The Old Fashioned Way
116 pages

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116 pages

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When Abby Silver attends a seminar given by Daniel Hawthorn on ‘How to fix your ailing business,” she doesn’t find the answers she expected. Overcome by the need to help the grandmother who raised her hold on to her failing business, Abby challenges Daniel Hawthorn, saying there is a huge gap between preaching remedies vs. actually putting them into practice and proving they work. An incensed Daniel finds himself visiting the Busy Bee, only for a quick look, as he tells himself. He finds himself so drawn to the young widow Abby, her grandmother and The Busy Bee that he stays on. It’s only to prove to her that he knows what he lectures about, Daniel tells himself but as he works through the problems, the turnaround whiz finds he’s playing a game of emotional strip poker. The veneer of his successful, jet set lifestyle is removed by the truth. People come first, success second. At the Busy Bee Daniel learns life isn’t professional success alone or having more money than one needs; it’s defined by successful relationships and having someone to share everything with. The people here have everything though they are facing bankruptcy because they have each other. Suddenly more important than upholding his reputation is the need to find the happiness that’s eluded him forever. Can love teach Abby to trust. . .and thaw his own heart.



Publié par
Date de parution 14 août 2013
Nombre de lectures 3
EAN13 9781773623443
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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The Old Fashioned Way The Homespun Series – Book 4
By Geeta Kakade Digital ISBNs EPUB 9781773623443 Kindle 9781771451260 WEB 9781773623450 BWL Print 9781773623467 Amazon Print 9781773623474
Copyright 2013 by Geeta Kakade Cover Art 2013 by Michelle Lee
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights un der copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or in troduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electron ic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written p ermission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
Chapter One Abby swallowed hard as her gaze tangled with the sp eaker’s. She shouldn’t have chosen a seat in the front row. Shouldn’t have plac ed herself within range of the powerful magnetism he exuded. Her mind flashed a wa rning. She had vowed to stay away from men like Daniel Hawthorn. Forever. She told herself it was the artist in her that took note of every detail about him. A second later she admitted that wasn’t right. It was the woman, not the artist, that noticed everything. Confidence that could be scooped up wit h a shovel, sexy eyes, potent charm. Added to his looks, it spelled intense, dang erous, mind-numbing. Every action of his produced a reaction within her. The deep baritone voice strummed a chord deep in her heart. He lifted a bro w and her pulses thrummed. Every time their gazes met, her skin tingled. The ebb and flow of color in her face confirmed the truth. Awareness at fever pitch had done this. Uncovered emotions Abby never wanted exposed again. Tuning in to the man on a personal level spelled danger. For her. Sh e shouldn’t have come. Daniel Hawthorn’s seminar, ‘How to help an ailing b usiness,’ wasn’t going to help her, or Gran. As for the man’s potent charm, that was more trouble than she needed. Rod, her late husband, had been charming and a glib talker too. And so cold. Unfortunately Abby hadn’t discovered the latter til l after they were married. Blinded by her feelings, she hadn’t seen the warning signs til l it was too late. Thinking of the past was like poking her fingers into an electric socket ...the shock jarred Abby back to the reason she was here. Gran. The dearest person in the world. Abby’s rock. She owed her more than could be repaid in one lifetime. Gran had raised her, bee n there for her whenever she needed her. Now their roles were reversed. Gran needed her help. Only Abby was making as much headway as a butterfly trapped in a net. The Busy Bee, the craft store they jointly owned wi th two others, wasn’t doing well. The bank manager’s warning still rang in Abby’s ear s. They had a month to pull the store out of the red, or the bank would be forced to foreclose on its loan. Fear gripped Abby, overtaking her initial nervousne ss. The Busy Bee was Gran’s lifeline. It gave her a reason to get up in the mor nings, an interest in life. There had to be a way of saving it. Twenty other seniors depende d on the store’s community room as a place to meet and spend time. Life in small place s was simple but harder to sustain since California’s economy had taken a steep swing downwards. Did svelte successful people who belonged to the upper echelons of the so cial strata know how hard it could be? She looked at Daniel Hawthorn. Thoughts of Gran and the store had fuelled the worry inside into a blaze. The man had no right to have this effect on her. Sparks of anger sent heat through her. The advertisement she had seen regarding this seminar in a leading business magazine had boasted that Daniel Hawthorn was a genie when it
