Falling for Autumn

Falling for Autumn

Sandy Nicks

Sisters for All Seasons

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After being home for nineteen years to raise her son, finding a job, with limited skills, isn't going to be easy. Her mother, who has a penchant for all things cosmic, insists an aura cleansing will solve her daughter's problems. Autumn doesn't believe in any of her mother's new age antics and knows it's going to take more than a spiritual fix to get her life in order. Thirty-six year old Jack Ayres had apprehensions when he agreed to ghostwrite a book with the ex-girlfriend of a former hitman, but the money far outweighed the possible danger. One year after publication, the money's been spent and the hired gun has returned. While visiting his mother and a brother who's undergoing a gender change, Jack learns he's the hitman's next target. Insecurities rise and self-image plummets until Autumn and Jack rediscover themselves, accept the new direction their lives are taking and follow the path that brought them together.

 
PUBLISHED BY: Vanilla Heart Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-935407-40-9
PUBLICATION DATE: 2009
WORD COUNT: 75600
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 2 2
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary, Romantic Fiction, Romantic Suspense
KEYWORDS: romantic comedy, suspense, Sisters for All Seasons, romance, Sandy Nicks, Vanilla Heart Publishing, novel
 

EBOOKS BY Vanilla Heart Publishing

EBOOKS BY Sandy Nicks

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Sandy Nicks/2009

Chapter One

Desperation can do strange things to one’s psyche.

Autumn glanced at her notes. Three job interviews all on the same day? Surely, I am beyond desperate. I am insane.

She’d spent the past three weeks unpacking her belongings and adjusting to her new residence. It was lonely settling into a new place without Trevor. Yes, he would only be forty-five minutes away in New Brunswick at Rutgers University, but to her, the distance felt more like forty- five hundred miles.

She was proud of her only child. He was her whole world and now that world had been reduced to part time when he would be home on weekends or school breaks. Her baby was now nineteen. He was a young man about to begin his life without the constant watch of his mother.

And where was she now? Searching classifieds. She shook her head. Fortunately, despite her lack of work experience, obtaining an interview wasn’t as difficult as she’d imagined. Then again, it wasn’t like she was applying for top level management positions. These were entry level. No experience required. Computer knowledge helpful, but not necessary.

What else could she expect? She wasn’t coming out of the starting gate as a new college graduate. She’d been a homemaker for the past twenty years. It was like she’d been playing a role on a television show that had been abruptly canceled, and now she was being forced to audition for parts she’d never performed before.
She tapped her finger on the table. She had never expected to be single again at thirty-nine years old. She’d always thought her life with Kevin would last a lifetime. She even had imagined that once Trevor had gone off to college, she and Kevin would spend mornings sipping coffee, afternoons browsing book stores, and nights making love.

Of course the bastard would get the chance to do all those things, because he’d already found someone else.

When Kevin had told her he wanted a divorce, she’d felt blindsided. Yes, she had noticed things beginning to change between them, but nothing she thought was life altering. Yet here she was, a year later, removed from her beloved home and sitting in the small kitchen of her new townhouse. Alone.

She looked around the kitchen. It wasn’t big but it had new oak cabinets and the counters were done in a beige swirl. The previous owner had recently installed tan ceramic tile on the floor and the diagonal pattern cast an illusion, making the room appear larger than it really was.

She then glanced into the living room. It was long but not very wide. Her furniture set had to be broken up. The couch, coffee table and entertainment center fit fine, but the oversized chair and ottoman had to be placed in Trevor’s room—also known as the finished basement.

She frowned. Ok, so the new place wasn’t a house, but at least she owned it. Her initial fear was that she’d be forced to rent an apartment, but thankfully she’d made enough money from the sale of her old house to be able to put down a large amount on this one. The new mortgage actually turned out to be less than what renting a house would have cost.

She picked up her notepad. It was so easy being married and having Kevin take care of the taxes, car insurance and monthly living expenses. If I don’t find a job soon, how the hell am I going to make it on my own?

She eyed the notes again. The first interview was with Edith’s Bra Boutique. The specialty bra and panty store was in need of a combination cashier and stock person. The second was for We Have Scents- a faux designer perfume store in need of the same. Sterling Advertising was the last one of the day. They needed a personal assistant.

Oh the choices—bras, perfume or kissing ass.

