“The work upstairs?” Barrie paused mid-forkful. “Matt Bailey did that.”
Jessica felt like Barrie was testing her, daring her to ask who Matt Bailey was. “I’ll bite. Who’s Matt Bailey?”
“The young man who’s leased your Uncle Rand’s building.” Barrie chewed and swallowed her meatloaf. “He started a brewery there.” Her watery green eyes sparkled.
“Matt Bailey: Brewer and Carpenter. Does he do loaves and fishes, too?” Jessica heard the snark in her tone and cringed inwardly.
Barrie didn’t seem to notice. “He’s very kind. I was renting the loft to him until I invited you to stay, sweetie. He’s been taking care of the house and the lawn for me for about six months now.”
“You had some guy just living here?” She sounded shrill.
“Jessica Lynn Landry.” Barrie set her fork down on her plate with a loud clink. “I will not be spoken to in that tone.”
Jessica felt her face slip into the defiant glare she’d worn through her teenage years. Then she saw mirth rise in Barrie’s eyes. Jessica’s cheeks flushed deep scarlet. “I’m sorry.”
Barrie resumed her meal. “I know, Jessie. You’re just looking out for me, but I need to you to remember I’ve been on my own now for a while, and I like to think that after eighty-seven years on the planet, I’ve got a handle on judging character.”
“I was out of line, Aunt Barrie.”
“You were, but I love you too much to let a little thing like sass over meatloaf get in the way.” She scraped her last forkful through a smear of piccalillli. “Maybe I’ll have Matthew around for dinner one of these nights, and you can see for yourself he’s not an axe murderer.”
Even if you’re not participating in NaNoWriMo, there’s something special about something new. You have 300 words this week to write about something new: a new character, the beginning of a new story, a new pair of shoes. Your piece can be fiction or creative non-fiction.
I am doing NaNoWriMo, and this is a short excerpt from the early pages.
If you haven’t picked up a copy of Buck’s Landing, the first in this connected series of romances, this is the week to do it. I’m donating a portion of the proceeds from all sales to benefit a family rebuilding their savings and adoption fund. Recent political developments in Washington are the first step, but my friends have a long road ahead to truly hold equality in their hands.