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The Loner

The Loner

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They said she had burnout, but she had lost so much more. They thought he was eccentric; he was waiting for someone who saw him

Main Tropes

  • Second Chance Romance
  • Small Town Romance
  • Women Friendship

Synopsis

They said she had burnout, but she had lost so much more…Gloria Danvers is a planner and a numbers woman. She has a tragedy she can’t reconcile, so she’s decided to walk away from her six-figure job, corporate politics, and finance finagling to be a Yoga instructor. Starting over can be costly and after she just invested in her brother’s new business her funds are low to start her Yoga studio. When she tries to get funding her past comes back demanding to be dealt with.They thought he was eccentric; he was waiting for someone who saw himReid Chance understood that love was a precursor to abandonment and pain. His mom loved someone so much he and his sister landed in foster care. His ex-girlfriend loved his money and left when she found out he wanted a prenup before marriage. He funded startups but he was at home on the land with his horses wallowing in the peace, until a woman with a plan makes him reconsider the love equation.Neither one of them wanted to deal with the past, but they’ll have to settle old accounts if they want the payout of love.Read less

Intro into Chapter One

Chapter
One

Inheritance
Bay had saved Gloria Danvers’s life. Okay, it wasn’t like it took up arms and
defended her and, it also didn’t magically heal her with its “on the Bay
community” feelings. What it did for her was it gave her a place where she
could go to recuperate. If it hadn't been for Inheritance Bay, Gloria would
have still been stuck in Boston, mourning a loss that she could never get back
and she would always regret.

After
six months of just existing, her brother, Jack Danvers showed up, packed her condo,
and brought her to Inheritance Bay. For the first month, Gloria didn't really
notice she was in a different place. In fact, nothing mattered to Gloria, at
all. Then she began to get up and look out the window of the two-story starter
home her brother lived in.

Window
looking had been her concession activity that she engaged in to satisfy Jack.
He wanted her to leave the house, but he was content, that she had worked up to
getting out of bed getting dressed and looking out of the window.

 The only thing that broke through her
depression was a little girl named Priscilla Timmons. Priscilla lived next door
to Jack. Priscilla’s mother, Joan Timmons, worked as the lunch matron in the
school. One day, when Priscilla was on her front lawn, Gloria saw her trying to
touch her toes. Priscilla just toppled over. Gloria could see the girl’s form
wasn’t right. Most people didn’t realize that yoga was relaxing but, it could
also be physically challenging to do if you were a beginner.

 When she saw Priscilla topple over, it was the
first thing that made her think of something else besides her pain. Gloria was in
a pit of despair, but she would never turn away from a child. Without giving it
a second thought, she went outside to make sure Priscilla was okay.

“Are
you hurt?” Gloria asked Priscilla.

Startled
the little girl yelped. Gloria stopped where she stood and held her hands in
front of her.

“I’m
not trying to hurt you. I saw you from the window and thought you might be
hurt.”

Priscilla
threw back her straight black hair and blew the bangs out of her eyes.

“My
mom says you are the woman whose heart is hurt, and that is why you sit at the
window all day.”

Gloria
wasn’t surprised. In a town like Inheritance Bay, any newcomer would be
noticed, classified, and talked about.

“I’m
Jack’s sister.”

“Older
sister or younger sister?” Priscilla asked looking at Gloria with curiosity.

“Younger.”

Priscilla
nodded. “Then it’s good your brother went to get you.”

Gloria
wasn’t so sure, but she didn’t disagree with her neighbor. Trying to deflect Priscilla
from digging anymore into what was the shambles of her life, Gloria pointed to
the ground.

“What
were you trying to do?”

Priscilla
just plopped to the ground. “I am in a class at school, and I have to do
looking down dog.”

Gloria
smiled at Priscilla. It was one of the few times she had actually felt like
smiling.

“You
mean upside-down dog?”

Priscilla
nodded, her bangs moving to and fro like a windshield wiper. “Yes, that.”

“Why
can’t you do this move now?”

The
girl looked at her feet and then let out a big sigh. “I’m fat.”

Gloria
looked at the young girl and was sure she had heard correctly.

“That
can’t be,” Gloria exclaimed.

The
girl looked up with tears shimmering in her eyes. “At school, everyone can do
this but me, so the kids say I’m too fat.”

Gloria
looked at the girl and for the first time in six months, she felt something.

“Look,
I happen to know how to do yoga. I can show you how to do this move. You are
very close and you’re not fat,” Gloria reassured her.

