Saturday, April 30, 2016

~~Native American Animal Symbol~~

If your were born ~Apr 20 - May 20~
You are a Beaver

Take charge, adapt, overcome - this is the Beaver motto. Mostly business, the Beaver is gets the job at hand done with maximum efficiency and aplomb. Strategic, and cunning the Beaver is a force to be reckoned with in matters of business and combat. One might also think twice about engaging the Beaver in a match of wits - as his/her mental acuity is razor sharp. The Beaver has everything going for him/her - however tendencies toward "my way or the highway" get them in trouble. Yes, they are usually right, but the bearer of this Native American animal symbol may need to work on tact. In a nurturing environment the Beaver can be compassionate, generous, helpful, and loyal. Left to his/her own devices the Beaver can be nervous, cowardly, possessive, arrogant, and over-demanding. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 58

Her plan had been to bring her lunch to work and save her money. Katie had supplied her with everything she would need for a tasty lunch, but after her date with Brett, Ana walked on cloud nine through the whole morning. She was thinking about dinner, not lunch.
“That’s what happens to all the employees of P.S. Shoes. They are so excited to get to work, they completely forget about eating,” said Phillip with a smile. “How about I take you to lunch? I know a nice little cafe up the block that has an amazing club sandwich.”
“An amazing club, huh,” stated Ana as her stomach growled loudly. She laughed at herself. “I guess that’s a yes.”
Ana and Phillip walked through the park toward the little cafe.
“How long have you been in San Francisco?” asked Phillip.
“What is today?” asked Ana, with a coy smile.
“Wednesday,” answered Phillip, “the twenty-second.”
Ana laughed. “Then three days.”
“Three days?” Phillip shook his head. “Really?”
“Yes,” said Ana. “After my fallout with Robin.”
“You mean Tweets,” teased Phillip.
Ana chuckled and nodded. “Yes, Tweets, I also had a falling out with my mother.”
“I’m sorry,” said Phillip, instantly changing his tone.
Ana held up her hand. “It’s okay, it was a long time coming. So when Charles and Cindy Windsor offered up their beach house and a new start in San Francisco, I jumped at the chance.”
“And I’m guessing the person you had dinner with last night helped sway you into jumping,” said Phillip as he opened the door of the cafe for her.
“Actually, he had no idea I was coming,” said Ana. “I’m a bit embarrassed to confess that right before visiting your shoe store yesterday I kind of just showed up at his place of work. Not my best moment, I admit.”
The hostess showed them their table, a small booth by the window, and handed them their menus. Phillips waved the menus off. “We’ll both have the club sandwiches with the sweet and spicy bacon and your seasoned fries, please. I’ll have a coke. You?”
He pointed to Ana, who replied. “The same, thank you.”
The hostess smiled. “I’ll let your waitress know, she’ll be by soon with your drinks.”
“Thank you,” said Phillip before returning his attention to Ana. “So back to your stalking.”
Ana couldn’t help but smile at the way Phillip was acting so nonchalant about the situation.
“Well, to say it didn’t go as I had visualized is an understatement,” said Ana.
“Couldn’t have been that bad,” said Phillip. “He called you for a date.”
“It was bad,” said Ana, fighting the urge to cringe. “But we both admitted we had acted poorly, so last night was to clear the air.”
“He would have been a fool not to call,” said Phillip.
Ana tried to ignore the intensity in Phillip’s look. It was like he was being protective of her, yet there was something else she couldn’t quite place.
The waitress came over with their drinks and food. She smiled at Phillip. “Sally says the next time you place your order with Jamie, she’s cutting you off from the sweet and spicy bacon. All orders are to go through your waitstaff, not the hostess.”
Ana held her breath in anticipation of how Phillip would handle the situation, but he only grinned. “You tell Sally that if she tries to cut off my sweet and spicy bacon supply that I will be forced to cut off her shoe supply.”
The waitress gave him a wink. “Touché.”
Ana waited until the waitress was out of sight. “I take it you know Sally.”
“We’re good friends with mutual benefiting addictions, mine is to her sweet and spicy bacon, hers is to my shoes,” said Phillip, grabbing his sandwich. He took a bit and Ana thought she could hear his taste buds celebrating.
She grabbed her own sandwich and took a bite. She instantly felt her own taste buds explode as the sweet, yet salty with a kick of jalapeno at the end, flavors danced on her tongue. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 57

