Izzy's life is about to change soon in the biggest way possible. She is excited and nervous and torn about whether or not to give her ex, Rick Savage another chance. Rick has tried to be a better man.
He's gone through anger management classes and really seems to be making an effort. But is that enough? Does she owe it to him, to them, to try one more time? Or is it okay for her to move on and possibly even consider a future with someone else? Not that she is looking to do that, but there is someone else who she has known as a friend for a long time. He's a very good friend and at times she wonders if there could be something more there. But, she has bigger things to consider first.
Someone other than herself and it's all new to her. But, her sister Mia is there to help. Izzy is now living with Mia since her condo was renovated. And Mia has a promising new romance. And there's a lot going on with the Hodges family too. Kate has a very big announcement and Lisa learns that she has been violating a major rule for her bed and breakfast. So changes are coming....
Release date: January 19, 2021
Publisher: Piping Plover Press
Print pages: 236
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Listen to a sample
“Mom, I have some happy news.” Kate paused to make sure she had her mother’s full attention and something in her voice gave Lisa goosebumps. Instantly she knew what her daughter was about to say and her heart filled with joy.
“Are you…” Before she could finish the sentence, Kate jumped in happily.
“Yes! Jack and I are expecting a baby. You’re the first to know.”
Lisa smiled as she remembered the conversation from a month ago. She glanced at the soft baby sweaters on the seat next to her. She’d bought them in town the day before and couldn’t wait to give them to her daughter.
* * *
“Earth to Lisa…” Sue said with amusement. Lisa stopped daydreaming and snapped her attention back to her two best friends, Sue and Paige, who were visiting for Saturday morning breakfast. Her daughters, Kristen and Abby, were there too, and Abby’s daughter Natalie, who was napping in her stroller. Normally her oldest, Kate, would be there as well, but she and Jack were off in the Cayman Islands on their honeymoon. They were due back the next day. They were originally supposed to go right after their wedding, but a nor’easter in Boston put that plan on hold and they rescheduled for a month later.
“Sorry, I spaced for a minute. What did you ask?”
“I asked if Kate knew what she’s having yet,” Paige said.
“No, not yet. She has an appointment scheduled for next week, and I think she might find out then. She’s a little over four months along now. That’s why I got this cute sweater set in both pale blue and in powder pink.” She held up the baby sweaters and matching pants. They were so tiny and she couldn’t wait to see the baby in them. Everyone oohed and aahed as she passed the sweaters around the table.
“How is Kate feeling?” Sue asked.
“She’s been lucky so far. She hasn’t really had any morning sickness, which is why she didn’t realize right away that she was pregnant. She’s always had an irregular cycle too, so didn’t think much of it that she was running late.”
“I’d say she’s very lucky,” Abby agreed. “My first trimester was not fun.”
“Good that she’s feeling well and can enjoy the Cayman Islands. Have any of you been? I did a cruise years ago that stopped there for a day, and I’ve always wanted to go back. It’s just beautiful. The water is so clear and clean. I’d rather be there right now,” Paige added as she glanced out the window.
Lisa followed her gaze and saw snow blowing and whipping through the trees. She could almost feel the cold just by looking outside. She hoped that Kate and Jack were having a good time and enjoying their break from the winter weather.
“Are you girls ready for the big storm that’s coming this weekend?” Lisa asked her daughters. Another nor’easter, a snowstorm with heavy winds that had a good chance of knocking power out, was predicted for that Friday, followed by two more days of snow.
Abby made a face. “I’m sick of winter already. And no. I need to go to Stop and Shop when I leave here and stock up on a few things. I need batteries too, and maybe another flashlight.”
“I’m in good shape,” Kristen said. “I’ll probably go hunker down at Tyler’s. He just had a delivery of wood for his new stove, so even if the power goes out, we’ll be nice and warm. And he’s a decent cook too.”
“Good thing they are coming home tomorrow,” Sue said. “They say it’s going to be the only sunny day this week.”
Lisa was grateful for that too. She was always nervous when her kids were traveling, and she wouldn’t be able to fully relax until Kate and Jack were back home on Nantucket.
“There’s a sale on rotisserie chickens at the market. I picked up two yesterday. I got a bunch of snack foods too, in case we lose power. And we’re well stocked with wine, of course.” Paige grinned. Her boyfriend Peter Bradford owned a liquor store, and that’s where they all bought most of their wines.
“Did you have many cancellations for this week, Mom?” Kristen asked.
