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Love at Beaver's Trail

Love at Beaver's Trail

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He's looking for the big score. She's trying to live her dream. Together they'll find a love that delivers on all ends.

As the two of them discover there’s more to them that meets the eyes a relationship grows based on mutual respect and trust. But Simon has a secret he needs to tell Evelyn so she doesn’t think this relationship was nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

Main Tropes

  • Grumpy Hero
  • Forgiveness
  • Women Friendship

Synopsis

He's looking for the big score. She's trying to live her dream. Together they'll find a love that delivers on all ends.

Evelyn Rogers has been waiting for a sign that she should follow her dream. When she got fired from her job and she won a contract to do interior design those were all the signs she needed to leave her reporting job which had allowed her to study design all over the world and grab on with both hands to her dream job. The only problem is the Architect who thinks her lack of experience in the field means he should question every thing she does.Simon Calfeld needed this job to go right. He was an Architect that every thought was washed up after a failed project. Simon needed a win for him and his children. When he hears the decorating was given to the person with the lowest bid he sees his chances of getting back in the game dwindling. When he meets the attractive Evelyn, who has no experience he knows he’s going to have to follow her every step so she doesn’t mess up his last chance.As the two of them discover there’s more to them that meets the eyes a relationship grows based on mutual respect and trust. But Simon has a secret he needs to tell Evelyn so she doesn’t think this relationship was nothing more than smoke and mirrors.Grab your copy now!!

Intro into Chapter One

Chapter
One

“It’s
a rat!”

“If
it was, why did it go into the water?”

Evelyn
Rogers heard the two children before she saw them. She sighed. Where were their
parents? This scene was becoming more and more familiar since the announcement.
Evelyn had walked these lands since she was ten and knew them like the back of
her hand. Living in Inheritance Bay had been an idyllic existence as a child.
Her mother owned two acres of wild land that had a running river that was fed
by Inheritance Bay.

Ever
since a beaver family was spotted, her land had become hot property and a naturalist’s
dream. It also became the number one spot people trespassed, trying to see the
newly returned beaver. There were no parents in sight. The children were well
dressed and didn’t look like any of the kids in Inheritance Bay. Walking toward
them, she could see they were getting very close to the edge of the water. One
of them looked to be a young girl about ten and a boy who, if Evelyn got her
guess right, was about seven or eight.

She
wasn’t sure who they were, but the matching pea coats didn’t place them as
Inheritance Bay kids, which meant they were trespassers. Evelyn supposed they
could have been new neighbors. It was just before the school term started, and
since the Turtle Dove Inn had gotten a makeover and new owners, people had
started to notice Inheritance Bay and moved to it. That being said, these kids
didn’t look like new residents.

Evelyn
looked around, hoping to see some frantic parents running toward them to
retrieve their children. All of the cabins were filled around her property. It
was probably one of the renters who had wandered onto her land, not realizing
that the cabin and the wooded acreage were not a package deal.

Her
mother had moved to an assisted living community with her friend. Rachel never
had any love for the cabins when she lived here. In fact, it was a point of
contention between her and the rental place of trespassing renters. Eventually,
they had come to a pseudo truce. Rachel had designated a picnic area far from
the stream for the renters to enjoy nature. She thought the renters had to be
watched, and if she saw any garbage, she always blamed it on them.

Had
her mother been here, she would have come out with her hands waving in the air
to scare the children away from the water. If they ran, Rachel would follow
them until they found their parents where she would tell them about the damage
their children had done to the river.

Alas,
her mother was not here, and the children didn’t look as though they were
leaving any time soon on their own. The children were attractive and made her
hands itch to have her sketch pad.

There
it was, that pang of guilt and sadness that her mother had chosen not to be
here because she was. Rachel was never going to get the mother-of-the-year
award. However, they had been in this weird friendship kind of relationship
since she graduated from college.