“There is a table in the employee lounge,” said Phillip. He ran his fingers through his hair. “I’ll be honest, it’s not much, but hardly anyone uses it. Sandra and my other employees usually eat lunch out or to the park. But you could work there while planning for the event and then you’re more than welcome to work from home on the designs.”
Ana nodded, “That sounds great, lead the way.”
Ana spent the next few hours in the lounge making a plan for the ball. Even though it wasn’t her first time to organize an event, it felt as if it were because she didn’t have any of her reliable contacts she’d had at home. Had she been at home, she could have made a dozen calls and the event would be well on it’s way.
Phillip popped his head into the lounge door and frowned. “I’ve got your budget.”
“Is the reason you’re only popping your head in the door a sign that you’re afraid to come in?” asked Ana.
Phillip slowly walked in. “It’s not as much as I had hoped. Seems donations have been down this year for everyone. The Windsors were very generous as usual, but I’m sure this is a fraction of the budget you’re used to.”
Ana took the paper and bit her lip to keep her mouth from dropping open.
“I might add that the venue is free, as long as we keep Vinnie’s art up,” said Phillip.
“Well that does help,” said Ana as she looked at the figures again. Phillip hadn’t lied. The Windsors had been very generous as had P.S. Shoes, but he was right that it was a much lower total than she had expected.
“Can it be done?” asked Phillip.
Ana noticed her pay was included in the budget. She wasn’t disappointed in the figure and knew it would really help her get her feet back on the ground instead of mooching off the Windsors. She also decided that if she needed to take a pay cut to make the event work, she would. It was the least she could do to help Phillip out after he had given her the job.
“It’ll take some finesse, but it can be done,” said Ana, not entirely sure she was telling the truth. She was really going to have to be clever to make everything come together. “Would now be a good time to go take a look at Vinnie’s art studio?”
Phillip looked at his watch. “How about after lunch? Do you have any plans?”
Ana felt color flush her cheeks. “I’m embarrassed to say I left the house this morning without even a thought about lunch.”
Her plan had been to bring her lunch to work and save her money. Katie had supplied her with everything she would need for a tasty lunch, but after her date with Brett, Ana walked on cloud nine through the whole morning. She was thinking about dinner, not lunch.
“That’s what happens to all the employees of P.S. Shoes. They are so excited to get to work, they completely forget about eating,” said Phillip with a smile. “How about I take you to lunch? I know a nice little cafe up the block that has an amazing club sandwich.”

“An amazing club, huh,” stated Ana as her stomach growled loudly. She laughed at herself. “I guess that’s a yes.”

Friday, April 22, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 56

“Great! It’s settled,” said Phillip standing quickly, causing Tess to jump up from her nap. He hurried around the desk. “This is perfect.”
“Wait, Phillip, I’m a shoe designer,” confessed Ana. “I know very little about dog accessories. I’ve never even had a dog.”
“Well, Tess can be your inspiration too,” said Phillip, obviously not fazed by her trepidation.
“I don’t know,” said Ana. “We could probably call around to some dog boutiques and find someone a lot more qualified.”
Phillip gently grabbed her hands. “We both know, due to my lack of experience and urgency that we don’t have time for that. I’m begging you to try and take a chance on yourself. If Elizabeth Windsor says you’re the best shoe designer she’s ever met, I’m sure you can design some outstanding collars and leashes.”
Ana shook her head. “I guess I could try, but I’m not making any promises.”
Phillip squeezed her hand. “You’ve got this, Ana.”
She felt Tess’s fur brush against her leg right before the dog leaned hard into the back of Phillip’s knees, causing him to buckle into Ana. She felt herself falling backwards, right before Phillip’s strong hands pull her forward into his strong arms.
Ana found herself swimming in Phillip’s ocean blue eyes as her heart raced. How had she never noticed how blue his eyes were before? They were absolutely breathtaking.
Phillip gave her a smile and they both let out an awkward laugh as he let go of her. He reached down and patted Tess’s head.
“Sorry about that,” he said to Ana. “I guess she thought I was giving you too much attention. So do you think you can do it?”
“Do what?” Ana was still thinking about Phillip’s eyes and she had goosebumps where his arms had been, as if her body was telling her to get them back around her.
“The leashes and collars?” Phillips raised an eyebrow.
Ana nodded, feeling heat rise to her cheeks. “As I said, I will try.”
“Thank you!” said Phillip. “I have a manufacturer here in town. I’ll give him a call and see if he’s able to help us out with production.”
“You have a collar and leash manufacturer?” asked Ana.
Phillip laughed and Ana felt it wash over her and warm her soul. She loved the way his laughed sounded, so genuine and pure, like sunshine after a cleansing rain.
“No,” he shook his head. “I have a guy who manufactures shoes. I’m going to see if he can put some of his staff to use making the collars and leashes out of the same material.”
“Oh,” said Ana, feeling a bit embarrassed. “That makes a lot more sense. Do you have an area I can work? I don’t need much really, just a table and decent lighting. I can make most of the event plans using my phone and laptop. But we’ll need to take some time to go look at the art studio so I can plan the décor.”
“There is a table in the employee lounge,” said Phillip. He ran his fingers through his hair. “I’ll be honest, it’s not much, but hardly anyone uses it. Sandra and my other employees usually eat lunch out or to the park. But you could work there while planning for the event and then you’re more than welcome to work from home on the designs.”

