Spotlight & Giveaway: OLD FLAMES AND NEW FORTUNES by Sarah Hogle

Posted April 1st, 2024 by in Blog, Spotlight / 22 comments

Today, HJ is pleased to share with you Sarah Hogle’s new release: OLD FLAMES AND NEW FORTUNES




Fibs and squabbles and spells . . . oh my!

A small, magical town tucked away in rural Ohio, Moonville is the perfect place for floral witch Romina Tempest to use the language of flowers to help the hopeful manifest love in their lives. After giving up on her own big romance eleven years ago, at least she can bask in others’ happily ever afters.

When the shop’s potential financier shares news of his wedding, Romina jumps at the opportunity to discuss the business . . . even if it means she has to fake-date her chaotic colleague Trevor to get an invitation. But all hell breaks loose when she discovers Trevor’s soon-to-be stepbrother is none other than Alex King: her high school sweetheart. Her greatest love. The boy who broke her heart.

What starts as an innocent misunderstanding becomes a weeklong fake-dating scheme, as Romina quickly finds out she can’t deny her connection with Alex. Caught between her livelihood and her heart, Romina must decide if taking a second chance on first love is worth the risk.


Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from OLD FLAMES AND NEW FORTUNES 

Trevor, Morgan, and I take a minute to screech incoherently. Then we have to press pause on that because we’re running out of time, so I climb into Trevor’s car, internally screeching instead. I don’t do much driving these days unless it’s an absolute emergency because I’ve always hated driving, so Trevor’s my ride today.
Trevor bought this store, along with three others, with the money he was supposed to spend on college tuition, in an ill-advised act of showing his father (a successful property developer and CEO of his company, Twin Trestle Group) that he could be a property developer, too. At the time, Trevor was barely twenty years old. He’d asked his father for a job, expecting a senior partnership, then was insulted when Mr. Yoon told him he’d have to start from the bottom and work his way up. So, Trevor gathered up all of the local businesses that were for sale, anything with a good price, and went all in. He figured, why go to college to learn about business when he could jump-start his mogul days as early as possible? Mr. Yoon, who researches all of his potential investments exhaustively before making any leaps, was shocked and angry. The two have had a strained relationship since then. While Trevor’s three other businesses went bust in spectacular fashion, The Magick Happens miraculously only got better and better. It’s why he’s grown to be so attached to our shop, loving it just as much as we Tempests do. In his own words, it’s the one thing he’s done right.
Trevor is impulsive, easily distracted, constantly devising terrible get-rich-quick schemes only to quit them at the first sign of a challenge. But to his extraordinary credit, he hasn’t quit the shop. He knew nothing about candles when he started, or owning a business, or managing employees. Luna, Zelda, and I were horrified that our mother sold our store outside of the family—Luna especially, as she’s been dreaming of taking over it since she was five. I wasn’t around much during the changeover, as I was going through relationship problems, and Zelda’s been bouncing around from city to city. It fell to Luna, who was manager at the time of the sale, to train Trevor for his job, all the while bitterly resenting him for usurping her birthright.
They got on like cats and dogs until eventually my relationship imploded and I wound up here. Trevor took to me immediately, probably a little bit because he felt sorry for me and wanted to try to cheer me up, but also because I was an excellent buffer who distracted my mother-hen sister, keeping her fussing over me rather than snapping at him. Since Trevor doesn’t have witchy inclinations, the way he contributes to the shop is through social media genius—over the past six years, he’s grown our online presence a hundredfold. I’ll forever be grateful that he didn’t kick Luna and Aisling out of the apartment above the shop, and that he allowed me to reclaim the carriage house out back. In an ideal world, my sisters and I would be the legal owners, but I’m at peace with how it all worked out. Plus, Trevor’s a ball.
“What are you doing later?” I ask him. Trevor and I spend a lot of time together because most of our other friends have migrated to bigger towns. My childhood best friend, Yasmin, left for Cincinnati two years ago, and we promised the distance wouldn’t change our friendship. She still hasn’t responded to the last text I sent her in November. “Wanna hang out?”
“Sure. But you’re not gonna sit on my couch and play your Disney Dreamlight Valley game for twelve hours. Tonight, we’re hitting up a bar.”
“I don’t do bars.”
“Too bad. It’s my turn to pick what we do, and I’m tired of watching you run around with the dude from Frozen, pretending he’s your husband. You can be my wingman.”
