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Happy New Life

Part of the Rom-Com

“Carpe Bead’em is fun with a capital F. It’s sad, funny, inspiring, quirky, and great chick lit! It shows that you never know what’s round the corner, and anything’s possible if you just take a chance on life! Perfect summer reading.” Bestselling author, Sibel Hodge
“I loved how Tonya Kappes was able to bring her characters to life.” Coffee Table Reviews

“I loved this book. Grandberry Falls is my kind of town and I for one would love to live there and get to know all the local folks. I enjoyed reading this book and can’t wait to read the next book about Grandberry Falls by Tonya Kappes. I have added Tonya Kappes as one of my new favorite authors.” Jean Segal

“I love it when I pick up a book because of its cover and the story to follow is just as great or better. That’s what happened here.” Stephanie Overton

“I read this in a day and loved it! You felt that you were part of Grandberry Falls. The small town folks who know everyone and know everything about someone in a matter of hours.” Avid Reader

“This book was fun, entertaining and good to the last page. Who knew reading auras could get Olivia in so much trouble? Sit back, smile and cozy up to, where Olivia does the dumping for you. There’s heap loads of humor, a dose of magical realism, sprinkles of romance, and mystery when someone ends up dead!” Author Lisa Lim

“I was looking for something different and easy to read…meaning nothing too involved, something that if I put down could come back to and remember all the characters and where I left off at…well I didn’t put it down I finished it in a day… what a great read !!” CimarronThere is nothing cozier than winters in Grandberry Falls.

Interior decorator and divorced mom, Liz Day, is living her dream by opening up The Mole Hole Interiors. Life couldn’t be better with best friend Jenna Greenlee and boyfriend, Cole Michaels by her side. Until she discovers a deep secret between Jenna and Cole that will change the lives in Grandberry Falls.

Jenna vows to make the new year, the beginning of a NEW LIFE. . .HAPPY NEW LIFE.

Happy New Life

Part of the Rom-Com

Happy New Life


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Chapter One

“How are you doing in there?” Beth Harrison shouted between the wooden slats of the dressing room door. “I’m leaving a couple more out here for you to try-on.”

Liz ignored her and looked at the black-sequined dress in the three-fold mirror. There was no way the image staring back at her was really her.

She’d been in The Figure 8 several times over the past year. She’d stood in front of this very mirror many times, but she’d never seen this person.

She smiled. This was the one, she thought with a faint sigh of relief.

The hinges creaked as Liz slowly opened the door. 

Beth brought her hands to her mouth. “Perfect. Jenna made me swear I’d help you pick out something perfect, but I think we’ve hit it out of the park.” Beth brushed her long crimson hair behind her shoulders. Her green eyes were popping with envy.

Beth ran her hands down the side of the sequined dress, along Liz’s frame. At the hem, she folded it under, making it a little shorter.

“Let’s take it up a few.” Beth winked. “You’ve got great legs.”

“No, I’ll take it exactly the way it is.” Liz sashayed back into the dressing room, letting the hem fall back to its original place.

She took one last look in the full-length mirror and her smile broadened.

Maybe Beth and her twenty-something-year-old friends would wear the dress shorter, but Liz wouldn’t be comfortable.

“Thank you, thank you,” Liz whispered out loud. A trickle of excitement swept through her lost soul.

How in the world had she let Jenna Greenlee talk her into co-hosting the annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving New Year’s Eve fund raiser? Jenna had always hosted it alone. Why did she need Liz? At least it would be better than in past years when Liz rang in the new year crying in her bed.

This is the one, she smiled again because she knew what Hayes would say.

Hayes, her twelve-year old son, constantly asked her why she always wore black. She’d tell him it was more professional, and professional was the image she had to maintain in order to court her clients who pay her to decorate their houses.

Truth be told, Liz liked the way her caramel highlights seemed to look creamier against black. She may be forty, but she could still pull off the long, straight, Demi Moore look.

A year ago, the town folk didn’t know what to think when Liz Day blew into Grandberry Falls, Kentucky and opened up The Mole Hole Interiors.

