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Love at Swan's Cove

Love at Swan's Cove

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He can build anything but a relationship.
She heals others to avoid her own pain.

Patrick and Sylvia must push through their old biases and scars to discover
an unconditional love that heals?

Main Tropes

  • Grumpy Hero
  • Forgiveness
  • Women Friendship

Synopsis

He can build anything but a relationship. She heals others to avoid her own pain.

It’s been two years since Patrick Miller’s wife died in an accident, and every since then it’s been a struggle to maintain his relationship with his 7year-old adhd son, Jacob. In hopes of providing a more nurturing environment for his son – Patrick moves to Inheritance Bay to set up as a contractor in the up and coming town.From day one it goes wrong. Jacob has an episode and runs away from him rightinto the arms of yoga instructor, Sylva Cattrell.Sylvia became a yoga teacher to give people a sense of peace and control. All the things she didn’t have since she walked away from her career as therapist. Meeting Jacob brings up old feelings she thought were buried, meeting Patrick stirs dreams she thought were dead. When Patrick asks Sylvia to stay with them for a week for Jacob’s sake Sylvia can’t say no. Patrick and Sylvia must push through their old biases and scars to discover an unconditional love that heals?

Intro into Chapter One

Chapter
One

“Men
like that are created to test your contentment with life,” Gloriana Mayer said.

Sylvia
Cattrell didn’t even look up at her friend’s teasing. Instead, she shook her
head and searched for the ripest avocado. She nodded and kept feeling along.

“Sylvia,
how are you supposed to know what temptation looks like if you won’t even glance
up to see him in all of his six-foot glory with dark locks instead of a style?”
Gloriana teased.

Sylvia
let out a sigh and then decided to indulge her friend. “Okay, I’ll look upon
your nemesis and dream.” Sylvia didn’t want to look up because Gloriana found
attractive men only to tell her a woman needed to resist. A woman could and
should live without a man to keep her yoga journey of independence free from
personal attachments. Those were the words Gloriana exposed, but she seemed to
forget that was the case whenever she saw an attractive man. Before Sylvia even
looked upon the man, she was sure he would be a “good specimen” as Gloriana
would say. All those thoughts went through her mind, and still, she wasn’t
prepared for the sight before her.

It
was funny how people came into your life, and you could think you had
everything in common, only to find out it wasn’t quite what you thought. When
Sylvia came to Inheritance Bay, she and Gloriana had been like two peas in a
pod. Then Gloriana went on a retreat, and ever since she came back, they hadn’t
been as close.  Gloriana had been into
tempting herself or looking at men and turning away. Sylvia had found the
practice to be useless, and to be honest, she hadn’t found anyone she was
interested in.

She
hoped there were other people in her line of sight so she wouldn’t be able to
see him. Then just by stretching, she was able to look across the patch of
green grass to see him. He was bent over a child, probably trying to discipline
him. It wasn’t like she wanted to see him; she was just humoring Gloriana. The
farmer’s market was as crowded as it normally was, due to the early time.

Then
he stood up and ran his hands through his hair, and it became clear that this
man was temptation on two legs. Even Sylvia had to admit it was more than that.
The man was tall and lean with rugged features that made him look like a statue
hewn from stone. His hair was dark and thick, allowing for him to pull it in
frustration.

If
Sylvia were honest with herself, she would admit she knew who the man was. It
was impossible to live in a small town and not know when someone new arrived. Especially
someone connected to all the new income and industry coming into Inheritance
Bay. Even with that foreknowledge, nothing prepared her for Patrick Miller. When
she heard his job was networking and security, an image began to form in her
mind. She couldn't have been further from the truth.

The
expression that should have been used with Patrick Miller was that the man was
tall, dark, and dangerous. His hair wasn't truly as black as night; it was more
like a deep brown. His hair was the color of milk chocolate. It was unfashionably
short but seemed to fit his face just the same. If a woman was into that sort
of thing, Patrick also had very wide shoulders. After the shoulders, though,
that was when things started to really get interesting. He had on a shirt that
lay against his chest. It outlined that he was a muscular man, but he didn’t
have the kind of muscles you got from a gym that were cut and even. He was
built more like a bull and didn't have the symmetry of a racehorse. With a
faded scar at his temple and a couple of other matching scars on his hands, you
could tell this man didn't have a problem getting into the weeds of things.