I sigh, wistful. “I’m never gonna meet a guy like Kristoff in a bar.”
I turn my mind away from the prospect of cruising for disappointing dates at Moonshine, focusing instead on this meeting, trying to remember that I’m an idealist. Mr. Yoon might say yes. He’ll probably say yes. Except, he will probably find us irresponsible for waiving the inspection, and say no. Then we’ll be left with all these problems, and no night market, and no room for expansion, and stop spiraling! Spiraling is not helpful!
I reach into my pocket for my charm bag. It’s a small drawstring pouch containing malachite, a peach pit, one teaspoon of dried mistletoe, seeds, moss agate, a long-spined star shell, and the tiny plastic ballerina from a jewelry box Grandma Dottie gave me when I was a little girl. Handling the contents of my charm bag always helps to calm and center me.
Our meeting place, Half Moon Mill, used to be a gristmill before it was converted into a restaurant and inn. The lady who runs it, Ms. Vaughn, cooks round waffles that break down the middle to become half-moons. She likes to give half to one customer and half to another (always to people eating alone, whom she presumes are single), and the deal is that if the couple decides to sit together to eat their waffles, they get them for free. Moonville is rife with meddlers and matchmakers, which I suppose is charming if you’re partnered. When you’re lonely and yearning for someone to do life with, all this talk of true love loses its shine.
Grandma Dottie had prophetic dreams. When I was a teenager, she told my sisters and I that she dreamed someday we would all fall for our one true loves within the same year. We’ll know it’s our year when we see a silver luna moth. At that time, she said, one of us will be waiting for love, one will be running from it, and the other will already be in over her head. Zelda thinks it’s a fanciful lie (she loved our grandmother dearly but does not believe she was psychic); Luna has absorbed it into her identity and refuses to seriously date anyone until she’s seen the moth; and as for me, I waffle between wanting the prophecy to come true as soon as possible and being scared to death of ever falling in love again.
“Showtime,” Trevor announces, dissolving my thoughts.
I hop out of the car onto crunchy gravel. “Sheesh, it’s busy.”
“Stupid busy,” he agrees. “It’s eleven o’ clock on a Monday. What are the . . . Oh, no.”
“Trevor,” a young woman with a long black braid greets him sardonically, exiting the car beside his. She’s wearing a blue-and-white-striped romper and hemp wedge sandals. “I heard about you and Haley.”
Trevor glowers. “How?”
“I am omniscient, my dear cousin,” she replies with rosy smugness. “See, this is exactly what I warned Teyonna about. You plow through girlfriends like a worm through dirt and can never hold on to them for long.”
His eye twitches. “You’re annoying. What are you doing here?”
“Don’t see how that’s any of your concern.”
This must be Cousin Allison, eternal thorn in Trevor’s side and half of the reason why he was dumped years ago by her best friend, Teyonna, who remains close with his entire family. I sling an arm around his shoulders. “I don’t think he has any problem holding on to girlfriends, actually.”
Allison’s gaze flits to me, widening. “Who’re you?”
Trevor smushes his cheek against mine. “My other half.”
“You were just with Haley!” she cries. “Good grief. That’s exactly like you, Trevor. Date somebody for five minutes and you start calling them your other half.”
“Special circumstances,” he replies airily, lacing our hands together. “She and I”—he nods in my direction—“have been friends for ages, but we secretly had feelings for each other and shit. We only admitted it after my last breakup. We’ve been wanting to boink this whole time, though.”
I elbow him.
“And now we boink every day,” he continues proudly. “Twice a day! On my leopard print protective car mats.” He squeezes me close to stop me from digging my elbow in deeper. “She has me on a Quaker oats regimen, for stamina.”
She closes her mouth, with effort. I tug Trevor away, into the restaurant, which is uncharacteristically crowded. “Overkill, Trevor.”
“What do you know? Your judgment’s clouded from all the stamina.” He abruptly comes to a standstill in the entryway, pointing at a woman. “That’s my aunt.” Then points at a little boy running around with spoons in his fists. “That’s my cousin.”
I study his confused expression. “Do they come here often?”
“I don’t think so? Some of them don’t even live in Moonville—like that old guy over there, he’s from Akron. It’s like a goddamn family reunion. What’s going on?”
I’m starting to sweat. “Did your dad invite everybody he knows to this lunch? Are we going to be pitching in front of an audience?” Even as I say it, it doesn’t make any sense.
“Trevor! Isn’t this crazy?” a teenage girl squeals, embracing him.
“Holy shit. Ashlee!” He dazedly hugs her back. “I haven’t seen you since your eighth-grade graduation. What’s everybody doing here?”
