Lavender Lass Books - Thursday Newsletter 2
Welcome to Lavender Lass Books - Thursday Newsletter! Abigail and I have decided to publish all three books in The Burrows Bay Series, one chapter at a time. We'll also be offering some behind-the-scenes info on characters (the mansion!) and recipes...including the infamous Strawberry Daiquiris! No recipe today, but we will be adding a few as we go. And as always, you can find out more information on these and all our other books at the Lavender Lass Books website.
Today, we have two FREE short stories, as well as some exclusive short stories only available at our BookShop. And save 25% on any ebook from our store!
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!
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.
Gabriella was a little nervous about seeing Moira again. She could admit it to herself although, she’d never say it aloud. Moira got under her skin. She was too smart and always knew everything about, well, everything. Too many books, Gabbi thought to herself.
As she paced around, waiting for the flight from Billings, Gabbi ran her hands through her long, dark brown hair. She usually felt very confident about her appearance, but seeing Moira always made her feel tall and gangly. Which was ridiculous. She wasn’t thirteen anymore.
Looking at the crowd of people, she realized a small part of her was secretly looking forward to seeing her cousin. They had never been close, but she was still family. Gabbi didn’t have many people she could count on and maybe, she and Moira would finally find a way to bond. She’d always wanted a sister, and this might be her chance.
Not a good idea, she thought. Don’t get your hopes up. The reality is…people always let you down.
In the middle of this inner argument, she looked over and saw Moira scanning the crowd. “Gabriella!” she called out, waving at her.
If Moira took a little time with her looks, she would be so pretty, Gabbi thought to herself. Another reason not to like her. Or who knew, maybe a reason to take her shopping and try that bonding.
Gabbi braced herself as Moira ran up and hugged her. “It’s so good to see you! How do you like being a chef? Do you still want to open your own restaurant? We have so much to talk about and I don’t even know where to start.” Moira slowly ran down but the big smile remained.
Gabbi smiled back, in spite of herself. Moira had always been a sweet kid until they found a reason to argue. Shaking her head, she realized Moira wasn’t a kid anymore…but she was still two years younger than Gabbi, who was twenty-nine.
After slowly untangling herself from the hug, Gabbi said, “Okay, let’s go find your luggage. I imagine you brought several suitcases.”
“Oh no,” replied Moira. “Just three. The letter said we might have to stay for more than a few days, so I had to bring the essentials.”
“How many books?” inquired Gabbi, smirking. “If I recall, you don’t go anywhere without your books.” Moira had forgotten how Gabbi’s blue eyes turned almost amethyst at times especially, when she was teasing her.
“Oh, just a few tucked in here and there,” Moira said as she waved her hand vaguely. “I can always buy more clothes, but it’s difficult to find really good books.” She could tell it sounded a bit snobbish, but she didn’t want to admit that one suitcase was almost full of books.
“I imagine your Daddy gave you a large check just for shopping?” Gabbi asked her voice dripping with saccharine. “We all know he can afford it.”
“No, I brought my own money,” Moira responded defensively. “I know we don’t talk very often, but I’ve been working for the last four years, and I’ve managed to save quite a bit.”
She didn’t add it was almost enough to buy a house of her own. At least the down payment for something small and charming with lots of windows and a yard for a dog. Not like the apartment she had been living in. She’d always wanted animals, but her parents never made room for anything that took time away from their careers. Or anyone, a little voice added. Ignoring it, she glared at Gabriella.
“Don’t get upset. If there are less than twenty books, I’ll apologize.” Gabbi smiled at her cousin knowingly.
“Okay, I brought more than twenty, but they are all very important.” Then, Moira laughed and shook her head. “Why do we always end up getting on each other’s nerves?”
“That’s what cousins do,” responded Gabbi. “Come on, let’s go get your luggage and see if we can lift it into my car.”
