Lavender Lass Books - Thursday Newsletter 17
Welcome to Lavender Lass Books - Thursday Newsletter! Abigail and I have decided to publish The Magic of Burrows Bay one chapter at a time. As always, you can find out more information on these and all our other books at the Lavender Lass Books website.
We have all our ebooks at our Lavender Lass BookShop…with an additional 25% off if you use our coupon code when you check out.
Not very original, but easy to remember!
And we’ve created a group on Facebook just for our Thursday newsletter! It’s a fun place to talk about all things Burrows Bay related…and as we progress through the story, you’ll find out why we post all those 1920s-inspired dresses. Hope you’ll join us!
Also, don’t forget our Sweet & Vintage Romantic Suspense Party tomorrow from 9 am to 3 pm PT at our Lavender Lass Books Facebook group. See you then!
Finally, here is the next chapter of The Magic of Burrows Bay! We’ll have a new chapter every Thursday, so we hope you enjoy the story!
Maggie McCrae knew her granddaughters were not ready for the legacy she must leave them. The house, the grounds and everything that went with it would now be theirs. She vowed she would do all she could to protect them and hopefully, give them the time they needed to fulfill their destiny. Gabriella and Moira must learn to trust themselves and each other as they discover the true magic of Burrows Bay.
And remember, you can always catch up on all earlier chapters here.
The next day, Moira and Gabbi spent most of the morning cleaning the kitchen, breakfast room and solarium. They had talked briefly the night before, but now Gabbi wanted details. “So, what happened at dinner? Did you have a good time? Did he ask you out again?”
“I told you last night,” Moira replied. “We ate lasagna and had a very nice evening.”
“You see me over here with no man and you can’t even throw me a few crumbs?” Gabbi shrugged. “I thought we meant more than that to each other.”
“All right,” Moira laughed. “I will give you a few details, but only because you helped me get ready. We had a wonderful time, I went with him to pick up police evidence, he said goodnight, and we’re going out this Friday for dinner.”
“He said good night?” Gabbi repeated. “No kiss?”
“Jack is a gentleman.” Moira stopped for a moment and smiled to herself. “I’m looking forward to seeing him on Friday.” She walked over and pulled the table and chairs out of the turret. “Now, I have to sweep this floor. Do you want to try out the vacuum in the conservatory?”
Gabbi walked into the pantry and pulled out the upright vacuum. “This rug has seen better days,” she said. After she went over the same area three times, she added, “And so has this vacuum.”
Moira smiled. “We’ll get the money at the end of the week and we can definitely add a new vacuum to the list.”
Gabbi turned off the vacuum. “You have a list?” she asked, impressed. “Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Because you see the big picture and I make the lists,” Moira replied. “Why don’t we switch, and you finish the kitchen and start the food, while I tinker with the vacuum.”
“Unplug it first,” Gabbi advised, smiling sweetly.
“What would I do without you?” Moira replied, rolling her eyes. In a few hours, they would have their new friends over for their very first party at the mansion. Thinking about it made her feel like someone in a story. “You know what, we have a mansion!” Moira said, laughing.
“I know,” Gabbi agreed, “but not a housekeeper. We should think about adding one to our list.”
“No, I mean we have a mansion and that’s pretty amazing!” Moira switched to dusting the coffee table.
Gabbi laughed. “You didn’t add the ‘for now’ part to that sentence. Are you getting attached to the place, cuz?”
Moira nodded. “I am. And I’m sure Gran knew that would happen.” Looking around she added, “I still don’t know if we can afford it, but it would be nice if we could.”
Gabbi did the happy dance in her head but tried to appear nonchalant as she wiped down the kitchen counters. “It does have potential.”
“That’s what I was thinking.” Moira smiled and when Gabbi asked her what she meant, she would only say, “Wait until tonight.”
At five minutes to six, Callie was knocking at their front door. “I am here, and I have wine!” she announced as Moira opened the door. “I know you plan to have daiquiris, but I thought I should bring something.”
They walked back to the kitchen where Gabbi took the wine. “A local Chardonnay,” she noted, approvingly. “Nice choice.”
Callie smiled. “Thank you. It’s one of my favorites. What smells so good?”
“Marinade,” Gabbi replied. “Why don’t you go ahead and open the wine?”
As the doorbell rang, Moira walked past Callie, saying, “I think there’s a corkscrew in that drawer by the range. Glasses are to the right of the sink.”
“This is a nice, big kitchen,” Callie said, looking around. “What a great view out the breakfast nook and from this window over the sink.”
