Whiskey Whispers of the Past

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Kendra thought her life was her store; Chance thought his revolved around his addiction. What if they’re both wrong?
Looking for a new start, Chance Daniels moves from hectic, big city living to a small town in South Central Pennsylvania. He decides opening his own music store on Main Street will help him beat the demons of his alcoholism. He discovers the beautiful business owner from across the street may be the lift he needs to beat his addiction. But little does he know that parts of his past unbeknownst to him are about to come to light. Chance receives strange objects in the mail and the woman he falls in love with is nearly run down by a crazed driver.

Kendra Strafford, owner of Strafford’s Candle Creations, finds herself drawn to the tall, handsome man from Los Angeles after starting a standing weekday coffee date with him. She can’t help but fall in love with him, despite his addiction and the strange happenings that seem to surround him.  Her own brush with death only draws her closer to Chance.

Was her accident just an accident or was it part of a more devious scheme arising from Chance’s hidden past and will they overcome the bizarre occurrences besieging them to explore their developing love?

Excerpt 1:

     "I hear someone is looking at the old Donaldson's building." 
     Kendra peered out the front window of her candle shop, Strafford's Candle Creations, toward the brick façade of the adjacent building. She saw the local real estate agent and her good friend, Nancy Lewis, walking toward the old structure. The converted row house had once contained Donaldson's Hardware Store, which had been a fixture of Main Street, right across from Kendra's establishment.
     "Oh, yeah? I wonder what business someone would put in there," her assistant Deanna commented.

     Kendra frowned as she sipped the now lukewarm coffee then set the cup on the glass shelf beside her. "I don't know. Rumor has it it's someone new to the area. A guy looking to make a fresh start, from what Nancy told me. She said the buyer told her he needed a change of pace and a new locale. Why he'd end up in such a place as Jonerstown is beyond me. This area isn't known as a hotbed of business like York or Harrisburg."
     "I don't know. Jonerstown is a nice town. Perhaps its charm won him over."

     Kendra nibbled her lip — a habit of hers when deep in thought. "Maybe." A quick glance at her watch indicated it was nearly time to open the shop. "How's our merchandise looking? Do we need to restock anything?"

     "No, we're good. I took care of that chore last night while you were in the dungeon replenishing our inventory."

     Kendra stepped to the counter, which was tucked in the back corner of the sales floor. "Really? A dungeon? Where I come from it’s commonly called a basement. Hand me the duster. It's time to open and I haven't completed the dusting yet."

     Glancing around her shop, she surveyed the three rows of gleaming glass shelves filling two walls of the sales floor. Floor units graced the center of her shop, reflecting the brilliance of the morning sun against the ceiling of the store. The shelves were stocked with candles in a vast array of sizes, shapes, colors, and scents. She inhaled, marveling at the combination. Oh, how she loved the fruits of her labor. Every day her wares brought a feeling of warmth and pride.

     She strode to the storefront, unlocked the door, flipped the Closed sign to Open, and went about dusting the shelves while rearranging a candle or two along the way.
     "Wow. You've got to see the guy meeting up with Nancy."

     Kendra spun around, gazed out the window again, and was greeted by a pleasant surprise. The man shaking Nancy's hand stood about six feet tall at a guess. He was dressed in well-worn blue jeans and a black t-shirt that fit snugly over his arms and chest. "Hmm. At least we'll have some eye candy to stare at. He reminds me of a boxer with the trim, muscular build."

     "I like the spiky hair sticking out in every which direction. Too bad we couldn't see his face."
Yeah, too bad. The body is killer.

Excerpt 2:
     "You want the normal, Kendra?"
     Slowly turning her head in the direction of the voice, she broke the connection she and Chance had shared. "Huh? What?" she asked sheepishly.
     Sherry smiled. "Earth to Kendra. Do you want the regular?"
     Kendra felt heat lick at her cheeks. She prayed they weren't lobster-red at the moment. "Yeah. Large black and a Boston crème donut."
     "You got it." Sherry grabbed a large foam cup and filled it to the brim. She deftly added a travel lid to the top and handed it to Kendra then went to the donut case and scooped out her pastry selection. "You know how much."
     "Know it by heart." Kendra dug into her purse for the exact amount she owed. After handing the money to the likable barista and thanking her for her service, she tried to find a table.
     To her utter dismay, they were all taken. Her attention fell on the new guy in town's table. As if sensing her quandary, he motioned for her to join him.
     Her feet seemed rooted to the floor, which was unlike her. She owned a business and considered herself a people person, able to strike up conversations with just about anyone. What is it about him that makes me so nervous? Taking a deep breath, she moved toward his table, reminding herself to just put one foot in front of the other.
     When she managed to finish her approach, she couldn't help but grin. Two dimples appeared on his cheeks as the corners of his mouth lifted, revealing gleaming white teeth. Captivating hazel eyes reflected his smile. "This place fills up in a hurry. Please sit and join me." Like a gentleman, Chance rose and motioned toward the empty seat across from his.
     She sat in the vacant chair. "Thank you, Mr. Daniels. Divine's sells the best coffee and donuts in the area."
     Low and purely masculine laughter flitted to her ears as he returned to his seat. "I see you already know me. Call me Chance."
     She chuckled. "News travels fast in a small business community such as ours. I'm Kendra Strafford. I own Strafford's Candle Creations." She offered her hand. A gasp escaped her lips as a jolt of electricity seemed to leap from his skin to hers.
     "Is that so?" he responded with a sly grin.
     Her eyes met his and lingered perhaps longer than they should have. When his pupils dilated, she knew he felt the same connection, the same awareness. She had to turn away to break the bewitching spell he held over her. Glancing back, she could see the early morning light slanting through the front windows, making his hair come alive with auburn highlights. The hazel eyes now danced with laughter. The man was the total physical package.
    And potentially dangerous.

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