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Authors: Debbie Macomber

Rose Harbor in Bloom

Rose Harbor in Bloom
Debbie Macomber
Random House Publishing Group (2013)

Hailed as "the reigning queen of women's fiction" (
The Sacramento Bee
), #1
New York Times
bestselling author Debbie Macomber is renowned for her novels of love, friendship, and the promise of fresh starts. Now Macomber returns to the charming Rose Harbor Inn, where each guest finds a second chance and every room comes with an inspiring new view.
Since moving to Cedar Cove, Jo Marie Rose has truly started to feel at home, and her neighbors have become her closest friends. Now it's springtime, and Jo Marie is eager to finish the most recent addition to her inn. In memory of her late husband, Paul, she has designed a beautiful rose garden for the property and enlisted handyman Mark Taylor to help realize it. She and Mark don't always see eye-to-eye--and at times he seems far removed--yet deep down, Jo Marie finds great comfort in his company. And while she still seeks a sense of closure, she welcomes her latest guests, who are on their own healing...

Rose Harbor in Bloom
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2013 by Debbie Macomber
Excerpt from
Starry Night
copyright © 2013 by Debbie Macomber

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, Random House, Inc., New York.

B
ALLANTINE
and the
HOUSE
colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Macomber, Debbie.
Rose Harbor in bloom : a novel / Debbie Macomber.
pages cm
This book contains an excerpt from the forthcoming title
Starry Night
by Debbie Macomber. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect the final content of the forthcoming edition.
eISBN: 978-0-345-54332-5
1. Hotelkeepers—Fiction. 2. Life change events—Fiction.
3. Domestic fiction. I. Title.
PS3563.A2364R67 2013

813′.54—dc23     2013010607

www.ballantinebooks.com

Jacket design: Belina Huey
Jacket illustration: Tom Hallman and Richard Felber/Garden Picture Library/Getty Images (waterfront)

v3.1

Contents

August 2013

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the second installment in the Rose Harbor Inn series. Jo Marie is eager to update you on what’s been happening at the inn. The inn is booked solid this visit and you’ll enjoy meeting Kent and Julie Shivers, who are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary—the only problem is they can’t seem to get along. Their granddaughter is refereeing them and dealing with the boy next door, who was nothing but a pest … except now he can’t take his eyes off her. And then there’s Mary Smith …

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. This happens with novel writers. We fall in love with our stories and characters and have trouble not blurting out the entire plotline.

What I really want is for you to make yourself at home at the inn. Jo Marie is baking cookies for this big shindig she regrets … oops, I’m getting ahead of myself again. And of course there’s the handyman Mark, who … okay, that’s it. I’m not saying one more word. I’ll leave it to you to turn the page and get started reading.

Now, please, sit back and relax. I promise I won’t give anything else away. Everyone at Cedar Cove is eager to update you on what’s been going on, and, as always, that seems to be quite a lot.

Something else writers like … feedback. I’d love to hear what you think. You can reach me in a variety of ways. My website at
DebbieMacomber.com
is one, Facebook is another, and then of course you can always write me at P.O. Box 1458, Port Orchard, WA 98366. I’d love to hear from you.

Warmest regards,

Chapter 1

Rose Harbor was in bloom. Purple rhododendrons and red azaleas dotted the property. I stood on the porch, leaning against the thick white post, and looked over the property for my bed-and-breakfast.
The Inn at Rose Harbor
was beautifully scripted on the wooden sign and was prominently displayed in the front of the yard along with my name,
Jo Marie Rose
, as proprietor.

I never planned on owning or operating a bed-and-breakfast. But then I never expected to be a widow in my thirties, either. If I’d learned anything in this road called life it’s that it often takes unexpected turns, rerouting us from the very path that had once seemed so right. My friends advised me against purchasing the inn. They felt the move was too drastic: it meant more than just moving and leaving my job; it would mean an entire life change. Many thought
I should wait at least a year after losing Paul. But my friends were wrong. I’d found peace at the inn, and somewhat to my surprise, a certain contentment.

