- Publisher: Berkley
- Release Date: January 5, 2010
- Genre: Contemporary
- Available Formats: eBook, Paperback
After the sudden loss of her fiancé, Steven, Jenny Beckinsale has more than a broken heart to deal with—she’s also facing too many financial surprises over Blue Sky, the fledgling seaplane service she and Steven built. Too late she’s discovered Steven was in over his head, and deeply in debt to his best friend and fellow Navy pilot Jared Worth. The sexy, cynical Top Gun demands his money back now. He doesn’t care what will happen to Jenny or her small town dreams of success.
But Jenny has a few surprises of her own, including a way out of her predicament—she’ll force this steel-eyed flyboy into service for Blue Sky. It’s the only way Jared will ever see a dime. But as the summer fades, these two lost souls will discover they’re saving more than a business…they’re saving each other.
“Lake Magic is pure magic. This is a stellar debut from a writer who is destined to become a reader favorite.”
— Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“There is nothing quite like the pleasure of discovering a new writer to love, and Kimberly Fisk will be that writer for many lucky readers.”
— Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author
The drone of a single-engine plane drew Jenny Beckinsale’s attention. Hurrying to the water’s edge, she cupped her hands over her eyes and gazed upward. Bright sunshine had scrubbed the gray skies clean, and a sea of endless blue stretched before her. Her pulse quickened and her heart raced as her eyes searched the sky. Maybe . . . just maybe. . . . And then her mind remembered what her heart refused to forget: Steven was never coming home again.
She drew in a breath and let it out slowly. She was not going to fall apart. Not again.
Nearby, waves lapped against the weathered dock. Overhead, crows chattered noisily. And off in the distance, the hum of the plane continued on.
With renewed determination, she turned away from the shore, and her gaze fell on the home she’d inherited from her grandmother, then on the airplane hangar that had been built three years ago.
Sunlight glinted off the metal siding, making the green paint sparkle. A large sign, trimmed in gold, hung with prominence near the building’s peak: Blue Sky Air. Underneath those black letters were smaller ones that read: Seaplane Charter Business.
A familiar sense of pride filled her. We did it, Steven.
“You done lollygagging?”
Zeke Phillips stood in the hangar’s large opening wiping his hands on a rag. With his shoulder-length graying hair and stained mechanic’s overalls, he looked like any other grease monkey, but Jenny knew that underneath his frumpy appearance was a sharp mind and a quick wit. And also one of the best seaplane pilots on the West Coast.
“You done fiddling with that engine?” she asked, sidestepping the concern in his voice, just like she’d been doing for the last nine months.
The left side of his mouth curved into a grin. “Just ’bout.”
“Good. We have a charter at ten tomorrow.”
“Since it’s the only one on the books this week, don’t reckon I’d forget it.”
Jenny flinched and all but groaned at his emphasis of the word only. “Don’t remind me.”
“Don’t s’pose I have to. But I think I should remind you that it’s Wednesday.” He glanced at his wristwatch. “I’d say you have about twenty minutes.”
“Wednesday?” She started running toward the house. “You could have reminded me earlier.”
“And miss the fun?”
Ignoring his laughter, she ran through the front door and up the stairs. The smell of the toast she’d burned at breakfast still hung in the air.
Her clothes were already half off by the time she reached her bedroom. Dropping her shirt onto the floor, she began to tug on the cuff of one pant leg as she hopped over to her bed. Clothes, books, and God only knew what else all but obscured the faded pink chenille comforter. Without bothering to push anything off to the side, she flopped down and finished wiggling out of her jeans. If she were late again this week, she’d never hear the end of it. She started to reach for a pair of capris, then stopped. She could still hear her mother’s comment from last week: “Shorts, Jenny? Really. Couldn’t you at least try?”
There was no use arguing with her mother that capris were not shorts. When Catherine Beckinsale made up her mind, that was it.
She grabbed one of only a handful of items hanging in the closet—a pink linen sheath with a designer label given to her as a birthday gift from her mother.
The dress seemed to mock her with its feminine perfection. Before she could change her mind and grab the pants on the floor, she slipped it on. It couldn’t have fit better if it had been custom-made for her. She had to give her mother credit. Whatever Catherine did, she did to perfection. Whether it was raising her three children, running her own business, or picking out a gift for her youngest child.
Jenny glanced at her bedside clock.
Ten minutes until she was supposed to meet her mother.
