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Authors: Kimberly Lang

0451471040

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Contents

Praise

Also by Kimberly Lang

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Epilogue

Excerpt from the Magnolia Beach Series

About the Author

PRAISE FOR

Something to Prove


Something to Prove
is a heartwarming story about a bad girl returning to her small hometown, finding romance, and discovering that you can go home again. Loved it!”


New York Times
bestselling author Linda Howard

“Lang’s latest contains smooth, modern storytelling filled with lighthearted touches.
 . . .
The town of Magnolia Beach is the true highlight of this story, though, with its distinctive charm and its colorful residents; it’s sure to appeal to readers.
Something to Prove
is a truly delightful read.”


RT Book Reviews

“In this contemporary, we have Ryan Tanner (super hot) and Helena (former wild girl) getting together after years apart, and it’s adorable. Watching these two had me smiling and blushing. When I’m in the mood for a contemporary, Kimberly’s one of the first authors I go to.”

—Happily Ever After-Reads

“[A] wonderful romance with a story line that had our interest from start to finish.
 . . .
[It] pulls on your emotions and never lets go until the end.”

—The Reading Cafe

Also by Kimberly Lang

The Magnolia Beach Novels

SOMETHING TO PROVE

ONE LITTLE THING

SIGNET ECLIPSE

Published by New American Library,

an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

This book is an original publication of New American Library.

Copyright © Kimberly Kerr, 2016

Penguin Random House supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin Random House to continue to publish books for every reader.

Signet Eclipse and the Signet Eclipse colophon are trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

For more information about Penguin Random House, visit
penguin.com
.

eBook ISBN 978-0-698-16689-9

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Version_1

For Judith—

Partly as an apology for my inability to not call you by your nickname in public, but mostly because you’re an amazing friend who will eat Mexican food with me anytime I want, even if it does require us to actually leave our houses.
Tischdecke
,
hummer
and
prost
!
Du bist
toll!

Chapter 1

I
t’s nearly impossible to keep a secret in a small town.

But
nearly
impossible means it is still possible. It was just damn hard to do it.

Molly Richards felt like she knew most of the secrets in this particular small town. She wasn’t a therapist, preacher, bartender, or even a hairdresser, but running a coffee shop—the
only
coffee shop in Magnolia Beach, Alabama—had to come close. People didn’t have to tell her secrets. She overheard them at Latte Dah—whether she wanted to or not.

But she wasn’t a gossip. She never repeated what she heard, never even dropped hints, because everyone had something they’d rather other people not know.

But she also never forgot those overheard tidbits, either, and it gave her a more complete picture of this town and its people than most folks who’d lived there a lot longer than the two and a half years she had.

In a way, it made her love Magnolia Beach all the more. Not only did she know
what
was going on, she also knew the
why
, the
who
, and often the
whoa-you-won’t-believe-this
. It was a quirky little place, and the key to appreciating it fully was understanding it.

The buzz today was all about the engagement of Sophie Cooper and Quinn Haslett, but that was
news
,
not gossip—literal news as Quinn had announced it himself on the front page of
The Clarion
.

That’s one benefit of owning the paper,
Molly thought with a giggle.

There were sighs over the romance, speculations over the timing—they’d been together less than a year, after all—and a bit of jealousy from the younger single set that Quinn had been taken off the market, but it made Molly smile all the same.

It was spring and love was in the air. And she was a sucker for a love story. She’d once thought that her own failed marriage would—or at least
should
—sour her on all relationships, turning her into one of those crotchety types grumbling at romance. She’d even gotten a cat in preparation for that day, but it never happened.

Even after everything, she still believed that everyone deserved a happily-ever-after. And she got to see lots of relationships start, grow—and occasionally end, too—over cups of coffee in the overstuffed chairs of Latte Dah.

Jane, who’d been with her from almost the day she’d opened her doors, blew her blue-streaked bangs out of her eyes as she passed carrying a tray full of dirty coffee cups.

“There are three applications under the register. Hire someone, or I’m going to quit.”

“I will,” Molly promised. In addition to Jane, Molly had two part-timers, but they were high school kids, so the hours they could work were limited. And while it was very nice to be busy enough to need another employee, she was enjoying the security of the extra cash after two years of just making ends meet. Right now, she was in a good position—she’d invested in the shop and padded her savings a little bit—but that cushion could deflate quickly. She couldn’t risk losing Jane, though, and they’d only get busier once the summer
season started. She tugged the envelope with the applications out and opened it as she followed Jane into the kitchen. “Any of these you particularly like?”

Jane didn’t look up from loading the dishwasher, but Molly saw the triumphant smirk. “Samantha Harris or Connie Williams. Patrice is a little flighty.”

Molly knew
of
both Samantha and Connie, even if she didn’t know them personally—Magnolia Beach was pretty small, after all—and she didn’t have a strong feeling either way. “I’ll call them both back for interviews, and if they’re good, I’ll see who can start next week.”


This
week,” Jane insisted. “I’d like to have a life, too.”

Molly sighed. “Fine. Can you call them and see if they’ll come in this afternoon? Maybe one at four and the other at five?”

“Thank you. Now I won’t have to poison your coffee today.”

She grinned. “Then thank
you
.” A glance around told her the morning rush was officially over. “I’m going to run out for a while. I’ll be back before the Bible study group arrives.”

“Bring back change,” Jane called from behind her. “We’re low on fives and ones.”

Molly nodded as she hung up her apron and then held the door for a mother pushing a stroller with a sleeping baby. Outside on the sidewalk, she took a big breath of non-coffee-scented air and turned her face up to the sun. Late spring was quite possibly one of the best times of year here weather-wise: warm days, and nights that were just cool enough to require a light jacket. But the frizzing of her already unruly curls meant summer—and its humidity—were right around the corner.

It might be an odd little town, but there sure wasn’t a much prettier place than Magnolia Beach on a bright
spring afternoon. The town was practically a movie set labeled “small-town Americana”—tidy buildings set along clean, narrow streets and flags waving lazily in the breeze. Even the newer buildings intentionally had that older aesthetic, giving the impression the town wasn’t necessarily stuck in the past, but instead rather gently resisting change wherever it could.

That feeling was part of what drew tourists to the area. That, and the water, of course. Magnolia Beach was locked in on three sides by water: Mobile Bay to the east, Heron Bay to the south, and Heron Bayou to the west.

The Yankee snowbirds had already left town for their northern cities and climes, but in a few more weeks the town’s population would nearly double in size as all that water drew folks down to the coast. The Mobile Bay shore—called “The Beach” by the locals—had white, sandy beaches, perfect for sandcastle building and walks along the water, while the Heron Bay shore—called “The Shore” to avoid confusion—offered fishing off the jetty and a boardwalk along the rockier, man-made beach. Add in a marina full of boats to charter, airboat tours into the bayou, and long, hot sunny days, and Magnolia Beach was a summer paradise.

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