The Sweetest October By Megan Slayer
Contemporary Holiday Romance
Heat Level: Sweet
Megan Slayer Publications
Love and Halloween are an odd couple, but they can be the best means to heal a broken heart.
Allison Prince never planned on leaving her job with the Waite Gazette, but when the chance to discover her past comes along, she can’t say no. She’s determined to learn about her grandmother and make the advice in her column more relatable. With her rescue dog, Woofy, beside her, she sets out to learn as much as she can about Hallowsville, Ohio.
Erik Greene doesn’t believe in love and isn’t fond of Halloween. He’s convinced his broken heart won’t heal—until he meets Allison and visits the local animal shelter. He doesn’t want a journalist snooping around Hallowsville. But Allison isn’t all she seems and the pup at the shelter proves love is possible.
Can he open his heart to new opportunities and chase the love of his life? Or is he destined to be the Dandy Devil of Hallowsville all alone?
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©2018 Megan Slayer, All Rights Reserved
Margaret returned. She slid the tray of unbaked cookies into the hot oven. “I noticed we have a new addition to town.” She stood. “Seems like a nice girl.” She offered up a cardboard box. “Here’s the other coil.”
“Thanks.” He opened the flaps. “Margaret, please don’t try to fix me up with Allison or Ella Mae or anyone else.”
“Who said I did that?” Margaret set the timer. “Did she say something? That girl. I asked her to help me today. I’m behind, not trying to find you a date.”
“Then I’m sorry.” He bolted the new coil into place. He didn’t understand why the people of Hallowsville wanted him to move on. The break-up with Tracey just about broke him. He didn’t want another girlfriend. Yes, Allison was pretty and if she hadn’t been a reporter, he might have asked her out for one night. But Allison had the power to embarrass Hallowsville if she desired and to make her name with the article. Maybe he was in the wrong, but he didn’t want to see his town shamed by an investigative reporter.
“Almost done?” Margaret asked. “I could use the extra space to do double batches and catch up.”
“Yeah.” He finished the last connection, then backed out of the cavernous space. “Try it. If we have heat, you’re in business.”
“Awesome.” She twisted the knob and the coil glowed. “Works. Yes.” She threw her arms around him. “Thank you.”
“It’s all in a day’s work.” He brushed the flour off his knees and stood. “Get those cookies done, but I expect a freebie when I come through during the parade.”
“One?” She laughed. “How about a dozen? You can take a few to the new girl and make a better impression.” She paused. “Yes, Delilah said you were a tad brusque.”
“I might have been.” He shrugged. “She threw me off my game.”
“I know.” She elbowed him. “Have you been down to the animal shelter lately?”
“No.” Should he?
“My sister says there’s a new dog there that might be up your alley. Shy little thing. Sweet-natured,” Margaret said. “I know you want a guard dog, but this one is so adorable.”
“A small dog?” He hadn’t put much thought into adopting a dog. He had his work at the welcome center. Would a dog fit in? Wreck the place? Was he ready for a companion? Would having a dog impress Allison? He paused. What was he thinking? He didn’t have to impress her and shouldn’t be considering such.
“Just go down there. Check out the dogs. One will speak to you.” She rubbed his shoulder. “Promise, but you have to go. Please?”
“Will do.” He grabbed his tools and headed out of the bakery. Take Allison cookies? No way. He refused to get close to a reporter—no matter how much he might like her. Not a chance. Go to the shelter? Why not? What could go wrong?
©2018 Megan Slayer, All Rights Reserved
“I knew about you long before your emails, even if I didn’t realize I did.”
“Erik?” He had to have said something. He hated her.
“Mr. Surly?” Delilah laughed and shook her head. “No.”
“Does he ever smile?” She toyed with the class covering the counter. “Or would that break his face?”
“He’s good at distant.”
“Too bad. He’s cute.” She hadn’t wanted to blurt that out. “But petulant.”
Delilah’s brows rose and she stopped laughing. “Remember the cute comment when you’ve fallen in love with him and he doesn’t return your feelings. Trust me. He’s cute, but he’s a handful very few women want to take on.”
“He can be all the cute he wants. I can tell you he won’t make a move.”
“Why wouldn’t he ask you out?” Delilah asked. “You’re adorable. It runs in the family, you know. We’re all adorable.”
“Compared to you and the other women I’ve seen, I’m nothing great. I’m short, curvy and not perfect,” Allie said. She knew her limits. Her exes liked to remind her as to where she could improve. Erik would be the same. “Why aren’t you with him? Or are you? You make a handsome couple.”
“Erik? No.” Delilah rewrapped a spool of ribbon around the cardboard. “He’s not my type, but I’ve dated him. It was a disaster.” She tapped the spool on the counter. “You’re more his type.”
“No thanks.” She refused to even try when she had the feeling she’d be shot down on the first date.
“Well, don’t think you’ll cure him. He’s beyond help.”
“I don’t know what you mean, but I won’t.”
“I’m not looking to date anyone. I dumped my boyfriend right before I left because I found out he’d cheated on me. I don’t have time to go through that again. Plus, once the month-long trip down memory lane is over, I’m back at the Gazette.” So she’d slipped and said she was home. So what? The word change was a simple goof-up. Nothing more.
“We don’t have a paper here in Hallowsville,” Delilah said.
“Okay?” She didn’t understand. “You share one with the next town over? The county?”
“Nope.” Delilah put the ribbon down. “You are an Astor. You’ve got the right to stick around and since you’re in the newspaper business, you’d know how to run one. Why not stay a while after the month and give us a newspaper? There’s still a press and once people found out we had a paper again, you’d have business.”
“I write columns, not oversee publications.” Running a newspaper? Half the time she struggled with balancing her checkbook. The thought of accounts, advertising, stories…she’d sink in weeks.
“You helped run the student paper in college.”
“It was a free paper and mostly used by the students to line bird cages and for house-breaking dogs.” Her heart sank. “I don’t know anything about the day-to-day operations of a paper.”
“It’s not like you’d be running it alone.” Delilah left her stool and retrieved three spools of ribbon from the other end of the counter. “Hallowsville is a remarkable place. When we see a need, we find a way to fill it and come together while doing so. You might be better at running the paper than you think.”
“Delilah.” No matter what she said, she wouldn’t change her cousin’s mind.
“I hope you rethink the paper, but I really hope you stick to your gut feeling concerning Erik.”