Any Time. Any Place. Any Day. Getaway.

Searching for Lady Luck
by Patricia Kiyono

Product Information

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 145 pages

ISBN: 9781940695228

Heat Level: 1

eBook Price: $.99

Print Book: $3.99


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Only seven years have passed since Rose Sheffield was a carefree college student, though it seems like a lifetime ago. Her father’s position at a major bank provided her with luxuries she took for granted. Now she works at menial jobs to support herself and her mother, and they live in what used to be their vacation home in Wildwood, New Jersey. Rose’s days are pure drudgery, until she meets Charlie. As luck would have it, she just happens to have the perfect place to display his artwork.

Before the Great Stock market crash of 1929, Charlie Brannigan was hailed as an up and coming artist in Manhattan. But now he’s back at his family home in Wildwood, delivering newspapers in the mornings and selling his paintings on the Boardwalk in the afternoons. He needs some luck in his life, and it seems every time a pretty lady named Rose appears, good things happen.

Chapter One

Charlie Brannigan shivered and pulled the collar of his coat tighter. The action chilled his gloveless hands, and he spent a moment wondering whether or not to put his hands back in his pockets, leaving his neck and chest open to the elements. His mother had knitted a scarf for him at Christmas time, but he’d left it at home. Maybe his parents were right — he acted before thinking things through.
At least he was trying to do something more about the family finances. Since the awful stock market crash in ‘29, things had grown steadily worse for the Brannigan family. He’d left his career in New York and come home to Anglesea, on the New Jersey shore, and the only job available was delivering newspapers in Cape May. But if the rumors were true, more people were returning to the vacation homes on the island, and business on the Wildwood Boardwalk had picked up. Perhaps some of the wealthy women who had arrived would like some of his paintings to decorate those homes.
Seven years ago, before the day the newspapers called Black Tuesday, Charlie had made a decent living selling his art. But when the economy soured, people stopped buying extras like paintings, and the main gallery displaying his artwork had closed down. Luckily, he’d managed to get all his work back before the doors had been locked for good.
If his hunch was right, the rich ladies would start walking along the Boardwalk in mid-afternoon. As soon as he’d finished delivering newspapers, he’d packed a basket with several of his small watercolors and attached it to the handlebars of his bicycle. After getting permission, he’d set up outside his friend Bernie’s ice cream shop — an easel and a crude shelf made from a board and a couple of wooden crates borrowed from Bernie — and waited for the customers to come along. But they hadn’t yet appeared. He had to admit, the late April breezes were still a bit chilly for strolling on the Boardwalk.
He turned the collar of his coat up around his neck and pulled his cap down as far as it would go. In his haste to get there, he’d left without bathing and shaving, but he hadn’t wanted to delay by prettying himself up, as his father would say.
A wind gust blew one of his smaller paintings off its perch and onto the Boardwalk. Charlie scrambled after it, but a woman bent and picked it up before he could reach it. She studied the scene painted on the tiny canvas — a mother robin tending her eggs in her nest.
“Good morning, ma’am. That’s one of my best miniatures. If you like it, I’d be happy to give you a bargain on it.”
She looked up from the painting and met his gaze. He blinked, wanting to make sure he wasn’t imagining the lovely face. Smoky gray eyes, wide and welcoming, in a heart-shaped face, made her look much younger than the clothing and severe hairstyle suggested.
“This is very lovely, but I’m sure I can’t afford it,” she replied.
“Oh, I’m sure you can,” he hedged. He didn’t want her to go away, so he named a price about a third of what he would normally charge for it.
Her eyes grew wide. “How can you afford to sell these at that price? You have to pay for more canvases and paints and make a profit.”
“I make my own canvases. And I have lots of paint. And… if you want it, I’d like you to have it.”
She smiled then, and Charlie thought he’d never seen such brightness. The glow from her face warmed him, and he stopped shivering for a moment.
“You’re so kind. But really, I can’t buy this just now. Sometime, when things are better for our family…”
“Of course. This will probably still be here. And if it isn’t, I’ll paint you one just like it.”
She laughed, and the warmth spread to his toes. He’d known beautiful women. Ladies dripping with pearls and diamonds, heiresses and foreign royalty, but none had ever affected him like this.
“I’ll remember that promise. But for now, I’ll put this back with your other lovely paintings.” She set the canvas on the shelf’s empty spot then gently touched the two on either side — similar paintings with different birds. “These three would make a wonderful grouping in a dressing room or waiting room.” She turned and cast her sunny smile toward him. “I’m sure you’ll sell them soon. I heard business is picking up on the Boardwalk.”
He reached in his pocket and pulled out a calling card. It was an older one from his days in New York with his parents’ address added in ink. “Here’s my card. I look forward to seeing you again, Miss…”
“Sheffield. Rose Sheffield.” She looked down at his card then back up. “It was good to meet you, Mr. Brannigan.”  She turned then and walked away.
He watched as she made her way down the Boardwalk. Rose Sheffield. What a lovely name. She didn’t amble unhurriedly like the wealthy ladies who vacationed on the island, but instead she strode, each step determined and full of purpose. Her back was ramrod straight, unlike many of the local women who seemed to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Rose radiated hope and light and—
“Excuse me, sir, but how much would you charge for a set of these miniatures?”
Charlie tore his gaze away and greeted his would-be customer. His smile slipped a bit when he saw she held the same picture his muse had, as well as the coordinating watercolors Rose had touched. Somehow it didn’t seem right to let them go to someone else, so he quoted a price four times what they were worth.
To his surprise, the woman simply nodded, set them down, and reached for her purse.
Charlie tried to hide his amazement when she pulled out a wad of cash, the likes of which he hadn’t seen since his heyday in Manhattan. She counted off the bills and handed over the sum he had named.
“These will be perfect for my dressing room,” she gushed. “I’m so glad I stopped to look at your work.”
“Er, thank you, ma’am,” Charlie replied. He pulled out another calling card. “Please tell your friends about me. Would you like your paintings wrapped?”
“Oh no. I’m going home right now, so they’ll be fine in my shopping bag. But thank you for offering. Good day.” She trotted off.
Once again, Charlie stared as a woman walked away from him. After a long afternoon with no customers, two different women had stopped, drawn to the same paintings. Was it magic? Or a stroke of luck?

thing.

In a previous life, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary school students by day and changed diapers at night. Now she teaches college students part time and changes diapers only when she’s taking care of grandkids. She loves to do anything that doesn’t involve exercise. Right now her favorite activities, in addition to writing, include scrapbooking, sewing, and making music. She and her husband live in southwest Michigan, near their five children and nine grandchildren.

You can contact Patricia at her WEBSITE, BLOG, FACEBOOK, and TWITTER.