Home Sweet Home: Four women compete to land the coveted Mrs. Fix-It role on the famed home improvement show, opposite the hammer-wielding stud, Mr. Fix-It. After a series of comedic mishaps, they go into business together buying, remodeling, and fixing up homes, landing them with their own show, Designed to Last. As they build their own happily ever afters, they also discover a strange mystery in Butterbury and have to solve it in order to save the quaint, small town from underwater ruin.
From USA Today Bestselling Author Ellie Hall this prequel to the Home Sweet Home series contains bonus chapters and a small town map!
You know it’s bad when you have to give up chocolate to pay the bills.
I’m flat broke and desperate, but the word can’t isn’t part of my vocabulary. I’m all too familiar with shoulda, coulda, woulda, however, you won’t hear me say cannot or any of its variations. No, siree.
I can do anything except for improve my finances. So it makes perfect sense that I, Louella Belle, would compete to become Mrs. Fix It, the new cohost, on the popular House and Landscape channel’s home improvement show, Mr. Fix It.
Too bad the limits of my handywoman skills involve duct tape and thumbtacks. Shh. No one needs to know that.
Onscreen, Mr. Fix It, aka Bo Boone, is a stud and our chemistry is as blazing as the southern sun. However, when the cameras stop rolling, he cools off quick. When I learn why, I want to patch up his heart. Don’t worry, I won’t use duct tape or thumbtacks.
My efforts are about as effective as me replacing a wax ring on a toilet, flushing everything down the drain unless Mr. Fix It can live up to his name, forgive me, and get over his past.
She has her guard up. He’s never let his down.
I’m an admitted Type-A go-getter. If there are goes to be gotten, I’m the one to get them. Or something like that.
Don’t get me started on how my knack for interior design is a cover-up for my internal struggle—anxiety and I are old frenemies. I probably shouldn’t think about my dysfunctional family, either. Everyone has one of those, right? And lastly, we won’t discuss how I’m officially in my forties and not exactly where I expected to be in life.
Where is that, you wonder? On the set of the new House and Landscaping TV show Designed to Last. It was the brainchild of my besties and me.
Except there’s one problem and his name is Buck McDermott. The Viking-like blacksmith who I have to work with in order to transform this dump isn’t going to last much longer if he doesn’t obey the @DomesticDiva aka, me, Christina Abernathy (I even have an official blue checkmark on my social media).
My project. My rules.
But he wants to rule this roost. Isn’t that adorable? The six-foot-five, red-haired, and bearded beast thinks he can best me? Bwah ha ha. Plus, he’s too much like my ex.
Because there’s one thing I know for sure, even though Designed to Last is the name of my show, relationships don’t. There’s no such thing as a happily ever after. Well, he does do this one cute thing with his lips when he’s concentrating on hot molten metal.
But we won’t talk about that either...or our secrets. Nope.
He's her longtime crush. She's off-limits. Will they stick to the rules or DIY it?
I’m a nest fluffer, a homebody, everyone’s favorite house potato.
Yum. I love potatoes—fried, mashed, baked with butter and cheese. Sorry, I’m running a farm now on little more than DIY YouTube videos, so gardening is high on my mind and I have to dangle a carrot (potato) to keep myself motivated. Where was I?
I love my hometown except I left over a decade ago because that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Go to college, get a job, and start a family. So far, I’m zero for three in all departments, including kissing a guy. Welcome to the new thirty.
After I tried and failed to change my name from Mae Fuller to Miss. Fix-it by landing the role, three of the other contestants and I started a biz together and now have our own show on HLTV. But I’m not sure where I fit in. Not until Taylor Whitmer, my brother’s best friend and my high school crush, saunters onto the set in a well-worn pair of cowboy boots.
Even though he’s off-limits, the girls try to play matchmaker, claiming he’s a turnkey investment. I won’t lie. He turns me on, but have I mentioned he’s ten years older than me?
However, when he helps me save the family farmhouse and my integrity when I go on a blind date that lands me in the muddy pig trough, I’m starting to wonder if age is nothing but a number.
The Do Not Stay Inn is getting a second chance but will Camellia and Nash?
It's bad enough I’m suddenly allergic to chocolate. I know, a travesty. But body chemistry changes with age...turns out, so does the heart.
What’s nominally worse is I spent my life savings on an old inn smack dab in the center of the quaint small town of Butterbury, Georgia. The plan was to feature it on the Christmas special of my home improvement show, however, the property turned out to be little more than a lump of coal.
