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Book 2: The Heartwood Inn (Carter's Cove Beach Romance)

Book 2: The Heartwood Inn (Carter's Cove Beach Romance)

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Fall in love with The Heartwood Inn in Carter’s Cove…with 5 sweet romances, each featuring a Heartwood sister. You’ll get this complete series of heartwarming stories of sisterhood, friendship, and love that will leave you wanting to revisit Carter’s Cove over and over again. 

Each romance features a Heartwood sister navigating the potholes of romance with someone they DEFINITELY don't get along with...

About THE HEARTWOOD INN: She's excited to have a neighbor across the hall. He's got secrets he can never tell her. He can't help but offer advice for her inn, and as they work around bumps and misunderstandings, they start to accidentally fall in love... Will Olympia open her heart to the possibility of love? Or will Chet's secrets ruin everything?

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Sample Chapter 1 Now!

Olympia Heartwood wanted to throw her phone at the nearest wall. Then maybe it would stop ringing and dinging and notifying her of the zillions of problems around the inn.

Yes, she’d wanted this job. She was very good at dealing with problem clients and difficult employees. She’d been working in The Heartwood Inn since the age of ten, and as the oldest sister, the job had fallen to her if she wanted it.

And she wanted it.

She just also wanted a break every now and then. Maybe she’d like to eat lunch without abandoning her salad halfway through to go solve something happening on the outdoor patio.

By the time she got back to her office, the salad dressing had soaked the lettuce, and she could barely stomach salad when it was crisp. Soggy salad was worse than almost anything she could imagine, and she picked a candied pecan off the top and threw the rest in the trashcan.

“Sorry, Bianca,” she muttered, knowing the woman who did housekeeping in this part of the inn would have to deal with the mess later.

Olympia sighed and pulled the folder of facts toward her. She’d asked her front desk manager to put together a list of things the new employees needed to be trained on. If there was anything she’d learned since taking over the inn last year, it was that there was a constantly revolving door of new employees.

And new employees needed to be trained.

The inn employed eight people at the front desk, as it was the height of summer travel, and the tourists streamed onto the island of Carter’s Cove by the thousands. Their rooms at the inn had been booked for months, especially leading up to the surfing competition that South Carter’s Beach sponsored every second week in July.

The check-in process was a bit slow right now, and she glanced up when her phone chimed. This one didn’t have a special ringtone, which meant it was a family member or a non-essential person on her staff.

“They’re all essential,” she told herself as she saw Celeste’s name flash on the screen. Every sister had a job around the family business, and Celeste’s was marketing, events, and the wedding planning service the inn provided.

Thankfully, her text wasn’t about anything inn-related, but she wondered what she might wear on a date with her ex-boyfriend. Olympia picked up her phone, thinking of another ex-boyfriend that had recently come back into the Heartwood’s lives.

Alissa had just started dating her high school boyfriend, and she and Shawn seemed to be very happy.

Do not go out with Andre again! she sent to Celeste, because while she was very good at keeping track of details and calendars and getting things ordered and delivered on time, with matters of the heart…Celeste needed some help.

It’s not Andre, Celeste said. It’s Boyd.

“Ew,” Olympia said, though forty-year-olds didn’t generally use the word. Even worse, she sent to her sister. Why don’t you go out with Benjamin? He was nice.

Ben = Boring, Celeste sent back, and Olympia put her phone down. She’d love a man like Ben, who admittedly looked a little rough around the edges, what with the long hair and arms full of tattoos. He could make a surfboard obey his every whim, and while he spent plenty of time in the waves and perfecting his tan, he also had gainful employment.

Something Boyd did not.

He’d drain Celeste again, but Olympia didn’t even twitch toward her phone. Let her sister figure things out.

Her phone pealed out the ringtone that indicated the front desk was calling. “Yes,” she said, not phrasing it as a question.

“Miss Heartwood, there’s a level ten guest on the line, inquiring about the penthouse on the twentieth floor.”

“Put them through to me,” she said. “Name?”

“Mister Chet Christopher.”

She waited for the last name, but Nancy didn’t continue. “That’s it?” Olympia asked.

“Yes, ma’am. That’s his whole name.”

“Put him through.” She always held back the penthouse on the top floor of the inn. Number one, there were only two penthouses in the building, and number two, she lived full-time in one of them.

To have someone on her floor with her felt…personal. Intimate. She’d have to share an elevator with them, and think about them up there with her. The price tag was steep for the three-thousand-square-foot penthouse, and they usually only rented it out a few times a year, for large family gatherings.

The line beeped, and Olympia looked away from the training list in front of her. “Hello, Mister Christopher. I’m Olympia Heartwood. How can I help you?”