Moira watched Gabbi as she drove. She loved her cousin, but always felt so average in her presence. Where Moira was 5’6” and saw herself as the girl next door, Gabbi was 5’9” with wavy, almost black hair and curves in all the right places. Moira smiled, remembering the way they’d played dress up as little girls. Before either of them had thought about hair color or curves.
Moira decided she liked Gabbi’s car. Especially, since it was a convertible. They had talked about putting the top down but decided against it. Gabbi said the top often stuck on her ’97 Jetta when it started to rain. However, it was reliable otherwise and the closest thing she could afford to her first love, a 1964 Corvette Stingray. At least the Jetta was red…and theoretically a convertible.
The traffic was crazy going through Seattle, and Moira thought to herself she was quite happy to be the passenger. Nothing like this in Billings, and she hadn’t really driven anywhere else. All the traveling she’d done with her parents had been when she was too young to drive. As an international correspondent and photographer, they made the perfect power couple and sometimes took her with them on assignment. Once they bought the newspaper, they were too busy to travel.
She’d decided to save money by going to the local university and staying at home. She had a talent for selling advertising. Her dad called it her “soft sell” and it was very effective. She had worked for the paper all through high school, college and full time since graduating. Montana State had a good program in marketing, but she’d spent more time in her history classes. She finally graduated with majors in both. One for her parents, and one for herself. History was just like books. Wonderful stories about interesting people, living in exotic places…all having a more exciting life than she did. But it was fun to live through them if only for a little while.
Stop it, she told herself. This is the beginning of a new and exciting adventure. So, for once, be the main character in your own story.
Turning to Gabbi, she said, “Have you ever been to Anacortes?”
Gabbi nodded her head. “A couple of times. They have some really interesting shops and a few great festivals. But when you live in Seattle, there’s not much reason to go anywhere else…except maybe down to California. San Francisco has some of the best restaurants in the world or so my father tells me.” When I see him, Gabbi thought to herself. Ouch, she shouldn’t have gone there. Do not think about Dad. Not today and not with Moira.
Moira knew that was a sore subject since Gabriella’s parents had divorced when she was about thirteen. She tried to lighten the mood. “Hey, I know,” Moira forced more enthusiasm than she felt into her voice. “Let’s go explore Anacortes. We have five hours before the lawyer is going to meet with us. We can wander around the town and have lunch. It’ll be fun!”
Gabbi looked over and sensed what Moira was trying to do, and she had to admit it was pretty nice. “Okay, sounds like a plan. But you’re buying lunch since I’m paying for gas.”
“Way ahead of you,” replied Moira. “In fact, let’s splurge and eat somewhere right on the water.”
Almost an hour later, they were still heading north on interstate 5 with the Cascade Mountains off to their right and Mount Baker straight ahead. They would keep traveling north until they reached Mt. Vernon and then take the short cut over to Highway 20 and Anacortes. The scenery was amazing with the evergreens all around them and azure blue skies. No rain today and it was a lovely drive.
Moira kept commenting on the beauty, but Gabbi told her, “Wait until we get to the water.”
As they worked their way toward Puget Sound, Moira kept looking for the water but there were too many trees blocking her view. As they drove across the Twin Bridges connecting Fidalgo Island with the mainland, it was suddenly laid out before her.
“Oh!” she put her hand up to her mouth. “It’s beautiful! Just beautiful. How wonderful to live in such a magical place.”
Gabbi smiled. It doesn’t always feel so magical when I’m in Seattle, but you’re right…this is beautiful.”
They drove through Anacortes, then out to the harbor and parked. Walking along the shore, they looked across the channel to Guemes Island. Gabbi noted the ferries and smaller boats were out in force with everyone enjoying these last warm days.
“It’s almost the end of September and the weather is perfect,” Moira said, seeming to read Gabbi’s thoughts. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day to start our big adventure.”
She stopped for a minute as her gaze traveled right to Samish Island, then back to the left and Cyprus Island. Looking out at the water, the trees, and the sky, Moira was overwhelmed with the beauty of the place.