It
was only long-ingrained home training that made her look away from the walking Adonis.
She refused to examine the way her heart had sped up and her mouth had gone dry
just at the sight of him. Surely, those changes in her body had everything to
do with the unseasonably warm weather they were having.

Gloriana
might have a point. If there was a man who could tempt her, Patrick was that
man. She might have even been taken in by the whole appearance of the man if
she hadn't just spent the last couple of weeks in the presence of true love. Nicholas
and Siobhan Terrell made shallow encounters seem even more meaningless. Sylvia
used to think she could see love a mile away, but after being around Siobhan,
she realized only the lucky ones were found by love.

The
old desperate Sylvia would have made a run for it and at least said hi to Patrick.
Now that Sylvia had seen the real thing, she wasn't willing to settle. Just
when Sylvia thought everything about the man was together and perfect, she saw
him frantically looking from left to right. That was when Patrick Miller did a
full one-eighty turnabout, and their eyes met. Sylvia was stuck to the spot. Then
as if she were nothing more than a nuisance, Patrick looked away from her again,
searching from right to left. Just when Sylvia was sure that a woman would come
out of the woodwork and claim him, a little boy came running down the aisle
laughing.

The
little boy ran right into Patrick’s legs, making him have to take a step back
to steady himself. Having a child was definitely a plus in Sylvia’s book and
being friendly to them only made a man more attractive. However, when Sylvia
looked at Patrick's face, he was anything but glad to see the child.

“So,
when does temptation also come with its own responsibility of a child?” Sylvia
asked.

“No
way! There has got to be some mistake,” Gloriana exclaimed.

“I
don't want to be the one to bust your bubble, but that excuse is way too late,”
she said as she finally looked away from Patrick and the child.

“I'm
sure there's a very good reason why that child is attached to his legs. You
have to understand all the press says he's one of the most eligible bachelors,”
Gloriana continued.

Sylvia
sniffed. “Well, it seems as though you can still be an eligible bachelor and
have a child.”

Gloriana
shook her head. “No, I don't think so. Patrick Miller is the head of network
and security.”

Sylvia
laughed. “When does a person’s job have anything to do with how they live their
lives?”

“Patrick
Miller, in case you didn't know, is the son of Rose Miller, the artist who died
early from an overdose. It seems as though the experience has made him Mr. Straight
and Narrow. So, if we see a child and it's his, he would be married. I know he
was married before but that ended in divorce, and his wife left the country. I
never heard if she had a kid or not.”

“Well,
that is some endorsement,” joked Sylvia. “He’s either with no woman, or if he
does have a relationship, the breakup was so bad the woman left the country.”
Sylvia had to nudge Gloriana not to look as she tried to focus on the table of
local foods before her.

Again,
the shallowness of it all hit Sylvia. Here was Gloriana, refusing to believe
the man had a child because he was supposedly so straight and narrow. It was
obvious he had no idea how to handle the child. While the boy was laughing and
trying to hug him, Patrick looked as if he was trying to find anyone else to
grab on to the boy. Sylvia shook her head. Nope, it didn’t matter how gorgeous
Patrick Miller was, he had problems dealing with kids, and that said all she
needed to know about him.

Sylvia
turned her attention back to Gloriana. No one would believe they had been on
the yogi enlightenment path. On second thought, maybe Sylvia had to think about
it. Maybe they were actually on the I don’t need a man journey. All her choices
had been wrong and, in some cases, tragic. Nope, she wasn’t going down that
path anytime soon. The scars from the last time she looked for love were still
haunting her.