She had, of course, done her homework before she uprooted Hayes and moved two hours away from her hometown; away from family and long-time friends.

The quaint town of Grandberry Falls had appealed to her. The waterfall in the center of town was like magic to her soul. The first time she stood on the charming brick road in front of the waterfall, she felt a peacefulness settled over her that she hadn’t felt in the past couple of years. Not to mention the old Victorian homes that lined the streets were way past their prime and in desperate need of a makeover. These were signs to her, and she believed in serendipitous signs. 

But coming up with a name for the shop to fit in with Grandberry Falls was another story. She couldn’t name it any old thing when the shop was surrounded with stores like The Fatted Pig Restaurant, The Purple Cow Bookshop, The Trembling Cup Café and, The Thirsty Turtle Bar.

It had to be unique and quirky and she knew it. This was a town with a sense of humor.

‘Name-the-shop’ was a game Hayes made up where they threw out different animals in silly phrases. They laughed especially hard at The Great Goatsby, in honor of Liz’s favorite book, The Great Gatsby. Hayes had even drawn a picture of a Goat wearing a dapper twenties suit.

Hayes was smart, clever, and handsome. He was her pride and joy. If she was going to make a good life for him, Grandberry Falls was the place.

“Not bad, not bad.” She brushed down the sequins along her hips and twirled around to make sure the dress looked decent on all sides.

Her mouth curled in a faint smile. The Brown Tiger Tanning Salon on Main, was worth the few extra dollars investment for the spray on tan. Her legs, although slender, still weren’t as toned as she would like them, but they’d have to do.

Her eyes stopped. The back of the dress was low cut, almost to her waist. Racier than she planned, but who was there to impress? No one.

“When you’re ready, I’ll be at the counter.” Beth chimed on the other side of the dressing room door causing Liz to lose her train of thought.

She twirled around one last time, secretly wishing she could run home, put on the dress, and seduce her loved one. That isn’t going to happen unless her hairy dog got excited.

When she took off the sequined black dress, it slid down her slim frame. The smooth cold fabric sent chills up her spine. Carefully, she hung it up.

She glanced at her watch, not wanting to be late for her standing lunch date with Jenna. Besides, she had to stop by The Busy Bee to pick up the yarn tassels she’d ordered earlier in the week.

For the past year, meeting Jenna at The Trembling Cup was a much needed break from the stress of single mommyhood and sole proprietorship. 

The two hit it off right away. She had Jenna to be thankful for this holiday season. Jenna made Liz the talk of the town, going on and on about Liz’s eye for design. After that, small town gossip led to a lot of inquiry and clients for The Mole Hole, making her a busy woman. The resulting reduction in financial stress was a welcome benefit.

“It was made just for you.” Beth pulled the protective plastic over the dress. “I can’t wait to tell Wendy you bought it.”

Wendy Owens was not only the buyer for Figure 8, but the girlfriend of Grandberry Falls’ Mayor, Mitch Dozier.

“That reminds me, I need to give her a call. She wanted a small sofa or loveseat for the mayor’s office.” Liz took a slip of scrap paper out of her purse and jotted a quick note to remind herself to make that call.

“We are still over the moon that Mitch won the election.” Beth said.

Grandberry Falls’ old mayor had been in office for over forty years and it had definitely been time for a change, especially with the impending eminent domain case against long-time resident Hazel Greenlee, Jenna’s mom.

“I sure hope he can help Hazel.” Liz said, digging deep into her purse for her wallet.

“I don’t know what’ll happen to business if that outlet mall comes to town.” There was sadness in Beth’s eyes. “I’m afraid The Figure 8 will go under.”

“Don’t worry. I have the same fears, but we’ll stick by each other.” Liz was worried too, but she knew no matter how much she stressed about it, she wouldn’t be able to change fate.

The town was divided over the whole situation. The younger generation wanted the outlet mall, while the older generation wanted Grandberry Falls to stay the same quaint little town it had always been. And they were all relying on Mitch to solve the problem so that everyone was happy, including the small business owners like Beth and Liz.