came to helping any business in trouble. So far his magic hadn’t worked for her. Nothing he had said could be applied to The Busy Be e. Abby’s eyes narrowed at the thought of the money sh e had spent on this seminar. The last of her money. Pictures whirled in her brai n. Mr. Hawkins, the bank manager, refusing to extend them any more credit. Gran’s fac e, pinched with the worry that she always tried to hide. Gran’s friends, wondering wha t would happen to them when The Busy Bee closed. Worry pumped courage into Abby’s b lood stream. She had to do something. Right now. * * * Daniel’s gaze went back to the woman in the first r ow. Now, as all through the day, the green eyes regarded him seriously. The mass of black wavy hair that bordered a wide forehead was raked back by slim long fingers. His gaze rested on the tumble of hair on her shoulders. The realization that he wanted to touch it, shook him. The feeling was an unfamiliar one. She wasn’t the s ophisticated, every-hair-in-place-type he normally dated. For one thing she was n’t skinny thin, for another she wasn’t wearing a business suit. It had become a habit of Daniel’s to classify the p eople attending these seminars into successes and failures. She belonged to the la tter category. She didn’t take notes, or ask any questions. Her desperate look had remain ed fixed on him as if she hoped the process of osmosis would transfer all he knew t o her. Instinct honed during years of conducting these seminars told him she absorbed ver y little of what he said. And she was worried. It’s really none of your business, Hawthorn. Daniel forced himself to look away, unclench the ha nd in his pocket. He had a personal rule not to get involved with anyone in th e audience. Yet the woman drew him like a magnet. Maybe he was more tired than he knew . Daniel looked at her tag. She’d printed her name in large, block letters. Abby Silver. The name went well with the black hair and enormous green eyes. He glanced down at his notes. Better focus on the f inish. This was his last seminar for a while. The next eight weeks were to be his fi rst vacation in three years. The first unscheduled time he had allowed himself since his a ccident, three years ago. Daniel put his pencil down and looked up, “That abo ut wraps up what I have to say. I’ll be glad to take your questions now.” The first hand up in the air, surprised him. She wa s the last person he would have expected to have a question. As surely as the chemistry that had flashed between them earlier, he now received different vibes. The set of her mouth reminded him of the Mona Lisa. Her shoulders were squared as if she had accepted some private, m ental challenge. Lifting the glass on the podium, Daniel took a drink of iced water an d wondered at the sudden dryness in his throat.
“Yes?” The mercury grey jacket she wore provided a perfect backdrop for her jet black hair. Abby Silver stood up, wet her lips, and said. “I ow n a small craft store in Carbon Canyon. It is in trouble since a big outlet plaza o pened a mile away from it. What would you suggest I do?” She looked the craft store type. “Advertising could make a difference, increase sale s. Do you do any?” “No,” said Abby. They didn’t have money to advertis e. Wishing she hadn’t said anything, she looked down. “Place an ad in craft and women’s magazines. Create a website. My other recommendation would be to convert to a mail order business and reduce your overheads of rent, utilities and staff. There’s a c hapter in my last book about marketing that could help you.” He was looking at her to see if she accepted his an swer. “Th…thank you.” Abby sat down her legs shaking. Abby Mouse. That’s who she really was. The Abby lio ness phase hadn’t lasted two nervous beats of her heart. She should have said so mething more. Daniel Hawthorn had turned to the next person with their hand up in the air. He answered questions but his gaze returned to the woman in the first row. Abby Silver sat with her head down her hands clasped in her lap and he got the feeling he hadn’t really gotten to the root of her problem. Fo r some reason that irked. The applause at the end signaled she could leave. A bby got to her feet and reached the end of the aisle before she realized a voluntee r stood there. He handed her a note and Abby opened it. ‘Please wait. I would like to talk with you,’ was s crawled in red. “Mr. Hawthorn asked me to give it to you,” said the volunteer with a smile. “If you would follow me.” They exited the auditorium and went into a small si tting room. “He’ll be with you as soon as he can.” Abby wondered what Mr. Hawthorn had to say to her. She didn’t have to wonder long. “Ms. Silver, won’t you sit down,” he said coming in with a man behind him. Turning he said something to his companion who left. Daniel closed the door. Abby wet her lips. “You wanted to see me?” “I thought you weren’t satisfied with my answer and I thought we could discuss a few more ideas.” Abby opened her mouth and no sound came out. He was willing to help her? “Yes?” said Daniel Hawthorn encouragingly. The thought of Gran’s dear face wrinkled with worry lines made Abby go on. Here was the mouse being given a second chance. She cleared her throat and said, “How much actual e xperience do you have in helping small businesses?”
