Until She Met Daniel (Harlequin Superromance)

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9780373608850: Until She Met Daniel (Harlequin Superromance)

Opposites are irresistible! 

If something feels right to Mandy Colson, she goes for it. That's why she never stays long in one place and why she's landed temporarily in sleepy Willow's Eve. That's also why she's got a huge problem with new city manager Daniel Whittier. Sizzling attraction aside, the gorgeous single dad is all about control and playing it safe—and Mandy isn't. 

So why does everything change when their arguments turn into combustible kisses? Now, instead of moving on, Mandy's edging closer to Daniel...and falling deeper for a man who might not compromise, even for love.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Callie Endicott grew up loving books so much it frequently got her into trouble. She majored in English and works as a teacher. Still loving stories and storytelling, she turned to writing. Now when she isn’t walking on a beach or hiking a forest trail, she often has her nose stuck to a computer screen. Neither her cat nor the guy in her life appreciate the time she devotes to her fictional characters, but that’s another story.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Mandy peeked through the door of City Hall's "parlor." Everything seemed in order, so she continued down the hallway to her office.

Mandy Colson

Senior Center Director

As always, the printed words on her office door made her smile. Who could have guessed she'd be hired to direct a program for seniors? Definitely not her. But she enjoyed it, though there wasn't anything unique or unusual about the work. The program was probably the same in almost every town in the country. They provided a hot lunch on weekdays, held exercise groups, sponsored special trips and educational programs—all sorts of things. It was Mandy's job to organize and oversee the programs, coordinate menus and purchasing, and do anything else that was needed. Sometimes she was like a juggler, keeping dozens of balls in the air, but that was part of the fun.

Today a group of women had gathered in the parlor for a sewing project. From what she'd overheard earlier, Dorothy Tanner and Margaret Hanson were already sparring—people in Willow's Eve said they'd been rivals since the day Dorothy had been born, dislodging Margaret's position as an indulged only child. Mandy suspected that deep down the sisters cared about each other, though a person might have to dig extremely deep to reveal it.

A soft knock sounded at the door frame and Mandy glanced up to see her next-door neighbor, Jane Cut-man.

"Hi, Jane." Mandy smiled.

"Good morning, dear. The coffee is running low and everyone wants you to make the fresh pot. Somebody else could do it, but they like yours best."

"Sure thing." Mandy jumped up and followed Jane into the parlor. The parlor was different from the senior centers she'd seen in the past, not that she'd seen that many of them. But mostly those spaces had been a little sterile. Here, the parlor was a pleasant room with comfy chairs and couches, a few small tables for puzzles or games, and a larger table for bigger projects or groups. It was an ideal social gathering place, which was probably the primary reason for a senior center.

She smiled at the women who were busily sewing and headed to the coffeemaker. The hot subject that morning was the new city manager, expected to arrive the following day.

"Except for Mandy," said Dorothy, "it's been ages since we had anybody new living in Willow's Eve."

"We've had babies," Margaret interjected.

"Well, yes, naturally babies," Dorothy returned. "I'm talking about new people who can converse with us on an intelligent basis without teething and learning to walk first. Tourists don't count. They just spend money, fly kites and eat seafood."

Since her back was turned to them, Mandy let herself grin. Margaret loved trying to get the last word in, but her sister wasn't any wimp.

"And we've had some folks move here from Vicks-ville in the past year," Margaret added.

"They haven't joined into the community," Dorothy snapped back. Margaret must have been doing the one-upmanship thing all morning and Dorothy had lost her patience. "They still drive to Vicksville for church and rarely attend our community events. The city manager will be part of the town."

Mandy had misgivings about the new city manager. Things could change when he arrived. She liked Willow's Eve the way it was. But at least she'd clarified that he wouldn't be her supervisor. The town's City Hall provided the space for the program—a large portion of the lower floor. But the program was independent since its funding came through a trust fund.

"You aren't still worried about him interfering with us, are you, luv?" Lou Ella Parsons asked.

"No," Mandy said, "you've all cleared that up for me."

Before she'd learned about the setup, Mandy had wondered what would happen. The center had employed her after the old city manager left, and she hadn't known if a new manager would agree with their hiring choice. When she'd finally mentioned it, the seniors assured her they were the ones who made those decisions. It had been good news. If and when she left Willow's Eve, it would be nicer to go because she'd decided on it, not because someone else told her to leave.

Dumping the old coffee grounds, Mandy put fresh ones into the maker and started it. The coffee donation can was half full, so she emptied it into an envelope to stick in the treasurer's mailbox.

"All done," she announced. "It will take about five minutes to brew."

"Thank you, dear," Jane told her.

"Oh, yes," Bernice Vicks added. She was a sweet woman who often tried to soften things and keep the peace if arguments arose. "I don't know what you do differently, but your coffee is especially good, though it isn't fair to drag you away from your desk to make it for us."