She begins speaking before he’s finished, words flying a mile a minute. “Isn’t it exciting? Uncle Daniel asked Mom if we could drive down to Moonville on Sunday, but then Aunt Susan found out Daniel was actually going to arrive here today, so she told Mom she was coming early. And then Mom told Uncle Daniel she was coming early, too, to spend more time with him since I’m homeschooled and we can just pick up and go. Then I guess he invited other people to show up but didn’t even tell them what it was for. I couldn’t believe it when Mom told me!”
I’m still deciphering the gibberish when Trevor interrupts, “Believe what? Why did he want all of us here?”
She barrels off, leaving us at a loss. I’m developing a sinking feeling that this lunch with Mr. Yoon might not have anything to do with our request for a loan.
We make our way through the room; ahead, a woman turns and our gazes catch. My brain feels dipped in freezing water, so shocked that it takes a few moments to connect what she looks like to who she is.
She gapes, too, lowering her drink. She has ruffled bangs and shorter hair. Her glasses have been updated, too, the ginormous eighties style swapped for smaller rectangular frames. The rest of her remains exactly the same. I recognize that windbreaker, green and periwinkle with the white zipper, how she’d zip it up halfway. The ultra-blue jeans. Funny how an old windbreaker and a specific shade of denim have the power to rush me through the space-time continuum at the speed of light, forcing tears to my eyes. It’s like slipping into a warm, comfortable sweater, when you run into a figure from your past and they’re still the way you left them. “Oh, my goodness,” she breathes.
Her arms are around me before I can put myself back together enough to recall her name. Kristin. “Mrs. King.” The mother of my high school boyfriend. “Holy cow, what are you doing here?” She moved away from Moonville while Alex was at college, and he never returned to his hometown, either.
“Not Mrs. King for long!” she exclaims. “I’m getting married this coming Sunday. What are you doing here?” She pulls back to give me a once-over. “You’re so different! Your hair!”
Married? I can’t imagine Kristin remarrying. “Congratulations,” I sputter. “Who’s the lucky guy?”
“Right over here!” She leads us through a pack of Trevor’s relatives. “Daniel,” she calls. “Daniel, I want you to meet somebody.”
Trevor’s face blanches. “Dad?”
We’re face-to-face with a gentleman in his late fifties or early sixties, with wire-rimmed glasses and a plain blue cotton button-down, khakis, and penny loafers. He gives me a kind nod hello.
“I believe I recognize you. From the dance picture in the upstairs hallway, right?” He checks with Kristin, who ducks her head in mild embarrassment.
“It’s just that the prom photo is such a good one of both of you,” she begins to explain, but before I can digest the bomb—Mrs. King still has my prom picture hanging in her house???—she’s cut off by Trevor:
“You said you’re getting married?”
Daniel’s smile is understated, but warm with feeling. “Surprise.” Then his gaze returns to me, registering our hands, which are still fastened together—at this point, more so we don’t lose each other in the mob than to make our white lie to Allison convincing. “Trevor, won’t you introduce me to . . . ?” He lets the question linger, but a different voice responds.
Every atom in my body sits up straight at the sound I’ve unconsciously both feared and desired from the moment Kristin turned her head toward me—the way it shapes my vowels into a smooth, rich spell—and it’s as if nobody else has spoken my name in the eleven years since I last heard it fall from his lips.

Excerpt. ©Sarah Hogle. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.

Giveaway: 1 copy of OLD FLAMES AND NEW FORTUNES (US only)


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and post a comment to this Q: What did you think of the excerpt spotlighted here? Leave a comment with your thoughts on the book…

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Meet the Author:

Sarah Hogle is a mom of three who enjoys trashy TV and provoking her husband for attention. Her dream is to live in a falling-apart castle in a forest that is probably cursed. She is also the author of You Deserve Each Other, Twice Shy, and Just Like Magic.

22 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: OLD FLAMES AND NEW FORTUNES by Sarah Hogle”

  1. erahime

    Very entertaining excerpt, HJ! I had enjoyed reading a book by this author before, and I look forward to reading this book in the future.

  2. Bonnie

    What a delightful book! Interesting excerpt. I’d love to read more.

  3. Dianne Casey

    I enjoyed the excerpt and I’m looking forward to reading the book.

  4. Patricia Barraclough

    The excerpt certainly gives us a lot of information, throws us into chaos, then leaves us hanging. The story sounds interesting.

  5. Laurie Gommermann

    Fast paced intro, so much going on with Romina meeting her HS. BF Alex after 11 years, Trevor’s dad marring Alex’s mom, business financial problems, prophecies …
    New author for me