The silence in the room confirmed she had actually said the words aloud. Daniel Hawthorn’s eyes widened as he said, “Excuse me?” “I’d like to know if your seminars are based on actual experience, or on theories.” “As I said earlier, I have my own import export bus iness.” Abby ignored the coldness in his voice. If she stop ped to think about it, she would lose. The rush of adrenalin that had spurred her in to challenging him, was already draining away. “I know. This pamphlet...” Abby waved it in the air , “says you have a turnover of a few million dollars. That’s hardly a small business . Solutions to problems for large enterprises will not always apply to a store like m ine. Maybe you should leave the word small out of the title of your seminar. That way yo u won’t mislead people in future.” That was the frustration of being down to the last of their money speaking. Daniel looked at the woman and wondered why he had labeled her a failure. She might not know how to operate a small store success fully, but she was getting through to him. “I never attempt to mislead my audience,” he said c oldly. “If you make an appointment to see me in my office in LA in two wee ks, I can discuss your business problems more fully with you.” “I cannot afford to make an appointment with you, M r. Hawthorn,” was her quick reply. “This seminar has taken the last of my money . I’m sorry if I was rude just now but have you ever been down to you last dollar?” Her voice broke on the last word and she bit her li p. The mouse couldn’t start crying now. The surge of adrenalin hadn’t lasted long. As it eb bed, Abby knew she shouldn’t have challenged Daniel Hawthorn. Humiliation wrappe d her like a second skin. Daniel stared at her bent head. Irrational guilt wa s like a hair shirt. The catch in her voice had made him realize her situation wasn’t serious. It bordered on desperate. “Tell me what you want me to do,” he said. Abby raised her head. How could he help her when he didn’t know how The Busy Bee was run? If his offer of help was genuine, there was still a slim chance. Desperation forced her into risking everything on one last thro w. “Discussions will achieve nothing. The only way you can help is to visit the Busy Bee and give me on-the-spot recommendations.” Daniel frowned. She was asking the impossible. “I’m afraid that’s out of the question. I’m long ov erdue for a vacation that starts tomorrow.” He saw the light dim in her eyes, the droop of her shoulders. Her expression conveyed she hadn’t expected anything more from him . “I thought you might say that. Well thanks anyway for talking with me.” She was gone before he could say anything. The door shutting behind her was like a reproach spoken aloud. Daniel sank into a chair. Had he really ceased to c are about the content of his speeches? It had taken a total stranger to point ou t flaws he should have been aware of
himself. The emptiness that was so much a part of h im these days, returned in full force. Her face haunted him. He rubbed a hand against his temple. According to Jerry, his business manager, he’d become a phenomenal success. If he was one, why hadn’t he been able to help Abby Silver. He couldn’t remember details, only impressions. Eye s as dark as shadows. The direct gaze, the questions at odds with the trembli ng lower lip. Abby Silver had managed something no woman had in the last three ye ars. She had gotten under his skin. This seminar has taken the last of my money. The ring of truth in her voice as she had stated th e fact, made him feel like a criminal. His mind refused to let go of his last gl impse of her. Defeated, sad, without hope. His stomach tightened. The feeling was a familiar o ne. He had been like that three years ago. Today was the anniversary of his acciden t. Daniel flexed his hands. Their stiffness was a grim reminder that life was like a board game...unexpectedly one could suddenly find oneself back at the starting line. He didn’t like the