All
things considered, Gloriana was a good friend and one of the only people in the
town that would take a chance on her and the yogi studio. However, now that she
was no longer working at the sheriff’s office, she realized that Gloriana had
some shortcomings. Follow through wasn’t a strong suit.  For the past eight months, Sylvia thought
they had been denied the business loan by all four banks in the town. Now it
turns out they weren’t denied. Gloriana had only submitted one. Sylvia had been
stressed at first, but then she submitted the plans and had only received two
rejections so far. There was still a hopeful one out there.

When
Gloriana spoke, she always referenced having faith, even when talking about the
plan submission. Sylvia wanted to say without action nothing would happen. Sylvia
wished she had the same faith Gloriana did, but life had taught her different. She
was no longer that naive woman who thought if you did the right things then
eventually it would all work itself out.

When
she first arrived in Inheritance Bay, many people asked Sylvia why she hung out
with the idealistic Gloriana. Sylvia usually just shrugged and went on with her
day. The fact of the matter was Sylvia stayed around Gloriana because it gave
her a sense of hope and faith.

“I'm
not sure how he has a boy with him. What I can tell you is the boy is about to
cry, and Mr. Perfect doesn’t appear to have any idea on how to handle it,”
Sylvia said after giving him and the boy one last look over her shoulder.

“We
can go over and tell him the benefits of yoga. 
You are right. I don’t think he knows how to channel his calm side,”
Gloriana said in shock.

Sylvia
knew men like Patrick. Men who, no matter the reason, found themselves with a
child and didn’t want to be bothered. No, she didn’t want to meet him. The man
had a treasure as a child, and he didn’t acknowledge it. When she looked at
Patrick, she saw a man who valued money more than people. Besides she wasn’t
going to worry about it. The reason she was in the market was because she was
on the celebration committee of Layla Taggert.

She
and Layla had gotten to be good friends by meeting up in the park to work out. When
Layla got an award from the National Artists Association, she donated the prize
that went with it to the town. Now the town decided they needed to do something
for Layla. Layla didn’t agree, but fortunately, the town ignored her and tasked
Sylvia with approving the party since she was the closest thing Layla had to a
best friend.   

Sylvia
listened to Gloriana and shook her head in the negative. It was still hard for
Sylvia to imagine that she and Gloriana were the same age. It must be true that
a person was made by their experiences. While neither her nor Gloriana had any children,
they both had completely different experiences when it came to trusting men in
relationships and trusting men with children.

Sylvia
could hear the disappointment in Gloriana's voice when she said with a deep
sigh that they would meet up with Patrick later.

“Gloriana,
let's try and focus. Remember the reason that we are here is because the kid
who was supposed to bring the appetizers for today's party left us high and dry.
It figures it would happen to me, and it is part of some larger karmic fate,”
Sylvia moaned.

“Don't
think that way, Sylvia. You could not have known,” Gloriana said.

“True,
I didn't know the future, but I should have known to keep with the caterers
that were in Inheritance Bay,” Sylvia said. Even though Sylvia was moving up
and down the aisles, her mind was on the smiling dark-headed child who had run
to greet Patrick. The little boy's face was so full of love and light. Sylvia
couldn't even begin to imagine the environment Patrick provided for the child especially
if his frustrated scowl was any measure to go by.

“Maybe
you are right, and we shouldn't go over. I'm sure if it's meant to be, he will
find us after all, right?” Gloriana said with a giggle.

Thankfully,
it only took looking at three more vendors at the farmer’s market before she
found what she was looking for. Just when Sylvia thought things were going to
wrap up and go back to normal, her cell phone rang. She didn't have to look at
the ID to know who it was. She had assigned a ringtone just for Tori Casters. Tori
was a name from her past that she was trying to forget. She had moved to Inheritance
Bay to get away from that past. She weighed her options. Sylvia could ignore
the call, but then Tori would call her every hour on the hour out of worry. Sylvia
wasn't that callous so there was only one option. Sylvia answered the phone.

“You
can hear my voice, everything is fine,” Sylvia said.

“I’m
a creature of habit, forgive me. I have to check on you out in the middle of
nowhere,” Tori replied.