Lisa nodded. “Yes, everyone has either cancelled or rescheduled. Except for one lady, Marley Higgins. She’s still planning to arrive tomorrow and is staying for a month. So, that will help make up for the cancellations.” Normally the dining room would be filled with guests helping themselves to the breakfast that Lisa always set out—usually a quiche of some kind, plus fresh fruit, bagels and toast. But today it was just her family and friends.
“A month? This time of year. That’s interesting. What do you know about her?” Sue asked.
“Not much. Just that she’s traveling alone and she asked for a list of my favorite restaurants, which I was happy to help her with. If we get snowed in, we can take her food for lunch and dinner if need be. Hopefully, it won’t be too bad though. It could still change direction and go out to sea.”
“Let’s hope,” Abby agreed and then changed the subject. “I ran into Izzy yesterday. Natalie and I were walking around downtown and I popped into her store. She has some really cute new things, and she’s started to carry more shoes too. I was tempted, but then remembered I’m a mom that doesn’t need fancy shoes.”
“You can always use a good pair of shoes. Just because you’re a mother doesn’t mean you can’t look nice and get out now and then,” Kristen reminded her.
Abby smiled. “You’re right. Maybe I’ll drop back in soon. There was a really cute pair of red boots that I might need another look at.”
“How is Izzy doing? Is she starting to show yet?” Lisa asked. Izzy’s sister Mia had stayed at the inn while her condo was being restored after a fire, and Lisa had grown fond of both girls.
Abby shook her head. “No, not really. She’s so tiny anyway and she was wearing leggings and an oversized sweater. So, if there is a baby bump, I couldn’t see it.”
“She must be close to five months along, by now?” Kristen guessed.
“I think so. Her stomach will probably pop a little in the next few weeks, I bet,” Abby said. “She looked great. Her skin was glowing and her hair is so long and really healthy. My hair looked great when I was pregnant too,” she added wistfully.
Lisa laughed. “Your hair always looks good, honey.”
“She’s not back with her ex, I hope?” Kristen asked.
“No. I don’t think so. I didn’t ask though. She mentioned that she’s still staying with her sister, so hopefully that won’t change once she has the baby. I know he was pushing for her to move back in with him, but like I said, we didn’t talk about it. She asked after all of you though and said to say ‘hello’.”
“So, what do you think? Is it a crazy idea?” Izzy took a deep breath and waited for her sister Mia to say something. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, and they were relaxing in Mia’s recently renovated waterfront condo. Izzy still couldn’t believe what a wonderful job their friend Will had done with the restoration. The hardwood floors gleamed and the new rugs and fresh paint on the walls made it all feel like new. You’d never know there had been a fire.
Mia’s fluffy white Pomeranian, Penny, was curled up between the two of them, as they sat in the living room, on the very comfy cream-colored sofa, sipping hot chocolate and sharing a big bowl of heavily buttered popcorn. The Hallmark channel was on and they had about ten minutes before the next Christmas movie would begin. Even though it was well after the holidays, they still loved their Christmas movies. Izzy liked the feeling of warmth and hope that they gave her, especially as her own world was a bit unsettled.
Mia took a sip of hot chocolate before setting the mug down and turning her attention to Izzy. “You want to expand the store and go online. That sounds like a big project, and an expensive one. Are you sure you want to take that on, now?”
Izzy knew that her big sister, who was only a few years older, was just worried and being protective. Even more so since Izzy was five months pregnant by her now ex-boyfriend, Rick Savage, who Mia was most definitely not a fan of. But Izzy had thought this through and weighed the pros and cons for several weeks. The small clothing store that she’d worked at and then bought from the owner when she retired was a labor of love. Izzy had studied fashion in college, then worked in a management training program at Macy’s in Manhattan before vacationing with her sister one summer on Nantucket and stepping foot into the Nantucket Threads shop.
She and the owner, Faye, had got to chatting and clicked immediately, and Faye had offered Izzy a job on the spot. Izzy’s parents, who thought the Upper East Side of Manhattan was the only place in the world to live, worried that their daughter was giving up a tremendous opportunity with Macy’s. But Izzy knew in her gut that it was the right thing, and she’d never regretted it once.
Izzy only sold things that she loved in her shop and she seemed to have a good feel for what others would love too. She carried an assortment of touristy hats and sweatshirts, most with the word Nantucket printed or embroidered across the front. Those were her biggest sellers by far, especially in the summer. But every year, sales of her other clothing items and carefully curated shoe collection grew.
She nodded. “I’m sure. I researched this pretty carefully. I think if I expand and take over the shop next door, and add the online store, I should be able to double my income and possibly my profits eventually too. Once the initial startup investment is paid off.”
“Do you need a loan for that? They are not always welcoming when you are self-employed.”