thought he was partly responsible for pushing Abby Silver to that point. Her suggestion that he make a personal survey of th e store was impractical. If he set a precedent like that, others would expect the same from him. He’d had to turn it down. I didn’t think you would, but I had to ask. Daniel sighed. She’d inferred he wasn’t the type to bother about a small cog in the big world of business. Had success hardened him to the point where he real ly didn’t care about people anymore? He had conducted these seminars for three years. No one had ever challenged him, judged him, and found him wanting. It wasn’t a comfortable feeling to know Abby Silver had done all three. That she might be right. If he couldn’t put into practice what he advocated in these seminars, he was no better than a con artist. “All set for your vacation?” Jerry, his business ma nager asked coming into the room. “All set,” said Daniel automatically. “Still don’t want to tell me where I can contact yo u?” “No.” If Jerry knew where to reach Daniel he would call e very day with a different scheme for doubling his money. Only Daniel didn’t need any more money. He was taking this vacation to prove something to himself. For the las t few months a growing restlessness made him wonder if this was all there was to life. Fame, success, emptiness. Since his accident, Daniel had let Jerry arrange hi s life for him. Conducting seminars had led to writing books on business. Over night success had made him a
public figure, very much in demand. For a while he had gone along with whatever Jerry had suggested. Now it was time to pull back, to sto p and think about the direction his life was taking before it was too late. The bleakness inside seemed to reach gigantic propo rtions today. He had everything. He had nothing. Daniel didn’t welcome t his self-searching. His thoughts forced him to consider what he was going to do abou t the way he felt. Telling himself he needed nothing more out of life was no use. The reflection Daniel had seen of himself in Abby Silver’s eyes confirmed what he had begun to suspect a part of him had been trying to tell him. Career wise you might be a wonder, Hawthorn. As a m an you’re out of touch with the rest of the world. “That went very well, don’t you think?” Jerry’s self-satisfied voice irritated him. “I guess.” If he could blot out the memory of a fac e etched with worry. “So, where can I reach you?” Jerry’s casual question didn’t fool Daniel. A corne r of his mouth lifted as he said, “I’ll contact you when I get back to L.A.” Jerry wasn’t content. “At least tell me if you’re g oing to be out of the country.” Suddenly the vague plans Daniel had made crystalize d into one clear picture. A pair of green eyes framed by a tumble of black hair, loo king at him as if he’d given a new name to the word low-life. What was the name of that place she had mentioned? Carbon Canyon? Daniel knew exactly what he was going to do. “I’m n ot even going to leave the state of California, so relax.” * * * Calories never helped solve any problems, but the c hocolates definitely offered temporary consolation. Food should be included in t he top ten list of dangerous addictions, Abby reflected as she popped a chocolat e into her mouth. The glance she gave the box on the passenger seat elicited a groan of dismay. She hadn’t meant to eat so many. It was all his fault. Daniel Hawthorn, with his man-of-the-world air, had upset the even balance of her mind. She’d seen the shock in his eyes when she’d asked h im how many small businesses he’d helped. Abby popped another chocola te into her mouth. She wasn’t quite sure what had gotten into her. Gran would nev er believe her granddaughter had stood up in front of a crowd and challenged a man w ho was obviously an expert in his field. Abby almost didn’t believe it herself. She r an a hand through her hair. It had been years since she had acted on impulse. “You’ve got a brain, Abby. Why don’t you use it?”