Who ate lunch at eleven anyway?
Her mother, that’s who. She scheduled their luncheons at that early hour so it wouldn’t interfere with Catherine’s schedule.
For the last nine months, Jenny had dreaded their Wednesday luncheons. But today—this Wednesday—was going to be different. Blue Sky Air had two charters scheduled, and somehow she was going to find a way to work that into the conversation. She knew it wasn’t earth-shattering, but it was a start. And proof that her new advertising plan was working.
A quick search of her bedroom produced one sandal, and a few moments later, the second. She seemed to recall a delicate knit cardigan had been included with the dress, but she had no idea where it was. And there was no time to look. She also knew she didn’t have time to find a pair of run-free nylons, so she slipped on her shoes and made it downstairs without a moment to spare.
She hopped into the Corvette—a luxury to her, but a necessity to Steven. If we’re gonna land the big accounts, baby, we need to look like money. This car is just the ticket. She smiled as she ignited the powerful engine.
“I’ll be back in an hour,” she called to Zeke as he came out of the hangar to wave good-bye. “But if something comes up, I’ll have my cell phone.”
Zeke chuckled again and rubbed a finger across his chin. “Never have needed to call you before, don’t s’pose today’ll be any different.”
As she hit Lakeshore Drive, she yanked hard on the gearshift and winced as the gears collided and ground. She wasn’t sure what upset her more—knowing that Zeke’s laughter was deserved or that in only a few minutes she’d have to endure yet another hour of Oh, Jennifer, if only . . . from her mother. A girl could only take so many Oh, Jennifers, and at twenty-six, Jenny figured she’d received her lifetime quota.
Through the tall evergreens that hugged the shoreline, Jenny caught patches of glistening blue water and the jagged tops of the Olympic Mountains. Even in these last few days of May, snow frosted their sharp, uneven peaks. In less than five minutes, she was pulling off the road and onto the paved drive that led to her mother’s restaurant— correction bistro—and art gallery. Sunlight filtered down through the massive firs and dappled the road as she wound her way down. Taking the final bend in the road, Hidden Lake came into view. As always, the sight of the lake made Jenny catch her breath. A lifetime of memories were in those waters.
She chose one of the angled parking spots on the far side of the building, not surprised to find several other cars already there. Even at this early hour, business was brisk.
Only her mother could open an art gallery and restaurant in a secluded bit of wilderness on the outskirts of Seattle and make it a resounding success. Catherine never failed at anything—except turning Jenny into the perfect daughter.
She glanced at her watch—11:09—then grabbed her purse and rummaged around in the bottom for an elastic band. With a couple of deft moves, she’d pulled her hair up into a messy bun. Not the best of looks, but the best she could do at the moment.
With a final grimace at her appearance, she twisted the mirror back into place and got out of the car.
Before Jenny reached the porch, the main door opened, and her mother stepped out. For just a moment, her mother’s expression brightened as she caught sight of the dress Jenny was wearing. Then Catherine’s sharp gray eyes narrowed in on Jenny’s hastily done hair and bare legs, and the pursed expression Jenny knew only too well was back.
She should have just worn her capris.
“Jennifer, there you are. It was getting so late, I was beginning to worry.”
As usual, her mother looked as if she’d just stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine. Her auburn hair fell in a soft pageboy that framed her face and made her look younger than her fifty-seven years. A once-a-month trip into the city—that her mother believed was as sacred as church on Sunday—kept any traces of gray at bay. Her St. John knit pantsuit was as timeless and elegant as she was. Its soft plum color complemented her complexion. With the exception of her wide wedding band and tasteful gold hoops, she wore no other jewelry.
Even in the dress her mother had selected for her, Jenny felt dowdy.
After a quick hug, Catherine led them past the reception area and down the long hallway that served as an extension of the gallery. Art, ranging from modern to traditional to local pieces, was tastefully displayed along the corridor. The room’s soaring ceilings, crisp white walls, and dark mahogany floors were the perfect backdrop for the unique and diverse collection. While most people remarked on the varied and exceptional works of art, for Jenny the special appeal of her mother’s business would always be the smell. No matter what time of day she visited, there were always the most wonderful aromas drifting out from the restaurant’s kitchen.
Their usual table along the far wall was waiting for them. As Jenny took her seat, she didn’t bother to ask for a menu; she knew it wouldn’t…