“Cash or Credit?” Beth’s nails clicked on the register buttons. “One hundred and seventy-five dollars is a steal!”

Liz gulped.

“One-hundred and…” Her mind raced. She’d never spent that kind of money on a dress for herself before.

“One-hundred and seventy-five dollars,” Beth confirmed.

“Hmm…”Liz debated on whether to put the dress back, but took out her credit card.

She liked the dress and she deserved to look good if she had to go to the party—and she had to go.


“I’ve got it nice and sealed.” Beth handed the dress over the counter. “We’re supposed to get over three inches.”

The falling snow had already covered the tops of cars and the sidewalk outside.

“And if you need a wrap, I’ll be more than happy to tell Wendy to keep her eye peeled next week when she heads down to the market.”

Of course she needed a wrap, but she sure wasn’t going to be spending much more on herself.

“I might have something at home.” She laughed thinking about how her jean jacket would look overtop the sequined dress. “I’ll let you know.”

Liz wrapped her scarf around her neck and carefully took the dress from Beth. She decided to put the dress in her Mercedes SUV, a car she really couldn’t afford, before she ran across the street to The Busy Bee.

The car salesman had promised her it would keep her and Hayes safe, as they traveled back and forth between Cincinnati and Grandberry Falls every other weekend. He was a good salesman. Using Hayes and safety in the same sentence had worked like a charm. Since she had to take Hayes every other weekend to visit his dad, she’d wanted something reliable. Granted, it wasn’t brand new, but it had still been pricey.

Trying not to think about the credit card bill that would be greeting her in the New Year, she wrapped her coat tightly around her and trotted across the street to the yarn store.

Grandberry Falls had old world charm while still offering all the luxuries of today. Frequently, Liz perused the independent stores for unique treasures for her costumers.

The Busy Bee makes the most wonderful homemade tassels that she loves to hang on door knobs or the switches of lamps, giving them the unique touch she has a knack for.

“You better get in here before you freeze.” Hazel Greenlee cackled, after opening the door of the knitting shop. “You’re going to love the new tassels Clarice made.”

“She never disappoints me.” Liz hugged Jenna’s mom.

Hazel had become Liz’s home-away-from-home mom. Much different from her real mom, Tammy Preston.

Hazel’s bohemian look was much different than Tammy’s country club look.

“I love that shawl.” Liz ran her hands down Hazel’s arm.

“Home Shopping Club.” Hazel boasted.

It was no secret that Hazel loved the Home Shopping Club and that Paula, the host, could sell Hazel anything.

“The colors really go great with your new hair cut.” Liz made sure to compliment Hazel on her new do.

Jenna had told her that Hazel wasn’t completely happy with how Belle Greenlee had whacked off Hazel’s hair. Of course Hazel trusted Belle; after all, she was Hazel’s granddaughter and Jenna’s niece, who had gone to beauty school and owned The Hair Pin, the only salon in Grandberry Falls.

Hazel’s fingertips picked at the short ends next to her ear. “Do you really think so?”

“Yes, I love it.” Liz wasn’t about to tell Hazel that it was a tad bit short, but she did like it.

“You know how Belle is. She takes whatever was going on in New York and tries to use me as the guinea pig. She even tried talking me into getting hot pink hair extensions.” Hazel rolled her eyes. “Anyway, aren’t you going to meet Jenna?”

“I am, so I’d better find Clarice.” Liz looked around finally spotting her in the back next to a group of knitters.

“Pearl once.” Clarice’s voice boomed. She grabbed the needles from the middle-aged woman. “Not twice, once. Hold on, Liz. I’ll get those tassels for you once I figure out how to get these needles back on track.”

Liz snickered. She loved that Clarice blamed the needles and not the knitter, although the knitter’s face was flushed red.

“Take your time.” Liz walked around the room.

It might be cold outside, but the warm colors of all the different yarns made the shop very cozy. She didn’t mind being there or waiting. It was just one more thing she liked about Grandberry Falls. The slow life that made her enjoy life.

