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Authors: Katherine Spencer

The Way Home

BOOK: The Way Home
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The Angel Island Titles

THE INN AT ANGEL ISLAND

THE WEDDING PROMISE

A WANDERING HEART

THE WAY HOME

The Cape Light Titles

CAPE LIGHT

HOME SONG

A GATHERING PLACE

A NEW LEAF

A CHRISTMAS PROMISE

THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL

A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER

A CHRISTMAS VISITOR

A CHRISTMAS STAR

A WISH FOR CHRISTMAS

ON CHRISTMAS EVE

CHRISTMAS TREASURES

A SEASON OF ANGELS

Thomas Kinkade's Angel Island

The Way Home

KATHERINE SPENCER

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

USA / Canada / UK / Ireland / Australia / New Zealand / India / South Africa / China

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

For more information about the Penguin Group, visit penguin.com.

This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.

Copyright © 2013 by The Thomas Kinkade Compny and Parachute Publishing, LLC.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

BERKLEY
®
is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

The “B” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

eBook ISBN 978-1-101-62218-6

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Spencer, Katherine, (date–)

The Way Home : Thomas Kinkade's Angel Island / Katherine Spencer. — First Edition.

pages cm

ISBN 978-0-425-25289-5

1. Cape Light (Imaginary place)—Fiction. 2. Angels—Fiction. 3. Christian fiction. I. Kinkade, Thomas, 1958–2012. II. Title.

PS3553.A489115W39 2013

813'.54—dc23

2012045917

FIRST EDITION:
April 2013

Cover image:
Hometown Pride
copyright © 2006 Thomas Kinkade.

Text design by Tiffany Estreicher.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:
The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.

To Thomas Kinkade, whose talent has brought joy, hope and inspiration to so many

Dear Friends,

It's always a pleasure for me to return to the Inn at Angel Island and to share the stories of the island's many visitors and catch up on the lives of the two women who run the elegant, hospitable bed-and-breakfast—Liza Martin and Claire North.

Liza has been managing the inn for more than a year now, and this summer she begins to see the seeds of her hard work bursting into bloom. The inn is flourishing, the rooms are filled, and the guests are delighting in the many pleasures of summer.

Liza knows she would never have come this far without the steadfast aid of Claire North, her cook, housekeeper, assistant, and everything in between. Claire's wisdom and quiet strength (and her legendary cooking) have been a touchstone for Liza and so many others.

But this summer, unshakable Claire is set off-balance by an unexpected visitor—twenty-year-old Jamie Carter. When they met at a shelter in Boston ten years ago, Jamie was a troubled boy, badly in need of care. Claire's heart went out to him and she even made plans to be his foster parent until a family emergency forced her return to Angel Island, and forced their separation as well.

Now a young man, wandering without goals or direction, Jamie is in even greater need of her guidance. Claire believes that God has brought them together again for a reason. But will God show Claire the way to help Jamie make a new start and head toward a brighter future? And will she have the strength and the faith necessary to face the possibility of failure?

Avery Bishop has also come to Angel Island to make a fresh start and find a new home. She's opening a restaurant called Café Peregrine. A talented chef, Avery is determined to succeed entirely on her own. Still reeling from a painful breakup with her fiancé and former business partner, Avery is determined to fly solo this summer in every way.

No wonder she's wary of Mike Rossi, the handsome owner of The Lazy Tuna—a popular eatery down the street. Mike is not only her main competition, but a charming, teasing distraction. Is he a rival she needs to avoid, or the sturdy hand who will guide her through the season's rough waters?

From the day Liza's Aunt Elizabeth opened the inn, she thought of it as a home away from home—a place where visitors would feel as welcomed as family. On Angel Island, where the cliffs that look like angel wings spread out across the blue sky, offering shelter and protection, it is easy to remember that God can help each one of us find a place to call home.

I hope you enjoy this visit to Angel Island, and may you always find the way home.