“I already told the other woman how I could be helped,” he said, a slight accent to his words. A sexy, Southern drawl that had Olympia sitting up though he wasn’t in the room.

“The penthouse,” she said. “Is only available for long-term rentals at the moment.”

“That’s what the website says,” he said, a definite bite in his tone. “I’d like it for….”

His hesitation had her smiling. He thought he was so smart, and she realized all she had to do was quote an astronomical price or tell him whatever he said wasn’t long enough. Case closed. Find somewhere else to stay.

“Well, for a couple of months at least,” he said.

“Very well,” she said, one of those cash registers from the eighties ringing in her ears. Cha-ching. “Our rate for the penthouse is monthly, and it’s not inexpensive.”

“How much?” Chet asked, his voice smooth now. So laid back. “I’m from the area, and I’ve been to Carter’s Cove a few times.”

Olympia could close her eyes and get lost in the tonalities of his deep voice. She snapped her eyes open, which had started to drift closed. “Fifteen thousand per month,” she said, sure he’d hang up on her.

“Okay,” he said without hesitation. “When can I occupy it?”

“Tonight, sir,” she said. “I can have the paperwork drawn up this afternoon.” Giddiness pranced through her. Had she really just booked the penthouse for two months? Maybe someone was pranking her.

“That’d be great,” he said, a measure of relief in his voice. “Can I check in by four?”

Olympia couldn’t say no. That was the normal check-in time, but that penthouse would need to be dusted at the very least. She couldn’t even remember the last time that room had been open, so the windows would need to be cracked too.

“Four would be great,” she said, her voice as bright as the sun. “I’ll let the front desk know you’re coming.”

“Thank you,” Chet said.

“They’ll have you come back to my office to sign the paperwork,” she said. “And I’ll take you up to the penthouse myself.”

“Wow, a personal touch,” he said. “That’s great.”

Olympia felt warm under the influence of his rolling, smooth, Southern voice. She leaned back in her chair, swiveling it toward the window and getting blinded by the bright summer sun.

“See you soon, Olympia,” Chet said, and the line clicked.

Olympia set her phone down and then sprang out of her seat. She felt tied to her phone, but she used it to get Betty in housekeeping up to the south penthouse and to let Nancy at the front desk know about Chet Christopher and that he should be sent to Olympia when he arrived.

* * *

Four o’clock came and went, and Olympia felt buried beneath a dozen tasks that needed to be completed. She only knew what time it was because she’d set an alarm, and it had gone off twenty minutes ago.

She needed to go over the order for Redfin, the on-site restaurant that specialized in fresh fish and local cuisine. She didn’t need to know the stock in the restaurant. She just needed to know how much it cost to replenish it.

She needed to know if housekeeping kept to their schedule, and if the guests were having a good time. She needed to know the pool got cleaned, and that the path to the private beach exclusive to The Heartwood Inn guests was clear, the towels stocked, the loungers in good repair.

The guests deserved the ultimate spa, resort, and beach experience, with a down-home touch. That was what The Heartwood Inn provided for families, couples, and anyone who came to the island looking for the best experiences of their vacation.

She worked through things systematically, her Paperwork Thursdays as long and boring as anything. But at least she only had to do this once a week—and the weekend sat right on the horizon.

Her desk phone beeped, and Nancy said, “Mister Christopher is here.”

“Send him back,” Olympia said. She stood and smoothed down her blouse. She carried about thirty extra pounds, and she knew she should get on the treadmill for just thirty minutes a day.

But she couldn’t get up any earlier than she did, and she worked until she was so tired she collapsed into bed, fresh off the only elevator that led all the way to the twentieth floor.

She went to the door and opened it, stepping into the hall just as a tall man started to pass. Or maybe he was standing there. No matter what, Olympia ran right into him, getting the scent of the fabric softener he used in the dryer.

“Whoa,” he said, that voice powerful enough to command horses and dogs—and apparently her. “Sorry about that. I wasn’t sure which door it was, and well.” He laughed, and that was so unfair. As were the pressure points of his hands where he’d gripped her by the shoulders.

“It’s obviously this one.” He grinned at her, and Olympia felt flushed from head to toe. She had to make sure he wasn’t married.

Check for a ring, her mind screamed at her.

No, ask him.

No way she was asking him. Besides, he could lie, just like Hunter had.

“I’m sorry,” she said, regaining some semblance of rational thought. She stepped away from his touch and smoothed down her blouse again. She suddenly panicked that she shouldn’t have worn yellow. The color washed out her complexion and made her dirty blonde hair look even dirtier.

