The View From Here (Eureka, Colorado Series #1)by Cindy Myers
Newly divorced Maggie Carter has little to show for her marriage except a pile of boxes and regrets. So when she learns she's inherited an old house and an abandoned gold mine in Eureka, Colorado, she doesn't
In this heartfelt, beautifully written novel, a woman with nothing left to lose finds the courage to start over in the last place she ever expected. . .
Newly divorced Maggie Carter has little to show for her marriage except a pile of boxes and regrets. So when she learns she's inherited an old house and an abandoned gold mine in Eureka, Colorado, she doesn't hesitate to leave Houston behind. In Colorado, she can learn about her estranged father and take stock of her life. After all, where better to decide what your next move should be than in a cabin 10,000 feet above sea level?
Eureka is a tiny hamlet with a café, a library, and plenty of intriguing locals. There's the colorful town mayor, Lucille, and her prodigal daughter Olivia, bitter librarian Cassie, and handsome, enigmatic Jameso Clark, who had a fascinating love-hate relationship with Maggie's father. Then there are the soaring views of distant mountains and clear blue sky, of aspen trees and endless stars. Piece by piece, Maggie is uncovering her father's past--and reconciling with her own. And in this small mountain town, she just might find a place where she truly belongs.
"Cindy Myers strikes gold with this warm-hearted novel about friendship, family, and second chances." –New York Times bestselling author, Deborah Smith
Cindy Myers worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent, and medical clinic manager before turning to writing full time. She's written both historical and contemporary romance, as well as dozens of short stories and nonfiction articles. Former president of San Antonio Romance Authors, Cindy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Novelists Inc., and Rocky Mountain Fiction writers. She is in demand as a speaker, teaching workshops and making presentations to both local and national writing groups. She and her husband and their two dogs live in the mountains southwest of Denver.
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The View from Here
By CINDY MYERS
KENSINGTON BOOKSCopyright © 2012 Cynthia Myers
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Open it. What are you afraid of?"
A simple question, with lots of simple answers. Maggie Stevens was afraid of heights. Of snakes, deep water, dentistry, and needles. She was afraid of being stuck on a plane next to a guy who wouldn't shut up, of suddenly becoming allergic to chocolate, and of getting old and losing her butt.
And, apparently, of thick envelopes with the return addresses of law firms. She stood in the living room of the house in Houston where she'd lived for twenty years, her best friend, Barbara Stanowski, at her side. Sunlight poured through the curtainless windows, so that Maggie had to squint to read the embossed print on the heavy linen envelope: Reginald Paxton, Esquire, 113 Fourth Street, Eureka, Colorado.
"What is Carter doing using a lawyer in Colorado?" she asked.
"You don't know it has anything to do with Carter." Barb perched on the edge of a packing box and lifted her heavy mane of dark hair off her neck. The two friends had spent all morning wrapping dishes and taping boxes, and still Barbara looked like the former beauty queen she was. Maggie should probably hate her for it, but then again, there were things about her that Barb could probably hate, too—that kind of history was the basis of a solid friendship.
"He's already taken everything worth anything," Barb said, looking around the almost-empty room, at the flat squares of carpet where furniture had once sat and darker sections of paint where pictures had hung—all the ghostly impressions of Maggie's former life. "What's left?"
"Maybe he wants the Steuben." Maggie glanced over her shoulder at the four boxes of Steuben glassware she and Barb had carefully wrapped in tissue and Bubble Wrap. Carter Stevens had given her the first piece on their wedding day and then a new piece on every special occasion thereafter. Four boxes of memories too valuable to break.
"Open the envelope," Barb said. "Maybe there's a house in Vail he forgot to tell you about and he's been guilted into giving it to you."
"Carter never feels guilty." Not about dumping her after twenty years for an older (richer) woman. Not about taking the retirement fund and leaving her with a house that was worth less than the mortgage owed on it. She slid her thumb under the flap of the envelope and ripped it open, then pulled out a sheaf of legal papers. On top was a handwritten letter on stationery that matched the envelope. It was dated May 18, only four days previous.
Dear Ms. Stevens,
I am very sorry to inform you of the death of your father, Jacob Charles Murphy.
The words echoed in her head like a snatch of song spliced into the middle of the stock market report, or one second of bad porn flashed on the screen during a Disney cartoon—out of place and unsettling.
"Maggie? Honey, are you all right?" Barb grasped Maggie's shoulders and led her to the only chair in the room—a fake Eames armchair that was awaiting pickup by the Disabled Veterans. Maggie perched on the edge of the seat and stared at the letter until Barb took it from her.
"Oh, honey, I'm so sorry," Barb said. "I didn't know your dad was in Colorado."
"Neither did I. I didn't even know he was alive."
"I remember you said he and your mom split when you were little. You never talked about him."
How could she talk about someone who was more fantasy than reality? The laws of biology dictated that, of course, she had a father, but she'd never been sure she could believe science any more than she did religion.
"When was the last time you saw him?" Barb asked.
Maggie shook her head. "I never met him—at least not when I was old enough to remember." The only things she had of her father—besides his DNA—were three pictures from the album her mother had kept on the top shelf of her closet.
Maggie had taken the pictures after her mother died two years previously, and tucked them away beneath the bras and panties in her underwear drawer, where she could be pretty sure Carter wouldn't snoop. After twenty years together, he knew the story, but she'd been reluctant to share those photographs with him. Maybe even then she sensed she couldn't trust him with those treasured icons. If only she'd paid attention to those instincts.
"You want to talk about it?" Barb asked.
