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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Katie Lost and Found--Preview #1

I'm almost ready to hit "Publish" on Katie Lost and Found, but in the meantime, I thought a little flip through the book might be fun. Ulterior motive--my publisher, LilyBear House,will be hosting a Facebook launch party in a couple of weeks. If you'd like to win some cool prizes, these previews will give you a distinct advantage! You can sign up to attend the party here, and I really look forward to seeing some of you there!
 
So, here we go--Katie Lost and Found (Welcome to Walnut Lodge Book One)
 
 The day had been uneventful, the morning cool enough to work in the garden, the afternoon warm without too much wind, a rare thing in this part of the country. The kitchen and housekeeping staff arrived on time to perform their tasks efficiently and without complaint. Even the cluster of aging buildings comprising the Walnut Lodge Inn and Suites held off any sort of emergency for another day.
As she stood behind the registration desk—an imposing example of fine woodworking salvaged from an older and grander hotel—scanning the evening’s reservations, Tess Weldon almost breathed a sigh of contentment—almost because too often letting down her guard provided an irresistible opportunity for the fates to throw her a curve. And the day wasn’t over yet.
“Can you handle this?” she asked the desk clerk on duty, a woman as small and dark as Tess was tall and fair. Tess and Cami Mitchell, her closest friend as well as the Lodge’s assistant manager, were opposites in temperament as well as looks. While Tess took every aspect of her job, which was her life, far too seriously, Cami approached both work and life with a unique blend of quirky humor and intense passion. Together, they were the ideal combination to meet the challenges of operating a bed and breakfast filled with character, charm and, on occasion, chaos. 
“Why? You looking for some way to get out of your date?”
“Are you kidding? You know I wouldn’t stand Chad up. I hear I’m in the lead for Soccer Aunt of the Year.” Running a fingertip down the list of dinner reservations, she faked a worried scowl. “I just don’t want to come home to find you raiding the wine cellar. Or in the pantry with Lucas.”
“You stay out of our therapy sessions. We’re making great progress.” Cami’s brown eyes twinkled and a grin spread its way across her heart-shaped face.
“Is that what they’re calling it these days?” Moving on to the row of guest reservation cards on the desk, Tess threw a little smirk over her shoulder. “Just do us all a favor. Try to confine those sessions to after-hours, please.”
Ten out of sixteen rooms booked, most for the weekend. Fridays, gateway to the weekend getaway, were normally busier in the fall. Cooler weather, kids in school, the promise of a romantic fire in the elegant bedrooms and wine on the torch-lit terrace lured more couples her way to fill the rooms vacated by weeknight business travelers. Tess examined each card, studying the names. “The Mulveneys. Is it that time again already?”
“Yep. She said they couldn’t wait for fall so they could come back. Cute couple.”
“In their sixties by now, aren’t they? Texas cattle ranch? Nice big Lincoln?”
“That’s them. He’s a sweetie, very romantic, I remember.”
“Right. What’s this one? The one nighter?”  She picked up the card, reading under her breath, “Direct bill to CentAir?”
“Oh, yeah. I meant to mention that to you. Ariel asked specifically for the carriage house. This guy may be staying long term and she thinks he might like something more private.”
Tess mouthed the name, a frown drawing down her finely arched brows. “Peter Kosten.”
“Ariel said he’s the architect who designed the new terminal and office complex.”
Turning the card over, she studied it more closely. “Did she say anything else about him?”
“Like what?”
“Where he’s from. If he’ll be bringing a wife with him.” She tucked the card carefully back in its place, hoping Cami hadn’t heard the catch in her voice. “If he’ll pay full rate for long term.”
“No. Just that he’d be here tonight, might want to extend a day or two and might be back in a few weeks for as long as six months. Oh, and that we’re going to love him, of course.” Cami reached to answer the switchboard, giving Tess a hard stare.
Coincidence. Cruel coincidence, but surely nothing more. Forcing down the flutter of panicked butterflies, Tess tucked her hands in the pockets of her jeans. Cami’s sharp eyes and sharper tongue wouldn’t let it pass if she noticed they were trembling.
As soon as Cami ended her call, Tess backed toward the door leading to her office. “So, I’ll hit the road if you’re sure you’ll be okay. I’ll probably have a bite to eat with the team after the game, and I may stop at the garden center in Andover. I should be back by nine.” Tess knelt to stroke the graying Pomeranian who’d been watching expectantly from his basket behind the desk. “Sorry, Cyril old man, you can’t come this time,” she said softly.
Catching her arm, Cami halted her escape. “You okay?”
“Of course I am. But I need to get going. I don’t want to disappoint Chad by showing up after he scores the first goal.”
“Right. And you don’t want me to guess what’s got you going all pale one minute and blushing like a guilty teenager the next, either.”
“You spend too much time analyzing people, you know that?” Resting her hands on Cami’s slender shoulders, she buzzed her cheek. “I’ll see you later. Don’t forget to let Cyril out. And keep your hands off my chef, okay?”
That wouldn’t be the end of it, but the last thing Tess wanted was a forced heart-to-heart with Cami while her defenses were so shaky. Who’d have thought the sight of a name could rattle her so thoroughly? Ridiculous, since it wasn’t remotely possible that CentAir hired a Dutch architect to design its corporate headquarters in Middle of Nowhere, Kansas. It wasn’t possible that he was headed for her B and B at the same moment she was jumping in her aged van and rattling down the driveway in a cloud of dust as if the hounds of hell were nipping at her tires.
 

1 comment:

  1. Nice opening, nice set-up! I hope the next previews are consecutive.

    ReplyDelete