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Authors: Diane Darcy

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She's Just Right (A Fairy Tale Romance) (4 page)

BOOK: She's Just Right (A Fairy Tale Romance)
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The mirror showed that during the night her hair had curled around her face even more. Great. Just what she needed. A bad hair day. She plugged in the straightener.
A while later, showered, hair straightened, and ready for the day, Honey put her things back in her room, grabbed her purse and headed down the hall.
The door to the other bedroom was open, the bed had been sloppily made, but obviously slept in. On her way downstairs the first thing she noticed was the chair she’d fixed had been turned right side up and was off to the side.
She hurried over and was relieved to see it looked fine. Better than fine. Perfect. Hopefully the owners would be understanding about the whole thing.
The house was so silent. “Hello?”
Going into the kitchen she noticed a bowl and spoon in the sink and looked for the person who’d put them there. Or for a note.
Nothing.
She looked out the back door. The dog, face pressed to the window, blinked up at her. He was darling. The big black Labrador’s tail wagged hard, and his demeanor was friendly. But again, there was no way she was opening the door to pet the huge animal.
Through the window, she could see a full dish of dog food and a bowl of water. Where was everyone? Hiding in the trees? It was just so strange. Why would they insist she stay if they weren’t going to be around?
She went to look out the front window and hers was the only car in the driveway. She couldn’t believe it.
No one was home again?
Had they run to the store for milk? Or would they be gone for hours? She had no way of knowing.
She considered eating breakfast, remembered the Shredded-Wheat and decided she’d get something on the way to class. She left a note on the kitchen counter with her phone number, checked her briefcase and headed out the door.

***

 
Twenty minutes later, Honey arrived at her brokerage class, slipped into a seat and glanced at the other students. Three men and four–-another slipped in-–so make that five women sat in the classroom-type chairs spread neatly throughout the room.
Moments later, a slight, energetic man with a shock of salt-and-pepper hair walked in and went to stand in the front beside a moveable chalkboard. He clasped his hands together, looked around the room and smiled. “Hello. I’m Quinn Garrison. Welcome. For those of you here to obtain your brokerage license, you’re in the right place. So let’s get started.”
He grabbed a stack of books and folders off the side of a long desk in the front. “I’ll just pass these out.” He walked up and down the aisles, handing a big book and a small folder to each person, going back once for another stack. “We’ll be studying this information together and you pretty much have three weeks to memorize the book, as well as the more current information in the folders. At the end of the class, you’ll have the opportunity to take your exam.”
He returned to the front of the classroom. “Today we’ll start with real estate law. Tomorrow we’ll be covering finance, and the day after, banking, and then, well, et cetera, et cetera. You get the drift. There’s a syllabus in your folder.” He rubbed both hands together. “There’s a lot of information to cover, so let’s get to it.”
Four hours later, Quinn looked up from the book he was reading aloud from, let out a breath, and marked his place. “Time for lunch. Since it’s the first day, I’m giving you a two-hour break. Enjoy.”
He left the room first, giving Honey the impression he had something to do and therefore gave them the extra time. Whatever the reason, she was grateful.
At the local Subway, she picked up a sandwich, a bag of chips, and a drink, then headed out to the property her boss wanted to purchase. She found the place without too much trouble, parked and studied the area.
The land was located on the outskirts of town, and Honey was a bit surprised by the restored red Victorian mansion sitting on the piece. She rechecked the address. She was definitely at the right place.
A hanging sign out front advertized the fact that the mansion had been renovated into a lawyer’s office. Shrubs, flowers, and manicured grass faded into scrub brush and trees on both sides.
Why did Nick want a lawyer’s office so badly? He mostly dealt with residential rather than commercial properties and, as far as she was aware, their office had never even listed any other property in Redding.
It just didn’t make sense to her. Who was the client? There wasn’t a realtor sign or anything, so Nick must be doing a referral. She knew the price Nick wanted to pay, but still needed to look at comparable properties. See what they were charging so she could get a better idea what she was up against. The complete lack of information was driving her crazy.
She drummed her fingers on the steering wheel for a moment, then opened the car door and headed toward the office. She went inside to find a handsome young man sitting behind a beautiful mahogany desk in the luxurious entry. “Can I help you?”
“Yes, I’m not sure who I need to talk to. I understand this piece of property is up for sale?”
His brows rose. “Not that I’m aware of. Hold on.” He picked up the phone. “Van, do you want to come out here? There’s a lady here wondering if this property is for sale.” He paused, said “Uh, huh,” and hung up the phone. “Van will be right out.”
“Thanks.”
A moment later a tall, fit, good-looking man in his fifties wearing a designer suit came out, a big smile on his face. He shook her hand. “Hi, I’m Van Williams. Can I help you with something?”
“Honey Stevens.” She handed him a business card. “I represent Nick Alexander in purchasing this property from the Barons and--”
The smile left his face. “I don’t think so.”
“What?”
“I don’t know anything about this property being sold. We have an ironclad lease. I’d like to see anyone try and break it.”
Honey took a breath. “Well, now, I don’t know that it would affect your lease in any way. In fact, I was wondering if you could tell me more about the situation?”
“No, I can’t. And it strikes me as very strange,” he glanced down at her business card, “Ms. Stevens, that you would ask that question.”
Honey’s phone rang. Glad for the diversion, she said, “Excuse me,” and turned away to take the call. “Hello?”
“It’s Nick, where are you?”
“I’m on my lunch break. I’m over at the--”
“Oh good. That’s good. The Barons just called and are wondering if you have time to go meet them?”
“Where are they?”
“At their house, I guess. You need to get over there.”
“Didn’t they get my note?”
“They didn’t say. Just get over there and don’t do anything to mess up this deal.”
With a sinking feeling, Honey glanced at the hostile expressions of both Van Williams and his secretary and sighed. “I’m on my way.” She hung up and backed toward the door. “I have to go now. I apologize for wasting your time. It was nice meeting you.”
“Wait just a minute. What about the property being sold?”
“Apparently I don’t have all the information I need at this time. I’m terribly sorry to have bothered you.”
Skepticism on his face, Van assured, “We’ll sue if anyone tries to mess with our lease.”
“Ah, yes, well.” Honey managed to get the door open. “Sorry.” She waved at the two men and headed to her car hoping she hadn’t tainted the deal.

