The Kiss Thief
by Rachelle J. Christensen
Published by Peachwood Press
Publication Date July 22, 2017
Genres: Clean Romance
Setting: New York Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
As the head librarian of the Echo Ridge Library, Britta Klein thrives on order and categorization. Unfortunately, the old church-turned-library is in desperate need of a renovation. The Harvest Hurrah fundraiser seems to be the answer, but plans keep going awry. With help from Milo Geissler, accomplished musician, piano tuner, and kiss thief, each catastrophe is narrowly avoided. When Milo goes to great lengths to help Britta find a key classic book, she begins to wonder if there is more to life than books and order. Can she allow this man who speaks the language of music to tune her heart to a new song?
Welcome to Echo Ridge, New York where romance finds its way into the hearts and lives of the people who walk the streets of the close-knit community.
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“Good morning, Britta.”
She recognized the voice and took one last sip in an attempt to compose herself. Britta raised her head and licked her lips. Milo Geissler stood next to the community bulletin board, clasping a sheaf of papers and business cards. He smiled and the dimple in his left cheek deepened. Britta caught herself staring at the dimple and focused on his eyes, commanding herself not to get lost in the crystal-blue color.
“Milo, how are you today?” Britta stepped away from the water fountain and eyed the bulletin board, where a new page was tacked. “That’s a new flyer. I like the colors.”
“My sister designed it for me,” he replied. “You don’t think it’s too bright?”
“No, the orange and red catch the eye and remind me of autumn,” Britta said. “It’s my favorite season.” Why did I just say that?
Milo took a step forward and handed her a business card, also sporting the new design for “Perfect Pitch Piano Tuning by Milo.”
The very first time Britta’s mother had traveled from Buffalo, New York, to the tiny town of Echo Ridge, she’d canvassed the town for a suitable German husband. As luck would have it, Mother saw one of Milo’s flyers and called him up to tell him all about her beautiful German daughter. Remembering the conversation still brought a flush to her cheeks. Britta ducked her head and pretended to cough.
“I hear you’ve been busy prepping for the big fundraiser,” Milo said. “Everything looks so well organized this year. I think the turnout will be great.”
Britta met those sapphire eyes again. He was several inches taller than her five-foot-four- inch frame, but not too tall—maybe close to six feet. His blond hair brushed the top of his collar and edged over his ears. Every time Britta saw him she had the strange desire to tuck his hair behind his ears; the man needed a good haircut. But he was still far too good-looking.
“We have a lot of new events planned. I just hope it will be enough to cover all the costs of updating the library,” Britta said.
“You do wonderful things for this library,” Milo said. He had the faintest German accent rounding out his words. If Britta hadn’t grown up listening to the beautiful language, she probably wouldn’t have noticed it. “It reminds me of my grandmother. Oma loved books, and I loved visiting her bookshelves. It always feels nice in here.”
“Danke,” she answered.
Milo’s smile deepened. “Gern geschehen.”
It took a moment for Britta to realize that she’d slipped into German to thank him and he had responded. She hadn’t done that for years, ever since her early teen years, when she’d stopped speaking German at home. She had explained to her parents that she wanted to work on her English, and since her mother needed practice, they consented. But just then, listening for the accent on the ends of Milo’s words and the way he spoke of his Oma, Britta became lost in memories of the Klein home. She could almost feel the bear hugs from her own Oma, and that had her slipping into old ways. “Well, I’d better go.”
“Wait, are you busy next Friday night?”
Britta’s heart did a little flip. Milo’s dimple trembled as if he was biting the inside of his cheek. He’d asked her out once before, right after her mother’s meddling, and she’d turned him down flat, embarrassed because of her mom’s matchmaking attempt. But today he tempted her with his low voice and kind eyes.
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