“I’m
in New York out on the island not in the Midwest,” Sylvia said, trying to keep
a laugh out of her voice. She knew that Tori couldn’t stand to be away from the
city. Tori’s idea of camping was staying in a two-star hotel.

“I
know you said you had a celebration to go to, but I was thinking about stopping
by. Is that okay?”

Sylvia
wanted to say no, but she understood that Tori had been with her through it all
and it was unfair to completely block her.

“Fine,
come over. I could have planned a weekend for you if you wanted to...” Sylvia
left it hanging, hoping Tori would take the bait and say planning would be a
great idea, but there was no such luck.

“No,
a little spontaneity is fine. Once in a quarter anyway. Take care of yourself.”

Sylvia
hung up the phone, and Gloriana was looking at her.

“I’ve
never asked what brought you to the Bay area, but I hope you know I’m your
friend if you need to talk,” she said sympathetically.

Sylvia
plastered a smile on her face and nodded. This was one of the reasons she had
moved to the Bay. She didn’t want the melancholy of her past to taint her
future. She knew Gloriana was a great listener, but Sylvia was determined that
her past was just that    and she would
rebuild her life and herself.

“Thank
you, Gloriana. I don’t need it now, but you will be at the top of my list,”
Sylvia said with a smile. Sylvia felt horrible that she couldn’t be as honest
as Gloriana was with her. She would never talk about what had happened. The
woman who had made those mistakes was locked away.

“Throwing
it out there, Sylvia. Besides, I’ve confessed all there is to know about me, so
you don’t have to hide. Anyway, it looks like you have this together. Let me take
these items from you and put them in the car. I want to take a look through the
market, and I’ll meet you at the front.”

Sylvia
nodded and felt like the worst person ever. Gloriana was right, she had told
Sylvia all there was to know about her. Gloriana Mayer had been born in Inheritance
Bay. She had been swept away from home by a once in a lifetime love. Unfortunately,
the love of her life was more interested in her money than in her. When she got
married, they moved away from Inheritance Bay, and her husband at the time took
all the money she had inherited from her grandmother and then left her. Gloriana
hadn't decided to come back home because she found out she was pregnant. Pregnant
and alone, Gloriana had tried to make her way in New York City. The stress had
been too much, and Gloriana lost her baby. The event had put her into such a
depression that Gloriana wound up being homeless on the street for two years. Then
in a twist of fate, Layla Taggart had seen Gloriana on the street and
recognized her. Within hours, Layla had arranged for Gloriana to come back home
and to be welcomed once again in the arms of Inheritance Bay. Even with all
that tragedy in her life, Gloriana still had an innocence that Sylvia couldn't
emulate.

Sylvia
watched Gloriana go down the grass patch, intermittently looking at the vendors
as she walked by. She turned back to the vendor in front of her heading toward
the samples section. One of the perks of coming to the farmer’s market were the
samples that they gave out. It gave everyone an opportunity to try new things.
As Sylvia was walking toward the sample plate that was behind the vendor, she
heard the high-pitched giggles of a little boy.

 Patrick was standing with his hands over his
chest looking at the little boy who was sitting on the floor with his hands
full of samples eating from each one.

“Jacob,
if you eat too many of those, you will get sick. Make the right choice and give
me one of the samples.”

Jacob
shook his head as he continued to eat the sweet confections in his hands.
Sylvia saw the boy understood what was going on, but then just as quickly as he
seemed engaged in the conversation, a woman walked by with a bright shawl and
Jacob dropped the confections and went toward the woman. Just like that, the
boy was up and moving again. Sylvia smiled. She had seen similar behavior like
this in her past life as a child therapist. When children had more energy and
get up and go than their parents. Sylvia wondered if Jacob always had such a
hard time staying focused.

She
shook her head; this wasn’t her problem. By the looks of it, this was Patrick’s
problem, and he was nowhere close to being able to solve it. Sylvia almost
laughed at his plea to Jacob to make the right decision.  She wondered what seven-year-old did Patrick
know. Sylvia guessed from Jacob’s size that he was somewhere between the ages
of five and eight.

