Bidding Wars (Love Strikes) - By Lacey Wolfe

Chapter One

As the realtor’s car pulled up to one of the most stunning houses Molly Harper had ever seen, she knew: this was it. This gorgeous home was going to be hers. Sometimes you just knew things right away. It was love at first sight—the believable kind.

Molly climbed out of the midsize sedan and gazed up at the beautiful two-story colonial-style home. The house was a pale yellow with hunter green shutters. The railings on the wraparound porch were white. The paint was starting to chip off some, but in her eyes, it was one of the things that added character to a house. And unless the inside had no flooring and holes in the walls, she was certain that this was what she’d been looking for.

Tall trees surrounded the home, leaving plenty of welcoming shaded corners. The bushes needed a good trimming, but a little landscaping would fix that. Turning a little, she studied the property lines. The neighbors’ homes weren’t too close to make it feel as though they could see everything she did, but close enough for them to be there in an instant if you needed them.

Diane smiled at Molly and began to walk to the front door that would lead into what Molly was certain would be her dream home. As she stood on the front porch, her phone rang in her purse. A quick glance at the screen showed her ex-husband was calling. Rolling her eyes, she quickly stabbed the reject button.

Diane studied the MLS listing as she unlocked the door. “This home was recently renovated, according to the listing agent. It’s been freshly painted, with new carpets and hardwood throughout. The only note on here is that the appliances are a little dated. The seller is willing to replace them if you desire.” Diane opened the door and stepped back so Molly could enter first.

Taking a deep breath, Molly walked into the large open foyer. To her right was a formal dining room with a gorgeous chandelier, and to her left was the formal living room. Directly in front of her was the staircase that she assumed would lead her to the bedrooms, but at the moment she wanted to explore the first floor. As she walked farther, she came to the kitchen—a very big one. Much larger than any she had seen since her quest for a new home began. She rubbed her hands along the cool granite countertop and imagined rolling out dough for fresh bread or pasta. She opened one of the dark wood cabinets, liking the amount of room inside.

Then she saw the stove and couldn’t suppress her giggle. “You’re not kidding about the appliances. Though that can easily be replaced.”

Diane opened the oven and grimaced. “I can’t believe the seller didn’t take the time. It’s all rusted inside. If you want this house I’ll be sure to add new appliances to the offer.”

“It’s fine. I’d rather pick out my own stove anyway. I love cooking, and I want to make sure this kitchen has everything I want in it.”

Diane shrugged and made notes in her folder before ushering Molly into the family room. It wasn’t the biggest she had seen, but it was cozy. A huge stone fireplace dominated the corner. Behind her was a full wall of windows, including a set of French doors that took her out to a sunroom. “All that’s left to see is the upstairs, but I think this might be just the place for me.”

The first room she went to upstairs was the master bedroom. She could easily put a king-size bed in there and have plenty of room. A small sitting room was attached. Her thoughts instantly went toward nursery, but then she shoved that away as quickly as it came. The bathroom shocked her. The bathtub looked as though an army could fit inside of it. She’d hate to see her water bill after filling it one time. She roamed the rest of the upstairs, looking in all the closets and testing all of the light switches. This was home. It had to be hers. It was time for things to start looking up for her. The past year had been hard. As she rubbed her empty ring finger, she tried not to dwell on it. At this moment in her life, she was picking up the shattered pieces and starting fresh. A new journey.

She met Diane back in the foyer. “This is my home. I can feel it. This place