The Best Is Yet to Come (Summer Lake 1) - Page 2

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"I can't leave the store unattended."

"I don't care about the store. I care about you. That cough sounds awful. You need to get it checked out, make sure it isn't something serious."

When her grandmother didn't take the phone, Sarah decided to meet stubborn with the same and take matters into her own hands and call herself. "Hello, this is Sarah Bartow. My grandmother Olive has a terrible cough and needs to see Dr. Morris as soon as possible." After a moment of silence, where she listened to the receptionist's questions, Sarah said, "She isn't calling because talking makes her cough. Yes, she can be there in fifteen minutes." She put the phone down on the counter. "He's squeezing you in immediately."

"I won't put up a closed sign in the middle of the day. I've been open, rain or shine, for nearly sixty years."

Sarah found her grandmother's purse behind the counter and forced her to take it, just as Olive had forced her to take the needles and yarn. "I'll watch the store."


Her disbelief was right on the edge of insulting. "Yes, me. The register is the same one you had when I was a kid. I couldn't have forgotten positively everything about knitting. If I don't know something, I'll figure it out."

"Well, if you think you can handle it for an hour..."

The challenge in her voice made Sarah say, "Not for just an hour. After your appointment, I want you to take the rest of the day off. I'll close up."

But after Olive left, the bells on the door clanging softly behind her, Sarah stood in the middle of the store wondering what the heck she had just signed up for. Especially when the front door opened and a gray-haired woman walked in.

"Hello," Sarah said in an overly bright voice. "Welcome to Lakeside Stitch & Knit."

"Thank you. I've heard such good things about your store that I drove all the way from Utica to come take a look."

This woman had traveled one hundred miles to shop here...and now she was stuck with someone who didn't even know how to knit. Sarah hoped she didn't look as horrified as she felt. Sorely tempted to run down the street to call her grandmother back, she told herself she was being ridiculous. She could handle this.

With another wide smile, she said, "Be sure to let me know if you need anything." And then she turned to stare down at the ancient register, not really remembering how to use it at all, and wondered if there was an instruction booklet somewhere under the counter. She didn't want to look like an idiot in front of her first customer.

"Excuse me?"

Sarah straightened up from her fruitless search for a manual. "Yes? Is there something I can help you with?"

The woman held up a skein of yarn. "It says this is superwash, but I'm a fairly new knitter and I don't know whether I should trust the label or not. Can you tell me how this actually washes? Does it pill or felt if you leave it in the dryer for too long?"

Sarah carefully studied the label as if 100% Superwash Merino Wool would mean something to her if she looked at it long enough. If she said she had no idea how it washed because she didn't knit or know the first thing about any of the yarns, the woman would be--rightly--disgusted with the store. But if she lied and said it would wash well and then it didn't, Lakeside Stitch & Knit would have lost a customer for life.

Quickly deciding the truth was her best option, Sarah said, "Actually, I've never used this particular yarn."

"Is there anyone here that has?" the woman asked, craning her head to see if there was some yarn guru hiding in the back.

"I'm sure there's some information online about that brand. It will just take me a minute to look it up."

Thank God she never went anywhere without her laptop. Unfortunately, it seemed to take forever to start up. Of course, all of the nearby wireless providers were locked tight with passwords and she didn't know the password for her family's store. Working not to let her expression betray her, Sarah reached for her phone so that she could connect via her hotspot. But after what seemed like an eternity, all she got was a message that said, Cannot connect.

She couldn't believe it. She was being beaten by a yarn store.

Shooting her clearly irritated customer a reassuring smile, she said, "I'll have the information for you in another few moments," then picked up the cordless phone and local phone book and went into the back. Flipping through the pages, she found another yarn store in Loon Lake and quickly dialed the number. "Hi, this is Sarah Bartow from Lakeside Stitch & Knit. I have a quick question for you about--" The woman on the other end of the line cut her off. "Oh yes, of course, I understand if you're busy with a customer. Okay, I'll call back in fifteen minutes."

But Sarah already knew that fifteen minutes would be way too long. Desperate now, she walked out the back door and held her cell phone out to the sky, praying for bars. "Thank God," she exclaimed when she got a connection.

Thirty seconds later, greatly relieved to find her customer was still in the store, she said, "Good news. It seems that everyone who has used that yarn is really happy with how well it washed. Plus, it evidently doesn't itch in the least."

The woman nodded. "Okay."

Uh-oh. That was less than enthusiastic.

Hoping that talking about the woman's intended project might reengage her earlier enthusiasm, Sarah asked, "What were you thinking of knitting with it?"

"A baby blanket for my new granddaughter." She pulled a picture out of her purse. The baby was chubby and bald and smiling a toothless grin.

"She's beautiful," Sarah said softly.

The woman nodded, her previously irritated expression now completely gone. "I learned to knit for her."

Just like that, Sarah understood what her grandmother had been talking about: This baby was the reason this woman was falling in love with knitting. And as Sarah instinctively ran the yarn's threads between her thumb and forefinger, a shiver of beauty, of sweet, unexpected calm, suddenly moved through her.

And as she said, "I think it will make a really beautiful baby blanket," the knot in the center of her gut finally started to come loose.


Calvin Vaughn heard the phone ringing on his way out of his office at city hall, but he didn't want to be late to pick up his ten-year-old sister, Jordan, from school. His sister was the most important person in his life. The people of Summer Lake who had rallied around him when he needed them most came next. Everything else could sit on the back burner, if necessary.

Before jumping into his truck, he made sure the canoe, paddles, and fishing poles were secure. It was time for their first fall fishing trip.

Jordan swore she hated fishing, that she'd rather be doing anything else. Calvin smiled, thinking that her complaints didn't change the fact that she was one hell of a fisherwoman. A picture of her holding the sixty-pound pickerel she had caught last winter sat on their mantel at home.

Pulling up outside the elementary school, he saw his sister talking animatedly with her best friend, Kayla. Her friend's mother, Betsy, smiled at him as he approached the girls.

"Calvin," Jordan said, "can I sleep over at Kayla's house tonight?"

"It's a school night. Besides, we're going fishing."

"But Kayla's my partner in natural science, and we were going to work on our wildlife project together. It will be so much easier to do it at her house. And Kayla's mom was going to feed me too. I can easily get there in time for dinner after fishing."

Betsy gave him an apologetic smile. "I'm the one who planted the idea in their heads. Would it make things better if I fed you dinner too?"

He and Betsy had so much in common. She was a single mother, and he had been a full-time parent to his sister since she was a month old. Plus, Betsy was an attractive blonde, always smiling, always happy to have Jordan over for the night if he needed help. But no matter how much he wanted Betsy to be his type, she wasn't.

"Thanks for the offer, but I'll have to take a rain check on dinner." He didn't want to give her false hope. She was too nice to get tangled up with a guy who didn't have anyt

hing to offer her.

Tags: Bella Andre Summer Lake Romance