Steal My Magnolia (Love at First Sight #3) by Karla Sorensen

Prologue





Grady





In the end, it was my complete lack of organizational skills that ended up being my downfall. Or my savior. Depended on how you wanted to look at it.

And there was a long list to choose from, ways that I could have easily messed up the entire scheme of moving to Green Valley from California. Trading out a tech job that I was good at (but hated to the very depths of my bored soul) for a fledgling idea of a guided hiking and camping business on the cusp of the Smoky Mountains came with a host of ways to monumentally screw up.

But I was the kind of person who refused to dwell on a single item on that list.

Which was how I found myself in a leased office space that was probably too big for my needs, with gear and inventory that I most likely didn't need until I got my business up and running, and without a single employee to help me with the mess I was quite literally buried in.

"Holy hell, Grady," my twin sister, Grace, muttered as she surveyed the disaster that housed the brand-new business. "What have you done?"

"It's fine," I insisted. "You know that when you're organizing, it always looks worse before it gets better."

One eyebrow, the same dark gold color as my own hair, lifted slowly, rife with disbelief and the slightest hint of pity.

"Don't give me that look."

She sighed. "I just think ... I think maybe you should take a step back, you know? You've got all these amazing ideas, Grady, and no one can fault your enthusiasm."

But.

I held my breath and waited for it. I didn't want to hear the but. I didn't want to hear all the ways this could go wrong, or how I may have bitten off just a tad bit more than I could chew.

"But," she continued, "if you'd let someone help you, you could focus on the parts of this you're so, so good at."

Using the edge of my booted foot, I pushed a box of hiking gear to the side to clear a path back to the paper-laden desk. "I'll hire someone." Rifling through papers, I grimaced when I couldn't find my laptop. "Eventually."

"Tucker can help you," she said, referencing her boyfriend and my only actual friend in Green Valley.

"I know he can. But he still has a lot of responsibility at the law firm, and that's okay because once we're up and running and I get some customers, then Tucker will have more time to help with the fun stuff. The 'let's spend our time in the beautiful outdoors' stuff that we both want to do."

Grace had followed my lead when I decided to move to Green Valley, even though I'd been the one with the grand plan. So, it was with no small amount of irony that my twin sister was running a successful photography business in town. She'd also fallen head over heels in love with literally the first man she met once she passed the city limits.

"Can I help you find some office help, maybe?"

"No," I said firmly. "I will hire my own employees, thank you. Besides, shouldn't you be packing?"

She grinned. "Yes. I can't wait for Mom to meet Tucker."

"What if she hates him?"

Grace slugged me in the shoulder. "You know she won't."

I wanted to rub at the spot where she nailed me, but if I did that, she'd know it actually hurt. And that was my own fault because I'd taught Grace how to throw a jab when we were fifteen and some guy at school had a terrible habit of grabbing her ass when I wasn't around. She'd clocked him in the left eye, and I caught him behind the school and threatened to pull his balls off with a socket wrench if he ever touched her again.

"I know," I agreed, "because he's perfect."

Her answering smile was dreamy and happy and so lovesick that I wanted to roll my eyes.

"He is." She sighed. "It doesn't even seem right that I'm so happy." Her eyes turned devious. "You know that means you're the last single Buchanan left standing, right? It's only a matter of time."

I pointed a finger at her. "Don't you start with me."

"Keep your eyes peeled, Grady," she said in a singsong voice. "You never know when she's right around the corner."

"Which is why I keep my eyes straight ahead when I walk anywhere in this town."

It was true. Unless I was forced into conversation with any woman under the age of forty in Green Valley, I pretended they didn't exist.

And like the jerk my sister was, she cackled. "You can't avoid it, Grady. Didn't you learn anything from me and Tucker?"