She had never noticed all the different types of yarns before. Wool, Mohair, Dishie, Swish Tonal… the spools went on and on. They were lined up in seemingly endless rows all around the three-room house that Clarice had turned into the cozy shop.

She thumbed through the wool cloaks hanging on a round display.

“Aren’t those beautiful?” Clarice broke the silence in Liz’s head.

“Yes.” Liz held up a black-lined one, thinking it just might go with her new sequined dress. “Did you make this?”

“Honey, I can make anything.” Clarice handed the bag of tassels to Liz after Liz put the cloak back on the rack.

“You do wonderful work.” The clock hanging behind Clarice’s head couldn’t be right.

Liz didn’t have time to make a deal or dally any longer. She needed another cup of coffee to warm her bones, and she could get that while meeting up with Jenna.

“Put it on my tab.” Liz waved behind her. “Hazel, stop on over for a cup of coffee.”

“Naw, I’m gonna run some errands. I think Maggie might be coming to town soon.” Hazel’s eyes lit up like fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Maggie was Hazel’s other granddaughter and Jenna’s niece. Hazel Greenlee raised Belle and Maggie after their parents were killed in a tragic car crash when they were little children. From what Liz has heard and seen, Hazel had done an amazing job.

“Oh, good. I can’t wait to meet her.” Liz hugged Hazel goodbye.

Maggie was a lawyer in New York City. She left for college and didn’t come back. She does return a couple of times a year, but she hasn’t been back since Liz had moved to Grandberry Falls.

The sound of the falls and the snow-capped rocks looked like a perfect Christmas card. And the carriage lights lining both sides of the street made the dangling Christmas decorations sparkle even more. Even with all this beauty surrounding her, she had a hard time finding joy, but she had to, somehow for Hayes.

“Over here,” Jenna yelled and waved her hands over the crowd in the coffee shop. “Here’s a non-fat vanilla latte for you.”

“Yum. Just what I need.” Liz laid the bag of tassels on the table, and brushed the snow off her coat. “The snow is really coming down out there.”

The blizzard outside wasn’t stopping the townsfolk from getting out. The streets were filled with warm conversations and Christmas cheer.

“We’re supposed to get a couple inches.” Jenna handed Liz a menu.

She set it down. There was no reason for her to look at it. She ordered the same thing week after week.

“I was afraid the snow might keep you away.” Kerri Ann McComb wiped her hands down her Christmas apron, causing the bells decorating it to jingle.

Kerri Ann was an inspiration to Liz. She didn’t care what people thought, and she always said it like it was.

She pulled a pen out of her hair and tapped the order pad.

“The usual?” Kerri Ann asked.

“Yes, please. And I’d like to add a bowl of your soup.” Soup was exactly what Liz needed to take the chill out of her spirit. “Plus, I’d never miss our weekly date. Are these from The Ladybug Florist?”

She picked up the bud vase, admiring the cream, white, and red Poinsettia with holly sprigs.

“Mamie ordered one for each table. Didn’t Celia do an excellent job?” Kerri Ann asked.

Celia Briggs was the owner of The Ladybug Florist. Her flowers decorated all of Grandberry Falls, and beautifully so.

“I hope she’s back in time to get the fundraiser arrangements done.” Jenna gave a cross look to Kerri Ann.

Kerri Ann should have the inside scoop since she dated Marty, Celia’s father.

“Marty is in Los Angeles at the movie wrap party, and he said he has a big surprise to tell me when he gets back.” Kerri Ann refilled the coffee cups. “I still can’t believe Sam Barber was living in our town and we didn’t even know it. Much less falling in love with Celia.”

What luck, Liz thought, as she considered Celia Briggs.

Sam Barber, the famous movie star, was escaping his life and wound up in Grandberry Falls of all places. He’d even applied to The Ladybug Florist to be Celia’s delivery boy. Despite a few hiccups, Celia and Sam fell in love, and she was doing all the flowers for his new movie’s wrap party in Los Angeles.

“Oh, she’ll be back in time. Then I’m going to spend some time with Marty.” Kerri Ann winked, referring to the relationship she’d sparked with Marty a few months ago.