Gabbi nodded. “Lots of potential but very poorly set up. I guess this was the latest in kitchen design in 1970 something.”
Callie laughed just as Moira and Emma walked into the kitchen. “What did I miss?” asked Emma. “Sounds like the party has already started.”
“Gabbi was just telling me this kitchen would have rocked in the 1970s.” Callie held up a glass, “Who wants wine?”
They all said yes, so Callie reached for three more wine glasses. “Emma, have you seen this view? It’s incredible.”
“It’s even better from the third-floor balcony,” replied Emma, “but I haven’t been up there for quite a while.”
“Oh, I forgot. You used to visit Maggie in the summers.” Callie looked around the room. “I guess I’m the only one who didn’t know her very well.” She smiled. “I do remember she’d say to call her Maggie as Mrs. McCrae was her mother-in-law.”
Emma laughed. “That’s right. I forgot about that.”
Gabbi and Moira looked at each other. These two women had known Gran better than they had. Moira cleared her throat. “I’m glad you two got to spend time with her. I wish we…”
“A toast,” Gabbi stated, raising her glass. “To the woman who brought us together, gave us a beautiful house, and a legacy we are only beginning to discover.”
“To Gran,” Gabbi and Moira said together.
“To Maggie,” Callie and Emma added.
“She would have liked this,” Emma said, a slow smile spreading across her face. “Four women in the house having dinner together and getting to know one another. Using the mansion again.”
Moira nodded. “And we keep finding more hidden features. Did she show you the turret room?”
“The one in the library?” Emma replied.
“No, the one in the bedroom.” Emma shook her head and Moira smiled at Gabbi. Finally, something they knew that was a surprise to Emma.
“Why don’t you show them, Moira? I’ll get this salmon into the oven.” Gabbi looked up at the clock, adding, “Dinner in thirty minutes.”
Moira showed Emma and Callie the secret turret space and both women were charmed by it. “Can you imagine having a toy room all your own…hidden behind a secret opening?” mused Callie. “How wonderful!”
“This would have been amazing and a great place to hide from two older brothers,” Emma agreed, smiling. “I can’t believe she didn’t show this to me.”
Moira looked at Emma. “Did she show you anything else besides the secret compartment?”
“What secret compartment?” asked Callie.
“The one in the library,” Moira replied. “It has these old journals in it…” Emma started coughing loudly, interrupting Moira.
“Oh, sorry. Can we get a glass of water? This wine seems to have gone down the wrong way.” Emma gave Moira a look. “There are some old journals in a drawer behind some books describing the house and the gardens. Great stuff for doing research.”
Callie nodded and seemed to lose interest. Moira looked at Emma closely, then smiled and suggested they all go back downstairs to see if Gabbi needed any help. As Callie walked into the kitchen, Moira grabbed Emma’s arm and pulled her into the dining room. “What was that all about? Don’t you trust Callie?”
“Of course, I trust her. But Callie talks to a lot of people and this is just the type of thing we don’t want the wrong people to hear about.” Emma held up a hand. “I’ll tell you why later and if you still want to tell her, then fine with me.”
Moira nodded. “Fair enough.”
They walked into the kitchen as Callie was telling Gabbi how charming she found the turret…and how great it would be to describe it to some of her younger clients when they needed a distraction from worrying about their pet. “It’s like a fairy princess room,” she added, “with the fireplace and the window seat. Every little girl’s fantasy space.”
Moira looked at Emma and understood now why she was so cautious. Callie was very sweet but not one of the Three.
Gabbi was smiling but stopped as she saw Moira’s expression. When her cousin shook her head slightly, Gabbi asked Callie if she and Emma would like to go out on the terrace before it got too cold. Moira would help her with dinner, and they’d get them as soon as it was ready.
Emma steered Callie over to the door, saying, “I love the way the islands look, when the sun slants through the trees in the evening, don’t you? It gives everything that golden hue.”
Callie agreed and they went outside with Emma carefully shutting the glass door behind them.
“What was that all about?” Gabbi demanded as soon as the door shut.
“Emma doesn’t think we should talk about the books and other ‘Three’ things in front of Callie.” Moira shrugged at Gabbi’s look. “She said she’d explain it to us later.”
“Doesn’t she trust Callie to keep a secret?” Gabbi asked.
“Apparently, she wants to tell us something before we share any more information.” Moira paused. “Maybe, we should hear what Emma has to say and then decide.”
“Sounds fair,” Gabbi agreed. “Now, grab that bowl and help me finish the salad. The fish will be done in a few minutes.”