Strawberry
nudged the side of her leg. The 14-year-old brown partially blind Pitbull was
by her side on her leash. Evelyn could see Strawberry was curious about the
noise. Her sight was about gone, but all of her other senses were fine. This
was something else that her mother didn’t understand about Evelyn. When Evelyn
had asked for a pet as a child, her mother had always suggested small toy dogs
that could be held and groomed or dignified cats like Persians that looked good
when others would see them. Evelyn didn’t want a pet that looked good on her
arm. She wanted an animal that needed her as much as she needed it. Since
neither one of them would budge on the issue, it wasn’t until Rachel had
decided to leave that Evelyn had gotten Strawberry.

After
her mother had delivered the news that she was relocating to an assisted living
home with her friends, Evelyn decided helping an elderly dog would be great. She
went to the nearby shelter and asked them which dog was old and least likely to
be adopted. The shelter owner took her to see several dogs, unfortunately.
However, she found this dog in the pen in the corner that the shelter lady
didn’t even show her.

“Oh,
Strawberry!  She’s a special needs dog,”
the older shelter woman said. “She’s partially blind but a sweet-tempered dog.
She was rescued from a breeder. One of the volunteers named her Strawberry
because her nose is so red compared to the rest of her body.”

“Considering
she can’t see, you’d think she might be a little hesitant, but she’s not. It’s
hard to place her, along with the stereotype that all dogs in the breed are
bad.”

Evelyn
shook her head.  Some people had a bad
experience and then painted a group with the same judgment. She was an art
teacher, and it only took one bad experience with one art class and the whole
renaissance period was bad. Then Evelyn went to the back pen, and Strawberry
stood up right away and pushed her nose to the fence. Evelyn had looked at this
dog needing unconditional love and knew right then and there her heart had been
given.

This
is what you’ve been waiting for. She’s the one!

Evelyn
closed her eyes and took a big breath. Saying yes to Strawberry would be a big
responsibility. She wasn’t going to be traveling anymore. Her mother had moved
out, leaving her alone. She could do this.

“If
you’re interested in Strawberry, you should know she’s trained to walk on a
leash. She might run her head into your leg every now and again, but it’s just
so she can keep her bearings. All of her medical is up to date. She’s ready for
a new home today.”

Evelyn
smiled as she remembered the day she brought Strawberry home. She had been so needy,
and the shelter lady had wanted to give Strawberry a chance at a forever home.
It was no use looking back. Evelyn hadn’t regretted her decision for one
moment. She had barely heard the words from the woman at the shelter. Instead,
when she left the shelter with Strawberry, she had left the shelter feeling
triumphant.

In
fact, Evelyn could imagine how her mother would have been smirking at her if
she had heard the vet report.  Evelyn
took her to the town vet, Dr. Gloria Lincoln. When Dr. G, as she preferred to
be called, was done with the exam, she had some things to expound on. Strawberry
had hip dysplasia, and she was a bit heavy and would need special older dog
food. Walks were very important for her. When Evelyn asked if that was normal,
Dr. G smiled and said yes. Strawberry wasn’t sick. She just had some wear and
tear on her body like any other dog.

Strawberry
nudged her leg again, bringing her back to the present. Those kids were too
close to the water and too unobservant of their surroundings. She was standing
in the copse of trees, and they hadn’t noticed her or Strawberry. Evelyn looked
around, hoping to see running parents coming toward them, but the way was
clear.

Her
attention was brought back to the kids when she heard the girl scream, and she
felt the yank on her arm as Strawberry pulled her to the water. As she got closer,
she could see the little boy had fallen in. The water was cold and just over
his head so he couldn’t get his footing. The girl was inching closer to the
water’s edge. If she didn’t do something soon, the girl would slip off of the
bank, as well.  Finally, the girl noticed
her and Strawberry, but it was probably the feel of Strawberry’s galloping and
breathing.

“Please
help! My brother is in the water, and he just learned how to swim.”  She waved toward the water. She had an accent
that sounded Russian, but Evelyn would ask about it later. Before anyone could
say a thing, the leash was jerked out of her hand, and Strawberry went in the
water and began to swim toward the flailing boy.

