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Authors: Mary Manners

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Designed by Love

BOOK: Designed by Love
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Table of Contents

Title Page

copyright

Dedication

Other Titles by Mary Manners

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Thank you

Designed by Love

 

 

Mary Manners

 

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

 

Designed by Love

 

COPYRIGHT 2014 by Mary Manners

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or Pelican Ventures, LLC except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

 

eBook editions are licensed for your personal enjoyment only. eBooks may not be re-sold, copied or given to other people. If you would like to share an eBook edition, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with.

 

Contact Information: [email protected]

 

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version
(R),
NIV
(R),
Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com

 

Cover Art by Nicola Martinez

 

White Rose Publishing, a division of Pelican Ventures, LLC

www.pelicanbookgroup.com
PO Box 1738 *Aztec, NM * 87410

 

White Rose Publishing Circle and Rosebud logo is a trademark of Pelican Ventures, LLC

 

Publishing History

First White Rose Edition, 2014

Electronic Edition ISBN 978-1-61116-378-0

Published in the United States of America

Dedication

 

To Lisa McCaskill...thanks for your wonderful guidance, patience, and kind spirit. You are a light in the darkness, and I appreciate you!

 

Other Titles by Mary Manners

 

Mended Heart

Tender Mercies

Light the Fire

Buried Treasures

Brenna's Choice

Starfire

Wounded Faith

Angel Song

Dance with me

Loves Kindled Flame

Kate's Kisses

Grace's Gold

Tessa's Teacakes

Mattie's Meltaways

Lost in Lone Creek

Lullaby in Lone Creek

Lesson in Lone Creek

Love in Lone Creek

Miracles and Mischief

Stolen Miracles

Miracles and Dreams

Whispers in Willow Lake

Wishes in Willow Lake

Warrior in Willow Lake

Love Notions

Angel Song

 

 

 

 

 

[God] gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ~ Isaiah 40:29-31

 

1

 

The mellow blend of Vivaldi's violin concerto flowed from an under-the-cabinet radio to soothe Traci Stanton's senses. Through the cottage's open patio doors a gentle breeze carried the scent of pine from the majestic Angelina Forest while birds chattered beneath a golden halo of evening sun. The Easter holiday was behind her and summer closed in with its promise to bloom to full glory. Grape hyacinth drifted from the grounds along Heart's Haven where it had been planted in preparation for Kaci and Ryne's wedding, scheduled to take place on the lawn of the Big House in only a few weeks.

But, for now, Traci was elbow deep in preparations for more imminent nuptials—a wedding scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. And the cake she'd promised the lovely couple could be no less than perfect. Her reputation depended on the creation of an amazing confection. She eased into the table ledge, gnawing her lower lip with concentration as she began to slice the final curve of a rose petal from gold-dusted fondant. Humming along to the music, she took great care in this final step, already imagining the beauty of the finished product.

And not just a product that stood perfect in appearance, but in flavor, as well. The rich, sweet aroma of buttercream mingled with nature scents from the rain-kissed forest beyond the Heart's Haven complex, causing her belly to rumble with need. Once again she'd worked straight through dinner, but the one-of-a-kind creation on the table was worth it. The wedding cake was breathtaking as it rose toward the ceiling in three generous tiers.

Traci had a good idea now of how she'd tackle a cake for Ryne and Kaci. The flavor they'd selected was different from the cake here, but the design Kaci had requested was quite similar. As soon as she finished, Traci planned to snap a few photos to share with Kaci the next time she saw her. The cake, in all its glory, was a perfect example of the work for which Traci had a passion. Her most elaborate creation to date, the masterful confection was sure to be the hit of the sweets table at tomorrow's wedding reception, as well as its twin at Ryne and Kaci's in just a few weeks.

If only she could complete the finishing touches, box the cake, and stand ready to deliver the goods first thing in the morning. One final petal waited to be placed along the whipped buttercream frosting and then she'd take photos and package the cake. She was almost there, almost…

A screech shattered the calm like a freight train bearing down on the cottage. The walls of the modest structure shook and seemed to close in on Traci as the tile beneath her feet shuddered. She released a squeal of surprise and leaped back from the chaos, raising both hands to shield herself from an impending impact as the sound intensified.

One second…two…three…

No crash came as the roar continued to rush over her in a cacophonous tsunami of waves. She clapped her hands over her ears to muffle the sound and doubled over, trying to make sense of the noise as her heart pounded its way back into her chest.

Then a sickening sense of dread swept through.
The cake. Oh, no…the cake.

Her hands were empty, save for the ear each clasped. Which meant the fondant tool was now…

Skewered in the cake's second tier like a launched harpoon. But, peering through pried-open eyes, Traci saw that wasn't the worst of it. Oh, no siree.