They had a wonderful dinner and talked about everything except what Gabbi and Moira wanted to know the most...how to find out more about their Gran, the Three, their part in all this, the weird stuff happening at the house, etc.
Finally, Moira thought of something she should have asked before. She waited for a lull in the conversation, then began. “Callie, do you know Marissa Sinclair?”
“Oh, sure,” Callie replied. “She was a year behind me at school, but we were both cheerleaders together my senior year.”
Somehow, Moira was not surprised. “She’s stopped by a few times, asking us if we want to sell our house.”
Callie blew her bangs up out of her face. “That figures. She was a sweet kid in school, but she’s become very focused on her work. It’s all she seems to do anymore besides helping at the animal shelter.”
“She likes animals?” Gabbi asked. “I didn’t get that vibe from her.”
“Dogs, cats, horses, even hamsters and gerbils. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, but that’s the only time you’ll see her not dressed up in a suit and those heels.” Callie smiled. “She’s got a good heart, but I think she’s trying to impress her grandmother.”
“Do you know much about her grandmother?” Gabbi asked.
“We’re out of the loop concerning local people and who does what on the island,” Moira explained, hoping Callie wouldn’t wonder about their sudden interest.
“Sure, that makes sense.” Callie thought a moment. “Judith Thomson is definitely one of those people who makes an impact on the island. She helped her late husband acquire a lot of property and they developed several of the housing areas just outside of town.”
“Makes sense her granddaughter would be a realtor then,” Moira said more to herself than the others.
“Yes, but I don’t know if she really likes it,” Callie stated. “She sells a lot of properties, but she seems more herself…or at least, the girl I knew in high school at the animal shelter.”
“I didn’t know her as well, being two years behind her in school, but she was always nice and seemed to smile a lot,” Emma offered. “Then, she left for college and when I saw her again, she was selling real estate and I was building houses. The homes she sells are the big ones on the bluffs,” Emma said, smiling, “while we build the smaller ones further inland.”
“Building homes and being able to create a space just as you imagine it should be.” Gabbi looked around the kitchen. “That must be exciting!”
“It’s can be, especially when you see the rooms going up. The two-dimensional drawing becomes a three-dimensional space.” Emma smiled. “I really enjoy building homes and it’s great working with my dad and older brothers.” Seeing the question in Gabbi’s eyes, she laughed. “One married, one single, but both very handsome.”
Gabbi lifted one eyebrow. “This evening just became a lot more interesting. Tell me more about this single, handsome brother of yours.”
Moira laughed. “Okay, before we get into all that, I have a question that I want to ask Emma. Looking at Gabbi she smiled, then turned to Emma. “Can we remodel this kitchen for under $50,000?”
Gabbi jumped to her feet. “Are you serious? You want to remodel the kitchen? That would be...amazing!” Gabbi pulled Moira out of her chair and hugged her.
Emma looked around the room. “How much do you want to change? It’s a big space.”
Moira smiled. “That’s up to Gabbi. It’s her space, but I think that’s as high as we can go with the budget. So maybe you can stop by later and give us a bid?”
“Later? Are you kidding?” Gabbi looked at Emma, hopefully. “Any chance we can go over a few things now, while I make daiquiris?”
Emma laughed. “Why do you look like a kid in a toy store the week before Christmas?” She shook her head. “Fine, I’ll give you fifteen minutes, but I want to be your official taster for these famous strawberry daiquiris.”
“Deal!” Gabbi was pulling her towards the range and already talking about counter space as Moira smiled at Callie. “Do you want to go outside and see the sunset? It’s really beautiful.”
“Sure,” agreed Callie, sensing Moira wanted to talk to her alone.
They sat in the Adirondack chairs on the terrace, setting their wine glasses on the table between them. Moira liked Callie, but she wasn’t exactly sure how to begin. Callie did it for her.
“So, how’s Jack?” she asked, smiling.
“He’s very nice,” replied Moira, smiling back. “I don’t know him that well, but we did have dinner last night.”
“I thought something was up.” Callie nodded. “Jack is my brother and I love him, but he’s not an easy man to get to know. And being a detective doesn’t make it any easier.”
“It’s a lot of responsibility, keeping people safe,” Moira replied.
Callie looked at her closely. “You get that, don’t you? Most women don’t.” At Moira’s look, Callie continued. “Jack is a great guy, and he’s had a few serious relationships, but they always end because the woman feels like he chooses work over her. What they don’t seem to understand is that Jack is his work. There is no choice.” She paused. “It’s what makes him Jack, and I’m proud of him.”
