Susan Mallery New York Times bestselling author. Read laugh love

Free Romance Short Stories by Susan Mallery



“Do I really look like Amy Adams in Enchanted?” Vicki asked anxiously, as she studied her hairstyle.

Denise bit back a sigh. “You’re much better,” she assured her young client. “You’ll be a fabulous bride.” What Vicki didn’t understand was that every bride was stunning in her own right – even if she didn’t look like a movie star. Denise considered explaining that to Vicki, but laughed softly. The young woman wouldn’t believe her. Denise capped the hairspray and put it back on the shelf.

The beauty shop was small but meticulously clean. The pale floral wallpaper complemented the dark-wood workstations and rose-colored fixtures.

Vicki jumped out of the seat and gave Denise a quick hug, tangling them both in yards of beaded tulle and lace. “Thanks, Denise. You’re the best.”

Denise removed the bridal headpiece from the younger girl’s hair and hung it, with the ten foot train, in its protective bag. “You keep saying that, honey, but I’m beginning to think you’re just trying to stay on my good side. Last week, you wanted to look like Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries. This week, it’s Amy Adams. The wedding’s in two weeks and you’re going to have to decide how you want to wear your hair.”

Vicki bent down and stared in the mirror, while fluffing her soft blonde curls. “I will,” she promised.



The small shop smelled musty, as though odd bits of old furniture and tattered clothing came here to die. Jill shut the wooden door behind her and smiled. She loved antique shops. She loved holding broken music boxes or touching half a set of used dishes and wondering who had owned them before. Had the family been happy or sad? Large, with children running in and out, or a spinster, alone with her cat. She could spend hours browsing through lengths of cloth and dusty books. Brad always complained that she took too long, but more often than not, he’d been the one walking out with the armful of “old junk,” as he called it. In fact…

Her thoughts trailed off. Brad wasn’t with her on this trip. He wasn’t with her at all, anymore… not since they’d separated three months before. She shouldn’t even be in the little seaside village. But she and Brad had reserved the small cottage last year, after they’d spent a glorious week here – together. Neither of them had suspected the marriage would dissolve so easily, that the reservation would turn out to be little more than an inconvenience to be dealt with. The three nights had already been paid for and when Brad said he was too busy with work to come down, she’d decided not to let the money go to waste.



Katie Doyle picked up the plate of cookies and headed toward the stairs. Even after two weeks, the old house still sounded surprisingly quiet. She expected to hear her mother rattling around in the kitchen and her father working on some project in the basement. But her parents had left in their brand new luxury motor-home to tour the country. It was a trip they’d been promising each other all their married lives. When her father had finally retired, and Katie had moved back to Boise from Seattle, her parents had decided it was the perfect time to make their dream come true.

Katie paused at the top of the stairs and glanced down into the living room. The afternoon sun slanted through the lace curtains and highlighted the stack of homework she’d brought home to grade. However, the thought of facing twenty-eight papers of third-grade multiplication was less than appealing. Instead, she decided to give in to the restlessness that had plagued her for the last fourteen days and answer the voices that kept calling inside her head.



Denise Wilson studied the computer screen in front of her. The flashing cursor zipped along, one space ahead of each number she typed. When the last check had been entered, she leaned back in her chair and pushed her glasses over her forehead up onto her auburn curls.

Done for the day, she sighed to herself. After saving her work on a flash drive, she stood up and stretched her muscles. Outside, the late afternoon clouds had given way to a steady downpour of rain. A smile tugged at her full lips. Finally. She’d been hoping for rain all week. Not that it was going to make her evening easy. There’d be pans to scatter throughout the large old farmhouse and the kids to keep busy… but it would be worth it.

Denise started down the stairs. The music and high-pitched voices of an afternoon cartoon floated out from the living room. As she crossed the hall, a ball of dirty white fur ran across the rug and did its best to trip her. No matter how many times she told the small animal he belonged to the children, he insisted on attaching himself to her.