Ana nodded, “That sounds great, lead the way.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 55

Ana gave him a nod, but felt uneasy about his call. She had done many events and most venues had to be booked a year in advance. She was going to have to think outside the box on this one. Maybe they could find something outside, since there would be dogs involved.
She hated the thought of holding a ball outside, there were just too many variable, specifically the weather. Sure, California had been in a drought, but she knew the minute they booked an outside venue without an inside backup plan the storm of the century would come rolling in and drench the ball, literally.
“Oh, thank you so much, Vinnie,” said Phillip into his cell phone. “Give Drools a scratch behind the ear for me.”
Ana sat on the edge of her seat. Maybe Phillip had come through and she sincerely hoped “Drools” was a dog.
“Well?” she asked the minute he put the phone on the desk.
“That was my friend, Vinnie Portsmouth, and he has a very large art studio near the Garden Hills Hotel that will needs some sprucing up, but will be perfect for a doggie ball. My aunt helped him adopt Drools a couple of years ago.”
“That’s great!” said Ana, she wondered how much “sprucing up” the place would need, but if she could make a warehouse in the Meat Packing District of New York into an enchanted forest, she could get an art studio dog and donor ready. She took her pen and made a large slash through “get venue” on her to-do list. “Alright, I’ll need to see the place soon, but for now get on that budget.”
“Can I just give you the total amount and you divvy it up?” asked Phillip.
Ana shook her head, “No sir, you’re the money guy. I’m the organizing girl. We can tweak it if we need to, but right now you’re in charge of the diamonds and I’m in charge of the doggies.” She snapped her fingers. “That’s it!”
Phillip looked behind him as if a neon sign had been placed behind his head. “What’s it?”
“The theme,” said Ana. “Doggies and Diamonds. It’s perfect. We can have all the donors come dressed in their fancy diamonds and clothes, but also have them dress their dogs up in swanky collars and leashes.”
“Collars and leashes we can sell online through the P.S. Shoes website beforehand,” said Phillip. “We’ll donate the profits of the collars to Longing Labs, and then have some even fancier stuff for a silent auction at the event.” He rubbed his chin. “I don’t suppose you know anyone who designs dog accessories?”
Ana bit her lip. “I’m afraid not. I could design some, but …”
“Great! It’s settled,” said Phillip standing quickly, causing Tess to jump up from her nap. He hurried around the desk. “This is perfect.”

“Wait, Phillip, I’m a shoe designer,” confessed Ana. “I know very little about dog accessories. I’ve never even had a dog.”

