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“An interesting read and a good mix of romance, lust and suspense. Ms. Dunlop has given her readers a story to disappear into.”

—Harlequin Junkie

“A perfect read for the holidays. It was funny, heartwarming and downright endearing. . . . Grab a hot cup of cocoa and snuggle up to the fire for this one—it will warm your heart.”

—Fresh Fiction

“A lovely little holiday small-town romance.”

—Carrie’s Book Reviews

“Definitely pick this one up if you love cowboy romances that are a nice, slow burn.”

—Remarkably Lisa Blog

“A charming, laugh-out-loud holiday story. . . . Barbara Dunlop’s characters are passionate, multilayered, warm and funny.”

—RT Book Reviews

“Fast-paced, sexy, witty and romantic . . . a fabulous story that you will devour in a single sitting! Barbara Dunlop is a talented storyteller who has written an engaging and engrossing tale.”

—CataRomance Review

“Sparkles with bright characterization and sizzling romance; don’t miss it!”

—Romance Reviews Today


Published by Berkley

An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

Copyright © 2021 by Barbara Dunlop

Excerpt from Finding Paradise copyright © 2021 by Barbara Dunlop

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.

A JOVE BOOK, BERKLEY, and the BERKLEY & B colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

Ebook ISBN: 9780593332979

First Edition: May 2021

Book design by George Towne, adapted for ebook by Cora Wigen

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.

Cover design by Farjana Yasmin

Cover image of couple by Tom Merton/Getty; bush plane by Hannah A. Graham/Shutterstock




Praise for Novels by Barbara Dunlop

Title Page


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen


Special Excerpt from Finding Paradise

About the Author

Chapter One

Mia Westberg had dressed meticulously for her husband Alastair Lafayette’s funeral. She wore a black silk jersey under-dress that hugged her slim frame. A lace overlay softened the sweetheart neckline and brushed her knees in a sheer, scalloped hem. She added a lariat necklace of black diamonds and put her blond hair up, pinning a puff of black mesh to the wispy braid coronet. She finished with a pair of simple diamond halo onyx studs and slim heeled ankle boots over sheer black tights.

Alastair would have appreciated the ensemble. He’d chosen the dress himself from Lafayette Fashion’s new fall Eternity Collection. Knowing his heart condition was worsening, he’d joked that she should wear it before it went out of season. It was dark humor, but that had been his way.

Now Mia and three hundred other mourners were assembled in St. Catherine’s Cathedral off Wilshire Boulevard. Mia was on the aisle of the front right-hand pew with Alastair’s adult children, Henry and Hannah separating her from his ex-wife, Theresa. None of the trio had looked her way. No surprise there. Henry and Hannah had just turned twenty-five. Mia was twenty-seven, and they’d never forgiven her for that.

The mayor was speaking at the pulpit. His remarks were supposed to be brief, making way for Joseph McKenzie to deliver the eulogy. Joseph was head of the California Fashion Design Council and a longtime friend of Alastair’s. He sat across the aisle from Mia right now, notecards in hand, obviously holding back tears.

Mia’s emotions were more complicated. She’d loved Alastair for the nine years of their marriage, and fifty was far too young for him to die. But she knew what nobody else did: Alastair’s heart condition had made this moment inevitable. It had grown worse over the past six months, causing him intolerable pain and becoming more and more difficult to hide. But he was a proud and private man, and he’d wanted to keep his health a secret right up to the end.

Mia couldn’t help but be happy that he’d succeeded. Her husband had lived a gifted life and died on his own terms.

The mayor, who clearly enjoyed the sound of his own voice reverberating from the redwood rafters of the beautifully gilded cathedral, finally ended his speech. People shifted, and a few coughed or whispered as the mayor left the pulpit.

Joseph rose and stepped across the aisle to give Mia’s shoulder a comforting squeeze.

She sent him an encouraging smile. Unlike the mayor, Joseph wasn’t a fan of public speaking.

But he did both himself and Alastair proud. His voice broke over a few heartfelt passages, and he paused twice to blow his nose. He brought some humor in at the end, and Mia chuckled along with everyone else at the story of Lafayette Fashion’s first overseas show. It was long before her time, but anything that could have gone wrong did, and Alastair had eventually seen the humor.

“Did you see that?” Mia heard someone whisper behind her.

“Easy to tell she’s not so brokenhearted,” someone else whispered back.

Henry looked over at Mia then—well, glared really, but she levelly met his gaze. It was no secret that he and Hannah considered her a gold digger. After reading Alastair’s will, they were more convinced of it than ever. As Alastair had predicted, they’d already contested the will in court.

Theresa daintily dabbed her eyes with a lace-edged hankie while Hannah squeezed her mother’s hand in a show of support. But having heard Alastair’s side of the divorce and having watched Theresa’s behavior over the past nine years, Mia knew it was all for show. If Theresa was broken up about anything, it was the lack of an inheritance.

Joseph ended with a heartfelt farewell to Alastair. The priest led the congregation in a prayer then in a hymn

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