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Authors: Angel Wheeler

Hearts In Rhythm

BOOK: Hearts In Rhythm
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Hearts In Rhythm
Wheeler, Angel
(2013)
Allie Hartman struggles being a teenage single mom and working a
low-paying job. When her son is hospitalized, she is forced to find a
second income. Drumming has always been her talent, and it just so
happens a local band needs a new drummer, and Allie fits the part.
Brandon Weaver’s life is going great. He has a good job, a great
girlfriend, and is the lead singer in a band. His dream is to get his
band at the top. But after the drummer walks out, he is desperate to
replace him. Allie Hartman is awesome on the drums, but is not so great
with first impressions.
Allie and Brandon’s strong physical attraction draws them together, but
the obligations they have to others brings complications.
Will their hearts ever beat to the rhythm of love or will they say good-bye forever?
 
Hearts in
Rhythm

 

By
:

 

Angel Wheeler

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Blue Ribbon Books

                                                    

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

 

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

 

For question
s and comments about this book,
please contact us at
[email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Allie Hartman glanced around the cash register at the line of people waiting to check out. It had extended past the case of sodas and the tabloid magazines. The day before Thanksgiving was a madhouse at Given’s Grocery, the last local grocery store in the town of Pinedale, New Hampshire. It seemed everybody waited until the last minute. The world is full of procrastinators, she thought.

She had hoisted eighteen-pound turkeys, cans of cranberry jelly, and chicken broth across her scanner since ten o’clock this morning. She was tired, the customers were cranky, and she still had two more hours left in her shift. She was glad for the repetitious beep of her register as she scanned the items for checkout and the tranquil effect it had on her mood.

If one more person told her they couldn’t believe they were out of canned pumpkin, that they should be more prepared for the holidays, and they need a better system for inventory, she doubted she’d be able to restrain herself. Thanksgiving doesn’t just pop up randomly on the calendar and surprise everyone; these people should’ve been doing their grocery shopping last week with all the old women in town instead of waiting until the night before to do their shopping. She would look them straight in the eye and let them know that Thanksgiving has been on the fourth Thursday in November since some dead president declared it.

If only she’d paid more attention in History class when she was in high school, but she’d been young and had more important things to think about like Dylan Thompson.

She continued her internal rant, while plastering a fake smile on her face for her current customer.

“I love Thanksgiving, don’t you Allie?” Gerald asked placing the canned goods all in one bag.

Gerald was a sacker at Given’s Grocery. He’d worked there since he was sixteen years old when he got a job with the work program that arranged part time jobs for special needs clients. He turned 34 last week. Mrs. Givens had the bakery make him a special cake. It was a rectangular white cake with orange icing, his favorite color. Written in vivid blue the baker had written “Happy Birthday G-Man in loopy letters. Gerald had to ask what it said.

“I don’t know how to read these kind of letters Mrs. Givens, I only know how to read the straight up and down ones.”

Allie scanned three cans of cranberries and slid them toward Gerald.

“Gerald, the only thing I love about Thanksgiving is the day off.”

Allie gave a slight smile to the customer who overheard her. Sometimes she was too blunt. Maybe by smiling the customer would believe her to be joking with Gerald and not complain to the manager. She had already received one complaint this month for being too curt, and was warned that if it continued, she would be let go. She needed the job. It paid more than minimum wage, which was better than most places she had applied. Without a college degree, this was as good as it was going to get.

“Oh no, not me, “Gerald continued. “I love Thanksgiving. I love the turkey. And the dressing. And the gravy. Oh yeah, and the parade on TV. I never miss that. Those balloons are so big. I’ve never been in a big balloon have you Allie? I want to go in a big balloon someday. I wouldn’t be scared. I’d be brave in a big balloon.”

Allie released a sigh as Gerald walked off pushing the customer’s basket of groceries to their car. She could tell by his mannerisms, he hadn’t stopped talking yet.

Maureen came over carrying her cash drawer to relieve Allie for the evening shift. Relief washed over Allie. Fifteen more minutes of listening to Gerald talk about his model trains or his one trip to the space museum last year and Allie would have to take a handful of sleeping pills. Usually she tolerated him well, thought him almost endearing, but today had been one of those days. The stress of the holidays was getting to everybody. Except Gerald.

She removed her register drawer, said good-bye to Maureen and walked to the workroom to count her money and check out for the evening. After her paperwork was completed, she untied her navy blue apron with white lettering of Given’s Grocers across the chest and hung it on the hook below her name. She gathered her purse under her arm and pushed through the swinging doors back into the main grocery area. She was thankful for the day off tomorrow and was thinking of the relaxing time she was planning on having.

Looking down at her unlaced tennis shoes, she suddenly remembered her mom wanted her to bring home a gallon of milk. She passed the magazine rack with all the tabloids and beautiful movie star faces plastered on the covers. If only. Sometimes she imagined her life differently, with money and glamour. What if she had a chef, a housekeeper, or a personal assistant to schedule her salon visits? At the very least she wondered what life would be like if she had a husband, a man to take care of her. Life would be so much easier if she simply had a companion to help shoulder the weight of the world.

Her mind was on the stereotypical tall, dark, and handsome prince Charming when she started to the dairy section and abruptly turned up aisle four. Before she knew what had happened, she found herself colliding with a crouched man at the edge of the aisle. Maybe it had something to do with her untied shoes. He tried to stand at exactly the same time she ran into him causing her to trip and flip over him, landing on her back on the black and white checked tile floor of aisle four.

“Oh my goodness, are you okay?” The man asked.

He reached down and grabbed Allie’s wrist helping her to her feet.