“Jacob,
come back,” Patrick said.

When
Sylvia heard Patrick's voice even, she took notice. It wasn't that he was
screaming. It was just the opposite. He had a low rumble to his voice that
seemed to spread out and alert people on a visceral level. A couple of adults
looked over their shoulders and then turned away hoping that they weren't the
target of that voice. If Patrick thought his voice was going to have the same
effect on Jacob, he was severely mistaken.

Jacob.
What an appropriate name for this child. Jacob did stop for a moment. He was
about to reach for the shawl that the woman had trailing behind her. Then he
turned around like a mini gladiator and faced Patrick. It was like the biblical
story of David and Goliath. Jacob looked at Patrick and then copied his exact
stance. After his little arms were folded in front of his chest, he gave a
stern look to Patrick.

“No.”

Sylvia
looked at Patrick and almost laughed at his floored expression. She wasn't sure
how long Patrick and Jacob had been together but obviously not long enough. Patrick
had a look of incredulity on his face.

“I
said to stop, Jacob. You know what happens when you eat too many sweets. This
is the best thing to do.”

Sylvia
listened to Patrick trying to reason with this child, and she just couldn't
believe it. It was no wonder that Jacob stamped his foot and shook his head all
the while repeating no.

Then
Patrick took one step toward Jacob, and Jacob took one step back from Patrick. Instead
of the defiance that was once on Jacob’s face, now Sylvia could see he was
ready to play the game. The game of catch me if you can. Sylvia wanted to call
out to Patrick and say don't fall into this trap. You're giving away all your
power if you run after this child. Remember you're the adult. All those
utterances stayed within her. This wasn't her child. She would just turn around
and go and find another sample plate. That would be the best course of action
for her to do, if only she could get her feet to move to do it. It was too bad
she wasn't going to listen.

Before
she could caution Patrick on not running after Jacob, Jacob was off and running.
He had snagged the tail end of the shawl of the woman as he was going by, and
everyone could hear the gasp of the woman yelling thief. Jacob looked over his
shoulder, made a sharp right to avoid a nearby person, and ran smack dab into Sylvia’s
legs. Without thought, Sylvia grabbed the giggling boy. When he saw that he had
been captured, he tried to wiggle out of her grasp, but she held firm and gave
him a smile in return.

The
woman showed up not even two minutes later and took her shawl back. Jacob
looked over his shoulder and wasn't too pleased, but he still couldn't get out
of Sylvia’s grasp. It was then that he realized that maybe he was trapped, and
Sylvia had been waiting for that moment of recognition to come. As he began to
wiggle, Sylvia could see over the top of Jacob’s head that Patrick was coming,
as well.

She
gave Jacob a smile and then lowered to her knees. As soon as they were looking
eye to eye Jacob stopped wiggling.

“I
can see that you're really fast,” she said to Jacob. “What's your name? I
haven't seen you before.”

Without
hesitation, Jacob took his thumb and pointed at his chest. “I'm Jacob.”

“Jacob,
I'm not as fast as you are. My name is Sylvia. If I let you go, will you stay
with me and be my friend?”

Jacob
let out a sigh. “You're a girl,” he said in a low voice.

Sylvia
tried not to smile. “Yes, it's been that way for a long time,” she said. “I'm
all alone here, though. Will you stay with me?” Sylvia waited with bated breath,
and then Jacob nodded. “Thank you,” she said and then she let him go.

He
sat on the ground and looked up at her. Sylvia reached into her bag and found
her key ring. On it was a reminder of her past that she was now glad she had.
It was a fidget spinner that had lights in the middle the faster it was spun.
She took the spinner off of her key chain and gave it to Jacob. “Why don’t you
hold this while we wait?”

Jacob’s eyes lit up
with curiosity, and then he took the spinner and began to play. While Jacob was
absorbed into the spinner, the shadow of Patrick Miller fell over them both.

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