Home > Curiously Enchanted

Curiously Enchanted
Author: Leighann Dobbs

Chapter One



Samuel Ethan Huntingdon III stood in the middle of his mostly bare, eleven hundred and some odd square feet of workshop, both hands stuffed in the pockets of his worn jeans while he watched his newly engaged best friend, Jordan Parker, carefully disassemble the antique chiffonier he'd purchased at an estate sale a while back.

“You're going to need to replace some of the hardware.” Jordan handed him a door and then the hardware—a pair of ruined iron hinges and what was left of the once intricately crafted wooden pull handle he'd just removed. “You might be able to find these at Seville's. If not, I can check with a few people in Center, but I'd stop in at Seville's first.”

Seville's was actually Seville's Antiques and Collectibles—a battered, run-down, miserable looking little shop on the opposite edge of town that just happened to be the only genuine antique store in Hawthorne Grove. The place was managed by three sisters who'd lived in the area since way before Sam. He'd only moved into the small town a handful years ago. Jordan had found an antique letter box there a month or so ago, shortly after he'd come to Hawthorne Grove—one he claimed was instrumental in getting him an introduction to his soon to be wife—and Kaylee Dean, his fiance, said the same thing about a snow globe she'd purchased there.

“Great idea,” Sam teased. “Maybe I'll run into my future wife while I'm there and we can get started building a replica antique cradle when we finish the restoration of this old thing.”

“Go ahead and laugh, old man. Your turn's coming.” Jordan shot back, but his reply was muffled because he was leaning head and shoulders inside the cabinet, thumping and fumbling around with something inside.

Shelves, most likely, Sam thought, until the one door that was still attached swung back and Jordan emerged, holding what looked like an old quilt rack—at least that's what Sam thought it was. That was what his Grandmother had always called the things she kept near the foot of every bed in her house, anyway.

This one was a little bit plain. It was bare and dusty and a little beat up, but with some wax and polish and some good old TLC, Sam knew it would be as good as new. He reached out to take it to set it aside for now but Jordan was too busy inspecting the thing to hand it over.

“What in the world? Looks like a hand-made saw horse or something,” Jordan said, eyeing the piece quizzically. “No, I don't think so, now that I give it a closer look. It's too detailed for that but I've never seen anything like it before. You got any ideas, Sammy?”

“It's a quilt rack,” he informed Jordan. He was feeling more than a little proud to be able to claim some knowledge—in this area at least. “Grandma used to have one of these in every bedroom.”

Each one always seemed to be holding a different variety of hand-sewn quilts, too, as he recalled, all lovingly stitched by his grandmother and sometimes, a few of her friends. The smell of springtime and sunshine seemed to have been infused into them, too, now that he thought about it. Grandma never had embraced the idea of electric dryers. She hung her quilts outdoors on the clothesline Grandpa had stretched for her until the day she'd died and the scent of her quilts, one of linens freshly taken in off the line, was one Sam thought he'd never forget. He'd been snuggling into the things since he was a toddler.

Shaking free of an unexpected wave of nostalgia, he glanced up and caught Jordan still eyeing the wooden rack skeptically and tried to explain. “A quilt rack, Jordan. You know? A place where you store your extra quilts when they're not being used every night but it's still too cool out to stuff them away into the back of the linen closet for summer storage?”

He reached over to take the piece from his friend and set it carefully to one side. “I remember coming in late, sneaking up the back stairs before Grandma passed away. She would catch me every time. She'd give me a pat, feel my cheeks, worry over how chilled I was, and tell me there were plenty of extra quilts by the bed if I needed them. All I had to do was pick one and snuggle in.”

“Grandma Ellie.” Jordan nodded. “She was a great lady, Sam. I know you miss her.”

Sam nodded. “She and Grandpa were the only constants in my life. Dad was always out in his rig on yet another cross-country run, but the only running Grandma ever did was to the grocery store on Wednesdays. Remember that? I used to think the only reason she went there was to pick up ingredients to make her famous cookies. ”

Jordan straightened, moving so he could lean one hip against the wardrobe, a smile of fond reminiscence on his lips. He chuckled. “Double fudge chocolate chip. How could I forget?”

Sam's laughter joined Jordan's but then he glanced toward the front of the shop when Kaylee Dean, Jordan's fiance, poked her head around the workshop door.“Jordan? Did Sam forget Lindsay's supposed to stop by the coffee shop today, or have you two decided to skip the meeting and just play in here all day instead?”

Lindsay Vale, the owner of Vale's Vintage Interiors and a long-time friend of Kaylee's older sister, Jo Dean Leavy, was coming in to talk with Sam about renovating the interior of the coffee shop. Her beautiful vintage makeovers had landed her multiple interviews and a number of choice features in a few high profile interior design magazines and these days her calendar was solidly booked with clients. But lucky for Sam, Lindsay had a passion for his place and had been itching to talk to him about it for a while now. Jo said she'd practically jumped up and down when she'd got the call from Sam to stop by for a consultation.

Jordan handed over the hardware he'd removed from the chiffonier and hurried across the shop to greet Kaylee with a warm kiss while Sam looked wryly on. “We were just about to head out, Kaylee. Now that you're here, you can help us wrangle Sarge out of Sammy's forty acre field out back.”

Kaylee laughed. The “field” in question was really just a huge back yard Sam had recently fenced in where his new Husky pup, Jabez, was allowed to roam free. “Sarge loves it when you bring him for a visit now. I think he likes playing protector. ”

It only took a minute for Jordan and Kaylee to collect the Golden Retriever Jordan had adopted from the animal shelter where Kaylee worked a few months ago from Sam's back yard and then Sam walked with them to Jordan's pick-up.

“I'll meet you two at the coffee shop,” he promised Kaylee. “Jordan says I should stop by Seville's to look for replacement hardware for the chiffonier and since it's on the way, I think I'll stop in.” He offered a casual shrug. “If the sisters don't have what I need, maybe you can ask around in Center this afternoon when you and Jordan go up to look at wedding dresses?”

Kaylee hopped up onto the passenger side seat, a grin slowly spreading across her lips. “Oh, I think the Seville's will have exactly what you need, Sammy. Don't rush. If Lindsay shows up at the One Shot before you, Jordan and I will keep her entertained until you get there. Take your time!”

Sam waved goodbye to his friends and went to the house to collect his keys and a jacket, shaking his head all the while at Kaylee's not so subtle insinuation. How could the Seville sisters possibly know what he needed in his life when he didn't have a clue himself?


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