Strawberry
had taken one dive and come back up with the kid. She was pulling him by his
shirt and making her way to the nearby bank. Evelyn and the girl ran to Strawberry,
who pulled the boy effortlessly onto his side. When Evelyn reached Strawberry,
she was shaking the excess water out of her coat. Evelyn was glad she hadn’t
gone into the water. The excess spray from Strawberry made her shiver from the ice-cold
droplets. She took off her coat and went to the child. He was a little pale but
still breathing. His complexion was pale, and it looked like he had black,
matted hair.

“Help
me. H-h-h-help.”

Yes,
it was a Russian accent. She wrapped her coat around him, judging if she could
carry him back to her place.

“Hey,
guy, what’s your name?”

It
was more likely the shock of the water that had startled the boy.

“L-Luka.”

“Well,
Luka, look, you’re safe now, and Strawberry pulled you out. She could see you
needed help and jumped in to get you right away.”

“Luka,
I told you that you were too close.” The younger girl smoothed back his hair
from his forehead. Evelyn thought the contradiction between the words from her
mouth and how tenderly she cared for him told her all she needed to know.

“Well,
it’s a good thing Strawberry got him,” Evelyn said, trying to ease the girl who
was determined to not show how concerned she actually was.

“Thank
you, Miss. Luka doesn’t listen sometimes, but he’s a good brother most of the
time. He’s also the only boy, so our family would notice.”

What
an odd comment. Like if the younger girl had been the one who had fallen into
the river, no one would have noticed. The girl hadn’t yelled for her parents.
Were they here alone? Did anyone know where they were? Just when she was about
to ask the girl some questions, she saw a fast-approaching figure. As the
figure came closer, it was clear that it was a man.

When
he got to them, he wasn’t winded at all. This was the kind of man that
commercials featured and women dreamed about. He had a body that said he did
real physical work, not sculpted for pictures but tight and compact. His hair
wasn’t girly curly, either, it was a thick thatch of black hair that had a
cowlick that looked as if he had tried to tame it, but that hank of hair did
what it wanted. He wore a black hoodie, and it was rolled up at the sleeves.
The closer he got, the more she had to restrain herself from reaching out and
brushing back his hair from his forehead.

The
man knelt down and took in the scene before him.

“Luka,
are you okay?”

“Yes,
Papa. The nice dog saved me.” The boy gave a wide smile.

The
man looked over at Strawberry who was lying on the ground, looking
disinterested. Then he turned to the young girl.

“I
know someone has a good reason why the two of you are out here and not waiting
for me at the house.”

“We
waited for you, Papa, but you were taking so long and when we tried to call
you, you didn’t pick up the phone,” the girl said matter of factly, as if her
explanation said it all. When the man’s expression didn’t change, the young
girl continued. “We went for a little walk, and then we heard the water. After we
saw the water, we spotted the house on the stream, and Luka leaned too close
before he saw something moving and then fell in. That was when the pretty dog
jumped in the water and pulled Luka out.”

The
man turned to Evelyn and looked at Strawberry lying on the ground nearby. What
was he thinking? Hopefully, he didn’t judge Strawberry by her breed. He turned
his gaze back to her.

“Is
that your dog that pulled my son out of the water?”

Evelyn
couldn’t read him. In fact, his tone hadn’t changed since he had begun talking.

“Yes,
that’s Strawberry. Her sight isn’t what it was, but she can still get around
and as you can see, she can swim.”

“I
want to thank you...”

“Evelyn.
Evelyn Rogers. I own this land.” She nodded behind her. Was that the best she
could say? Why couldn’t she get her thoughts together? Her breath was short,
and every time she took in air, she seemed to breathe in him. Okay, it had been
a long time since she’d been dating if just being this close to a man had her
thoughts going foggy.

She
had been all over the world. She had seen handsome men before. Although, this
man wasn’t classically handsome. Besides, it wasn’t just his great build. It
was that cute way he spoke with a slight Russian accent. His sentences seemed
short and to the point.

