Monday, March 9, 2015
Love Under Construction Announcement and Cover Reveal Sign Up
Even more awesomeness - the cover is "under construction." LOL. I couldn't resist. I've seen an initial draft and it looks fabulous. I'm organizing a cover reveal for May 4th-6th. If you're an avid reader or reviewer with a blog or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest and would like to participate, please sign up here. There will be two fun giveaways - one for anyone who signs up and another for all your followers.
In the meantime, here's the first scene to whet your romance reading appetite.
Love Under Construction by Danyelle Ferguson
The clink of china and chatter of women filled the room at City Hall where the Women in Business’s monthly meeting was well under way. Or at least they were in the middle of the best part—the food. Charlee Jackson smiled at her friend, Rachel Marconi, who sat beside her at the round table, gushing about her new fiancé, Graydon.
“He’s the first guy I met who’s actually interested in conversation that isn’t all about sports, which is shocking considering he was a hockey player,” Rachel said, pushing her auburn hair back over her shoulder. The sparkle from the rock on her hand practically blinded anyone looking directly at it.
“Are you sure he isn’t gay?” Charlee asked playfully.
Kristen, Rachel's business partner and best friend, leaned close and confessed in a whisper, “Oh my gosh. I've caught them making out more than once, and let me tell you, he's definitely not gay. All I can say is steam, baby,” she said, fanning herself.
Poor Rachel's face flushed pink, as she nudged Kristen with her elbow. "TMI, Kristen."
Charlee laughed. “So, have you set a wedding date yet?”
Before Rachel could reply, Marla Belliston called the monthly meeting to order from her coveted spot at the podium. Marla was, as usual, dressed in a perfectly buttoned up, classy suit with her dark hair pulled up in an elegant twist. Charlee fidgeted in her seat, tucked a few pale blonde strands of her short A-line bobbed hair behind her ear, then folded her jean-clad legs to hide her work boots under the table. Not everyone could afford the business suits Marla wore and honestly, working at a desk as an accountant wasn’t Charlee’s idea of fun anyway. Restoring and renovating houses—now that was her idea of perfection. Taking the old, updating it, while keeping the charm of the original structure—pure happiness.
Still, a girl occasionally envies the whole put-together feminine look.
“Before we continue to our program on Community Literacy by our wonderful librarian, Eden Tate, there are a few announcements from our secretary, Victoria Lyons.”
Ah yes, another well put together woman, although not nearly as formal and uppity as Marla. Victoria was actually quite nice and relatable, which was good since she was a Realtor and worked with a variety of people. She often called Charlee when she had clients who needed help getting homes on the market or a buyer who wanted a consult on renovations before submitting an offer. Victoria was smart, savvy, and sassy--a combination that made her not just a good business contact, but a fun friend, too.
Victoria took her place at the wooden podium, dressed in dark pants and a French blue button-down blouse. Trendy, but casual. Her deep red hair was pulled back in a sleek, low pony tail. “Ladies, it’s time to begin our preparations for our annual Autism fundraiser. The committee bantered around several ideas. Generally we do either a charity concert, a dinner and auction, or a golf tournament."
Charlee yawned. It seemed like the same choices every year. They’d raise the money they set as a goal to go towards Autism research, but still, boring.
“This year though,” Victoria continued. “The committee has come up with a twist on the auction theme. Instead of having items and services donated, we are planning a bachelor’s auction.”
Charlee sat up a little straighter. Now this could be interesting. From the gasps and oohs in the room, the rest of the club was eager, too.
Victoria continued. “The committee is still working out the details, but the bachelor’s auction will be six months from now, in June. We need suggestions and contact information for bachelors. There’s a box at the back of the room with slips of paper and pens next to it or you can email me after today’s meeting.”
Several women turned and eyed the box. Charlee could just imagine the wheels turning in their heads, plotting how to get there first and who to nominate for the auction block. They may as well skip the next twenty-five minutes dedicated to community literacy because the women's attention was definitely not on anything other than their top ten local hot guys.
Victoria ran through a few additional business items, which Charlee mostly tuned out while she enjoyed her cheesecake drizzled with fudge sauce. If there was one good thing about Women in Business group, they didn’t scrimp on salads and dainty little foods that barely made a dent in your stomach. Nope, they served good portions and incredible desserts.
“I have one last announcement. City Hall has given approval to go ahead with a new shopping district. A private investor has purchased the homes along Taylor Avenue in Crystal Creek.”
That was Charlee’s grandmother’s neighborhood. Or at least it was before Grandma passed away. Her house was sold at auction last year. Most of the other homes in that area had been sold as well. It was sad to see it go from the neighborhood of her girlhood, filled with laughter and fun, to what it was now—run down and mostly vacant. Even sadder still was the thought of everything being torn down to make a new shopping district. She set her cheesecake aside to pay better attention to Victoria.
“This new shopping district will be unique. The homes will remain intact, although they will be brought up to current code standards and also renovated inside for whichever businesses decide to relocate there. Not only will the neighborhood charm remain, but the investor’s vision is for the shopping to be targeted to women and each store must be local and self-owned. No chains or franchises. The tentative name for the project is Indulgence Row. If you or someone you know might be interested in more information, please contact me. Thank you.”
For the remainder of the meeting, the other women may have been occupied with making a list of bachelors, but all Charlee could think about was the Indulgence Row project. She wondered who the investor was, because he certainly had great vision. The more she thought about the renovations and revitalizing the neighborhood, the more excited she became.
She wanted in.
She wanted to use her talents to bring her Grandmother’s home—and all her old friends’ homes around it—back to something filled with joy and people. People creating memories there again. She wanted to be a part of that.
She would be a part of it.
After the meeting, there was the expected mad dash to the bachelor nomination box. But Charlee headed in the opposite direction toward Victoria, with Rachel and Kristen following her. Eden Tate, the librarian who presented, also joined them at the table.
“Tell me more about Indulgence Row,” Eden said, as she took the chair next to Victoria.
Victoria talked a little more about the shopping district, feeling each of them out on their interest levels. “Each house will be renovated to fit the business that wants to occupy the space. Do you have someone in mind, Eden?”
“Yes, me," the black-haired, spunky woman replied.
“Oh!” Victoria said. “I didn’t realize you were leaving the library.”
“I’ve always dreamed of owning my own bookstore. Something charming and cozy. Somewhere I could inspire a love of reading, host book clubs, genre spotlight nights, and oh so much more. I’ve been squirreling away bits of money here and there over the years. Once you mentioned Indulgence Row, I knew it was perfect for my shop.”
“Me, too,” Rachel chimed in. “Kristen and I have already talked to you about needing a new space. Our teeny tiny shop just isn’t cutting it, especially after the influx of customers we’ve had since winning the cake challenge. Just imagine the quaint sign hanging from the front of the house. Sweet Confections,” she said, with her hands raised as if framing an imaginary sign.
“Sweet Confections at Indulgence Row,” Charlee chimed in. “That could be part of the branding. Each shop has its name, but followed with ‘at Indulgence Row’.”
“I love it,” replied Victoria, jotting notes in her notepad.
“I totally want in,” Charlee said, leaning forward. “I want to get together to talk specifics and have Elliott Construction put together a bid.”
Victoria put her arm around Eden. “You have all brightened up my day. I’ll contact the investor, then set up a time to meet with each of you. This is going to be an amazing project.”
It will indeed, Charlee thought. Now, she just needed to get her boss on board.
Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.