Do you like sneak peeks? Snippets? If so, I have a surprise for you.
I’m sharing the first chapter (please remember it’s unedited) of Securing Kiera’s Love. Let me know your thoughts!!!!
Pulling the collar of her light weight denim jacket closed and tossing her head quickly to the side served two purposes. She managed to warm herself from the biting weather and then glance behind her making it look as though she were tossing her hair from her eyes. She hated the paranoid feelings she’d been unable to push away. Her counselor told her that anyone who had gone through the same things she had would take more than five years to overcome the fear and anxiety that had become her companion. But she was growing impatient.
She opened the door to the little coffee shop she frequented and was greeted by the ringing of the little bell above the door and the warmth wrapped around her like a woolen blanket as she stepped inside. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the sounds of the cappuccino machine whirring and whipping up a concoction enveloped her. The only customer waiting for his order was a tall, thin nicely dressed man. Taking her place in line just behind him she fought the urge and lost, to look behind her as the door opened again and three teenagers entered the shop, laughing and nudging each other as friends do. At least that’s what she believed friends would do, if a person had them.
Closing her eyes and taking a cleansing breath she squared her shoulders and fisted her hands. She could do this. The barista slid the freshly brewed steaming drink toward the man and glanced at her as she came into view.
“Hi, what’ll ya have?” He asked, his deep brown eyes crinkled as he smiled.
Clearing her throat, she ordered. “I’d like a white chocolate macchiato with two percent, please. Medium.”
“You got it. Your name please.”
“Ah, Kiera.” She opened her worn black leather purse, reached into a side pocket, pulled a five-dollar bill out and laid it on the counter.
Glancing behind her again she saw the teenagers had taken a seat in the window. She tilted her head side to side to ease the growing tension. She hiked up the drawing bag she carried and squeezed her purse tighter to her belly. The barista slid her drink forward, nabbed her money from the counter and efficiently made change. She smiled softly and pointed to the tip cup as she picked up her coffee.
“Thank you Kiera, you have a great day.”
She nodded and stepped away, turned to the back of the shop and found a table in the corner. Taking the seat against the wall facing the open shop, she sipped once, set her cup down and pulled her drawing pad from the bag she carried. The hard pencil case she’d found in the antique shop in Galina, Illinois found a spot next to the pad. She pulled her jacket off and hung it on the back of the chair and took her seat.
The designs floated through her mind at all times of the day and night. Architecture had been her passion in college. But her husband forbade her a job, any job, and she’d set it aside in an effort to not make waves. Waves were painful. Last year, the buildings came back to her and she’d found the courage to venture into an art store and purchase the supplies she needed to begin designing again. At first her drawings were rudimentary and she’d thought the talent she’d once had had left her. Her mom encouraged her to keep going and she found her sweet spot.
The bell above the door rang out the entrance of a new customer and the woman’s sweet laugh caught her attention. A middle aged couple stepped into the coffee shop holding hands sharing something for just the two of them. Short stylish hair with caramel highlights framed her petite face. The gray pea coat fit her perfectly and the Army green scarf and gloves said elegant. It was hard to look away. But then the handsome man with her leaned in and kissed her lips, ran his thumb along her bottom lip while gazing into her eyes and the picture of the two together made her heart jump. His dark graying hair was neatly combed, his face classic, he stood a foot taller than the woman, but somehow they fit perfectly together.
How lovely to see a couple in their mid fifties still so passionate and in love. It was clear in the way they reacted to each other. Her stomach clenched watching them. Those days were gone for her.
Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, she pulled her attention away from the couple and to her drawing. Studying it for a long while, adding a line here and there, she jumped when the chairs at the table next to her scrapped the floor as the man pulled it out for his woman. Sitting while glancing over at her sketch pad, the woman smiled at her.
“Are you an architect?”
Swallowing and laying her pencil in its case, she folded her hands in her lap. “Yes. Sort of.”
The woman leaned over and held her hand out. “Samantha Kinkaide. This is my husband Grayson. He’s an architect. The best.”
Shaking the small cool hand offered to her, she replied, “Kiera Donnelly.”
Grayson held his hand out. “Nice to meet you.”
He sat after shaking her hand then smiled her way. “How are you sort of an architect?”
Giggling because it seemed ridiculous. “It’s just been…I went to college for architecture and I was good. But after marriage I wasn’t allowed…I didn’t work and now I’m trying to get back into it.”
“May I?” Grayson asked as he slid her pad toward him without waiting for permission. Her stomach clenched as he looked over her drawing, his face impassive. “I like the style lines you have at the corners, and your symmetry is very good. The Belvedere is an interesting touch and the arched windows speak of Italian design. Have you been to Italy?”
“No. It’s been a dream of mine. Maybe someday.” Picking up her coffee to mask her nervousness she sipped slowly. Thinking perhaps she was being a bit abrupt, she added. “Have you been?” She looked at Samantha as she asked.
Samantha responded with a giggle. “We honeymooned there and go back every year on our anniversary. I absolutely love it there. So much so Gray bought us a villa in the Tuscan Valley.”
She couldn’t help but notice that Gray had flipped the pages and was looking over her other sketches. “That sounds heavenly. I’m a bit jealous.”
“So, Kiera, what firm do you work for?” His voice was deep and rich.
Her hands nervously twisted in her lap. “I don’t work for a firm at the moment. I’m still trying to work up the courage to interview.”
Glancing at her draft, she studied it again and her mouth tightened.
Samantha leaned over and softly chided, “You have nothing to worry about. Your designs are very good.”
“I’ll hire you to work for me. That is, if you wanted to live in the Green Bay area. More specifically Harmony Lake. I’m looking for two more architects to join my firm.”
Her mouth opened then promptly closed. Samantha giggled and looked into her husband’s eyes. “I think she’s shocked, Gray.”
Gray glanced her way and smiled. They made the perfect couple. He broke into her thoughts. “Your drawings are good and I like the fact that you haven’t built up any bad habits. But, if you have a family here in Madison and aren’t interested in moving, I understand.”
Softly she replied, “I don’t have a family. I mean, my mom, but she’s living in my home town of Oshkosh.”
“Harmony Lake would be just over an hour from her, which saves you a couple of hours drive visiting her from there rather than here.”
Samantha pulled a card carrier from her purse and lay a business card on top of her drawing tablet. “We don’t want to pressure you, but please give it some thought and call us to make an appointment to come in and see our offices. We’ve worked very hard on an old building in town. I’d love to get your take on it.”
Picking up the card, Samantha Kinkaide, President written in italics caught her eye. A smile spread her lips. “You run the company? How does that work? Are you his boss?” Pointing between the two of them they both smiled.
Grayson took Samantha’s hand in his and looked into her eyes. “She’s the boss and I draw pictures. It works very well.”
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