Moira smiled. “I can see that.”
Callie nodded. “He has this need to help people, and he’s good at it. If he were a doctor, then maybe they’d understand. So many people see it as a job, but for him, it’s a calling.”
“I do understand.” Moira took Callie’s hand. “It’s important to him.”
Callie looked into Moira’s eyes. “He told you, didn’t he? About our dad being killed in the line of duty.”
“He mentioned it but didn’t go into specifics.” She squeezed Callie’s hand and let it go. “I don’t want to pry. Not with him or with you. I just wanted to make sure we were okay if Jack and I keep seeing each other. I don’t have many friends, and I wouldn’t want to lose one.”
Callie smiled, lifting one eyebrow. “Oh, you’re going to be good for him. I can tell.” She got up. “Let’s try those daiquiris. If they’re half as good as Gabbi’s salmon, they’re going to be wonderful.”
Moira laughed. “Oh, they’re good. Just make sure you drink them slowly.”
“I’ll remember that,” Callie said as they walked back into the house. Gabbi handed her a glass and when Callie tried it, she rolled her eyes and sighed. “Best daiquiri ever! You have to give me the recipe.”
Ten minutes later, they sat down in the solarium. Gabbi looked at Callie and smiled. “So, do you have a calendar filled with handsome firemen? I understand it’s a great way to raise money for charity.”
Callie laughed. “No, but that’s a good idea. Most of them are married, but we do have a few single guys. Maybe, you should come down to the station and help with the toy drive next month.
“Really?” Gabbi looked interested. “Giving back to the community, surrounded by good-looking firemen. I could see myself doing that.”
Callie laughed, while Moira rolled her eyes. “It would be such a sacrifice,” Moira agreed, “but I think you’d manage somehow.”
Emma sipped her drink and took it all in. This was going to be a fun evening, she thought to herself. It was nice to be around women her own age. She spent too much time with her brothers and sub-contractors at work. Although, their plumbing sub-contractor was a woman. Maybe, they should think about doing this on a regular basis.
“You’re awfully quiet,” Callie said to Emma. “What are you thinking?”
Emma smiled. “I’m thinking this is fun. What if we make this a monthly event and invite a few more women?”
“What about men?” Gabbi asked. “We need men here, too.”
“Yes, but if you invite men, we can’t talk about them,” Moira pointed out.
Callie laughed. “We should definitely do this every month, and we should invite Marissa next time. I think she needs to get out more.”
“That might be fun,” Gabbi agreed. Looking at Emma, she added, “Tonight, let’s talk about men we want to meet or have met. And Emma goes first.”
“Oh no,” Emma held up a hand. “I’m here as an observer, and I haven’t had a date in two months.” She looked at Callie. “You go first.”
Callie smiled. “All right, but you have to swear that what happens at the mansion stays at the mansion.”
They all laughed. “I think you mean Vegas, but close enough.” Moira said, smiling.
Callie leaned forward and said, “My husband is a fireman.” Then she stopped and took another sip of her daiquiri.
“Yes, we know,” Gabbi replied.
“Last night, my mom took the kids, and we finally had an evening to ourselves after he’d been on duty for four days.” Callie stopped and smiled.
“And…” Gabbi said, after a moment.
“He likes to put on his fire hat and pretend to come to my rescue,” Callie said, taking another sip of her daiquiri.
“And what do you do?” Gabbi asked.
“I let him!” Callie put her drink down, giggling.
Gabbi shook her head and turned to Emma. “What about you? It must be fun working with those construction guys every day?”
Emma was having a good time but wasn’t quite ready to share any details. “It’s not as exciting as you might think, especially when you’re one of the bosses.” She smiled. “And I think I might need another daiquiri before I divulge any of my secrets.”
“Fair enough,” replied Gabbi. “What about you, cuz?”
Moira looked over at Callie and shook her head. “I don’t think so. Not tonight.”
“Okay, that leaves me,” Gabbi said, “and I will share a romantic escapade I had last year.” She smiled for a moment, then continued. “I dated this Russian chef who had this chopping technique…” Her blue eyes turned more lavender as she thought about those hands. “On second thought, I might have to save that one for later. I don’t know if this group is ready for Sergei.”
“Now, you have to tell us,” Callie said, sitting up and smiling. “I shared my fireman story.”
“True,” agreed Emma. “And I think we can deal with Sergei.”
“That’s what I thought,” Gabbi said with a smile.
Join us next week for the another chapter of The Magic of Burrows Bay!