Second Star to the Rightby Mary Alice Kruesi
A fresh start in London has Faye O'Neill creating a safe, secure life for herself and her two children --until she meets scientist, Jack Graham and a charming old woman who believes she is Peter Pan's Wendy. A poignant and unforgettable story about the healing Power of love- and the heart soaring realization that dreams really can come true.See more details below
A fresh start in London has Faye O'Neill creating a safe, secure life for herself and her two children --until she meets scientist, Jack Graham and a charming old woman who believes she is Peter Pan's Wendy. A poignant and unforgettable story about the healing Power of love- and the heart soaring realization that dreams really can come true.
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 4.27(w) x 6.98(h) x 1.06(d)
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A spring breeze fluttered the paper in Faye O'Neill's hand as she stood at the curbside staring up at an imposing London town house. On her left lay a pile of bulging luggage. On her right, her two young children slouched, road-weary and cranky. She checked the address, then squared her shoulders. Number 14 was a threestory, narrow, redbrick Georgian house in a line of similar buildings well situated on the lane. A neat and tidy building, old yet gracious, with a broad front stoop that held cheery red potted geraniums. With its high-arched windows and broad granite stoop, it seemed that the building was somehow smiling, perhaps even welcoming, her. Faye smiled back and squeezed Maddie's and Tom's shoulders encouragingly.
"There's something about it ... I think we'll be happy here. What do you think?"
"It's old and dumpy," Maddie said, scrunching her face in disapproval. "I liked our house in Chicago better."
Faye closed her eyes and stilled her tongue. Her eight-year-old daughter had been oppositional the entire flight across the Atlantic Ocean and wasn't letting up on shore. Faye saw Maddie push out her thin lips in a pout, saw the sharp line of her narrow, straight-backed shoulders, and recognized the defiance in the pale blue eyes behind shaggy blond bangs. Faye exhaled slowly, knowing in her heart that her daughter wasn't going to make this easy for her.
"It's not so bad," she replied with forced cheer, spotting the chipping paint on the window trim and the patches of rust on the black-iron fencing. The building did look a little tired. "Nothing that a little spit and polish couldn't fix. What do you think,Tom?"
Her six-year-old son buried his face in her skirt for a reply. Faye sighed wearily.
Standing near the door on the high front stoop was a distinguished-looking older woman who also bore a broad front stoop, but instead of a potted geranium she wore a huge, peach-colored silk hat. In one hand she pressed a large black clutch purse to her breast: in her other she held a clipboard. Nudging the children forward, Faye firmly placed a smile on her face.
"Mrs. Lloyd?" she called out.
"Helloo there," crooned the older woman, waving. She clumped down the flight of stairs and advanced on them, all broad smiles. "And you must be Mrs. O'Neill. How do you do?" she exclaimed, extending her hand with vigor.
"We're tired but well," Faye replied taking the hand. "We've only just arrived in London."
"And these are your darling children?" Mrs. Lloyd peered down over a short, bobbed nose, sizing the two up as to the potential damage they could render one apartment. She attempted to disguise her obvious dislike of children with high-pitched. Sugar-coated words.
Maddie and Tom immediately tried to duck behind their mother, each clutching Faye's skirt. Faye offered a tentative smile while tugging at her waistband, wishing that just once her two children would shake someone's hand and smile rather than slink and mumble.
"Say 'hello,' children," Faye said through a strained smile. "Maddie?" An appeal to her eldest.
Faye didn't have to see them to know her little darlings were glaring back at the stocky old woman with the funny, tilting hat and pale, critical eyes. Children had a second sense about people that she'd learned to respect.
"They're shy," she muttered, catching herself from failing over as the two butted against her. "And it's been a long trip. I'm sure they'll feel better once we're in the apartment."
"You mean the flat," corrected Mrs. Lloyd with an arched brow. "You'll have to get accustomed to the Queen's English now."
Faye pressed her lips together. So, Mrs. Lloyd was one of those people who delighted in correcting others and always being in the right. "Yes, the flat," she replied softly, her toes curling in her leather pumps.
Mrs. Lloyd dug into her vacuum of a purse and emerged in triumph with a tagged set of keys. "Here we are," she exclaimed. "Shall we go in for a look-see? Your flat is on the first floor, and it is the nicest in the building, I believe. Careful with your luggage. It's a bit of a hike. Here in London, the first-floor flat is over the garden flat, don't you know."
She led the ragtag group half-carrying, half-dragging luggage out of the hot sun, up the flight of stairs into the welcome coolness of a small, dark, exquisitely paneled foyer. Faye dropped her bags, closed her eyes, and smelled lemon wax on the wood and the sweet perfume of flowers. Cotton lace hung at the hail window, and beneath it stood a small Hepplewhite table covered by a crisp white doily and a vase of lilacs. Faye smiled, relieved. She'd always found that the foyer set the tone, and this one was secure and spotless. When she spied three brass mailboxes by the door, she envisioned her own name over one soon.
Tom tugged at her skirt and furtively pointed to three small, polished brass bells hanging one over each mailbox.
"The bells are quaint," she said. Quaint, however, didn't mean safe. "But is there a buzzer system as well? Keyed to the lock? One can't be too careful."
"This is a small building, Mrs. O'Neill. There are only three flats." Mrs. Lloyd sniffed. "The bells do their job. Quite well."
Silly little noisemakers hardly do the job, Faye thought, scanning the door and windows for locks. "Is there a security system for the building?"
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