Friday, April 15, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 54

“That is exactly what Elizabeth Windsor told me,” said Phillip. He smiled at the thought. “Man, I love that woman. She is a breath of fresh air. I bet we talked for an hour and I just couldn’t get enough of her southern charm. She also told me you were the best shoe designer she’d ever met and Beauxpieds were fools to fire you over the claims of Robin, which I’m guessing is Tweet.”
Ana felt the warmth seep back into her heart. Mrs. Windsor had not only stood up for her with Beauxpieds, but with her mother. The glowing recommendation made her want to cry on the spot.
“So as far as I’m concerned,” said Phillip, tapping his pen on his desk. “You’re overqualified to be here.”
Ana felt her heart, which was riding so high, sink.
“But as long as you’re willing to work for what the organization can pay, I’m going to swoop you up before the rest of the world gets a clue and offers you way more than our little doggie foundation can offer,” finished Phillip.
“I’d love to help,” said Ana. “And as I said yesterday, I really appreciate the offer. I hope you’re right about the rest of the world getting a clue one day, but as for now, I’m all yours.” She looked at her notebook. “Did you have a chance to think of a theme last night and also, when is the event.”
“I did not,” confessed Phillip. “But we have four weeks to come up with one.”
“So the event is three months from today?” Ana started to scribble some to-do notes. “It’ll be tricky, but I can make that work. I’ll need to know your overall budget, especially what you have set aside for marketing. Will you be doing interviews or your aunt?”
Phillip raised his eye brows at her. “We have four weeks total and what do you mean interviews?”
“For PR, you’ll need to go on the local news stations and talk about the event and your cause,” answered Ana, then slowly added. “What do you mean, four weeks total?”
“The ball is scheduled for four weeks from this Saturday.”
Ana dropped her notebook. She bent quickly to pick it up. “Wow, okay this will definitely be a challenge.”
Phillip rubbed his face with his hands and shook his head. “I’ve really dropped the ball, haven’t I? No pun intended.”
Ana smiled at him. “I’ll take the pun and yes, but if we can pull this off we’ll be the talk of the town.”
“So where do we start?” asked Phillip.
“I’m going to make a to-do list,” said Ana, flipping to a new page in her notebook. “You are going to get me a budget or make one so I know how much I can spend. Please tell me you at least have a venue.”
Phillip shook his head. “But, let me make a call. I know a place.”
Ana gave him a nod, but felt uneasy about his call. She had done many events and most venues had to be booked a year in advance. She was going to have to think outside the box on this one. Maybe they could find something outside, since there would be dogs involved.

She hated the thought of holding a ball outside, there were just too many variable, specifically the weather. Sure, California had been in a drought, but she knew the minute they booked an outside venue without an inside backup plan the storm of the century would come rolling in and drench the ball, literally.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 53

Phillip turned to the woman working the counter. “Sandra, we’ll be in my office. If you need any help, just hit the buzzer. Thanks.”
Ana smiled at the woman Phillip had called Sandra. She was the same woman who had fainted the day before when Phillip had his allergic reaction. She grabbed Ana’s arm as she tried to walk by.
“Thank you for yesterday,” said Sandra. “I’ve worked for Phillip a long time and I should have known what to do. I feel like such an idiot.” She gave Ana a sly smile. “Secretly, I’m glad you’re not on the floor, Lord knows you could out sell me in a second.”
Ana shook her head and returned the smile. “I highly doubt that.”
“Coming?” asked Phillip as he poked his head out of the door leading to the back of the store.
“Yes, just getting to know my co-worker,” said Ana, giving Sandra a gentle pat on her hand and hurried to meet up with Phillip.
“Sorry,” said Phillip. “Guess I should’ve made introductions.”
Ana followed Phillip into a small office and was instantly greeted by Tess.
“Well, hello there, girl,” Ana cooed as she rubbed Tess’s head. “Are you keeping the boss man company today?”
“My aunt informed me that Tessy would not run away if I paid more attention to her,” explained Phillip. “So hopefully, she’ll behave.”
“Of course she will,” said Ana, giving Tess a final pat before sitting across from Phillip’s modest desk. She pulled out her notebook where she had started taking notes the day before. “So where were we?”
“Well,” said Phillip, clearing his throat. “I have to tell you about something first.”
“Okay,” Ana said slowly.
“I called around about you yesterday evening,” said Phillip.
Ana could feel her heart sinking. Who had he called and what had they said?
“Do you know a woman named …” He looked at his paper, then shook his head in disbelief. “Tweet?”
Ana sighed. “I do.”
Phillip let out a low whistle. “She does not like you.”
“I’m sure she doesn’t,” said Ana, sitting taller. “She doesn’t like anyone who would stand up to her. But I do know she’s told everyone on the East Coast that I am a thief. I am not. I never took one sketch out of that dank room they called a design studio. But I will understand if you don’t want my help.”
Phillip laughed. “Quite the contrary. She called me after hearing through the grapevine that I was calling around about you. It was the most intrusive thing I’d ever seen. I didn’t ask for her opinion, but she wanted to make sure I knew it. She sounded like a jealous twit … or should I say tweet?”
Ana couldn’t help but laugh with him.
He let out a happy sigh. “I called a half dozen people yesterday and besides this Tweethead they all had glowing recommendations, especially when it came to your organizing fundraisers and social functions. You would have thought that had been your primary job instead of shoe designer.”
“Well,” said Ana, clearing her throat. “It was usually my mother who volunteered to organize the events, but truth be told, she wasn’t really into the …,” Ana bit her lip. “Well, the work of it, so she’d pass it on to me.”
“But took all the credit,” stated Phillip.
Ana cocked her head. “Exactly.”
“That is exactly what Elizabeth Windsor told me,” said Phillip. He smiled at the thought. “Man, I love that woman. She is a breath of fresh air. I bet we talked for an hour and I just couldn’t get enough of her southern charm. She also told me you were the best shoe designer she’d ever met and Beauxpieds were fools to fire you over the claims of Robin, which I’m guessing is Tweet.”
Ana felt the warmth seep back into her heart. Mrs. Windsor had not only stood up for her with Beauxpieds, but with her mother. The glowing recommendation made her want to cry on the spot.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 52