I wouldn’t mind burning it to the ground, but my besties who I do the show with see potential. I’m a realtor, so usually, I have an eye for a diamond in the rough, but this one got me good.
They bring in renowned businessman Nash “the Gnasher” Crandall to help bail us out. I, Camellia Calloway, can pick myself up by my own cozy slipper straps, thank you very much. Anyway, he’s more like Nash Scrooge with the miserly way he destroys small businesses...and hearts.
Yes, we have a history. Years ago, he got me good too. It’s a shock to learn he’s a widower and has an adorable son. But that won’t convince me he’s on Santa’s nice list. No, I refuse to agree to his proposal that I pose as his fake girlfriend in order to save Christmas and the inn. As they say, fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice...
...And we end up in front of an evergreen tree, baking cookies, and then I find myself in his arms under a sprig of mistletoe.
But the question is, do I return the kiss?
Is there such a thing as a meet ugly?
Let me back up a beat. At a party last month, I thought I’d met the one: Mr. Mysterious. Mr. Handsome. Mr. Grooves. We danced together, flirted, and had fun. Bess + Cassian = Forever. Then I never heard from him again.
Still single, I officially move to Butterbury. True to form, I arrive with a bang. As in crash-boom-bang. My trusty but rusty pink Cadillac slides sideways into an Escalade. That particular SUV belongs to Mr. Angry. Yes, the same mister.
To say that was the beginning of an unfortunate series of events is an understatement. I learn that my services aren’t needed at the job that brought me to town. My rental floods, and I accidentally douse the mayor with a bucket of water.
Okay, the last one wasn’t entirely innocent, but he uses his power to torment my family and friends. Who’re amazing by the way. My siblings offer to bail me out. However, I’m here to make my way and not take handouts—they’re already full of makeup brushes and hair styling tools.
Oh, and there aren’t any openings at the local salon. So what’s a resourceful gal like me to do? Take a job as a housekeeper. It comes with room and board. To my shock, it’s for Mr. Cassian Megabucks. I mean billionaire. I mean Mr. Cassian Smith.
The guy I wanted to be my Mr. Right. Then, in addition to cooking and cleaning, he asks me to be his fake missus to a wedding. It’s a magical, unforgettable night. But he does forget me. Again.
We’re opposites in every way, but maybe after I dust away these cobwebs I can makeover his heart and convince him to give love a chance.
This isn’t a Cinderella story because, in the end, she got the prince. As for me? I’m experiencing the anti-Cinderella moment. My life is her story in reverse.
There I was, living in the lap of luxury with regular shopping sprees, swanky dinners, and VIP events. My friends called me Tinsley, the queen of Tinsel Town. Whether there, in Nashville, or in NYC I strutted along the golden paved streets. Now, I’m in Nowhereville aka Butterbury, Georgia. I don’t even have a pumpkin to turn into a carriage to make an escape.
How’d I get here? Oh, just a little social media snafu. It was nothing. Just your run of the mill case of public humiliation forcing me into hiding. Let’s not forget my ex lives here too, and he has his happily ever after. I’m not bitter. Not at all.
Meanwhile, the only available job is at the Sweetheart Bakery. It’s not all bad though because a cute guy comes in every once in a while. Aiden Fuller is also in the running to become mayor which could have its perks. I hear he heads up the annual parade. Dating him probably couldn’t hurt. Though I’m afraid he knows who I am and what I did.
Except there’s one catch. It turns out he’s the reason I lost my social standing. I could get my revenge, ruin him, and return to my old life or spill the truth about my secret and finally have real love.
Maybe I’ll turn around this riches to rags love story yet.
A special edition paperback is available in India from Srishti Publishers.
Hi, I am Christina! I’m admittedly a go-getter, crazily working on a new TV show about transforming a dump property into a dream house.
Except there’s one problem, and his name is Buck McDermott! The Viking-like blacksmith who I have to work with isn’t going to last much longer if he doesn’t obey the @DomesticDiva aka, me. My project. My rules.
He wants to rule this roost. Isn’t that adorable? The six-foot-five, bearded guy thinks he can beat me at my game? Bwah ha ha. Plus, he’s too much like my ex.
And there’s one thing I know for sure – there’s no such thing as a happily ever after. Well, he does do this one cute thing with his lips when he’s concentrating on hot molten metal. But we won’t talk about that either...or our secrets. Nope!