“Forgive
me. I’m Simon Calfeld, and these two escape artists are my children, Eva and
Luka.”

It
took a minute for the words to sink into her head.

“Calfeld,
as in Mila Calfeld, or should I say Mila Talton?”

“That’s
my sister,” he said.

“You
know our aunt?” Eva asked Evelyn. It was just what Evelyn needed to break from
the spell that seemed to loom around Simon. She turned her head to face Eva in hopes
of not making a fool of herself.

“I
know your Aunt Mila. I’m doing a portrait of her and her new husband.” Thinking
of Simon, she could see some of the same bone structure that made Mila look so
exotic. Evelyn was waiting for the wife to show. Certainly, no woman let this
gorgeous man out on his own in a small town. Luka sat up and practically bumped
his head on hers.

“Aunt
Mila is the best!” he said.

Evelyn
smiled. It was clear who was on team Mila. At his proclamation, Strawberry got
up and lumbered over and placed her head in his lap. The gesture brought laughs
from everyone.

“We’re
sorry we were here, but we’re also here to see the beavers,” Eva said with all
of the enthusiasm of a kid who had just been told to clean their room.

“I
see. I know there are a lot of people who are looking for the pair.” Evelyn was
disappointed they were also here to be spectators who would be more harmful to
the beaver pair due to their eagerness to see a rare sight. Evelyn reached for Strawberry’s
leash so they could leave. She gave a gentle tug, and Strawberry picked up her
head and then laid back down on the boy’s lap.

Evelyn
couldn’t believe Strawberry was picking now to make friends. Evelyn stood up
with the leash and once again gave a gentle tug. Strawberry looked up as if she
were exasperated with Evelyn.

“Well,
since you know Mila, I’m sure we will see one another again. Also, about the
beavers and this land. This land isn’t public property. It’s my land.”

“I
think there is some mistake. I’m here for the beaver pair,” Simon said.

Strawberry
stood by Evelyn’s side. Was he crazy?

He
held up his hand. “I know that sounds odd, but the reason I came here was to
study and take pictures of the beavers. I’ve come to get some data on them. I’m
a wildlife biologist.”

Evelyn
looked at him and sighed to herself.

“It’s
common. The mistake is that the realtor didn’t show you the land. There is land
on both sides of your cabin. The land on this side with the water is mine. The
other side close to your cabin and front door is rented with the cabin. So, you
see, there was just a misunderstanding on your part. It’s common.”

She
could see the truth of it settling on him. Evelyn needed to do something
because it was a common mistake that many people made when they came to
Inheritance Bay. “Listen up, maybe we will be able to help each other, after
all.”

Simon's
head popped up with new awareness.

She
was doing a portrait for his sister. Why not try to help him? If what he said
was true and he really was a wildlife biologist, he would probably be one of
the safer people to have on the land. The fact of the matter was if other
people saw him on it, they might be deterred when they saw him. She thought of
her mother right away. Evelyn wasn't sure she was ever going to be able to get
away from the specter of her mother.

Simon
took a step closer to Evelyn as if his proximity would help his case.

“I
would be very open to anything you suggest. Being on this land to see the beavers
is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. If I can't be on this side of the cabin and get
the opportunity to collect my data, all of this will be for nothing.”

Then,
like the specter she was in her life, Rachel's voice echoed through Evelyn’s
mind. Rachel would say that this problem wasn't her problem and was the result
of poor planning on Simon's part. It was always a point of contention between
them. Maybe Rachel wanted to have the interaction with others, even if it was
only to complain about them.

“Listen,
I need to get Strawberry home.” Hopefully, that was enough of a reason for
everyone to go home. Why was she still standing there? It wasn’t like she had
to stay and entertain him, for goodness sake. She turned around, determined to
do the right thing when she heard his voice.

“Don’t
turn away! Tell me what it is you want. I have some resources that I can—”

Evelyn
turned back around. “You have what?”