Mandy's smile blew into full sail. "No worries," she told them. She tucked back a lock of her long pale blond hair, which refused to stay put—she could never hope for the cool, dignified Grace Kelly look her father admired so much in her mother. "I'll see you all later."

The women met on Mondays and Wednesdays to make items for their annual bazaar. From what Mandy understood, it was a big event, drawing customers from several local communities, and even a few from the San Francisco Bay area. Of course, it was mostly because the bazaar also offered a "Sally's Attic," featuring collectibles, antiques and the work of local artists.

Mandy wished now she'd offered to help promote the bazaar through social media such as Twitter or Facebook, but when she'd first heard about the event, she hadn't been sure she'd be staying long enough at her job to make it worthwhile. Of course, now that she'd gotten some of the seniors more computer savvy, she could train them to take over if she decided it was time to move on to her next adventure.

Back in her office, Mandy continued working on the monthly newsletter. She really liked this section of the California coast, and the people were great. She had been expecting to look for a job in Vicksville because the town was bigger, but had stopped at the local variety store in Willow's Eve. That's when she'd spotted a help-wanted sign on the bulletin board, and on a whim, had walked down to City Hall and applied for the Senior Center director job.

Mandy hadn't expected them to hire her, or to take the job if it was offered, partly because Willow's Eve was a small enough town that housing might be hard to find. To her surprise, the hastily gathered hiring committee had talked to her for a while, made phone calls to check her references, then hired her on the spot. Housing hadn't proved a problem since they'd offered her the use of a small house that belonged to the town.

Overwhelmed by their enthusiasm, Mandy had accepted the job. She enjoyed doing new things, and living in a town the size of Willow's Eve would be a completely different experience. Later on, she had learned that they'd hired several local people who hadn't worked out.

However, Mandy wasn't planning to stay forever and she'd told them up front she was a wanderer.

The new city manager probably wouldn't be there for long, either—he'd signed only a one-year contract. But the job paid well and came with a free house. The town council had found someone from Southern California with terrific credentials—even better than expected. The community had a decent budget for a small town because of the local paper mill and the income from Fannie Snow's trust.

Fannie Snow was the town's biggest benefactress, and Mandy was intrigued by the stories about her. It was a little murky where she'd gotten her wealth—whispers abounded, despite her decades of respectability—but she'd done a bunch for Willow's Eve, both before and after her death.

The plaques on the shiny modern fire trucks at the station read "Lovingly donated by Fannie Snow..." the library was fabulous, all the churches had been endowed, and those were just a few of her gifts.

Mandy had asked, but no one seemed to know where Fannie had gotten her wealth. She couldn't have made it bootlegging during prohibition; she hadn't been that old. The second-oldest profession? Maybe, but it seemed a stretch considering the amount of money involved.

The alarm on Mandy's watch beeped, and she headed for the Senior Center's kitchen, putting her questions about Fannie's source of income aside.

"Do you cook?" the chair of the hiring committee had asked rather anxiously toward the end of her interview. "We need a program administrator who can prepare the senior lunch part of the time. Our last one, well...he nearly burned the place down, and he was just heating frozen mac and cheese. Have you ever fixed meals for a large number of people?"

"I can cook for groups, no problem," Mandy had assured.

She'd worked in several cooking jobs over the years and had also helped her mother with faculty dinners, so she was comfortable preparing food in volume. That was one of the reasons the director's job suited her—there was so much variety. Then she'd added even more variety by volunteering in different projects for the community.

"Have a Danish," Lou Ella Parsons urged as Mandy returned to the parlor two hours later. The lasagna was in the oven and everything else was ready. Volunteers would come to serve at noon, and then take meals to seniors who were sick or otherwise homebound—the town's own version of a meals-on-wheels program.

"You guys are trying to make me fat," Mandy complained. Nevertheless, she took a pastry and poured herself a cup of coffee, though she preferred the brew she made in her own office. She'd quickly figured out that many of the seniors simply wanted company and a little attention.

"You need something solid on your bones," Dorothy scolded. "The way you run around this building doing everything in sight, you burn up more calories than you eat."

"She painted the restrooms last week," Jane said.

"That was supposed to be a secret." Mandy bit into the Danish and chased it down with coffee. "I didn't want to get blamed for the paint I dripped on the floor."

Dorothy leaned forward. "We could have hired someone."

"You did," Mandy reminded her. "Three months ago and it still wasn't done. I kept bugging them, but the contractor always seemed to have another job that was more urgent."

"You're amazing, Mandy. I can't understand why you aren't married."

"I've already done the marriage route, and it isn't for me." Mandy shuddered inside. It wasn't because her divorce had been ugly, or because the year she'd spent with Vince had been so awful; but he'd expected her to change. Her entire childhood had been about people pushing her to be something she wasn't, and after a year with a husband doing the same thing, she'd rebelled.

