Chapter 1

In the silence of the clearing, the SUV’s engine’s cooling ‘tick’ seemed loud. Kaitlyn shivered and pulled her light sweater tighter across her body as an errant breeze blew by.

“What is this place,” she asked, hearing footsteps behind her.

“It used to be an inn, but it’s been abandoned for years.”

“And why are we here?”

“Janis thought it would be a great opportunity to branch out and try something new.”

“Where is Janis? Usually she comes to show us these places herself.”

“No need to this time. Her reasoning was sound. Also, this property was a steal. I couldn’t pass it up.”

“Wait. Let me get this straight,” Kaitlyn said turning towards the man standing beside her. “You’ve already bought this place. And you didn’t even think of discussing it with me first.”

Erik looked down at his wife. “I guess that was a mistake.”

“Look at this place, Erik! The paint is peeling, that porch is a major security hazard, and just look at those stairs! That’s only what we can see from the outside. Who knows what kind of mess we’ll find in there. To top it off, we can’t tell if the foundation is secure or what shape the roof is in.”

“Sweetheart, I’ve seen the pictures. The inside appeared to be fine.”

“Realtor’s pictures, Erik. They always make sure to catch the best angles. You know this. Geez,” Kaitlyn said, running her manicured nails through her blonde hair. “You’re always so careful with these decisions. What has gotten in to you?”

“Stop right there. I think you’ve forgotten I have created and sold several successful businesses. The one we run now keeps us in a fairly comfortable lifestyle. I think you owe me the benefit of the doubt here.”

“Fine. You’re right. I’m sorry, but you do have to admit neither of us know a thing about renovating a place like this. Or how to run an inn.”

“Running an inn can be learned. As for renovations, no big deal. You hire someone. Now can we go look at the inside? It might not be as bad as you think.”

Kaitlyn and Erik began walking towards the inn. “Why are you so angry, Kaitlyn,” Erik asked quietly.

“I don’t know. This just seems to be a big decision we should have talked about first.”

Carefully walking up the stairs, Erik pulled the keys from his pocket. Taking a deep breath, he opened the stiff lock as quick as possible. Turning the knob, he put his shoulder to the door to open it. Hearing a ‘huff’ behind him, he walked inside the dark entryway.

As Kaitlyn joined him, he said, “See, it’s not as bad as you thought.”

Looking around, Kaitlyn shrugged. “We’ll see,” she said turning towards the open french doors to the right. Stepping inside, she scanned the room.

“What do you think,” Erik asked, following Kaitlyn in.

“No telling what condition that furniture is in considering its covered, but the high ceilings are interesting. Not sure how economical it will be to heat in the winter, but will be nice in the summer.”

Erik smiled. “Well, let’s check out some furniture, shall we?”

“Erik! Don’t,” Kaitlyn began, holding out her hand, “whip the cover off,” she finished as dust filled the air.

Coughing, Erik backed away. “Oops,” he said when he could breathe again.

“Yeah,” Kaitlyn replied. “Well, let’s see what disaster you uncovered.” Stepping closer to the chair she paused. “Oh,” she said quietly. Running her hand along the high back, she said, “Okay. I was not expecting anything like this.” She brushed her fingers across a small tear in the fabric, frowning before turning towards the rest of the room.

“I wonder…” Kaitlyn began walking to another piece of furniture and carefully removed the cover. Glancing from the settee to the chair nearby, her expression changed.

“You going to fill me in?”

“I’m not positive, but I think these are old.”

“Well, yeah. The inn has been empty for ages. We can easily replace old.”

“Not this kind of old, you can’t. These are antiques. An appraiser would know for sure, but they might be as old as the inn.”

“Oh,” Erik said.

“Yeah, oh. Now why don’t we cover these back up and finish looking around.”

Erik and Kaitlyn covered the furniture and walked back into the entryway.

“Do you think that chandelier still works,” Kaitlyn asked, looking at the ceiling.

“I don’t know, but it will be easy enough to have an electrician check it out.”

Nodding, Kaitlyn continued her journey through the inn.

Descending the stairs, Erik asked, “Well, what do you think? Am I still a complete idiot for going out on a limb and buying this place?”

Stopping at the bottom of the stairs, Kaitlyn waited for Erik to join her. Slipping her arms around his waist, she replied, “I might have been a little hasty. With the right person doing the work, this place could probably shine.”

“I told you it would,” Erik cut off as Kaitlyn held up a finger.

“But, you should have talked to me about it first.”

Sighing, Erik said, “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

“Because I know you. You’re too busy with the other company to deal with this. That means it’s going to fall into my lap.”

“Again, you’re right. However, if we brought in the right kind of help, it wouldn’t seem like such a chore.”

“Of course. You’ve already figured this out too,” Kaitlyn said, trying to pull away. When Erik wouldn’t let go, she settled for dropped her arms to her side.

“Don’t be like that, sweetheart,” he said, dropping a kiss on her forehead. “I’m pretty sure you’ll like my idea.”

When Kaitlyn refused to say anything, he continued, “Anyway, I thought we could hire your friend. I can’t believe I blanked her name. But didn’t she go back east to do renovations on old homes?”

Lifting her head she said, “You mean Mackenzie?”

Snapping his fingers together he said, “That’s her. I can’t believe I forgot. Wasn’t she your maid of honor or something like that?”

“Exactly like that. As much as I adore Mackenzie, why her? Like you said, she’s back east. That’s a bit far to reach for someone to handle the renovation.”

“It’s like you said, you adore her. Wasn’t it just last month you were saying how much you missed her? That you two never got to see each other?”

“Yes, I did. Wait a minute. How can you remember that but forget her name?”

“Sometimes names just get away from me. So what do you think? Should we hire her?”

“It would be good to see Mackenzie again,” Kaitlyn said slowly, slipping her arms back around her husband’s waist. “She might be busy with another project though.”

“Don’t worry about that. When we get home, we can look up where she’s working and I’ll talk to her boss tomorrow. We’ll make this work. I’ll let you know when it’s done and you can call Mackenzie and give her the good news. Deal?”

“Deal.” Kaitlyn said, hugging her husband.

“Good. Now let’s get out of here. I’m sure I have a bottle of your favorite wine chilling at home.

Giving her husband a smile, she walked out the front door leaving Erik to lock up.

Patting the door frame as he left the inn, he said, “Don’t worry. We’ll fix you up.” Locking the door, he followed his wife to the SUV.

Next Chapter: Chapter Two