“This was worth the trip,” she whispered to herself.
Gabbi smiled and punched her lightly in the arm. “There you go, cuz. Nice to see you enjoying something besides your books.”
Another reference to her books. Moira remembered how much Gabbi had teased her when they were six and eight. She smiled. “Books can teach us a lot, but of course, you have to learn to read first. I imagine you mastered that some time ago.”
“Ouch!” Gabbi replied. “Kitty has claws.”
Moira turned back, “I should apologize…”
“No, you should not,” Gabbi said. “I think you’ve probably done that far too many times in your life, judging by that shapeless top you’re wearing.”
As Moira started to say something, Gabbi held up a hand. “I’m not saying that to be mean. Well not entirely, but you’re too pretty to wear that style. What I’m saying is let’s be honest with each other. If we are going to spend the next few days together, let’s start fresh. Not continue a fight we had over twenty years ago.”
Moira smiled and nodded. “Agreed. And you’re right. I do apologize too often, even when I’ve done nothing wrong. Standing here with this breathtaking view in front of me, I feel the need to say so.”
Gabbi looked at her for a moment, then smiled back. “Maybe there’s hope for you yet, cuz.”
“Let’s get something to eat,” suggested Moira. “I’m starving.”
“Sounds like a good idea,” replied Gabbi.
“How about there?” suggested Moira. “That restaurant has a spectacular view of the water.”
“Let’s just hope they have spectacular food,” muttered Gabbi, but she did have to admit the view was wonderful as they walked into the dining area.
“Something by the windows if you have it,” Moira told the pretty, young woman at the cash register.
She smiled at them. “You two just missed the rush, so sit wherever you like. I’ll be right over to take your order.”
They decided on prawn appetizers. How could they not? Moira thought to herself, smiling. She ordered garlic prawns, while Gabriella chose the spicy paprika prawns, which definitely suited her personality. They went back and forth on clam chowder but decided on a light salad instead. If you can call any salad, buried under luscious Dungeness crab, light.
They debated about white wine but settled on water with lemon.
“Are you gals up from Seattle?” asked the waitress. “We get a lot of tourists in the fall, who want to get out of the city and enjoy the last of the nice weather.”
Moira smiled and told her they were here on business. Gabbi tried not to pay attention, focusing on the ingredients in her prawn appetizer. She was pretty sure she could replicate it with a little trial and error.
“If you’re done with the welcoming committee, we should probably leave,” said Gabbi as the waitress went to check on her other tables. “We’re supposed to meet Gran’s lawyer in about twenty minutes.”
“Lead the way,” replied Moira.
Fifteen minutes later, they were sitting in the reception area of O’Reilly and Finch, Solicitors. They both stood up as Arthur O’Reilly came into the room. He was a tall man with gray hair and a casual air, despite his well-cut, blue suit.
“You must be Moira. You look so much like your mother,” he said, shaking her hand.
Moira liked the way his eyes lit up when he smiled. “It’s very nice to meet you, Mr. O’Reilly.”
“Arthur, please,” he replied.
“And you must be Gabriella,” he said, turning to Gabbi. “You look like your grandmother at that age, except for her auburn hair.
“Nice to meet you, Arthur,” said Gabbi with a slow smile. “Just how well did you know our grandmother?”
Moira gave her a frustrated look, but Gabbi ignored it.
Arthur laughed. “Very well actually,” he replied. “We were good friends since we were six years old. I met Maggie in the first grade, when she asked to borrow my green crayon.”
Gabbi smiled. “Good answer.”
As they walked back into his office, Arthur informed them there were a few papers to sign, then they’d drive over to the MacInnes House.
“Your grandmother wanted her will read in the library,” he informed them. “It was a special place for her.” He decided not to tell them she’d died there. He tried to push that thought out of his mind and focus on the paperwork in front of him.
Join us next week for the next chapter of The Magic of Burrows Bay!