Priscilla
looked hopeful, and it was that day that Gloria found her purpose. She decided
she’d be a yoga teacher for school-age kids. After that event, Gloria found a part-time
job at the schoolworking as a teaching assistant. During the next six months,
she got certified as a yoga instructor for kids. Everything seemed to be in
place until she decided to open a yoga school. She had been so deep in her
despair that she had left all of her finances as they were. Probably not the
best option when they were still entwined with a partner who thought they could
still be together.

Davis
was another issue. The day she left Davis he made it very clear that their
relationship was about being a power couple and making partner in the firm they
both worked in. When she went to access her finances to build her school there
was a hold on them and she had no doubt who had put them there.

Her
only other option besides using her savings account was to look at her long-term
investments. A lot of her money was in long-term investments that if she took
it out too soon, she might pay more in taxes than she could afford. She tried
to call Davis with the hope he’d be reasonable. Again, that was a sure sign
she’d been in Inheritance Bay too long. Davis had no problem discussing the
issue upon Gloria’s return back to Boston. The account was in both of their names.
Gloria thought they would split 50/50 but Davis said his expenses were much
higher after she abandoned him, and he would need 75% of the fund. He
reiterated that he would release the funds if she would come back to Boston and
to the finance firm. The leave she had taken was indefinite because the firm
knew how well she worked but it wouldn’t last forever.

Gloria
had broken up with Davis three years ago. She had taken the leave a year after
her breakup with Davis. Davis had summarily ignored her decision that they were
over as a couple. His thought was that as a couple their financial power was
too much to walk away from.

When
Gloria told Jack she had made up her mind to own a business and teach yoga he
had been nothing but supportive. When she had told Davis he said they would
have to settle the money issue in court. Miraculously they couldn’t get a court
date that wasn’t less than a year out. Gloria knew that had a lot to do with
Davis having connections in high places.

So
much for wanting to support a loved one, Gloria thought. That was how she found
herself sitting in the perfect town of Inheritance Bay with less than a week to
come up with 150k or a bank loan for the amount. At this point, neither one of
them seemed likely.

When
Portia called and said she had an idea. Gloria was nervous because Portia
wouldn’t tell her a thing about this idea, instead, Portia asked her to meet up
for brunch on a Saturday. Now there was no doubt that Portia had been a help
beyond words, but this type of ambiguity was setting Gloria’s senses on alert.
It was Portia, someone she trusted. It wasn’t like she was Davis but still
Gloria was uneasy with the cloak and dagger.

To
be honest, Gloria could probably attest her feelings to the impromptu fundraiser
Portia organized by Grayson Chance. Two things bothered her about the
fundraiser. The first thing was she wished Portia would have asked her first.
The second is she didn’t like being in the spotlight. Gloria hated having to go
to the fundraiser and pitch to people. It was too much like her old life in
finance, always pitching a deal. Gloria was disturbed how easy it was for her
to able to pitch her cause with ease. She could feel herself sliding back into
that role as if she had never left. Selling investors on the idea of a yoga
studio for kids wasn’t as easy as selling investors on the idea that she could
triple their money in six months with a hot tip she had.

The
good part was, she would never have to see Grayson Chance again. Gloria was
sure Portia would come with her upbeat attitude because she wasn’t ready to
admit defeat, but Gloria was close to admitting defeat and calling Davis. Just
the thought of reaching out to Davis made her skin crawl. Davis wasn’t a bad
person just not the one for her. Right now, the only thing Davis could think
about was getting her back in Boston. Lately, Gloria was thinking about going
back to Boston for a short while, until she had the money to open her studio.
It wasn’t her best plan, but it was better than no plan, barely. Gloria had to
admit all of these things made her open to whatever Portia planned.

“Gloria!”
Portia called out and she looked relieved as if she hadn’t expected Gloria to
show. Gloria had to work on hiding her emotions better if she was so
transparent that Portia doubted, she would come to the breakfast. While Portia
waved to her every other man had to politely take a second look at an oblivious
Portia. Gloria smiled back and shook her head. With bouncy sable hair and an
air of perkiness that emanated from her, Portia was hard not to notice.  

Gloria
stood up and hugged Portia. A carafe of orange juice and some biscuits were on
the table.

“I
think it’s refreshing that the place gives you real butter and some fattening
foods for the world that wants to enjoy their days instead of counting calories,”
Gloria said as she gestured for Portia to take a seat.

“Are
we having the farmers special today?” Portia asked.

Anyone
who knew Gloria knew she loved to eat. When Portia made the suggestion it
actually relaxed Gloria. Gloria never felt like she had to put up pretense
around Portia and that was just one more thing she liked about being around Portia.

“You
got here first. Were you eager to see me?” Portia asked as she settled the
napkin on her lap.

