Shore Lights

Shore Lights by Barbara Bretton Read Free Book Online

Book: Shore Lights by Barbara Bretton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Barbara Bretton
It wouldn’t bring Sandy back or save Billy. It wouldn’t make him whole again.
    But his kid had seen something in it, the possibility of something wonderful, and that was reason enough to give it one more try.

Chapter Five
    THERE WAS NOTHING like a guilty conscience to keep a woman from settling down to work. Maddy missed the old days when these fierce skirmishes with her mother had left her feeling exhilarated and morally victorious instead of ashamed of herself. It wasn’t like she had really expected Rose to cheer her auction win. A mild display of excitement would have been nice, but this was her mother she was talking about. A woman who saved her displays of excitement for the really important things like a reduction in the prime interest rate.
    All Maddy had been looking for was a simple “nice going.” Or, if that was too much, she would have settled for a look of benign maternal amusement. Unfortunately, neither was in Rose’s limited repertoire of responses. Maddy knew she wasn’t being fair, but she couldn’t help herself. The truth was Rose had been genuinely baffled by Maddy’s determination to win the teapot. She could’ve talked herself blue in the face down there in the kitchen, laid her heart on the table with the arugula, and Rose still wouldn’t understand. You either believed in magic or you didn’t, and everyone knew on which side Rose cast her vote.
    But Hannah still believed and the thought of her little girl’s excitement when she first saw the teapot, all polished and gleaming like new, filled Maddy’s heart with delight. Even Rose would have to admit she’d been right to pursue it when she saw how happy the ersatz magic lamp made her granddaughter.
    First, though, there was some work to get done. It felt good to have a purpose again even if it wasn’t quite her heart’s desire. She settled back down at the computer and tried to wrap her brain around the ongoing task of updating the Inn’s Web site. Her plan to add voice-overs to the site was still in the early stages, but she’d been tinkering with the idea of designing a Flash page that featured flickering candles that would lead you to the area you wanted to explore. Unfortunately her experience with Flash was limited and she needed to contact one of her geek friends in Seattle for direction.
    So much for working on the Web site. She could always check the upstairs bathrooms and see if they needed some spot cleaning. Rose’s standards were higher than the ones imposed by the Board of Health, and it took a lot of hard work to maintain the place to her satisfaction. The rewards, however, were undeniable, and Rose deserved all of the credit for the Inn’s overwhelming success.
    She clicked on her e-mail program and was instantly rewarded with six invitations to repair her credit history; three reminders that it really was time to lose that excess weight; and one promise that she could (pick one) enlarge either her breasts or her penis in forty-eight hours simply by popping a magical herbal preparation made from powdered Siberian goat tails.
    And there was a note from FireGuy.
    Â 
TO: [email protected]
FROM: [email protected]
DATE: 4 December
SUBJECT: Samovar—Item #5815796
    I know this is a long shot, but would you consider selling the teapot for a $25 profit? I was bidding on it for my kid and she’ll be real disappointed when I tell her I lost out. Let me know.
    Â 
She read the note twice, then started to laugh. The guy had a lot of nerve, but she couldn’t help admiring his style. Any man who wanted to make his daughter happy was a winner in her book. Her fingers flew across the keyboard. The spellcheck hiccupped on “fuhgedaboudit,” but that was only because it wasn’t programmed to speak Jersey. She bypassed the error message, pressed Send, then waved goodbye to FireGuy.
    Â 
AIDAN WAS IN the bar kitchen adding more of his

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