***

 
Back at the house, there were still no cars in the driveway. Honey hurried to the door, knocked, but no one answered. After a moment, she flipped up the mat, retrieved the key she’d replaced the night before, and cautiously let herself in. “Hello?”
Again, there was no response. Impatient, Honey snapped open her cell phone and called Nick to see if he knew where the clients were hiding. His voicemail picked up and she ground her teeth. Unbelievable. She was starting to feel like the invisible woman. She dialed the office.
“Hello?”
Honey was thrilled to hear her coworker Robert’s voice rather than Michelle’s on the other end of the line. “Robert? Hi, it’s Honey. How are you doing today?”
“Good. I’m doing well.” Robert’s voice was deep, slow and easygoing, perfectly matching the older gentleman. “I just sold the Holstein place to a young couple with two kids.”
Honey’s mouth fell open. Robert hadn’t had a sale in a long while and she knew how important this was to him. “That’s great! I love that house. It’s perfect for a young family. I bet the Holsteins are thrilled, too. Congratulations.”
“Yeah, thanks.”
“Is Nick there, by any chance?”
“No, he’s not. He’s gone out to show a home. Is there anything I can help you with?”
Honey sighed. “No. I’m just waiting around for some clients. I thought Nick might know where they are.”
“Waiting’s the worst.”
Honey thought about the fact that, not counting the guy in the doorway in the early a.m., she hadn’t even met any clients in the entire time she’d been there. “You are so right.”
After hanging up, she ate her lunch and, since she still had an hour before class resumed, decided to get some work done. She read the contract she was there to get signed and it all seemed very straightforward.
She thought about calling some current clients in Napa, or maybe some referrals, but since she was hopeful of meeting actual human beings before her lunch break ended, didn’t want to be tied up on the phone. Instead she got out her laptop and scanned for new listings.
She had a hard time concentrating. The entire situation was incredibly frustrating. Twenty minutes later she gave up, packed the laptop, gathered her purse and glanced through the front window as she headed for the door.
Three boys walked along the side of her car. Maybe the Barons were back!
Without thinking, she dropped her things on the couch, flew out the front door, down the front stairs, and around the side of the cabin. The three boys were pulling fishing poles from against the side of the house. No car or adults were around. “Hi.”
All three boys jumped, one yelled, and they all looked so guilty that Honey’s brows rose and she had to ask, “What are you doing?”
Two of the boys looked at the third, a thin boy with dark brown hair and a defensive look in his green eyes. “Nothing. We’re just picking up our fishing poles. They’re ours.”
“Oh. Great. Do you live here? I’m Honey Stevens. I’ve been waiting for the owners to show up. Maybe you boys can help me?”

