Tales From The Treasure Trove Volume V
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by Jewels Of The Quill
Description: Seven authors offer new, short, exciting Tales from the Treasure Trove--each featuring a sparkling jewel! "Princess and the Tanzanite Necklace" by C.J. Winters "Lunch at the Topaz Diner" by Carrie S. Masek "The Turquoise Heart" (North of Nonesuch Series, Book 7) by Jane Toombs "The Big Love & Murder Shilly-Shally in Moonstone" (Mischief in Moonstone Series, Book 6) by Christine DeSmet "Woman Freed From Amber" (The Amber Chronicles, Book 2) by Janet Lane Walters "Return to Lake Aquamarine" (Aquamarine Series, Book 2) by Dee Lloyd "Behind Amethyst Eyes" (Kaleidoscope Series, Book 3) by Karen Wiesner
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: September 2009
6 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [403 KB]
Reading time: 252-352 min.
"In this collection, each of the short stories features a precious stone. The stories are surrounded by excitement, including mystery, seduction, and true love. The reader will be delighted and intrigued with Jewels of the Quill's fifth installment of their Tales from the Treasure Trove volumes. While the stories are varied, they all revolve around strong independent women with a tale to tell. I found the reading quite entertaining and can't wait to read the sixth installment!", Reviewed by Lynn for ReviewYourBook.com 5 Stars!
"This collection of love stories all show different genres and many different sides to love and that love can be obtained even with the worst obstacles in place. Each author has shown their talent by adding their story to make up a selection that will leave you with a smile. Kudos to each Dame on another well compiled group of stories."_Reviewed by Matilda for Coffee Time Romance & More 4 Cups!
"Seven stories by seven authors guaranteed to satisfy no matter your taste. This anthology has something for everyone. Comedy, suspense, fantasy, mystery, and contemporary are all present, but every story has romance at its core. I hope you enjoy the anthology as much as I did."_Detra Fitch for Huntress Reviews 4 Stars!
PRINCESS AND THE TANZANITE NECKLACE
by C. J. Winters (Dame Tanzanite)
"Princess! Come on, sweetheart! Time to take Daddy for a walk."
Princess, all eighteen chunky pounds of her, rose languidly from her paisley couch, yawned, and stepped daintily onto the Persian rug for an S-shape diva stretch.
Jeremy Farrier scooped his pet into his arms. The Boston Terrier gazed up at him, puzzlement in her protruding dark eyes.
"It's all right, darling." He clipped a purple leash to the matching harness which was attached to the tanzanite necklace around her no-neck. "Daddy's in a bit of a hurry. Remember, I told you we have a very important client coming at four o'clock. Geraldine Lindman-Claussen thinks we 'may have the design instincts to fulfill her vision of her new three-million-dollar home.'"
Jeremy chuckled at his own mimicry. Only in America did the nouveau riche affect such airs. His great-grandfather, an immigrant farrier named Polosky, had toiled in his blacksmith shop to establish the origins of the family fortune. Following the smithy's death, his only son renamed himself Farrier and invested his modest inheritance in the new Ford Motor Company. A generation later Jeremy's father used his inheritance to establish the Gentry Limo Fleet. When Jeremy inherited the Fleet, he'd expanded his holdings to include a second business: Gentry-Farrier Interior Designs.
"Maggie," he said to the trim, fortyish champagne blonde as he and Princess passed through her office, "we're out for a walk. Shouldn't be long."
Margaret Davison, his long-time, indispensable woman-of-all-work, waved an elegantly tended hand without looking up from the fabric swatches and papers spread over her desk. "Simone can't supply the May-green silk for the Cohen sofa. You'll have to choose an alternate color. April, maybe?"
"I'll look into it later, if Ms. L-C's perfume doesn't leave me faint."
Maggie's smile was tight. "Tell her the scent of old musk ox really turns you on. Maybe she'll take her business elsewhere."
In addition to her organizational talents, Maggie had a tart mouth. Which was okay with Jeremy. For most people life was serious business. For him the sun usually shone, and he saw no reason to impose his rare gloom on the less fortunate. He gave generously to charities and cultural endeavors, and blithely enjoyed his inherited assets and merited fame as one of the Midwest's premier designers.
Princess trotted ahead into the reception lobby past Jeremy's private elevator and into the service elevator that carried them up one floor to their private roof garden. There Jeremy removed the little bulldog's leash and left her to her affairs, which included a snuffling exploration of ceramic tubs holding artistic evergreens, a melodious fountain overlooked by an imperturbable stone Buddha, brick walkways bordered by pots of yellow and bronze chrysanthemums, a cushioned wrought iron bench, and rectangles of turf for her majesty's comfort. Surrounding the bucolic bounty, a four-foot-high wall overlooked traffic-clogged Catawba Street.
