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Authors: Kari Lee Harmon

Love Lessons

BOOK: Love Lessons
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Kari Lee Harmon


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This book is available in an electronic format at and many other online booksellers.

For more information, please direct your correspondence to:

The Story Vault

c/o Marketing Department

8326 Moyer Carriage

P.O. Box 11826

Cicero, NY 13039-8691


All rights reserved.

Copyright © 201
by Kari Lee Harmon


Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book.



Other Books By Kari Lee Townsend


Cozy Mysteries
(Berkley Prime Crime)

Tempest In The Tea Leaves
(A Fortune Teller Mystery)

Corpse In The Crystal Ball
(A Fortune Teller Mystery)


(writing as Kari Lee Harmon)

Destiny Wears Spurs

Project Produce


Humorous Women’s Fiction
(writing as Kari Lee Harmon)

Sleeping In The Middle
(The Comfort Club series)


Middle Grade

Talk To The Hand
(Digital Diva series - Book 1)

Rise of the Phenoteens
(Digital Diva series - Book 2)

Let Freedom Ring
(Digital Diva series - Book 3)


Short Stories

Love Lessons





This book is dedicated to my husband and real life hero, Brian Townsend. You still make my heart go pitter pat and keep the adventure alive.





First and foremost I want to thank my children: Brandon, Josh, Matt and Emily who put up with a lot when Mommy’s on dead
line. Thanks for understanding.

Second, I want to thank Christine Witthohn of Book Cents Literary Agency, my fabulous agent. And as always a special thanks to Kelly Ferrara who makes the
world’s most fabulous covers!

Next, I want to thank my special peeps, Barbara Witek, Lizbeth Lipperman, and Dani LaBue for always bein
g there and making writing fun.

Last but never least I want to thank my extended family: the Harmons, the Townsends, and the Russos.





ve isn’t always a bed of roses,

any type of flower, turns out.

Who knew?


“Oh, my God, Gavin, this is so incredibly sweet, I think I’m going to cry!” I said on Monday afternoon as I charged through the door of my best friend’s classroom.

Gavin worked in the archaeology department of Dreamers University in upstate New York, and every time I entered his room, a familiar dusty old smell mixed with musky cologne assaulted my senses, making me smile. He sat behind his large oak desk, cluttered with artifacts he’d uncovered on one of his digs, and grinned at the bouquet of Tiger Lilies I held.

“I thought so,” he said, his dark eyes crinkling, the crow’s feet deepening in his constantly tanned skin. He hoisted his beat-up boots atop the clutter and crossed his khaki clad legs at the ankles. He folded his arms with the sleeves rolled up over his wrinkled baby-blue button down shirt and winked at me.

The man lived outdoors, craving adventure, whereas I spent my days crunching numbers in the math department, a bit obsessed with my work. Total opposites in every way--my hair, skin and eyes were as pale as his were dark--but we’d known each other forever and had clicked from the moment we first met. He tried to pull me away from the office, to get me to live a little. While I helped him learn to be still, enjoy the quiet moments.

We were good for each other, and I’d never had a better best friend. But right now his words filtered through my distracted brain, and I gasped, ready to throttle my so-called best friend. “You mean you knew about this and didn’t tell me? There’s no note. Who put them on my desk? You have to tell me. Can’t you see I’m dying here?”

He stared at me for a long moment and then dropped his boots back to the worn linoleum floor. “I don’t have a clue, Mandy. I just saw them there and knew they were your favorite. Guess you have a secret admirer.”

A little thrill zipped through me. I loved a good puzzle, the challenge of the unknown, and the satisfaction of figuring it out. “Give me a minute. I can solve this.” I paced. My black pin-striped skirt whispered against my nylons, and my high heels clicked like the second hand on a clock with every step. I thought about all the possible equations and came to one conclusion.

“Aha, that’s it.” I faced Gavin and tucked a strand of hair up into the knot at the back of my head. “It has to be Wally.” I pushed my glasses higher and beamed at him.

Gavin’s face scrunched up, the cleft in his chin vanishing beneath his five o’clock shadow. “You honestly think Wussy Wally in the psych department sent you flowers?”

“It could happen.” I plopped my free hand on my hip. “Don’t be so judgmental. He’s actually quite nice. He must have seen the bouquet I bought myself about a month ago when he came into my classroom to call me to a meeting. It has to be him.” I grabbed Gavin’s large, calloused hand and pulled him to his feet. “Come on. I’ll be too embarrassed to go alone. You have to help me thank him.”

“Oh no. I really don’t think--”

“Then don’t think. Just give me your moral support.” I nailed him with the iciest blue laser beam I could muster. “That’s what best friends do, remember?”

He blew out a big breath, obviously remembering last spring when I’d let him drag me all over the city on some ridiculous wild goose chase. We participated in a scavenger hunt, so he could win a free trip to Egypt. We won, and he’d been trying all year to get me to celebrate by going with him. No way would I let him drag me around on another crazy adventure, in another country, no less.

“Fine, but after this, consider us even,” he relented.

“Not a chance, pal. You’re going to have to give me a lot more than one day for us to be even.”

“Lead the way, pal.” He smirked.