The once-beautiful cake had shifted from the center of the table. It listed like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, while a hideous, dart-shaped appendage gaped from the middle tier. Spring foam seemed to pulsate in time to the roar that she now recognized as the distorted thumping of music with way too much base overflowing from the cottage next door. She sucked in a breath and rushed through the back doors and onto the patio, gaping at the cottage as the rush of music grew like an angry tempest.

Traci stifled a screech of fury while the offensive downbeat continued its assault on her senses, crushing the mellow strains of Vivaldi. She gaped through the living room window at the dark-haired guy whose head bobbed in time to the backbeat as music raged from doors along his patio thrown wide open to the evening. His hair cascaded across piercing blue eyes as he glanced up through the window, noticed her watching, and flashed a smile as if all was just perfect with the world.

He obviously didn't have a clue as to the havoc he wreaked. Traci started to shout, but her voice was drowned by the shattering base. She fisted her hands as her blood pressure took on the qualities of a sputtering pressure cooker. Marching back to her kitchen, she surveyed the impaled tool, the ruined fondant leaf, and the leaning tower of buttercream. Her vision fogged as her temper exploded to a flash fire, and for the slightest moment, she understood the term
temporary insanity
.

The cake was beyond ruined. It was…an eruption of sugar and fondant. She'd have to start from scratch, and it was already closing in on six-thirty. Tears of fury burned Traci's eyes as a profound sense of defeat set in. She began to calculate the cost of new supplies, to take a mental inventory of what she had on hand and what she'd need to run out and purchase.

Tears spilled over. The cost would set her back in the red tonight; she wouldn't make a penny on this project. And she'd been counting on the money to add to her buy-a-shop coffers. Every little bit helped as she inched closer to the goal line of owning her own cake and pastry shop.

Add to that the cost of headache-relief medication, and she was completely done in.

A rose leaf crafted of summer-green fondant slipped from the cake to plop onto the flour-dusted table. Others followed, one after the other, like a slow-moving rain shower…
plop, plop, plop.

Then, as Traci gaped in horror, the cake's top tier slipped and splatted along the floor as if it waved a final white flag of surrender.

Her internal pressure cooker exploded.
Now, look what that idiot has done.

The outrageous downbeat mocked her, punctuating each heated thought.

Every evening, like clockwork, it's the same thing…an excuse for music played way too loud. It was just a matter of time until that goon plowed head-on into a disaster. Someone's got to put a stop to it. If only Mr. Hart was still here. If only the heart attack hadn't claimed him…

Traci's heart ached with the loss of crusty but loveable Andrew Hart, adding to her angst. The heart attack that had claimed him was sudden and unexpected and had left everyone in the complex reeling. The mood had been somber along the cottages until a week ago.

A week ago to the day—she'd noted it in her journal—was when Mr. Ear-splitter-Dylan Jones had shattered Heart's Haven's peace and quiet with his infernal hip-hop jams. Traci wondered that no one seemed to mind his music besides her. Had they all gone deaf? Of course, she lived closest—right next door. Ugh, at least Dylan could blast some decent tunes like the strains of her Vivaldi or Beethoven—something not quite so offensive to the ears even when it
was
played at maximum volume. She'd tried to be patient but enough was enough!

Traci swiped her hands on the bib of her apron and blew a strand of blonde hair from her smoldering eyes. She slammed the patio doors to garner some relief from the discordant pandemonium but the kitchen yawned with unbearable heat from an oven that had worked overtime through the day.

She'd worked overtime, as well. The cake business that she'd embarked on as a little on-the-side venture had quickly exploded into something way beyond her wildest imagination. People who tasted her wares insisted she had the golden touch when it came to designing, baking, and decorating cakes, and customers traveled from all points in and around the greater Angel Falls area to place their orders. If business kept pace, Traci would soon have enough money saved to open a real, bona fide bake shop, making the work from her severely undersized kitchen in the modest Heart's Haven cottage—and the infernal cacophony of sounds that blasted from next door—a thing of the past. But, until that day arrived, Dylan Jones would just have to tone it down to a low roar. Traci refused to work under such conditions and this was, after all, the quiet little community of Heart's Haven.

Correction—it
used
to be a quiet little community until Blast-it Jones arrived.

It was about time she put a stop to the insanity. Yes, her new yahoo of a neighbor had earned a piece of her mind and if no one else would take the bull by the horns then she'd personally deliver it up on a platter with all the trimmings.

She'd make Dylan Jones see things her way, like it or not. This was the last time he'd infringe on her peace and quiet, not to mention destroy more of her painstakingly constructed cakes. The music—if it could even be called that—freight train was about to be derailed.

 

****

 

Dylan Jones grimaced as violin music drifted through the open door of his cottage. It wasn't the tune that bothered him as much as the accompanying melodic hum of an angel.

That's how he thought of Traci Stanton since he'd met her coming up the walk last week while moving his stuff into the cottage next to hers—a snooty angel.

BOOK: Designed by Love
7.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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