But she couldn’t change now.

“Please come in.” She gestured for him to enter, which he did. Olympia couldn’t help the prancing nerves moving through her. This guy was extremely good-looking, and he’d be living across the hall from her for two months.

Maybe more.

“I have the contract here,” she said. “We just need you to sign it.”

“We?” he asked, glancing around at her office. “And did you know it took me ten minutes to check-in?”

“Some of our staff are new,” she said, though Nancy wasn’t one of them.

“Nancy said she’d been here for a few years.” Chet looked at her then, and Olympia felt hot for an entirely different reason.

She cocked her head, sudden understanding washing through her. “Which hotel are you from?”

“I’m not from a hotel,” he said.

“Right.” She scoffed. “So you think I’m going to believe that you need a place to stay for two months, during the height of tourist season?”

“Your penthouse isn’t occupied.”

“And it’s going to stay that way.” Olympia folded her arms and glared. “I don’t need a rival here, spying on everything we do at The Heartwood Inn.” She couldn’t believe she hadn’t seen this coming from a mile away.

Stupid, she chastised herself.

Chet blinked. “I’m not a rival. I’m from Atlanta.”

“There are plenty of hotels in Atlanta,” Olympia said, drawing out the city name the way he had. “Bed and breakfasts. Inns. Vacation rentals. Resorts. Whatever you’re calling it, it doesn’t matter.” She strode to the door. “Good day, Mister Christopher.”

He stood there, surprise in his light green eyes, his brown hair all swept to the side like he’d just come off a movie set. He wore khaki shorts and a striped shirt, and she wondered for a moment how long it took him to shape his facial hair.

He didn’t have much, and she had the sudden urge to run her fingers along his jaw and feel it. She made a fist with her hand instead.

“Good day?” he asked with a smile that had probably won over dozens of women. “Are we in England?”

That smile was not going to win over Olympia Heartwood, and she simply glared at him.

What Readers are Saying

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “I like the style of Elana’s writing. She puts just enough detail to create a vivid picture. Her character images are spot on as to personalities and small quirks. A fast moving story, held me captivated. Looking forward to next book!” ~Patricia

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Love this author, characters are well written, I love the clean, no cliff hanger style if EJ. This is an enemies to lovers type book and she does a GREAT job. A great quick and fun read. With all the money Chet had after getting falsely accused, I am not sure why he had to sleep in his car, but if this is the only flaw I can find in the whole book, it is sure a winner to me!! I really like this series!! I highly recommend it!” ~Shelley

View full details

Fall in love with The Heartwood Inn in Carter’s Cove…with 5 sweet romances, each featuring a Heartwood sister. You’ll get this complete series of heartwarming stories of sisterhood, friendship, and love that will leave you wanting to revisit Carter’s Cove over and over again.

Visit the South Carolina coast and The Heartwood Inn in these clean and wholesome beach romances. Each romance features a Heartwood sister navigating the potholes of romance with someone they DEFINITELY don’t get along with…

  • Book 1: The Heartwood Sea

    She owns The Heartwood Inn. He needs the land the inn sits on to impress his boss. Neither one of them will give an inch. But will they give each other their hearts?

  • Book 2: The Heartwood Inn

    She’s excited to have a neighbor across the hall. He’s got secrets he can never tell her. Will Olympia find a way to leave her past where it belongs so she can have a future with Chet?

  • Book 3: The Heartwood Beach

    She’s got a stalker. He’s ex-military with a loud bark. Can Sheryl tame her bodyguard Gage into a boyfriend?

  • Book 4: The Heartwood Wedding

    He needs a reason not to go out with a journalist. She’d like a guaranteed date for the summer. They don’t get along, so keeping Brad in the not-her-real-fiancé category should be easy for Celeste. Totally easy.

  • Book 5: The Heartwood Chef

    They’ve been out before, and now they work in the same kitchen at The Heartwood Inn. Gwen isn’t interested in getting anything filleted but fish, because Teagan’s broken her heart before… Can Teagan and Gwen manage their professional relationship without letting feelings get in the way?

This series spins off to Hilton Head Island!

Escape to the beaches of South Carolina with this Supper Club of ladies, each of whom is starting over in some way in their 40s. New loves, new lives, new businesses - and they're waiting for YOU, their new best friend!

Read this series if you like: 

✔ Second chance romance

✔ Later in life romance

✔ Pristine beach setting

✔ Island life

✔ He falls for her first!

✔ Walks on the beach

✔ Beach bonfire kisses

✔ Enemies to lovers

✔ Friends to lovers

✔ Single parent romance

✔ Women's friendship fiction

✔ Supper Clubs!

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