Izzy grinned. “No kidding. And especially a single mother to be. I’m not sure I’d be keen to loan money to me, either. But I’m not looking for a loan. I have some money saved. But, before I do this, I wanted to also make sure you are really okay with me staying here after the baby comes? I know you offered, but it’s a lot to ask.”
“It’s not at all. You’re family, Izzy. And I’m going to be an aunt for the first time. I can’t wait to meet my new niece or nephew. There’s plenty of room here and you’re the best roommate—the only roommate I’d consider having now.”
Izzy breathed a sigh of relief. “Good. I feel the same way and that gives me some breathing room to get the store expansion up and going and successful. We should be out of your hair hopefully in a year or so.”
Mia reached for the bowl of popcorn. “So, tell me more about your plans, and how the online store will work. I don’t think many of the shops on Nantucket have an online presence, do they? Are you sure it’s worthwhile?”
Izzy leaned forward, excited to share her ideas.
“Well, the shop next to mine is smaller, about half the size, so I won’t be doubling my rent. Just going up by about half, so it’s not too much, I don’t think. It will give me room to expand and try new things—maybe have a few more shoes, for example, as those have been going over well.”
“What about the online store? How would that work?”
“I’m actually really excited about having an ecommerce site. I can partner with vendors that will handle the shipping and fulfillment, so I don’t have to deal with that or have a big warehouse. I can still ship some custom orders myself too. I already do that a little now even without a website, as you know.”
“Right. I know customers just call and ask you to ship things and you always do it.”
Izzy laughed. “Of course I do. That keeps them coming back. And a sale is a sale. One of them recently said something interesting, though. She loved one of my sweatshirts and when her sister saw it on her, she wanted one, too. But they couldn’t find anything similar online at all. That’s when she called and asked me to mail one off. But it got me thinking… Some of my designs are really unique and popular, and if I can drive traffic to them online, I might be able to sell them anywhere.”
“Who will you have do the construction work? It shouldn’t be that much, just knocking down part of the connecting wall? It’s a small job, but maybe Chase Hodges can do it or know of someone you could call.”
Izzy smiled. “Will actually said he could do it.”
Mia looked surprised. “Really? You already talked to him about it? I thought he mostly did restoration work and furniture building these days.”
“He does, and he’s really busy. But, he stopped in the store this week when he was downtown and we got to chatting. I ran the idea by him and he offered to do the work. Insisted, actually. He said it shouldn’t take him more than an afternoon or two and he could do it over a weekend.”
“That’s nice of him. So, he thinks it’s a good idea too?”
Izzy knew that Mia respected Will’s opinion. Will was a good friend to both of them and while he didn’t know the retail business, he knew building and construction and he’d lived on Nantucket longer than either of them.
“He does. He said every year, traffic and the overall economy on Nantucket grows. And it’s too good of an opportunity, with the shop next to mine coming available. He said it would be crazy not to do it.”
Mia laughed. “Well, that settles it then. For what it’s worth, I agree. I’m just naturally more cautious. But, you’ve done a great job with that shop. I’m sure it will be a success.”
“Thanks. I think it will be. I’m excited about it.” Izzy’s phone buzzed, and she glanced at the caller ID and saw that it was Rick. She knew why he was calling. He wanted to meet. To talk her into getting back together. They’d broken up and soon after, she’d learned she was pregnant. Rick had never wanted to break up and when she told him about the baby, he swore he’d do better and begged her for another chance. She’d said no at first, but when he went through an anger management program and seemed to be really serious about changing, she agreed that they’d talk after the holidays.
“Izzy. How are you? I’ve missed you.”
“I’m good. How are you?” They’d spoken briefly the week before when he’d called to wish her a Merry Christmas. He’d wanted to set a date for them to meet then, but she’d suggested they catch up after the holidays.
“Better than ever. The new job is going good. I think this one is going to stick.” Rick’s anger issues had spilled over into his work as an electrician, and he’d been let go from his previous two jobs after just a few months.
“That’s great, Rick. I’m glad to hear it.”
“So, do you want to get together this Thursday after work? We could go to Millie’s, get some tacos and talk.” Rick knew Millie’s was one of Izzy’s favorite restaurants. It was casual, on the beach, and had the best Mexican food on the island.
“Sure. That works for me.”
“Great, see you there at six.”
Izzy ended the call and saw the concern in Mia’s eyes.
“You’re going out to dinner with Rick? Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
Izzy sighed. “No. But I agreed weeks ago to meet him after the holidays, to talk. I think it’s only fair to hear what he has to say.”
“Hmm. Well, you know how I feel about that. Be careful, Izzy.”
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