I laughed and blew him a kiss. He just rolled his eyes and nudged me toward Wussy Wally’s office. Only, Wally wasn’t there. According to his associate, he’d left early to take his new girlfriend to dinner. Girlfriend? My excitement waned a smidgen over drawing the wrong conclusion.

Because that pretty much ruled out good ole Wally.





Romance isn’t
necessarily music to your ears,

and love is
most definitely not in the air.

Go figure.


Same time, same place the next day, I received gift number two from my Secret Admirer, with no note again. A CD of my favorite song, oldie but goodie, Love is in the Air, by Australian artist, John Paul Young. I’d been searching for that original 1978 version since forever, but that was pretty much his only worldwide hit, and I’d
never been able to find the CD.

Apparently m
y Secret Admirer had some pull.

I clutched the CD to my chest. Who would know how much finding this CD meant to me? My mind whirled like numbers on an adding machine. I sucked in a breath as the answer hit me hard. I knew who my admirer was. My heart thumped hard as I ran out of my room, down the hall, around the corner and into another classroom.

“Oh my gosh, Gavin, look!” I thrust out my hand holding the CD and tapping the highlighted song with my manicured nail.

He studied the cover and then raised dark eyes to mine. “Love is in the Air. Cool. Haven’t you been looking for that since I’ve known you?”

My smile came slow and sweet, and I wagged my brows. “That’s right. And now I know exactly who my Secret Admirer is.”

His eyes widened and he stopped tipping back in his seat, lowering the wooden chair legs to the floor. “You do?”

“Well, sure. It has to be someone who knows me really well.”

“I agree.” He grinned, the cleft in his chin sinking deeper. “Glad you finally figured it out because you were starting to exhaust me.”

“Oh, we’re not done yet.”

“Yeah?” He unfolded his long body from his chair, straightened to his full height of six-foot-four, and took a step toward me.

I patted his leather-vest covered chest. “I need you, you know that.”

He covered my hand with his own and gave it a little squeeze. “I need you, too, babe.”

Of course he did. He always needed my help with something because he knew I couldn’t refuse him anything. Except traveling to Egypt, that is. “All right, fine.” I rolled my eyes. “I’ll help you in a minute--so long as it’s not another scavenger hunt--but first you have to help me.”

His eyes seemed to lose a bit of their shine, and he dropped his hand. “I didn’t mean... never mind. Help with what?” he asked, sounding weary. That was a first. Gavin Malone was never weary, or tired, or slow at, well, anything. He usually steam-rolled ahead on the Malone Express. I’d have to make sure he took time out to rest, just as soon as he helped me put the mystery of who my secret
admirer was to bed, literally.

I grabbed his arm and pulled him after me. “Help me with thanking Perry for giving me the CD, silly. I need you to drive me.”

Gavin dug in his heels, pulling me to a jarring stop, then he gaped at me. “Pansy Perry down at Perry’s Entertainment Emporium? You’ve got to be shitting me.”

“No I’m not shitting you, as vulgar as that sounds. Since I pretty much live at the Emporium when I’m not at work, I’d say Perry knows me very well. He knows I’ve been searching that store for years, and I wouldn’t call Perry a pansy.” I crossed my arms. “In fact, I wouldn’t call anyone a pansy. It’s not very nice.”

Gavin leaned in close and poked me in the chest just below my collarbone. “He’s a purebred pansy, through
and through, and you know it.”

“Just because he’s into fashion and has a knack for decorating, unlike someone else I know,” I poked him right back, “doesn’t mean he’s a pansy.” Chewing my bottom lip, I paused for a minute, snatched the keys to Gavin’s jeep that were dangling out of his pants pocket, and took off down the hall. That would get his attention.

“Hey, wait a minute,” he bellowed. “You don’t even have your license.”

“That’s why I need you to drive me, but if you aren’t going to cooperate, then I’m borrowing your car.”

He caught up to me in a few short strides and grabbed my hips to slow me down. My stomach flipped, and I made a mental note not to order the spicy chic
ken again for lunch.

“You are not driving Bertha. Let’s just say she requires a careful touch,” he said, walking behind me.

“More like she’s a piece of junk.” I stopped walking and turned to face him. “When are you ever going to trade her in?”

“Never.” He looked both shocked and appalled. “We’ve been through a lot together.”

“Trust me, some things are not worth the effort.” I shook my head.

He stared at me for a moment, and for once, I couldn’t read his expression.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing, I just happen to disagree.” He shoved his hands deep in his pockets. “Some things are worth everything. I would no more trade her in than I would trade you in.”

“Well, I would hope not.” Now I was the one appalled. What was up with him these last couple days? He must be going through something because he was acting really weird. “No one else would put up with your crazy antics,” I pointed out. “You’re lucky I’m such a good friend.”

“Right,” was all he said, then he glanced at his watch. “What time does the Emporium close?”


He snatched the keys from my hand and sighed. “Then let’s roll. We’ve got five minutes.”

ly, five minutes wasn’t enough.

Perry waved as he drove off--scratch that--rode off with his mom in the driver’s seat. According to his co-worker, Perry still lived at home, and he had a date tonight. A date with his boyfriend, that is. Gue
ss he wasn’t my secret admirer.

In fact, he wasn’t into girls at all.

BOOK: Love Lessons
7.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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