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Page 26 of Third Time's a Charm (Holland Springs 3)

“You sure about that?”

Rose canted her head side to side, mentally searching her customer list. “Unless she orders it online, but I don’t have any local customers who do that.”

Luke pulled out his wallet and placed a black American Express card on the counter. “Give me whatever you have that doesn’t smell good.”

“I’m not sure if I have what you’re looking for.” Rose didn’t think Luke meant to be insulting, but she could never be too cautious.

Skye stayed quiet as she took Ivy out of Rose’s arms.

Luke mussed his hair with his free hand. “Ah, hell, honey. I’m not trying to insult you. I just can’t have her smelling like her on our dates.”

“Smell like who?”

His dark eyes glittered. “Her her.”

Rose took a breath and tried again. “Carson or Lily?”

“Carson. No, Lily.” He grimaced. “Look, I don’t want Carson to smell like Lily,” he said, wandering over to the section of women’s body lotions, gels, and bath salts.

She joined him, picking up a baby blue and green bottle. “Try this: apple blossom with sweat pea. Lily’s is—”

“Gardenia and lavender,” he said, surprising her. The two hadn’t been together for the past five years, yet he remembered what Lily liked.

“Yes, and since she’s been back in town, I—”

“What?” Luke croaked.

Rose suppressed a smile. “Lily’s back in town. She bought Dance to the Beat from Tempe Yoder last month. Didn’t you know?”

His mouth formed a straight line before he spoke. “No.” He plucked the bottle out of her hands, dug his free hand into his pocket, and threw some cash on the counter. “Keep the change.”

“Don’t you want your card?” Skye called out, waving it in the air like a flag, but Luke was already in his fancy sports car and pulling out of his parking spot.

Rose turned to Skye and shook her head in disbelief. “Has the full moon got their testosterone levels all testosterone-y?”

Skye snorted, then her eyes widened. “Don’t look now, but your favorite Englishman is headed this way and looking none too happy.”

Rose leaned to the side and watched as Sasha crossed the street. He looked like the devil was on his heels and was mad as hellfire. “Oh, yay,” she muttered.

Boxes had been streaming in and out of his shop in an endless parade since last week. She had heard through the grapevine known as Jemma Leigh, Skye, and Evangeline Ambrose that Sasha was hosting a star-studded fundraiser at the Collins’ home on Halloween.

Their poor door bounced against the wall and one of the bells fell to the floor with a clank as he strode inside.

Sasha stopped in front of her, so close that she could see the rough stubble on his cheeks and above his kissable top lip. Green eyes glinted like gemstones while fury rolled off of him in great waves. “Did you say yes to him?”

What was it with men and their random questions that they only knew who the subject was about? “To whom?”

“Don’t play dumb with me, Rosebud.” The front door slammed shut, even though no one was around to close it. The fine hairs on Sasha’s arms rose under his sweater.

“Want to try that again?” Rose’s hands fisted at her sides.

The wind gusted and the chimes hanging from the ceiling danced. Bad insulation—that was the problem. There was always an explanation when it came to the supposedly supernatural events that surrounded the Hollands.

“Tristan Reed,” he said through clenched teeth. He had heard that the doctor was breaking years of Holland Springs’ tradition by bringing one of the Holland women to Lorelei and Harrison Collins’ home. No Holland had been welcome there since the Great Depression. According to Jemma Leigh, it was over Poppy Holland seducing Harrison Collins’ great-grandfather on his wedding day.

“About rescheduling Ivy’s check-up?” Rose stared at him like he’d grown horns.

Sasha wanted to rip his hair out. “No, my fundraiser.”

“What about it?” she said with a toss of her head. Black curls tumbled around her shoulders in disarray, tempting him to run his hands through them to see if they still felt as soft as he remembered.

It had been seven days since he’d last touched her or she him. Not to mention he was no closer to finding that infernal hidden spring than he’d been before. But at the moment, none of that mattered. “Are you going to my party as Tristan Reed’s date?”

Rose laughed, but there was no mirth in it. “I’m sure you’ve heard the rumor. But just in case you haven’t, my kind isn’t welcomed there.”

“Which kind?” he asked.

She crossed her arms. “Exactly.”

Now he was the one confused.

“I’m going with Tristan,” Skye said softly.

Rose grabbed her cross pendant and turned around. “You are? Oh, okay,” he heard her say in that falsely bright tone he’d come to recognize and hate. Hate because it meant that her feelings were hurt.

“Oh, Rose, I was going to tell you.” Skye laid a hand on her sister’s shoulder.

“I know you’ll have the best time. Momma always said their house was really pretty,” Rose added, as though she hadn’t heard a word Skye said. Then she straightened her spine and walked away, disappearing into her little office.

Sasha started for her, but Skye stepped in front of him. “You need to leave her alone right now.”

“Why? It’s obvious she’s pouting,” he snapped, not really meaning it. He wanted to comfort her.

Ivy turned her head at the sound of his voice and gave him a toothless grin. “At least you’re happy to see me.” But he was too aggravated at her mother—her aunt—her whatever to hold her right now. “We’ll play later. Promise.”

Skye’s hazel eyes hardened. “How would you feel if everyone in town was invited to something and you weren’t? Year after year after year. It’s a really big deal to go there. Not that I care about those things. Every girl in Holland Springs gets to go to their annual party for their eighteenth birthday. It’s like a debutante ball or something.”

“But not Rose,” he said, closing his eyes for a moment.

“Especially not Rose,” she said, making her way behind the counter with the baby.

He drew his brows together. “Why not?”

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