“Actually, I’ve never brought any woman here,” said Brett as they sat. “You’re the only one. There’s just something about you Ana.” He grabbed both her hands gently. “Every ounce of my common sense was telling me to let things be after our encounter this afternoon. But I couldn’t get you out of my mind. I knew I had to make things right, because the thought of never seeing you again made my whole body burn with despair.”
Ana bit her lip, not knowing what to say. She had no idea Brett felt so strongly for her. She had thought their night on the beach had only left her walking away with strong emotions.
Brett glanced at her lips, then her eyes, before they both leaned forward and kissed.



Chapter 10


Ana had only thought their evening on the beach had been romantic. Brett’s water garden had been magical and the kiss they shared was one of love and tenderness. The one on the beach after Cindy’s wedding had been full of lust and passion. Although she enjoyed both kisses, she felt their garden kiss meant he felt they were headed towards a relationship as much as she did.
She laid her head on his shoulder and before she was ready, the driver pulled into her driveway.
“I can’t believe this lovely evening is already over,” said Ana.
“It doesn’t have to be,” said Brett, tracing his finger down her arm causing her a rush throughout her body. He leaned forward and kissed her gently on the neck before whispering. “I could come inside.”
She knew what he meant and desperately wanted to let him inside, but she also wanted a relationship, not a passionate frenzy.
“Not tonight,” said Ana, with a sigh. “Remember I do start a new job tomorrow and I have a feeling if you come inside I won’t be getting much sleep.”
Brett sat back. “I do understand. I also have a big meeting first thing in the morning, so as much as I hate to admit it, me not going inside is probably for the best.”
Ana smiled. “I really did have a wonderful time.”
“So did I,” said Brett, before leaning forward and giving her a good night kiss.

The next morning Ana felt like she was floating on air as she walked from the park to P.S. Shoes. The birds singing in the trees matched the way her heart soared and fluttered with every thought of Brett. He was everything she had hoped for and their date had been even more romantic than she could have dreamt.
She pushed the door to P.S. Shoes open at precisely nine in the morning and was met with Phillip’s smiling face. “Well you look like you had a good night.”
“I really did,” said Ana. “Thanks.”
Phillip turned to the woman working the counter. “Sandra, we’ll be in my office. If you need any help, just hit the buzzer. Thanks.”

Ana smiled at the woman Phillip had called Sandra. She was the same woman who had fainted the day before when Phillip had his allergic reaction. She grabbed Ana’s arm as she tried to walk by. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 51

Ana shook her bad thoughts away. She didn’t know enough about Brett or Phillip to make assumptions.
“Tell me about Charles and Cindy,” said Brett, sitting back down. “How are those newlyweds doing?”
Ana was happy for the change in subject and spoke highly of Charles and Cindy and how they had helped her start her new life. They continued their easy conversation through the rest of dinner and with each time Brett laughed or smiled, Ana felt herself falling for him a little bit more.
After their long dinner, Brett had his driver take them to a lovely park near her house.
“We could just walk on the beach,” said Ana.
Brett shook his head. “Terrible idea, sand gets everywhere. Even when I take off my shoes and roll up my pant legs, I still go home leaving a trail of sand wherever I walk. Plus you never know what’s been on the beach before and what it’s left behind.”
Ana produced a pout and stared up at him. “You didn’t seem to mind last time.”
“True,” Brett conceded, “but if I took you on the beach, I wouldn’t get to show you this.”
Ana followed Brett’s gaze and let out a delightful gasp as they entered small water garden decorated in small yellow twinkle lights. The lights were hung on cords that disappeared in the darkness, making each twinkle light look like a firefly.
“It’s beautiful,” whispered Ana as she walked down the cobblestone path.
Brett took her hand and looped in the crook of his elbow as they strolled. “I thought you’d like it.”
“How’d you ever find it?” asked Ana.
“A work colleague got married here. There’s a rose garden just up the path that is pretty popular for weddings and parties,” said Brett.
Ana cocked her head. “So do you go to a lot of weddings?”
“As I said at dinner, I know most, if not all of the influential families here and on the east coast. Having worked with most of them, I do get invited to a lot of social functions, including weddings.”
“And I just bet you brought a pretty young thing to this very spot, just like you took me to the beach.” Ana gave Brett a playful nudge.
Brett led her to a nearby bench in front of a large koi pond. The fish danced under the water, then kissed the top, making little splashing noises that reminded Ana of soft rain.
“Actually, I’ve never brought any woman here,” said Brett as they sat. “You’re the only one. There’s just something about you Ana.” He grabbed both her hands gently. “Every ounce of my common sense was telling me to let things be after our encounter this afternoon. But I couldn’t get you out of my mind. I knew I had to make things right, because the thought of never seeing you again made my whole body burn with despair.”
Ana bit her lip, not knowing what to say. She had no idea Brett felt so strongly for her. She had thought their night on the beach had only left her walking away with strong emotions.