***

 
They were trapped!
Heart beating hard in his chest, Dylan looked around for a way out, at the same time watching for the warden to come around the corner. The warden was going to go ballistic! Would he throw them in jail? Could he?
Dylan glanced at his friend’s scared faces. Both looked to him for guidance. He nodded as his grip tightened on the fishing pole. No way was he giving it up. It was his.
The dog started to bark in the backyard behind them, startling Dylan. He jumped, and his mouth tightened. He didn’t want to act scared. He had to be tough, like his dad. His dad wouldn’t be afraid of anything. Dylan’s chin lifted and he looked back at the woman.
“Do you know them?” she asked.
Dylan swallowed. “Do we what?” His voice croaked as he lifted his chin higher in the air.
“Know the Barons?”
Dylan’s heartbeat slowed as it started to sink in that she was alone. The game warden wasn’t with her, and she seemed nice. She wasn’t yelling or acting mean or anything. She was just smiling.
“Sure. I know the Barons.” The hair on Dylan’s neck lifted as he edged past, his feet crunching on the gravel driveway as he headed to his bike. Both friends followed closely behind and she didn’t do anything to stop them. “Who are you and what are
you
doing here?” he asked.
A breeze blew softly, cooling the sweat on Dylan’s back as he straddled the seat.
The lady followed and kept smiling. “I’m a realtor. I’m hoping to buy a piece of property from the Barons. But so far I haven’t had a chance to meet anyone.”
Dylan jerked his head toward the cabin. “Are you staying here?”
“Yes.”
“And you haven’t met the warden?”
“The warden? No, I haven’t. I haven’t met any of them yet.”
Dylan stared at the woman. She was pretty, her hair all golden and shining in the sun and the long white skirt she wore kind of flowing and girly. Like a princess from one of those stories his sister read.
Eyes widening, Dylan realized she was just like one of those...those...
damsels in distress.
She had no idea she was trapped in a house with the enemy! He had to help her get away! And if it made the warden mad, then so much the better.
“My dad’s in Iraq,” said Dylan. “He writes e-mails to me and stuff, you know?”
The lady’s eyes softened, like his mom’s did when she looked at him and his sister or at pictures of his dad. It made him like her even more, and made him more determined to help.
“He must be a wonderful man.”
“He is,” Dylan agreed. “But the thing is, I know all about danger, you know? My dad tells me stuff. And I have to warn you. You need to get away from this house. You’re in danger. You need to get out while you still can. You’re in...” what was the word in that storybook? “
Peril
and you don’t even know it!”
Dylan pushed off on his bike and his friends followed right behind. His chest felt like it was about to burst from sheer joy! He smiled at his friends as they balanced their fishing poles and rode away. He hoped he’d caused the warden some trouble. If anyone deserved it, he did.
The only problem was, the woman had looked more amazed than afraid.
Chapter Three
 
Honey went back inside to gather her things. This just kept getting weirder and weirder. She was in danger? From who? The wild man who’d shown up in the bedroom door the night before? She idly wondered if she’d dreamed the whole thing.
BOOK: She's Just Right (A Fairy Tale Romance)
6.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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