“I’m
always anxious to see you. I like you, Portia, you are what you say you are,
and I feel totally comfortable,” Gloria said with a smile.

“I’m
surprised at the fundraiser you didn’t meet a nice guy with cool lines like
that,” Portia said with a nervous laugh.

“Meet
a guy while I’m going through this? The last thing I’m looking to do is meet
anyone,” Gloria sighed. Just thinking about the opposite sex brought visions of
Davis to her mind. Nope, she wasn’t interested. Gloria was a firm believer now
that men and women were from different planets, and they didn’t speak the same
language.

“I’m
not saying that the event was for meeting a guy but, I’m saying there were a
lot of guys that were interested in you,” Portia said wiggling her eyebrows.

“Well,
they need to be interested in me and helping me setup a yoga studio for kids,”
Gloria said as she slathered butter onto a biscuit.

“You
know I admire your focus to start over and get the studio up, but don’t you
ever wish for ….”

Gloria
put her biscuit down and looked at Portia. One of the things she thought was
such an oddity about Portia was her optimism.

“Are
you asking me if I miss being in a relationship? The answer would be a firm, no.
Besides, I realized that before I can be in a relationship with someone else, I
need to be okay with being in a relationship with myself. I never met a man who
wanted to know me. I’ve told you about Davis. He wanted to know what I could do
for him but not about me. So, now I’m doing me for dinner, me for a spa day,
and me to cuddle with me.”

Portia
laughed. “If you spent any more time with yourself, we’d all think you had
gotten married to yourself and were on a perpetual honeymoon.”

“Ha,
ha,” Gloria said sarcastically.

Gloria
heard Portia but Gloria knew she was still a hot mess. She wouldn’t want to
bring a man into her life who would have to deal with her past and Davis. It
wouldn’t be fair to the guy.

“Anyway,
Grayson said the fundraising party went really well. He was really impressed
with you. He said a lot of people commented on your professional demeanor and
the way you were able to handle the explanations regarding money,” Portia
praised.

“They
weren’t so impressed that they decided to invest in me,” Gloria said feeling
frustrated.

“I
think that Grayson may be able to still help us,” Portia said expectantly.

Gloria
wasn't sure what Portia thought Grayson could do, but she was out of options. Gloria
was willing to hear just about anything.

“I'm
not sure what Grayson can do at this point, but I'd be willing to hear whatever
he had to say.”

Portia
put her plate on the side, and she folded her hands in front of her on the
table.

“I'm
so glad that you're so open because he’ll be here in a minute.”

“Excuse
me?” Gloria looked at Portia as if she'd lost her mind. Gloria took a quick
inventory of her appearance. Her hair was in a high ponytail. She had on her
stressed jeans and her black sneakers that had paint stains on them. She wasn’t
even going to think about the college tee shirt she had on.

“Please
tell me that you're kidding, Portia,” Gloria whispered.

“Sorry,
I'm not. Remember, this is about the studio, not about being mad at Portia. Grayson
is looking for help for one of his brothers.”

“His
brother wants private yoga sessions?”

Portia’s
smile became twice as large, and she stood up to wave to someone behind her.
Gloria hoped that wasn’t really Grayson but one quick look over her shoulder
confirmed it was.

“No,
his brother doesn't need yoga sessions. His brother needs a financial planner. Before
you decide there is a definite no, I want you to hear him out since he’s here.
His brother needs a lot of help and Grayson needed someone he could trust.”

Gloria
slumped in the chair and looked in disbelief at Portia. “How could you tell him
I’d even consider this?”

“How
could I not! Your future and all of your dreams are hanging in the wind. Isn’t
the yoga studio and the kids worth it or did I misunderstand how committed you
were to this project?”

Gloria
pulled on the fake smile and schooled her features to look engaged. In truth,
this was the problem, no matter how far Gloria seemed to try to get away from
it, she was always being pulled back into the finance world and its games. That
was the world that had taken something from her it could never replace. Gloria
fortified herself. She’d listen to Grayson and smile accordingly and then send
him to Davis as a consolation prize. Maybe the gift would be enough to get him
to agree to release her funds. No matter what Grayson said, there was no way
she’d do this.

Grayson
Chance was eye candy at any age. He was 5’10” with dark wavy hair and a smile
that made everyone feel like a long-lost friend.

“Gloria,
it’s good to see you again,” Grayson said cheerfully.

“Sorry
for the dress down, but Portia just told me that you were coming.”