Brett glanced at her lips, then her eyes, before they both leaned forward and kissed. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

~ April Birthstone ~

It is April! If you were born this month you are a Dazzling Diamond! 
Shine Bright This Month!



Diamond  “The Stone Of New Beginnings” I heal emotional and mental pain reducing fear and bringing about new beginnings


Friday, April 1, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 50

The waitress came, took their drink orders and announced their special for the day was Lobster Eggs Benedict with grilled asparagus.
“Oh that sounds good,” said Ana.
“Breakfast for dinner it is,” said Brett handing the waitress their menus and then adding a nice soft wine to go with their meals.
As the waitress left Brett leaned forward and grabbed Ana’s hand. “I really am sorry for today. I acted foolish. Do you forgive me?”
Ana’s cheeks grew hot as she thought about her humiliation. It was something she never wanted to relive, but he did seem sincere in his apology and other than his fresh comments about devouring her neck, he had been a complete gentleman.
“I do forgive you,” said Ana. “It was unfair of me to take you by surprise like that. Let’s just start over from the point of this lovely date, shall we?”
“Sounds like a plan,” said Brett, giving the back of her hand a little kiss. “Tell me more about your new job.”
Ana let out a small giggle. “To tell you the truth I thought I’d be selling shoes when I asked Phillip for the job, but once he found out I have experience in organizing events he put me in charge of this charity ball for Labrador Retrievers.”
“They do have an organization for everything now-a-days, don’t they,” said Brett, with a shake of his head.
“Well,” said Ana, remembering what Phillip had told her, “labs are one of the top ten dogs euthanized in shelters every year. So this organization, Longing Labs, works to find forever homes for the dogs so that doesn’t happen.”
“Longing Labs?” Brett rubbed his jaw. “Is that the organization owned by the Stanleys?”
“Yes, I’m working with Phillip Stanley on the project, but I believe his aunt runs the organization,” said Ana.
“Ahh, yes, Phillip Stanley and P.S. Shoes,” said Brett. He paused while the waitress delivered their dinner and poured the wine. “The Stanleys have been around this area a long time. Some say they struck it rich in gold and then in black gold. But Phillip is no trust fund baby, his shoe store is one of the fastest growing businesses in the Bay area.”
“You sure know a lot about the Stanleys and the shoe store,” said Ana, raising an eyebrow. “I wouldn’t expect you to be so interested in shoes.”
“It’s part of my job,” explained Brett. “I know all the influential families in this area and most of them on the east coast. It’s hard to walk in any park or museum without seeing the Stanley name on the donation placard. Not to mention once P.S. Shoes gets to a certain point I have interested buyers.”
“Buyers?” Ana took a sip of wine. “Do you think Phillip will sell? From what you’ve told me, it’s not like he needs the money.”
Brett produced a wicked grin. “For the right price, everyone sells, sweetheart.”
The little hairs on the back Ana’s neck rose and she shivered. She did not like the tone of Brett’s voice or the thought of Phillip selling P.S. Shoes to him.
“You’re cold,” said Brett, standing and taking off his jacket. He walked around and placed it around her shoulders. “Here, this should warm you up.”
Ana shook her bad thoughts away. She didn’t know enough about Brett or Phillip to make assumptions.
“Tell me about Charles and Cindy,” said Brett, sitting back down. “How are those newlyweds doing?”

Ana was happy for the change in subject and spoke highly of Charles and Cindy and how they had helped her start her new life. They continued their easy conversation through the rest of dinner and with each time Brett laughed or smiled, Ana felt herself falling for him a little bit more.