She turned her attention to the sliding glass doors that led to the little deck off her kitchen. A light rain fell from the gray skies, and the drizzle wasn’t expected to end until evening. She watched the droplets slide down the glass and her thoughts drifted back to the day the divorce was finalized. The day she went back to being Autumn Winters. Now that Trevor was nineteen, she’d decided to drop her married name of O’Reilly. What was the point of continuing to be someone she wasn’t? Although she wasn’t fond of her maiden name due to the cruel jokes she’d endured as a child, the choice to change it gave her power and a sense of liberation. If Kevin no longer wanted her, why should she go through the rest of her life carrying his name?

She breathed a heavy sigh. How she wished that she could just curl up on the couch with a good book and spend the day lost in someone else’s life. Rainy days made her feel that way, but that couldn’t happen today. She’d promised her mother she would volunteer at the animal shelter to walk the dogs.

Buddy, her yellow lab, nudged his head against her leg, jarring her from her thoughts. “I’m sure you’ll be on the couch or my bed all day,” she teased.

He wagged his tail in response.

She gathered her notes for the interviews and set them on the counter. Today she would walk dogs in sweatpants and a raincoat. Tomorrow, she’d be wowing potential employers in a business suit.

Except…I don’t own a business suit!

She slapped her forehead. She had roughly twenty-four hours before the start of the interview marathon. She had casual separates and dresses for weddings and funerals, but definitely no suits. Over the years, while she was at home raising Trevor, she’d lived in jeans. Driving from one sports meet to another didn’t call for a power suit. It called for power bars and gallons of coffee.

Panic set in and grew with each beat of her heart. Clothes that screamed they came from a former decade would surely lessen her chances of securing a job. She hurried into the living room and grabbed her sneakers. The quicker she finished her volunteer duties, the sooner she could get to the mall and take care of this fashion crisis.

A loud knock, followed by Buddy’s barking, interrupted her thoughts and she hurried to the door. “Who is it?” she asked.

“It’s me.”

She opened the door. “Hi, Mom.”

Daisy’s blue eyes sparkled as she stepped over the threshold. “I’d like you to meet Julia. You know, she volunteers at the shelter with me.”

Autumn extended her hand to the older lady who followed her mother into the house. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Mom talks about you all the time.”

Julia gave Buddy a pat before shaking Autumn’s hand. “Likewise, dear.”

“Honey,” Daisy began, “We’re here to do a quick cleansing since you refused when you first moved in.”

Autumn closed the door so the dog wouldn’t run out. “I was just on my way to the shelter.”

“Oh, you don’t need to go now. Charlotte already did the morning walks. I need you this afternoon.”

“It would have been nice if you called and told me that, Mother.”

Daisy frowned. “I’m here, now, telling you, and besides, Julia and I need to cleanse each room. Surely you released negativity from those boxes when you opened them.”

With effort, she managed not to roll her eyes. “I doubt the boxes were possessed.”

“You don’t know that. The old house was filled with bad vibes and now you’ve let them escape into the new one. We need to make sure the new rooms are cleared of any bad energy that may be lingering.”

Autumn clamped her lips together to restrain the negativity wanting to escape them. “Did you bring a bottle of holy water?”

Daisy gave her a look. “Now, Autumn, you’ve seen me do this before. There’s no water involved. It’s a simple chant.”

Oh, yeah, she remembered all right. Three years ago, after her father had died, Daisy decided to move to a smaller house. The day she moved in, she went into each room and began to chant. It sounded more like a cat in heat, but Autumn let her do her thing because she thought she was still in denial that her father had passed away.

“We did bring crystals and beads,” Julia added.

Autumn looked at Julia. She guessed her to be in her early sixties, like Daisy. Her gray hair was in a ponytail that hung half way down her back. She wore faded blue jeans and a white, gauze top with big sleeves. She had about six strings of beads hanging around her neck and her earrings were so long, her earlobes looked like they would tear if a gust of wind whizzed across her neck.

Autumn glanced back to her mother. Her gray hair was also in a long ponytail. She had four strings of beads around her neck and her jeans were faded and torn at the knees.

Good lord, they could be twins, separated at birth.

Realizing her mother would nag her until she allowed her to perform the cleansing, she decided to get it over with once and for all. She touched Daisy’s shoulder. “Do what you have to do, Mom. I think I’ll run to the store and get some more coffee. Would you like anything?”

“No thank you,” Daisy replied.

“I already had my morning cup of herbal tea,” Julia chimed in.

Autumn raised her eyebrows. “Okay, I’ll be back in a few minutes.” She kissed her mother, waved to Julia, and then hurried out the door. With any luck, the chanting will be over by the time I get back from the café.
 

 
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