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“You know it’s amazing how much you’ve accomplished in a few short months.” “Between my Whisper Beach peeps and the crew from Manhattan it was a piece of cake.

Now I just have to hire an office manager, a receptionist, and cleaning and maintenance staff.” At first Van had been skeptical. “Just because you can’t have kids doesn’t mean you both can’t be happy.” “I know.

Vanessa Moran pressed her hands into the small of her back and stretched. The front door closed, footsteps sounded across the wooden floors and Suze Turner appeared in the doorway to the storeroom. Suze, already in college, was willing to wash dishes, waitress, scrub floors—anything to avoid commuting to the city for an internship in the financial district.

When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady.Upon being sent to live with relatives in the countryside, an emotionally distant preteen girl becomes obsessed with an abandoned mansion and infatuated with a girl who lives there - a girl who may or may not be real.After her werewolf lover unexpectedly dies in an accident while hunting for food for their children, a young woman must find ways to raise the werewolf son and daughter that she had with him while keeping their trait hidden from society. Chaucer was getting me down and it’s too early to declare happy hour, so I came to see what’s up.” “Drag that box in here and I’ll tell you.” Suze looked behind her and hoisted the box. ” “Either pine cleaner or wood floor oil.” “Hmm,” Suze said and took the utility knife.

It was meant to be a several hour trip, it had turned into something much longer for both of them.She’d planned to expand Elite Lifestyle Managers—Organization for Families on the Go—from Manhattan to Boston or Philly. Very smart man.” “I couldn’t marry Joe knowing that I might bring him unhappiness.” “Pick yourself up, brush your . I just don’t trust that it will turn out that way.” “You also never thought you’d come back to Whisper beach. As I recall you were waffling between selling it and burning it to the ground.But her life had taken an unexpected detour and so had her business. Maybe.” “Oh goodie, more vacillation on a same old theme. And now voila, you’ve transformed it into a dyn-o-mite, upscale, cutting-edge business office.” “Dana helped.” “Dana? I think I’ll have another little sliver.” She reached for the plate.Now her first branch office would soon be opening in Whisper Beach. “At least I decided to wait until after Christmas to open.” Suze grinned. This would be even better with cream cheese.” “Sorry.” “So how are you doing living at the farm? “With Joe’s parents.” “Actually It’s kind of great. You know, you worry more about stuff that hasn’t happened than anybody I know. What did I miss while I was hunkered over my laptop? “Dorie’s feeding me like I was the prodigal daughter. Maybe I’ll meet the accountant-dentist-financial advisor-podiatrist of my dreams there.” “Well, you don’t have to have a date for the Enthorpe’s party.” “Excellent. Once we gutted it and pulled down all the ‘improvements’ and stop-gap fixes that had been made over the years, it was all original stone and rustic wood. How was he to know that one day there would be feminist academics picking his Canterbury Tales apart? “Enjoy every minute of it, that’s an order.” “You’re so smart,” Van quipped. Hallmark-y.” “And you’re afraid the warm fuzzy bubble will burst? I don’t know.” Suze laughed loud enough to shake the snow from the clouds. “You’ll be fine, but maybe you better brush up your “Jingle Bells,” all the way home.” Van watched Suze drive away in her old VW bug—an odd couple of big person and little car.“Capitalize on all those New Year’s resolutions.” “Exactly,” Van agreed. They’re wonderful and we live at the back of the house. If it doesn’t work out you do what thousands of other divorcees do . ” “She made me burn sage in all the corners and doorways.” “Ah, to ward off evil spirits. I don’t feel anything but good times ahead.” Suze reached over to squeeze Van’s wrist. Only people like me dwell on it, and I get paid to do it. Every time my mother sees me, she reminds me that her annual holiday—please-marry-my-daughter—party is coming up and she certainly hopes I’ll be able to fit in my new holiday dress. Still planning to hold it in the vineyard’s new gift shop? I couldn’t ask for a better ambiance if I’d paid for it.” Van sighed. ” Van accompanied Suze to get her coat, waited while she bundled up and walked her to the door. It’s beginning to look a lot like snow clouds up there.” Van laughed. We’re decorating the Christmas tree tonight.” Van felt a familiar stab of panic. Suze might have her head in the literary clouds, but she was the most insightful person she knew. But they seemed perfect together and, according to Suze, the old car gave her a certain cache on the Princeton campus. With Suze gone, without her laugh and personality that filled the corners, the old house seemed too quiet.The kettle whistled and Van poured water into the mugs. I was waiting for the new fridge to arrive before I stocked the kitchen, then I just got too busy and forgot. .” Suze’s sentence trailed off as she cut into the date nut bread. They made up a little suite of rooms for us, a bedroom, sitting room and our own bath.” “Nice, still can’t believe you moved out of Dorie’s. Look to your future, girl, and take the plunge.” Suze was right, except one part of Van’s past had changed her future forever. Which by the way, I haven’t bought yet.” “Oh,” Van said. I’m going back to Princeton when my sabbatical is up. “Still a lot of work to do.” “I have no doubt that it will be finished, organized, and looking like a million bucks. Just try to have a little fun while you’re at it.” “I intend to.” Suze her chair back. “I’ve never been around you at Christmas before.” “If I could carry a tune, you’d be amazed. And memoires she managed to ignore all day, began to flit in the shadows.