Allie allowed him to help her up, but quickly jerked her arm away from his clasp determined not to be embarrassed. Pain shot through her ankle. She stood on both feet, ignoring the pain.

The intercom blasted overhead, “Clean-up on aisle 7, clean-up on aisle 7.”

Allie glanced at the sign above her head, noticing it was aisle four she was on. At first she thought one of her co-workers witnessed her tumble and was playing a mean joke.

“Are you okay?” the stranger repeated. His outstretched arm held her purse.

Allie brushed off the front of her pants, despite their cleanliness and looked at the man speaking to her. His brown eyes showed a genuine concern.

“Yeah. I’m fine, she said dusting off her rear end.

“I’m really sorry. I was just looking for some canned pumpkin. They’re out. I can’t believe they’re out of pumpkin. Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving. They really should prepare better than this. I wonder how they keep inventory.”

“Pumpkin? Pumpkin?” Allie shrieked, her voice rising in both pitch and intensity. It was more than she could take.

“Are you kidding me? You nearly broke my ankle over a can of stupid pumpkin?”

She took a step closer to him, her nose almost touching his. The pain in her ankle was now shooting to her knee. The conversation with Gerald had worn her down, she’d been on her feet for a solid eight hours listening to people who should be counting their blessings complaining about the relatives that were about to invade their homes, not to mention she still had to buy milk. She squinted her eyes, drew her lips into a thin line.

“You can take your pumpkin and stick it where the sun don’t shine.” The man’s mouth dropped open much to Allie’s satisfaction. She turned and limped down aisle four. Halfway down the aisle, she called back, “Make a stinking rhubarb pie.”

* * * *

Brandon Weaver had no intention of baking a rhubarb pie. He looked at the girl limping down aisle four. He hated disrespect, and she had been nothing short of disrespectful; even downright hateful.

“Hey!” he shouted at her brown ponytail swishing back and forth as she struggled to walk. She never even turned around, only shoved a hand in the air, flipping him off. He had a good mind to chase her down, grab her arm, swivel her around and put her in her place.

Instead he took in her small cute figure. He had more important things to take care of. He squatted back down and moved some cans of fruit pie filling around, apple, cherry, and then lo and behold, right there in the back hiding behind some blueberry pie filling was one lone can of pumpkin. He stood up and did a little dance there next to the instant pudding. Then quickly looked around to see if anyone was watching. He saw the girl with the brown ponytail looking back. Was that a slight grin he saw on her face as she turned the corner?

* * * *

At Simone Chesher’s house, the kitchen was festive with her family gathered around the bar, sampling various hors d’oeuvres, laughing and telling jokes with one another.

Simone, her mom, and her sister Samantha were chopping and dicing, while Simone’s dad, two brothers, and a brother’s girlfriend sat in the barstools around the kitchen table. Brandon enjoyed his girlfriend’s house and family. He had never experienced an atmosphere like this outside of watching it on a movie. He was from a broken home, a mother who worked two jobs to make ends meet, and old man who pretty much walked out on them when Brandon was seven.

There was a part of him that longed for this closeness, and another part of him that wondered if the Chesher family was one of a kind, a family that he should treasure. Surely, there were more people who wished for this kind of family life than the ones who truly existed.

He sidled up next to Simone, who was washing her hands, and kissed her cheek.

“It’s about time you made it back,” she said. “You’re missing out on all the fun.”

“If you’re talking about cooking, I’m not missing out on any fun. But I’ll be glad to partake in the tasting of all this good food you’re making.”

“Did you get the pumpkin?” She asked.

Brandon pulled it out of the plastic sack. “Ta-da!” He placed it on the countertop. “You have no idea the price I had to pay for this.”

“What? A dollar fifteen?” she laughed.

“Let me rephrase myself, you have no idea the trouble I caught over a can of pumpkin. Have you ever been to the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving?”

Simone shook her head, “No. I send my boyfriend.” She flicked her hands and water spattered his face.

He grabbed a dish towel and wiped his face.

“Only one word describes it. Madhouse. I even got flipped off.”

“You’re kidding me.” Simone laughed.

“Would I kid you? Don’t worry though, I got the pumpkin didn’t I?” Brandon said giving another peck on the cheek.

“You didn’t get in a fist fight did you? I’d hate for you to get beat up over a can of pumpkin.”

Brandon raised his eyebrows. “Your implying I can’t fight?”

“Honey, I could whip you with a wet noodle. You’re a lover, not a fighter.”

Brandon had to agree. There wasn’t a mean bone in his body. He gave up the argument and then joined the family around the bar with the spinach dip.

* * * *

The Chesher family took Brandon in 18 months ago like he was their very own son, although they already had two of their own. He met Simone through a blind date, and they hit it off immediately. He had been on two or three blind dates before, which always ended with an early night of taking his date home, and a late night of watching an old black and white movie in his boxers eating Cheetos.

After his last blind date, he swore he wasn’t going on another one. He understood why they were called blind dates. It would help to be blind to go out with these girls. He knew he shouldn’t look only at the physical, that there was so much more below the surface, but he was in his early twenties, and sometimes he just couldn’t help himself. But not Simone. She stunned him.

The night of their date, he sat at the table in the restaurant nonchalantly checking his iPhone, trying to kill time when she approached him. At first he thought it was a mistake, that maybe she was a server or was going to ask him for directions to the bathroom. She was remarkably beautiful with flowing red hair and pale skin. She wore an emerald green sleeveless dress that hugged her in all the right places revealing a femininity that made him sit up straighter.

BOOK: Hearts In Rhythm
6.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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