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Lavender Lass Books - Thursday Newsletter 3
So much to share today! First, we are having our Facebook party on Wednesday, August 10th, from 9 am to 3 pm PT. Hope to see you there! And if you can’t make the party, we’ll leave the posts up and a prizes open through Friday morning…so be sure to stop by when you can.
And we have some very exciting news! The first book in my family-friendly fairytale series may be getting a new cover. Dianne Gardner has created this lovely painting and even offered to do some illustrations if we reach our stretch goals.
Kickstarter is a great way to launch a project...but even if you aren't able to back a campaign, following it can make a BIG difference! Kickstarter will sometimes show it to more people on their site, which is a wonderful opportunity. So please follow the pre-launch campaign, and help us get more exposure for Dianne’s lovely painting and my book!
Also a reminder that ALL our book are available at our Lavender Lass BookShop for 25% less than retailers…and a few stories are FREE this weekend.
And if you like fairy tales, be sure to join our Facebook group. So many dresses & tea cups to choose from…it can be difficult to decide!
Katherine has everything a young woman could hope for in 1849 Scotland, except the freedom to make her own choices. The last thing she wants to do is to get married…and then she meets James Spenser.
Can there be any future together for the outspoken daughter of a railway owner and the charming young man working on the project?
If you haven’t read the previous chapter, you can find it here.
The next morning, Kenneth was back at work with papers spread all over his desk. He was surprised to see his daughter walk through the door and paused with the papers in one hand.
“Katherine, what are you doing here?” he asked. “I thought you would be staying home today.”
“I came to pick up my art supplies,” she replied, with her most innocent look. “Mother said I could get them, so I could sketch in the garden this afternoon.”
Her father smiled at her for a moment, then said, “Whatever your mother wishes.”
Katherine looked around the office, wondering what was different. She realized that there were more papers than usual piled on the desk. "Is everything all right, Da? You seem to have more chaos in here than usual.”
He shook his head. “It’s the Leviathan. We have to rethink the cable structure as it’s not going to work the way we had planned. The engineer is coming down this afternoon to see for himself, but I know we’re going to end up behind schedule. And that’s going to mean higher costs.”
Katherine was actually more interested in her father’s business than he realized. If she’d been a son, her father would have had her working with him by now. Instead, he allowed her to visit and brighten his day as he called it. She thought of it as learning the basics. An independent woman could use all the knowledge about business she could get.
“What’s going to be more expensive?” she asked. “The delay or the extra wages for the men, while you make the changes?” Her father looked surprised as Katherine smiled. “I do spend a lot of time visiting you, and I pick up a few things.”
Her father laughed and came over to pat her on the shoulder. “Aye, you do indeed, Katie.”
Surprising himself, he decided it would be good to talk about it with someone, who didn’t have an interest in the outcome. He was going to talk about it, last night with Martha, until they found something more creative to do with their evening. He smiled to himself, thinking about it, then got back to business.
Looking at Katherine, he said, “All right, my lass. The foreman wants the man hours increased, while the engineer wants more time for the design changes.” He shook his head, glancing down at the mess on his desk, then continued, “I am more concerned about the delay than the wages. The men will have to stop working for two weeks, while we get the new specifications. We have most of the materials, thank goodness, but idle men either cause trouble or leave for another job. I can’t pay them to do nothing.”
“Why not?” asked Katherine. “I know it will cost a bit more, but why not pay them or better yet, give them something else to do? It may seem like busy work, but you could have them paint the promenade and add new benches. Maybe even replace the railings.”
She wasn’t sure that her father liked the idea, but she turned and paced the floor as she continued. “That entire area could use some sprucing up, and it would keep the men busy. You could have a party, when they’re finished, to show the town the improvements. And let people see the Beast, while it rests.” She smiled. “Maybe even have the newspapers take a few pictures of the new promenade benches and people at the party. You always say that you can never have enough good press. And the other partners would really like that, wouldn’t they?”
Kenneth looked at her for a moment, then walked over and squeezed her shoulder. “My sweet lass, you never cease to amaze me. If you were a boy….” Realizing how that sounded, he added, “I mean, if I could bring you into the business somehow, I would.” He walked out into the hall and yelled for his secretary. “Agnes, come in here and take some notes.”
“Would you like me to go down and make a list of the needed improvements?” Katherine asked.
