Finding UsBy: Heather B. Moore
Felicity & Leo
Felicity Miner is not normally an anxious person, and she’s been on her own since high school. But after a shoplifter steals from her bookshop, she calls the cops. When Officer Leo Russo shows up, Felicity has to tell herself that just because the romance novel she’s been reading has a hero police officer doesn’t mean she needs to project her imagination onto the real man. Yes, Officer Russo is unexpectedly generous, and he helps make Felicity’s home more secure when her worries won’t settle down. But the more Felicity is around Officer Russo, the more she imagines a future between them. Is he merely doing his duty, protecting and serving the citizens of Pine Valley, or is there potential for something more?
Felicity Miner balanced the steaming cup of hot chocolate and the blueberry muffin with one hand as she unlocked the door to the bookshop. The late September wind had turned chilly overnight, and Felicity wished she would have worn her autumn sweater. Currently she had her summer sweater on because Pine Valley had been unseasonably hot the last few days. That had changed today, it seemed.
And yes, Felicity had sweaters for all seasons, even summer, because she worked in the Reading Nook. And it was always cold. Mr. Smithson, the owner, said the cold air preserved the books, and apparently sixty-five degrees was the optimal temperature. But Mr. Smithson was out of town. Again. Felicity supposed that if she owned a bookshop and had a reliable employee such as herself, she’d travel too.
This month her boss was on his eighth cruise of the year. Yep. He had a problem. Was it possible to be addicted to cruises? Felicity supposed it was. She was pretty much addicted to hot chocolate, and drank it every day of the year, rain or shine, snow or heat waves.
Felicity set her to-go breakfast on the counter by the register, then went into the back room, where she stopped in front of the thermostat. It was, of course, set on sixty-five degrees. She had once changed the temperature, and she’d never seen Mr. Smithson so upset. It was then she realized that he cared for the books in his bookshop like some people cared for their pets.
Upon threat of termination, Felicity had promised never to touch the thermostat again. All right. Mr. Smithson hadn’t been that drastic, but Felicity had felt terrible. She stared at the thermostat for a moment longer and knew the next eight hours would be incredibly long and cold. And she couldn’t keep leaving the shop and buying hot chocolate every hour. So . . . she lifted her hand and pressed the up arrow. Sixty-six, sixty-seven, sixty-eight, sixty-nine, seventy, seventy-one, seventy-two, seventy-three.
The system kicked on, and by the time Felicity returned to the register, the air had already started to warm. Or maybe it was the heat of guilt that had spread through her. Regardless, tomorrow she’d repent and bring a warmer sweater.
Felicity still had thirty minutes until the shop opened, so she busied herself with checking the company emails, then the phone messages that had come in after closing. She returned calls to two people and answered their questions about when some newer bestsellers would be back in stock. She unlocked the bookshop door, then she sipped her hot chocolate as she browsed Amazon book prices on the company laptop. If Pine Valley wasn’t a popular tourist spot, Felicity had no doubt the bookstore would be out of business. Amazon was killing it.
September and October were the dead months at the shop because the winter skiers didn’t arrive until early November, and the summer vacationers were all back to work and their kids were in school. So . . . it gave Felicity plenty of time to read, which she had no problem with.
She picked up Elana Johnson’s romance Beloved in Blue from the new release display and settled on the stool behind the register to start reading. Fantasy was her go-to genre, but she liked to mix it up and read a different genre in between each fantasy novel. Plus, she considered being well-read as part of her job requirement. This particular romance novel had a cop as the hero, which of course brought in the tough-guy stereotype.
But this novel was different, and Felicity found herself caught up in the cop’s characterization and motivations of why he joined the police force in the first place. And it didn’t hurt that he was tall, dark, and handsome. Of course. It was a romance novel. Felicity smiled more than once as the story unfolded, and she realized this book was exactly what she needed. Light, sweet, and charming, with the knowledge that there would be a happy ending. Something Felicity had yet to experience with any guy she’d dated. The current mode of dating was to connect on dating apps, which Felicity abhorred. Thus . . . she’d been dateless for almost a year, since moving to Pine Valley. Probably a record for a single woman of twenty-seven.