Wishing her late husband’s gibes didn’t haunt her s till, Abby looked at the next sign. She had another ten miles to go. The sixty five mile drive, each way, hadn’t been ea sy. Neither was renting a car to make the trip. All in all it had been a complete wa ste of money. This morning she had been sure Daniel Hawthorn woul d produce a solution to Gran’s problems. Far from pulling the rabbit she wa nted out of his hat, the man had unsettled her, revived memories of a marriage that hadn’t worked. Made her feel stupid. Abby reached for another chocolate as her mind went back to the seminar. Daniel Hawthorn’s first words had been, “If your business is in trouble refer to the list in my handout.” She tried to recall the list. Self-confidence was the first trait on it. Abby’s h ad shriveled in the course of her marriage, and she had no idea what to do about it. Maybe she should have asked the so-positive Mr. Daniel Hawthorn if he gave seminars on self-confidence as well. Motivation was next. She had plenty of that. The Bu sy Bee had to stay open, no matter what it took. It wasn’t only a retail enterp rise. It was a life support system for people in Gran’s age group who gathered there to ta lk and network. Decisiveness had been the third word on the list. A bby ran a hand through her hair. Her decision-making abilities were on par with her self-confidence. Non-existent. Rod had contradicted everything she had said or done ti ll it had become easier to simply leave the decisions to him. Trying to focus on what came next, Abby drew a blan k. Oddly enough all she remembered the way Daniel Hawthorn’s suit had match ed his dark brown hair more clearly than she remembered anything else he’d said . His expression had conveyed sympathy. She must have imagined the concern in his eyes. The caring. Big successful business sharks didn’t care about floundering guppi es. Abby reached for another chocolate. * * * There was a time when he’d thought success and publ ic approval added up to happiness. Lately, Daniel hadn’t been so sure. At t hirty four, it was time to stop and discover the reason behind his discontent before it was too late. Daniel sat in front of the store, staring at the si gn above it. The Busy Bee. It was a strange name for a store. It had taken a while to f ind. The signs beside the road, advertising the craft store, hadn’t been very big. A sweeping glance showed that except for his car, the parking lot was empty. Abby Silver’s problems were genuine. Had he had bitten off more than he could chew? “You can always turn around and leave Hawthorn. You ’re on vacation, remember?” Today, his first free Saturday in ages, he had wres tled with his decision to stop at Carbon Canyon. As he’d packed his things this morni ng, he’d realized whichever way he looked at it he knew he had to make this stop. I t was the only way he’d be able to enjoy the rest of his vacation.
He had left L.A. at three. It was almost five now. Daniel looked at the painted sign in front of the store. The Busy Bee stayed open till s ix on Saturdays and Sundays. Daniel noticed the huge stuffed giraffe staring at him. He wasn’t positive he could name all the other items in the window. Some pieces looked like lace, others had flowers and scenes on them. So, this was the kind o f merchandise a craft store carried. How large could the market for this kind of stuff b e? Behind the store, a little to the right, was set an other larger building, with a well tended front lawn. Abby Silver’s house? Turning, he looked at the German Shepherd in the se at beside him. Patting the dog’s head he said, “I won’t be long, Princess. Sta y.” The cool evening breeze ensured Princess would be c omfortable with the window down. Stopping at a rest area two miles back to giv e her a drink of water and let her stretch her legs had been a good idea. As soon as he found Abby Silver he would ask her if he could let Princess out. On the end of a long leash the dog would be quite happ y under the enormous tree in the yard. Making a quick assessment of the situation an d giving his recommendations shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. * * * Abby smiled at Mrs. Jacobs as she handed her a bag. “I’m sure your daughter’s going to love the lace tablecloth.” The woman nodded, “All Clara’s got in her house is an old plastic cover. She’s always loved nice things. Losing the baby was very hard on her. I wanted something really pretty to cheer her up. You’re sure you don’ t mind my paying for this with the eggs, Abby? I’ll bring in a fresh dozen twice a wee k.” Abby looked at the careworn face, the anxiety in th e faded blue eyes. Gran had started the barter system for people like Mrs. Jaco bs. “We don’t mind,” she said gently. “Don’t worry abou t it.” As Mrs. Jacobs left, Abby glanced at her list of th ings to do. She had to put some more stuffed toys out. Picking up the box that held them, Abby looked around for the best spot to display them. From the community room, to the right of the shop, came the background murmur of voices. She could picture the scene in there. Gran with her sewing circle in one corner. Hamish’s wood whittling group busy in another. Mrs. Patel, by the window, bent over her sewing machine, her glasses perched on the edge of her nose. There were others too, people who came by bus, to work as a group on their hobbies or attend the classes or simply to talk. Carbon Canyon Vista was a very popular retirement c ommunity. Opening The Busy Bee, had been Gran’s way of forming a vital network for people her age. A network that was in danger of extinction now. Abby’s eyes dimmed . Mr. Hawkins the manager of the bank had been most apologetic over the telephone th is morning, but he could no longer extend them time or credit.
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