“No, I have men for that,” he replied, “but why don’t you draw a few sketches showing your ideas? I think they might really be the answer to this delay.” He stuck his head back out the door, “Agnes!”
Smiling to herself, Katherine passed her father and his secretary, who looked a bit flustered. “Oh, and Agnes,” she heard her father say, “find the name of the young man, who saved my Katie from that cable. I could use a man like that helping me with this new project.”
Katherine thought of those dark green eyes and decided to check her hair before she started sketching.
“Jimmy, get down here,” yelled Dock Supervisor George McKellum.
James walked over to the burly man, who had a big patch of red hair. Usually, he wanted someone to take a message or papers to another boss, so he stood waiting for the paperwork.
“There’s no papers to take up today. He just wants to see you. You in particular. What’s this all about?” McKellum asked, his eyes narrowing.
“Got me,” replied James.
“It’s probably on account of him saving the boss’s daughter. Our Jimmy is a real hero,” sneered Ian. He was another worker, who started about the same time as James and Andrew. Ian always seemed to be looking to start a fight, so few would share a pint with him.
“Is that so?” asked McKellum. “Well, I don’t like no one jumping over my head to get the boss’s favor. I’ve worked hard these last ten years and I’ve earned this job. So, don’t try to cull any favoritism with the boss at my expense.”
“Just what our Jimmy would do,” taunted Ian.
“Nobody asked you,” McKellum said, glaring at Ian. Turning back to James, he added, “Get going.”
James nodded and walked away. He moved as quickly as he could without breaking his pace. He wanted to finish this and get back to work before he got into more trouble. No man would ever get promoted by getting McKellum’s ire up.
As he reached the office, James was surprised to be welcomed by name. The secretary took him into the boss’s office and asked him to sit down. “Mr. Rogers will be right with you,” she said as she walked back out the door.
James felt uncomfortable but tried not to show it. He had been there about five minutes, when the man himself walked in.
“Good to see you again, young man,” said Kenneth Rogers as he came into the room. “Spenser isn’t it?” he asked.
“Aye, sir. James Spenser.” He tried not to pull at his collar.
“I want to thank you,” Kenneth said, “for getting my daughter out of the way of that cable yesterday.”
“Anyone would have done the same, sir,” James replied. “She didn’t see it coming as her back was turned. I warned her she was too close, when the thing snapped and came at us both.”
“Well, your quick thinking made the difference and I need that type of mind for my latest project,” Kenneth explained.
“Anything I can do,” James offered, beginning to relax now that this was clearly about work. “But I wouldn’t want to jump over anyone else in order to get the position,” he added, remembering McKellum’s warning.
“No, nothing like that,” Rogers assured him. “This is just a short project for the next two weeks. The Leviathan has to be modified slightly to compensate for that cable problem. Meanwhile, I need to keep the men busy and I could use your help.”
James wondered what he could do but waited for his boss to continue.
“It’s Katherine’s idea really. Clever girl.” Rogers smiled as he said it. “If she’d been a boy…” He stopped and cleared his throat. “My point being, she came up with a good idea. I want the men kept busy to avoid anyone leaving for other work or starting any trouble. So, we’re going to clean up and paint the promenade area, install some new benches, replace some of the railings, give the place a good scrub if you know what I mean.”
“Aye, it could use that,” James said, without thinking. “I mean, sir…” he started.
Rogers held up a hand. “Never apologize for speaking the truth. It’s high time we did something and now is the right time. So, I want someone I can trust to keep an eye on my Katherine, since she’s asked to oversee some of the work.”
James tried to hide his surprise, but his expression must have given him away.
“Aye, it’s a bit unusual,” Rogers said, “but it was her idea. It will be more overseeing the paint colors, maybe some pots of flowers, and that type of thing. I just don’t want her down on the docks alone. And I believe you’ve shown you can keep an eye on her and still do your work.” Rogers’ tone became more serious. “Just to be clear, this does not give you leave to be anything, but professional at all times with my daughter.”
James nodded in agreement. “Of course, sir. You have my word on it. She’ll have the same respect I would show any boss, and I’ll make sure she’s safe.”
Reassured, Rogers stepped forward and shook James’ hand. “Well, that’s decided then.” Going to the door, he said, “Agnes, send Katherine in.”
James looked down and reminded himself this was quite an opportunity. And no woman, regardless of how pretty she might be, would ruin it for him.
We are no longer serializing the entire story, but you can find out more at our Lavender Lass BookShop!
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