t supposed to be complicated, but she finds more through the lens of her camera than she expects to see.
With a family’s happiness at stake and a bride who can’t see past an emerald lake, Molly has to work with Jacob to find a whole lot of happy endings. And one of them could be theirs.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “My favorite kind of books! I enjoyed each story, the characters, and the happy endings.”
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "Loved every page! The author has a gift for crafting sweet, heartfelt tales."
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "I fell in love with the town, the characters, and their heartwarming journey."