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Meant to Be (Sweetbriar Cove #1)

By´╝ÜMelody Grace



1





Poppy Somerville believed in soulmates.

Call her crazy, or naïve, or hopelessly romantic if you want-she'd heard it all. But ever since she sneaked her first drugstore romance novel to read under the covers at night, she'd believed. That there was someone for everyone; a pot for every lid. A place her heart could find a home.

It's what made her race through the works of Jane Austen by the time she was fifteen, and sing along with every love song on the radio, and sit up nights watching classic old windswept movies while her college friends were out drinking in the rowdy bars on State Street on a Friday night. It's why, when she finally sat down to write her very own book, a love story was the only thing on her mind. Now, a few years and half a dozen novels later, she had millions of readers all over the world-because they wanted to believe, too.

Some people rolled their eyes, but Poppy didn't care. She figured there was something brave about that kind of hope, especially with so much darkness in the world. Love was worth taking a risk on, no matter how easy it seemed just to play it safe and settle for something less than The One.

So why did she have a tight knot in the pit of her stomach just thinking about the wedding that should have been happening twenty thousand feet below her right now? 

She could picture it perfectly-she'd selected every detail. She knew the music that would have been playing, the white roses decorating the chapel pews. It was her dream wedding from start to finish-and it was all still just a dream. Because she'd broken things off just two weeks before the ceremony. Now, instead of saying her vows and entering into holy wedded matrimony, she was squished into the coach section of a last-minute puddle-jumper flight, trying to put as many miles as possible between her and the wedding-that-wasn't.

"Don't worry, it's nearly over."

Poppy snapped her head around.

The lady in the next seat paused her knitting and offered a sympathetic smile. "We'll be landing soon. This is always a bumpy ride, those Atlantic winds."

"Uh huh." Poppy managed a faint reply. She was gripping the armrest so hard, her knuckles were turning white. Her stomach had been churning for an hour now, but she didn't know if it was the choppy flight making her feel so uneasy-or regret that she'd thrown away what could have been her one chance at happiness, someone to share her life with forever.

The plane lurched, and Poppy bit back a whimper.

It was the turbulence, she told herself. Definitely the flight.

"Do you want to try and take your mind off it?" the woman asked, friendly. "I have a book you can read, if you'd like."

She rummaged in her purse, then pulled out a paperback. Poppy recognized the cover in an instant. It was her first book-the one that had propelled her from beavering away at a tiny cubicle at a temp job in the city, to . . . beavering away in a tiny office in her apartment, instead. Contrary to popular opinion, bestselling authors weren't all jet-setting around the world to exotic locations. The advance on that book had barely paid off the last of her student loans and bought a good bottle of wine to celebrate. But still, toasting the deal that night, she'd never been prouder. And even though her deals had grown along with her readership, Poppy knew that doing what she loved every day was the real prize.

And sharing her stories with readers around the world.

"Thanks." She took the book and pretended to look over the jacket, even though she knew every word by heart. She'd bounced for joy when those first advance copies had arrived, holding it in her hand for the very first time. "Are you enjoying it?" she couldn't help asking. She always loved to get reviews, no matter how hard she tried to stay away.

"Ooh yes," the woman said promptly, and Poppy glowed with pride. "I love all her books," she continued. "She has a way of writing, you really feel the passion of the relationship. I bet her husband's one in a million, to make her write like this."

Poppy came back down to earth with a bump that jolted more than the plane. She knew all her fans thought she was having breathless affairs, or settled with the man of her dreams, but the woman in Seat 12B couldn't have been further from the truth-especially now.

Luckily, before she could reply, the overhead announcement switched on. "Ladies and gentlemen, we're ready to make our descent into Boston International. Thank you for joining us on this red-eye flight, if you could stow all baggage . . ."

Poppy let out a sigh of relief. She could see the city lights spread out below them now, still dark before sunrise. She'd only been able to get a red-eye flight from New York at the last minute, she'd been in such a hurry to get out of town.

"There you go." Her companion smiled. "You've almost made it! Just a few bumps and we'll be back on solid ground."

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