Jeremy glanced up at the pristine autumn sky and thanked whatever Power permitted him the oasis of serenity. Seven years before, he'd purchased the four-story Art Deco building, a study in neglect requiring the removal of cheap paneling, coarse plasterwork and wildly inappropriate colors to restore it to its original grace. Now the first three stories housed professional offices. The fourth floor comprised Jeremy's personal suite along with the showroom and offices of Gentry-Farrier Interiors.
Having arrived at middle age with fewer dents and dings than most of his contemporaries and beholden to no one, he wouldn't have traded his tiny metro kingdom for a yacht the size of New Hampshire.
The sound of furious honking five stories below broke into his reverie. Princess reappeared at his feet, shaking her stout little body from spiked ears to tail stub as though ridding it of the negative intrusion.
Jeremy bent and clipped on her leash. "I know you don't need this, darling, but Maggie will fuss if we're careless."
The moment the elevator opened to the lobby, Maggie pounced, her shade-green eyes glittering and her tone arid. "Mr. Gentry-Farrier, I've been instructed to tell you that Mrs. Linden-Claussen is waiting. She does not want any coffee, tea or sherry, thank you. Her time is limited and she wants to see your plans for her new house."
* * * *
Forty-five minutes later Jeremy sagged into the damask Sheraton chair opposite his assistant's Georgian mahogany desk.
"A fastidious client," he said. "I suspect she'll occasion more hand-wringing than hand-holding."
"Meaning," Maggie said sourly, "I'm to be a liaison."
"Which you do so well," her employer replied with what he hoped was a winning smile. "Remind me to be especially generous with your Christmas bonus."
"You can be sure of it. Four-figure gift cards to Saks, Nordstroms and Agatha's Boutique will do nicely. And depending on how much liaison-ing is necessary, you might add Conoco."
"At least Mrs. L-C has some taste. She demanded to see Princess and her necklace."
Maggie snorted. "As a Fine Arts major, I never dreamed I'd end up playing second fiddle to a dog in a purple necklace that cost more than my condo!"
"All in the name of promotion, my good woman. Potential clients must come here to view the necklace, permitting us to display our charms. Then snap, we have them in our trap."
Maggie peered at him over her narrow hexagonal eyeglasses. "If you weren't such a genuine twit, you'd be the biggest cynic I've ever known. I suppose that's why I love you."
Unnerved by such blatant adoration, Jeremy stood up. "It's the mystique you love, not the true me. By the way, ask Orville's new assistant to drop by in the morning. I want to make sure all the catering details for our Friday soiree are covered, but I don't want to distract the master. I've seen him go to pieces over a crumpled crêpe."
Maggie's fine-textured brow crinkled. "I don't know how you're going to fit almost a hundred people into the lobby and showroom."
"It's an open house. They won't all come at once. And we can shuttle the younger ones up to the roof garden. Remind me to post a sign on the service elevator and reset the code so the guests can use it. Did you give Security our list?"
"On my way out tonight." She sniffed audibly. "I see you've invited Moira."
Jeremy shrugged. "A nicety of an amicable divorce is that she doesn't hesitate to ask a favor. This time it's to introduce her new, barely-English-speaking boyfriend to potential customers. He sells BMWs."
"Anything else you want me to do?"
"Just dress to dazzle," he said with a smarmy smile. "The mayor may attend, and I hear he's on the lookout for a new trophy wife."
"That smarts, boss! Being left high, dry and broke once is enough."
"Sorry--" He ducked his head in a show of contrition. "--it was tactless. By the way, how's the stepson? Still doing TV commercials?"
Maggie made a wry face. "Yes, most recently one involving tampons."
Jeremy mumbled something about checking an invoice and scurried off to his office. Why on earth did he allow women like Moira and Maggie to intimidate him? Was it a defective male gene? Or because he hadn't had siblings to stimulate competitiveness and adolescent angst?
Maybe he just hadn't met the right woman.
Once safe in his office he glanced into the mirror by the door and smoothed his gray-blond hair, patting the crown to assure it was still amply covered. With only twenty-four hours to go, it was time to choose his ensemble for the seasonal open house.
In April he'd worn pastels, and in July white linen. October, however, called for more substantial colors, and pattern. Scottish plaid, perhaps. Not a kilt, certainly, but a tie, worn loosely ... pleated white shirt, the top button undone and tail tucked (he couldn't abide the sloven look) ... midnight navy blazer with gold buttons ... and taupe trousers, not so long as to resemble puddled drapery.
Princess trotted over for a pat and gave his hand a quick, affectionate swipe. He beamed down at his beloved. At four years, she was in her prime: coat sleek and shiny as black-and-white patent, teeth lustrous as saltwater pearls. Most notable, however, was the tanzanite necklace that encircled her head like blue-violet flames.