Katherine Spencer

Chapter One

“I
guess I'll head out to the garden and catch up with the weeds now that we have the guest rooms under control.” Claire North carried a large bucket filled with cleaning supplies into the spacious kitchen of the Inn at Angel Island, then stowed it in the broom closet near the pantry.

She and Liza Martin, the inn's owner, had made quick work of cleaning the second floor, most of which had been occupied over the weekend. Their guests had left in a flurry of farewells and compliments after one of the inn's legendary breakfasts. The kitchen was still in disarray, nowhere near Claire's standards, but she decided to tackle that job after lunch, when it would be too hot to work outdoors. It was only the first week in June, but spring was unusually warm this year, especially for New England.

Everything in the garden seemed to be blooming at once. While Claire gazed out the kitchen window, wondering where she should start—the vegetable patch or the flowers?—Liza filled two glasses with cold water and handed her one.

“Don't work too hard out there. I can do the flower beds later when I get back from town. I meant to weed them all weekend, but there wasn't a second to spare. We'll have a full house next weekend, too, and there's also a guest checking in today.”

Liza kept track of reservations on her laptop and now had the computer open on the kitchen table. She gazed at the screen. “Bookings have definitely picked up this year. And we're just past Memorial Day.”

Though the inn was open year-round, summer was their busiest season. Memorial Day was the start, the opening gun to a hectic sprint toward September and Labor Day Weekend. Summer passed so quickly. In the blink of an eye, Claire felt as she grew older. Why did the months and years seem to go by so swiftly as you aged? To children, the long blue and gold days of summer seemed endless. She often wished she could still experience the season that way.

Claire took a sip of water. It tasted so refreshing after her morning's work. “The warm weather must be bringing people out to the shore early this year, don't you think?”

“Partly,” Liza agreed. “But we have to give ourselves some credit. Guests who were pleased with their stay are telling all their friends. And that review in the
Boston Globe
a few weeks ago was definitely a boost. We got a lot of calls from that one. We're starting off with a ton of reservations. And that's not even counting that big wedding rehearsal in July.” Liza looked up from the computer. “We're going to be very,
very
busy.”

“I'm sure we can handle it. I'll do more cooking in advance,” Claire told her friend. “It's always a relief to have some extra loaves of bread or some chowder in the freezer. It does my heart good to see the rooms filled and a big crowd around the table in the morning. Just the way it was when your aunt Elizabeth was here. I know she's looking on and feeling happy. And very proud.” Liza had inherited the inn from her aunt Elizabeth almost a year and a half ago—a gift she shared with her brother, Peter. Their first plan had been to sell the property. But once Liza returned to the island, a magical place where she had spent many summers growing up, she decided to give up her city life and stay on to reopen the inn.

The inn had not entertained guests during the last two years of Elizabeth Dunne's life, and the beautiful Victorian was neglected and in a terrible state of disrepair when Liza took it over. Renovating the place and reviving the business had been a daunting job, with plenty of bumps and setbacks along the way. But Claire always knew that if Liza stuck with it, there would come a day when she'd be able to sit back and see the inn bloom again in full glory, a bona fide success. Now it seemed that day had come.

Liza snapped the laptop closed and smiled. “I think about Aunt Elizabeth a lot, too. I know she would be happy to see how well we're doing. I also think we're going to need some more help around here. I don't want to be burnt out by the Fourth of July. I'd like to hire someone soon, so they get to know the routine before we hit the high season.”

“That shouldn't be too hard. Maybe a college student looking for some summer work?”

Liza had started jotting down a list of errands, but glanced up briefly. “Possibly. But we need someone who's responsible and polite. And patient.”

Claire had to agree. Guests could be demanding. A good innkeeper had to learn the fine art of holding one's tongue. The customer was always right. Even when they were wrong.

“. . . and someone who's willing to go the extra mile to make guests feel comfortable . . . and act happy to do it,” Liza added. “You and I make it look easy, but we both know it isn't always. I would have trouble trying to list all the things we do in one day.”