“I
understand how things work in a small town. Funds are low and people need money.”

All
of a sudden, Simon didn’t look as handsome as he did before. It was probably
the only time she wished that Strawberry could growl at another person. How
could it be that someone who looked so good could be such an awful person on
the inside?

This
was just what Rachel would have warned her about. People appeared to be one way
but really wound up being totally different. Had her mom been her she would
have pointed to Simon and said I told you so. At this point, Rachel would have
lectured Simon on how people made propositions that they themselves would
accept. Her mother would have pointed out that this was his bad form and
character, not her living in a small town.

It
was odd how things could make you think of a person. Here she was in the
presence of a gorgeous man who was obviously insulting her, and the only thing
she could think about was how much she missed her cranky mother. It was also
odd how moments of tension brought realizations to the forefront. Ever since
her mother had decided to leave, Evelyn had been doing everything Rachel
wouldn't do. If she were honest with herself, Evelyn would have to say that she
had been living as a reaction to Rachel not being with her.

Maybe
Simon had a reason for suggesting this. Evelyn had painted structures all over
the world, as well as done personal portraits and heard people’s stories at the
same time. It was never a good idea to judge a book by its cover, and the same
could be said about people.

“I'm
sorry you've had such a bad experience with people in small towns. As long as
your credentials are true, I have no problem with you coming to look in on the
pair if you can find them.” His expression went from one ready to fight, to a relaxed
state of slack-jawed shock. “I don’t really keep track of the pair, so I
couldn't even tell you the direction to start looking.”

He
looked completely confused. It was as if he were waiting for her to say
something else that would explain this change in her decision. Maybe she should
tell him the way she treated him was all about how she was and nothing to do
with reacting to who he was.

“I-I
want to thank you,” he stammered. “I didn't expect it.”

Evelyn
smiled. “Sometimes you get exactly what you expect. I'm doing Mila’s portrait. There
is no reason for us to be at odds.” She must have said that with a little bit
more bite than she intended to.

Simon
stood back up and closed his jaw and studied her. Just when Evelyn thought he
was going to apologize, a thin woman with gray hair in blue jeans and a red top
approached them.

“Maybe
this trip won’t be a total bummer if you’ve managed to find a woman this fast.
Luka, Eva, what happened here?”

Luka
stood up, shaking.

“I
thought I saw the beaver in the house, and I fell in but then her dog jumped in
and saved me. It was amazing.”

The
woman opened her arms, and Luka went straight to her. She turned toward Simon
and smiled.

“It’s
nice to know that someone hasn’t forgotten what it means to be spontaneous. In
case you had forgotten, this boy is how you used to be.”

“Did
Dad really get into trouble, Mrs. Lacy?” Eva asked as she looked upon her
father as if he were a new creature.

“Dad
in trouble? I don’t think he knows how, Mrs. Lacy,” Luka said. Evelyn was happy
to see the woman and was even more intrigued by her statements. It was then, of
course, that Strawberry wanted to leave.

“Yes,
to the both of you. I did get into trouble as a child, and it taught me how to
not get into trouble as an adult. However, Luka is right. It was because of Ms.
Rogers’ incredible dog that Luka is okay.”

Mrs.
Lacy gave Evelyn a once-over that had her looking at her clothes. “It looks
like we’ll be seeing you then, Ms. Rogers.” Mrs. Lacy had a glint in her eye.

Evelyn
wouldn’t want to meet Mrs. Lacy alone.

“I’ll
take the kids back. The thrill of adventure can keep you warm for only so long.”

Evelyn
fully expected Simon to follow Mrs. Lacy, but he didn’t, so it would be rude to
leave him. Her fickle dog, Strawberry, seemed to have settled down, and now she
was just lying on the ground.

Evelyn
wished everyone would come back because she wasn’t ready to deal with this man
who had gone from being a walking commercial to a troll to a not-so-bad dad in
less than ten minutes. If she were susceptible to handsome men with a cool
accent, she’d be in trouble right now, and she wasn’t, right?   

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