"Princess Camille d'Oro of Rotundment, you are breathtaking. Do you know what Daddy is going to do? He's going to dash up a tented satin couch for you and put it on the hearth tomorrow night. Then our guests won't step on your toes, and Security can sit nonchalantly nearby."
Unimpressed, Princess returned to her pool of afternoon sunshine on the Tabriz rug, curled up, and soon was snoring gently.
Jeremy busied himself with the dilemma of the Cohen sofa. Yes, Tahoe-blue would do in place of the May-green silk. Then he began sketching ideas for Mrs. Linden-Claussen's boudoir. The lady seemed enchanted by all things Western ... perhaps a saddle to hold her bedspread at night ... a bridle and spurs ornamenting the wall ... a pair (or was it a set?) of chaps ... No, too blatant...
It was after seven when, closely attended by Princess, he retired to the kitchen to select a dinner prepared earlier in the week by Chef Orville Watson.
He'd gone to high school with Watson, who had catered his events for years. The men worked well together, each possessing a dramatic sense of design. Orville was a bit dictatorial, however, and this time Jeremy had needed all his skill at compromise to avoid inflicting bite-size sausage tacos on his guests.
Together he and Princess checked the contents of the freezer.
Ah, paella ... topped off by locally grown fresh tomatoes ... skim milk ... and Swiss walnut pie.
He sighed happily. A bachelor dieter's dream.
* * * *
"Ohhhh," cooed Mrs. Matthews, "what a darling puppydog." Straining her paisley-print sheath to its limits, the matron bent to stroke Princess' coat and necklace in the Gentry-Farrier Showplace Suite. "And the tanzanites are unbelievable."
Her puff-fronted husband, William, appraised Princess and the necklace with shrewd stockbroker eyes. "It must have dozens of women drooling, Jeremy. How've you escaped the marriage trap?"
"By great care and fancy footwork," Moira said, pressing into the little circle and linking arms with her former husband. "If he'd bought the tanzanites while we were married, we still might be."
Jeremy dropped a chaste kiss atop his ex's stiff casual coif. "You say the sweetest things, m'dear. What have you done with Hans?"
"Introduced him to Mrs. Henderson. By now she's probably bought a couple of BMWs. You know she can't resist a handsome blond."
Jeremy knew all right. Years ago Moira had introduced him to Mrs. Henderson, an elderly version of the flirtatious young Scarlett O'Hara. Since then he'd billed the widow for a $150,000 redesign of her kitchen and over $200,000 for a patio worthy of her charity events.
Scratch my back, darling...
As Moira and the Matthews drifted away, a mousey straw-blonde in a drab navy maternity shift touched his elbow. Invited by Maggie after they'd spoken on the phone, Ms. Danfeather asked Jeremy to design a nursery for her expected daughter, Eliza McCann. It seemed the mother-to-be adored movies of the 1940s, and she hoped Jeremy might incorporate such a theme into baby Eliza's suite. Jeremy wasn't clear whether there was a Mr. Danfeather, so he refrained from inquiring about the father-to-be's preferences.
Maggie, elegant in draped green silk, zipped by with the leashed Princess and a clipped smile for the un-chic Ms. Danfeather. "A visit to the chrysanthemum garden, Jeremy. I suggest you check on Orville. His white chocolate fountain has a walnut clog or something."
Jeremy obediently excused himself and moved to the dessert buffet, a cornucopia of saturated fat where Orville, his overblown white hat rakishly askew, fretted over the faithless geyser.
"It's not that important, Orville," Jeffrey said. "We have plenty of pastries and sweets. Take the damned thing back to the kitchen."
The chef flashed him a dark, petulant look. "You don't understand. My reputation is at stake!"
"Your reputation suffers only as long as the guests see you fussing. Out of sight, out of mind."
Orville gave a regal sniff. Nevertheless the next time Jeremy looked, the fountain had disappeared.
The Morrisons, long-time clients, had split up and sold their Tuscany-style home in West Des Moines. Now Anthony and Candace wanted Jeremy to design their respective condo interiors. Anthony thought he'd like English country manor style, whereas Candace was ready to plunge into ultra-modern. Despite their differing tastes, the former couple were unpretentious people whom Jeremy liked. Laughing, he vowed to turn their condensed estates into Edinburgh Acres and Picasso Piecemeal.
Four potential clients later, Maggie appeared at his side. "Princess made it clear she was tired of people and wanted to go home, so I dropped her off there. Have you charmed the Metzgers yet? They love the Caribbean, and they're impressed with the tropical theme you did for Carmen Singer's indoor pool."
* * * *