Claire knew that was true. She found that it was usually best not to think too much about the details of a long, complicated task, like getting the inn ready for guests or planting a big garden. It was far better to just dig in to the work than talk and fret about it. What was that old saying? A job begun is half done.

“Yes, a pleasant disposition and a willingness to work hard would be part of the job,” Claire said. “But I have a feeling that just the right person will come along. These things have a way of working out.”

“That's what you always say.” Liza's smile was indulgent.

Claire returned her smile and shrugged. “It's usually true. Don't you think?”

Though she and Liza were alike in many ways, there were marked differences, too. When they first met, Liza had balked and even argued with Claire's perspective, which was based on her strong, calm faith and one of her favorite Bible verses: “Cast your burdens on the Lord. He will sustain you.” By now, Claire could see that Liza not only accepted her view, she sometimes drew strength from it as well.

But before Liza could reply, they both heard the brass knocker rapping on the front door. Liza rose quickly from her chair. “I'll get it. It might be Daniel.”

Daniel Merritt, Liza's boyfriend, was a master carpenter and all-round fix-it expert. He had practically renovated the inn by hand and dropped by almost daily to make random repairs, or to just visit with Liza. But Daniel usually came to the kitchen door, strolling in and pouring himself a cup of coffee, in his casual, charming way.

Claire doubted it was Daniel knocking so formally.

A moment later, Claire's hunch was confirmed. She did not hear Daniel's deep, distinctive voice but that of a young woman.

She went out to the hall to see if it was anyone she knew.

Liza stood by the front door with a young lady Claire did not recognize. Petite, with long brown wavy hair that was gathered at the back of her head in a messy bun, she wore huge sunglasses that hid half her face. She tugged on the handle of a large rolling suitcase, a big wicker bag slung over one shoulder. She looked hot and harried, though it wasn't even noon.

Liza turned to introduce them. “Claire, this is Avery Bishop. She'll be staying with us this week. Avery, this is Claire North, our cook, housekeeper, and everything in between.”

Claire met Avery halfway down the long center hall. “Welcome, Avery. Let me help you with that,” she said smoothly, taking the suitcase. She rolled it to the bottom step and turned back to their new guest with a smile. “Your room is ready. Do you have any more luggage?”

“A few small things, out in my car. I'll bring them in later. I know check-in time isn't until two. I just wanted to drop off my stuff. I can't stay. I have an appointment in a little while on the other side of the island,” she added, checking her watch.

The watch had a large face and looked very utilitarian, Claire noticed, a sharp contrast to Avery's feminine, petite build. But she did look fit, her slim, toned arms revealed by a dark blue tank top. She looked as though she worked out a lot in a gym. Or maybe even did some sort of challenging, physical work.

“Would you like a cold drink before you head off? Some lemonade or iced tea?” Liza offered.

Avery hesitated a moment. “That sounds good. How long do you think it will take me to drive up to the north side of the island, where the ferry from Newburyport comes in?”

“About ten minutes. We don't have much traffic here,” Liza answered with a smile.

“Then I would like some tea, if it's not too much trouble. I've been rushing all morning.”

A few minutes later, the three women sat together on the inn's wide, shady porch, facing a spectacular ocean view. Avery had removed her glasses and looked up at Claire with stunning blue eyes. Eyes the same color as the sea, Claire thought. Avery smiled and murmured a thank-you as she took her glass of tea.

Claire had also brought a plate of bite-sized cranberry oat squares, left over from breakfast, and set them on a wicker table beside Avery.

“Mmm, these are great. They look healthy, too.” After a few testing bites, Avery stared down at the rest of the cookie, as if analyzing its ingredients. “I'd love the recipe.”

“I'd be happy to give it to you. Do you like to bake?” Claire sat back in a wicker chair next to her.

“You might say that. Cooking and baking are my life. I went to culinary school then studied in Switzerland and France for about two years. I've had a few jobs at restaurants in Boston, too. But now I'm just about to open my own place. Here on Angel Island.”