"Nonsense," Dorothy scolded. "Just because it didn't work the first time doesn't mean you should give up on it."

"Right," Jane agreed. "Say, is the new city manager single?"

"I'm sure there's something against this kind of thing in the bylaws. It's a form of harassment," Mandy complained, intending to keep the conversation light-hearted—she certainly didn't want it taken seriously.

At the other end of the table, Dorothy looked toward the door and her mouth dropped open, almost with an expression of alarm. "Uh, ladies..."

"You could do worse," Lou Ella said, not seeming to hear. "I've seen a picture of Daniel Whittier. He's quite good-looking."

"Oh, my, yesd Jane pretended to fan herself.

A male voice suddenly broke through the chatter. "Excuse me."

Mandy looked up and swallowed. An outrageously handsome man gazed at her. Dark wavy hair, blue eyes so intense they practically drilled into you... wow. She didn't see guys like this every day, or every year for that matter, and she noted a couple of the ladies began straightening up, poking at their hair and smoothing their clothing. This was a guy who awakened feminine instincts in both young and old. It was pricking at her as well, but she resisted.

"Can I help you?" Mandy asked.

"I'm Daniel Whittier. I was told the director for the Senior Center has the keys to my house. Can you point me in the right direction? I went to the director's office, but no one was there."

"That's because I was in the kitchen," Mandy said.

"Have a cuppa tea and a pastry, luv," Lou Ella urged. She'd come from England as a young bride, and her British accent became stronger when she was flustered. "We've plenty, and you can relax after your trip."

"That's kind of you," he said, politely inclining his head. "But I should get my car unloaded. And I need to see my office to drop off a box of professional files."

Mandy set her cup on the table and jumped out of her chair. "Uh, sure, but about your office, I—" "You're the director?"

"Last time I checked. I'm Mandy Colson. I've been here only a few months myself."

"Then thank you."

What a way to get introduced to the new city manager, with the group gossiping about him. Mr. Whit-tier must have heard them, at least that last part about him being so good-looking. Dorothy's reaction had proved that much.

Mandy ran a hand through her hair. Not that she had contributed anything inappropriate to the conversation; she was scatterbrained, but not that scatterbrained. It was her sense of humor that landed her in trouble more than her impulsiveness. Well, that wasn't entirely true. Being impulsive got her into messes, too.

"I'll get them right now," Mandy said, anxious to get away from the gazes of the women. She didn't want them to realize she found Daniel Whittier attractive. It was strange. He wasn't that much better looking than Bill Rollins in Phoenix, but Bill had never made her pulse skip.

Daniel followed after a brief hesitation. In the small rotunda at the center of City Hall, Mandy stopped and gestured. Two hallways branched off it, with double doors at the end of each. She pointed to a marble staircase.

"Isn't that the most amazing banister?" Mandy said. "Makes you want to be five years old and slide down it a few dozen times."

Daniel was staring at her with an unreadable expression that made her even more uncomfortable.

"Oh?" was all he said.

"Yeah. I confess I even tried it one evening."

His face closed up even more. Mandy wished she hadn't said anything, but when she was uncomfortable, it was hard not to say whatever came into her head.

"The section behind us is dedicated to the Senior Center," Mandy explained, trying to return to rationality. Daniel Whittier had been hired after interviewing on Skype, so he hadn't seen City Hall. "You already know about my office. Yours is farther down the north hallway, past mine. Most of the other administrative offices are upstairs."

He glanced around—probably orienting himself—with the same inscrutable expression on his face. "I suppose I expected the city manager's place of business to be more toward the front, or adjacent to the other administrative personnel."

"Don't worry. Your office is nice, although not right at the mo—"

"I'm sure it's fine."

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Book Description Harlequin, Canada, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. large type edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Opposites are irresistible! If something feels right to Mandy Colson, she goes for it. That s why she never stays long in one place and why she s landed temporarily in sleepy Willow s Eve. That s also why she s got a huge problem with new city manager Daniel Whittier. Sizzling attraction aside, the gorgeous single dad is all about control and playing it safe--and Mandy isn t. So why does everything change when their arguments turn into combustible kisses? Now, instead of moving on, Mandy s edging closer to Daniel.and falling deeper for a man who might not compromise, even for love. Bookseller Inventory # BRD9780373608850

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Book Description Harlequin, Canada, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. large type edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Opposites are irresistible! If something feels right to Mandy Colson, she goes for it. That s why she never stays long in one place and why she s landed temporarily in sleepy Willow s Eve. That s also why she s got a huge problem with new city manager Daniel Whittier. Sizzling attraction aside, the gorgeous single dad is all about control and playing it safe--and Mandy isn t. So why does everything change when their arguments turn into combustible kisses? Now, instead of moving on, Mandy s edging closer to Daniel.and falling deeper for a man who might not compromise, even for love. Bookseller Inventory # BRD9780373608850

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