Until I purchased the inn, I’d lived in a condo in the heart of downtown Seattle. Because of my job and other responsibilities, I hadn’t had pets, well, other than as a youngster. But shortly after I moved to Cedar Cove I got Rover. In only a few short months, I’d grown especially fond of him; he’d become my shadow, my constant companion.

Rover was a rescue dog I’d gotten through Grace Harding, the Cedar Cove librarian. Grace volunteered at the local animal shelter, and she’d recommended I adopt a dog. I thought I wanted a German shepherd. Instead I’d come home with this indiscriminate mixed-breed short-haired mutt. The shelter had dubbed him Rover because it was clear he’d been on his own, roaming about for a good long time.

My musings were interrupted by mutterings from the area where I planned to plant a rose garden and eventually add a gazebo. The sound came from Mark Taylor, the handyman I’d hired to construct the sign that stood in the front yard.

Mark was an interesting character. I’d given him plenty of work, but I had yet to figure out if he considered me a friend. He acted like my friend most of the time, but then every so often he turned into a grumpy, unlikable, cantankerous, unreasonable … the list went on.

“What’s up?” I called out.

“Nothing,” he barked back.

Apparently, the ill-tempered monster had returned.

Months ago I’d asked Mark to dig up a large portion of the yard for a rose garden. He’d told me this project would be low on his priority list. He seemed to work on it when the mood struck him, which unfortunately wasn’t often, but still I thought a month or two would be adequate in between the other projects he’d done
for me. To be fair to Mark, though, it’d been a harsh winter. Still, my expectations hadn’t been met. I’d wanted the rosebushes planted by now. I’d so hoped to have the garden in full bloom in time for the open house I planned to host for the Cedar Cove Chamber of Commerce. The problem, or at least one of them, was the fact that Mark was a perfectionist. He must have taken a week simply to measure the yard. String and chalk markings crisscrossed from one end of the freshly mowed lawn to the other. Yes, Mark had insisted on mowing it first before he measured.

Normally, I’m not this impatient, but enough was enough. Mark was a skilled handyman. I had yet to find anything he
couldn’t
do. He was an all-purpose kind of guy, and most of the time I felt lucky to have him around. It seemed as time progressed I found more and more small jobs that required his attention.

New to this business and not so handy myself, I needed someone I could rely on to make minor repairs. As a result, the plans for the rose garden had basically been ignored until the very last minute. At the rate Mark worked, I’d resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t possible for it to be ready before Sunday afternoon.

I watched as he straightened and wiped his forearm across his brow. Looking up, he seemed to notice I was still watching him from the porch. “You going to complain again?” he demanded.

“I didn’t say a word.” Reading his mood, I forced myself to bite my tongue before I said something to set him off. All Mark needed was one derogatory word from me as an excuse to leave for the day.

“You didn’t need to say anything,” Mark grumbled. “I can read frowns, too.”

Rover raised his head at Mark’s less-than-happy tone and then looked back at me as though he expected me to return the verbal volley. I couldn’t help being disappointed, and it would have been easy to follow through with a few well-chosen words. Instead, I smiled ever so sweetly, determined to hold my tongue. All I could
say was that it was a good thing Mark charged by the job and not by the hour.

“Just say what’s on your mind,” he insisted.

“I thought I’d told you I wanted the rose garden planted before I held the open house,” I said, doing my level best not to show my frustration.

“You might have mentioned this earlier, then,” he snapped.

“I did.”

“Clearly it slipped my mind.”

“Well, don’t get your dander up.” It wasn’t worth fighting about at this late date. The invitations were mailed, and the event, ready or not, was scheduled for this very weekend. It would be nothing short of a miracle if Mark finished before then. No need to get upset about it now.

Actually, I was as much at fault for this delay as Mark. Often before he ever started work, I’d invite him in for coffee. I’d discovered that he was as interesting as he was prickly. Perhaps most surprising of all was that he’d become one of my closest friends in Cedar Cove, so naturally I wanted to find out what I could about him. The problem was he wasn’t much of a talker. I’d learned more about him while playing Scrabble than in conversation. He was smart and competitive, and he had a huge vocabulary.

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