Looking over Kerri Ann’s shoulder, Liz noticed a crowd gathered around a table in the back of The Trembling Cup.

“Kerri Ann, what’s going on back there?” She strained her head.

Kerri Ann looked around, then back at Jenna, then at Liz. “Nothing, nothing.” Her voice was tinged with anxiety.

“That was strange.” Liz watched Kerri Ann rush back toward the table to quiet the crowd.

Kerri Ann couldn’t fool her. She was the eyes and ears of Grandberry Falls. If there was anything new in town, she knew about it, and there was definitely something new in the back of the coffee shop.

Liz wrapped her scarf around her neck.

“That’s Kerri Ann for you,” Jenna said as soon as she was out of earshot. “Did you go to The Figure 8? I told Beth to expect you and set you up with a great dress.”

The dress was the last thing on Liz’s mind. They needed to get the fundraiser finalized. That way, she’d be able to put this holiday season behind her.

“Yes.” Liz rolled her eyes. “What about you?”

“Me?” Jenna put her hand on her chest. “My situation was different from yours.”

Liz laughed. Everyone in the coffee shop stopped and looked. All except the table in the back that was still crowded with people.

“What? I’m a widow.” Jenna said, reminding Liz of the tragic drunk driving accident that left her without a husband and Samantha fatherless. “You are a divorcee. Let me guess, black dress?”

Liz moved slightly to the right so Kerri Ann could put the food down.

“Yes, but it’s different. You’ll have to wait and see.” Liz jabbed at a bit of salad with her fork and dipped it in the dressing cup.

Jenna was going to have to wait.

“Fine. If you not going to divvy up the details, I guess we can work on this.” Jenna slapped her hand on a stack of file folders.

With only two weeks until the benefit, Liz wondered how they were going to get everything they needed to get done…done.

The New Year’s Eve benefit, Night at the Casino, was sponsored by the local Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter, and there are no alcoholic beverages served at the function. They rented games and people had volunteered to be table dealers, servers and show everyone that you can have a good time without alcohol.

The Trembling Cup erupted in a burst of laughter. Liz looked up, but Jenna continued sorting through papers and talking about a document she couldn’t find.

The crowd parted from the back table. Why was everyone smiling and laughing? And who were they patting on the back?

Ever since Sam Barber put Grandberry Falls on the map, you never knew who would show up.

Liz couldn’t help but notice the handsome gentleman that emerged from the crowd. He was definitely good looking, but she wondered what made him so popular. She sat up a little taller as he headed for their table.

She was sure she’d never seen him around town. Anyone new in town would be hard to miss since the town only consisted of one Main Street with several side streets. The countryside was vast, but everyone’s names were known.

He stared back, but not at her. He was focused on—Jenna.

She tilted her head toward Jenna and whispered, “I think someone was checking you out.” Her eyebrows lifted in curiosity.

Is Jenna hiding something, or someone from her?

Jenna looked up and then quickly back to Liz. “We have to get out of here.”

She frantically gathered the files scattered all over the table. With the flip of a piece of paper, Liz’s cup tumbled over and the coffee went everywhere.

“Oh no!” Jenna screamed and scrambled to save what she could.

“Here.” A masculine hand dropped napkins on the table.

Jenna grabbed them and soaked up the mess.

“Good morning, Jenna.” His husky voice fit his tall and slender yet muscular frame.

Liz was unable to move, lost in his milky big brown eyes, until he turned and went out the door.

“Are you going to tell me who that man is?” Liz put her hand out to stop Jenna from getting up so fast.

It had been a long time since Liz felt that kind of energy from a man and she wasn’t about to dismiss it so quickly.

“Someone I haven’t seen in a long time,” Jenna whispered, while dabbing at the papers with napkins. “Nobody, just someone from my past who needs to stay there.”

After some mumbled words, Jenna shoved the papers in her bag and walked out the door. All Liz understood was that Jenna would call her later, which would give Liz time to get her emotions in check.

end of excerpt

Happy New Life

is available in the following formats:

Tonya Kappes Books

Oct 10, 2011



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