Grayson
grinned at Portia. “I guess this meeting wasn’t as planned as I thought it was.
While we were doing the fundraising I was telling Portia how my brother is an
entrepreneur. He finds startups, early invests, and sometimes if he likes the
company keeps 10% here and there. It used to be that I would look at his
investments and books every quarter, but my brother has been busy this last
year and his investments have tripled. I don’t know if you are aware, but I’m
engaged to Rose Sallow. Which means I’m being trained by Rose’s twins on all
the things I need to know while we plan for the wedding.”

A
happy couple, twins, and a wedding, there was no way that Gloria would be able
to help him. Could she really stand looking at all the things she would never
have?  It’s true she told Portia she
wasn’t looking for a relationship but, that didn’t mean she had completely let
her dreams go. Gloria looked at Portia who was still smiling. Gloria discreetly
kicked Portia under the table, and Portia reached out to pat her hand.

“I
don’t know if I can help you,” Gloria said candidly.

“Well,
it's not really me that needs the help. It's my brother, Reid.”

Gloria
glanced at Portia and then back at Grayson. She could see that neither one of
them was going to make this easy for her.

“Listen,
I hear you, but I just think that maybe you could find somebody else who would
be better. On top of everything else, you know that I'm really dedicated to getting
my studio up and running. I just don't see how there would be time – “

Grayson
held up his hand. “I know, I know what you're going to say. Portia was clear
when she said that you never do financial work and that it's no longer even in
your future plans. I'm going to be just as honest with you as Portia was with
me. I want to make sure that my brother doesn't get taken advantage of and
frankly, he's away too often on his entrepreneurial whatevers in order to make
sure that doesn't happen. I don't want you to stay with him forever. I just
want you to get him set up so that he can have a plan at least that he can give
to someone to help him manage his finances. I'd also want you to go to maybe
one or two of the places that have come up recently just to look at them to
make sure that they are sound investments. Before you hand it off.”

“Grayson,
I know a lot of competent financial planners.”

Just
then the waiter shows up and delivers the morning specials to everyone. Grayson
and Gloria both look at Portia.

“You
were both talking, and we have to eat,” Portia said trying to defend her action
of ordering the special for everyone.

Gloria
stared at Portia and thought this was probably the only time someone had bought
her breakfast and the last thing on her mind was the food before her. Gloria
felt really bad for Grayson. He seemed like he wanted to do right by his
brother. She also knew that Portia was trying to help, but neither one of them
understood why she had walked away from finance. But if there were some small slivers
of hope that her going back to finance would help her to get her studio, she
might do it. Right now, for Gloria, the numbers just didn't add up.

Grayson
took a bite out of his omelet.

“Listen,
Gloria, I know that money is an issue and I want you to know that I can go
ahead and pay for the time you'll be helping my brother.”

Gloria
heard the words coming out of his mouth but knew he didn't really understand
the kind of money she needed. He had done the fundraiser, but he had let her
negotiate the amount with funders. Gloria was very impressed with the people
who came to his fundraiser, she still didn't think he understood what she was
looking for to get her business up and to have three years of financing in the
bank. Then she thought about what it would mean to have to go ahead and go over
financial planning every day with his brother and try not to remember all the
reasons why she had left her old profession, she wasn't sure she could do that.

Gloria's
strategy was pretty simple. All of this could come to it amicable stop if she
just gave him a number that there was no way that he could meet. She didn't
have to wonder what that number was. She could give him the number that she'd
been looking for the last month and then fifty percent on top of that.

“What
kind of investments does he have?” she asked hoping to get some pertinent
details to give to Davis.

“He
has domestic and international accounts. I’d like for him to have a plan that
he understands but one that he can hand to someone else if need be but still be
aware of the schedule,” Grayson said. “I’ll admit it’s hard to pin Reid down
and even harder when you’re his brother. I’m open to getting a copy of the plan
when it’s done but I need to get him to see it and be a part of the process
without me present every step of the way.”

“That
seems like a win-win situation so you’ll know someone will benefit from the
work you do,” Portia said. Gloria wasn’t sure if she wanted to agree with her
or strangle her.

“Grayson,
I was serious when I told you I know someone who can do this for you.”

Grayson
nodded sagely and pushed his plate aside while he folded his hands in front of
him.

“Well,
let's get to the heart of the matter then. How about I offer you 250,000 and
you take care of everything?

That
was when Gloria looked at Portia and asked.

“Is
he for real?”

Portia
smiled and nodded. Gloria faced Grayson and pasted on a smile.

“If
the number holds and I can get 50% upfront, you’ve got a deal.”

Grayson
smiled.

“I can deliver it to
you by five today. I know where you live so I’m not worried about flight risk.”
With that Grayson pulled his plate in front of him and ate with gusto. Gloria
wouldn’t even be able to remember what was on her plate, just that she was
going back to the fire.

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