Liza leaned forward, her eyes bright with interest. “How exciting! Did you find a spot?”

Avery nodded, loose strands of hair framing her pretty face. “Yes, it's a great location, right near the ferry station and the new beach. We're opening this weekend.”

“Wow, that's soon,” Liza said. “Are you ready?”

“I am . . . I hope,” Avery replied. Her tremulous smile was an endearing mixture of excitement and nerves.

Liza laughed and patted her arm. “Take it from me, you're never really ready. But you'll figure it out as you go along. I didn't know a thing about running an inn when I took over here. Luckily, I had a wonderful teacher,” she added, meeting Claire's steady gaze. “But it sounds as if you already have plenty of experience.”

“I have worked in a lot of kitchens. I was a partner at the last place, the Tulip Café . . .” Avery seemed about to say more, then suddenly looked down and picked up her glass. “It didn't work out. But that was for the best. I'm sort of a perfectionist, I guess, the type of person who's happier doing things my own way than always having to compromise.”

“A true artistic spirit,” Claire observed with a mild smile. Avery did look like her own person; no slave to fashion in baggy, khaki shorts and flat, leather sandals. Her face was bare of makeup and didn't need any, Claire thought. She had a beautiful peachy complexion. Dangling silver earrings with blue beads brought out the color of her eyes. She was very pretty, though she didn't seem to realize it.

“What's the name of your restaurant?” Liza asked.

“Café Peregrine. I named it for the peregrine falcon that migrates to this part of New England every year. It seemed to strike the right note for me.”

“Very pretty . . . and memorable,” Claire agreed. “What type of food will you serve?”

“I'd call it New American cuisine, with touches of French and Asian influence. A lot of fish, of course. We'll have about thirty seats,” she added. “That's small enough for me to change the menu every day, depending on what I find in the market. I want to mainly serve local seafood and produce. There'll also be a selection of fine wines and some fabulous desserts.”

“That sounds lovely.” Claire imagined the restaurant much like the small, sophisticated cafés in Boston.

“I can't think of any place like that in Cape Light,” Liza said. “And none right here on the island.”

“I'm glad to hear that. I wasn't able to find any competition in that niche either, though I don't know the area that well. There are a few comparable restaurants in Newburyport, but I have the water view and the beachy setting going for me. I've been staying in Newburyport the past few weeks,” she explained. “But I wanted to be on the island now that I'm opening. I haven't had to time to look for a cottage or an apartment yet.”

“It will be hard finding anything this time of year,” Liza said honestly. “We can work out a discount if you would like a long-term stay here.”

“Would you? That would be great. One less thing to worry about.”

Liza smiled at her. “Check that off your list, then. We'll figure it out when you have a chance.”

Avery finished the rest of her tea, then quickly redid her hairdo, pushing some loose strands back in the bun. She rose and grabbed her handbag, gracing Liza and Claire with a big smile.

She looked much calmer and more refreshed than she had when she arrived. Claire felt satisfied to see that. Claire considered it the very purpose of this inn—to provide a rest stop in peoples' lives, a welcoming place to renew and restore. Even for the few minutes it took to sip a glass of iced tea.

Avery glanced back at her watch. “Thanks again. You've both been so sweet. I'd better head off. I'm meeting an electrician at the café, and I don't want to stand him up.”

The women said good-bye, and Avery headed off to her car, a small white SUV, parked in the drive at the side of the inn. She waved as she pulled out and turned onto the main road.

“Opening a new restaurant all on her own . . . Pretty brave, if you ask me,” Liza said. “And she's so young.”

“Yes, she is.” Claire guessed Avery to be her in late twenties, at most. “But she seems very independent. I wonder if there's some way we can help her.”

“I was wondering about that, too. We can recommend her café to guests and keep a copy of the menu on hand. But maybe there's something more we can do. Let's think about it.”

* * *

BOOK: The Way Home
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