Maggie shook her head, then sighed. "He and my mom married and then he left for his second tour of duty in Vietnam. He came home long enough to see me born and to name me after his mother. As far as I know, we never saw him again. Mama always said the war messed him up." When Maggie was little, she thought that meant he'd been maimed or crippled. As she got older, she understood her mother meant the war had damaged her father's mind. She still couldn't pass a homeless man on a street corner without stopping to give him money, especially if he wore an old army jacket or fatigues, or had a sign that read: VIETNAM VET, PLS HELP. "I thought about trying to find him, but never did anything about it." That fear thing again—she'd been too afraid of what she might discover.
Barb turned back to the letter. "Who handwrites a letter these days?" she asked. She flipped to the legal-sized sheets following and let out a whoop.
"What?" Maggie stood, her legs still a little shaky. "What is it?"
"It says here Daddy left you a gold mine." She grinned. "Won't Carter eat his shorts when he hears that?"
Maggie grabbed the papers and scanned them, lines of crisp black type jumping out at her: sole heir ... all his worldly goods and possessions ... French Mistress Mine.
"It sounds more like a brothel than a mine," she said.
"It says farther down that it's in the Eureka Gold Mining District," Barb said. "And it belongs to you."
"Do they still mine gold in the U.S.?" Maggie asked.
"Why not? Do you know what the price of a troy ounce is up to these days?"
"No, do you?"
"Well, no," Barb admitted. "But I know it's a lot. Jimmy bought me these earrings for my birthday and whined about the cost for a week." She touched the large gold hoops at her ears.
Maggie read the letter through a second time, trying to absorb its contents.
I hope you will want to visit Eureka and see your new property. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.
"It says here there's a house and two vehicles in addition to the mine, and 'sundry personal belongings.'"
"Sounds like your daddy did pretty well for himself. And he didn't forget his little girl."
Maggie swallowed past a painful tightening in her throat. She'd never even known the man and she felt like weeping over his death.
No, not over his death. The tears that threatened were for the missed opportunities he hadn't taken advantage of, to know her and to be there for her when she could have used a father in her life. He might have held on to her memory for forty years, but why hadn't he bothered to contact her? Why wait until he was gone and it was too late for him to be anything more to her than a collection of might-have-beens and what-ifs?
"What are you going to do?" Barb asked.
Maggie looked at the discarded furniture and piles of packing boxes—all that was left of twenty years of marriage to a man who had turned out to be a stranger to her. Her hand went to the chain around her neck, where she'd worn her mother's wedding ring for the past two years. The day the divorce was final, she'd slipped her own ring onto the chain. She told herself she should sell it or put it away in a jewelry box, but she wasn't ready to give up something that had been a part of her for twenty years. Twenty years in which she'd made Carter the focus of her life, living where he wanted to live, working where he wanted her to work. At the time, she'd thought of her actions as the requirements of love and devotion; now, she felt she'd been sadly duped.
He was gone and she was left with no family, no job, and no idea what to do with the rest of her life. Her only plans were to take a trip somewhere, anywhere. She'd fantasized about spending the summer exploring Europe, eating bread and pasta in intimate little cafés in Tuscany and walking cobbled streets in Rome, seeing new sights and discovering new things about herself, and eventually ceasing to mourn the end of her marriage. But so far all she'd managed was a one-way ticket to Las Vegas, where she had a vague notion of staying at the Venetian and pretending she was in Venice.
She could probably trade in that ticket for one to Colorado. "I think," she said, a shiver of excitement like incense smoke curling through her. "I think I'm going to Eureka." She'd see this gold mine, sort through the personal belongings, and try to take stock of the man she'd never known and the life she needed to lead.
On the flight to Denver, Maggie was seated next to a dentist who felt the need to impress her with his life story. She devoured an extra-large chocolate bar and wondered if the sudden urge to scratch was the first sign of hives. When the flight ended, she raced to the airport ladies' room and checked the mirror. No sign of her ass disappearing—if anything, it was bigger than the last time she'd checked.
The flight from Denver to Montrose, the closest town of any size to Eureka, was on a turboprop that held maybe thirty passengers. The flight attendant shepherded them up the ladder to the plane, then climbed down and directed the pilot out onto the runway. Maggie spent the flight trying not to think about falling out of the sky and wishing for more chocolate.
After the plane had leveled out, she opened her purse and took out the envelope with the three photographs of her father. All three pictures showed a tall, slender man with reddish hair and clear hazel eyes. He had a high forehead and thick brows, and a wide mouth stretched into a smile so genuine and warm it made anyone who saw the pictures smile in return. In one photo, he stood by himself in front of a white 1966 Mustang, one hand on the driver's side door as if caressing it.
In the second photo, the man stood with a blond teenage girl. The girl wore a white pique mini dress and white sandals, and carried a bouquet of orange blossoms and stephanotis. The man wore army khakis, a private's insignia on his shoulders.
In the last photo, taken with a Polaroid camera and faded almost pastel with the passing years, the man cradled a pink-swathed baby. The infant's face wasn't visible in the photo; the man's face was the focus of the shot. His smile was stretched even wider, the eyes filled with such tenderness and pride; Maggie had burst into tears the first time she saw the picture. Even now, though she had looked at the image a thousand times or more, she felt her eyes mist and hastily tucked the photo back into her purse.
Reginald Paxton, Esquire, had offered to meet her plane, so while she waited for her suitcase, she scanned the crowd for anyone who looked like a lawyer. She'd about decided he was the fat man in the dark suit when someone tapped her on the shoulder. "Mrs. Stevens? I'm Reggie Paxton."
Reggie was a forty-something biker with a silver ponytail; small, square, granny glasses; and a black leather vest. Maggie managed to pick her jaw up off the floor and offer her hand.
"Hello, Reggie," she said. "I'm Maggie Stevens."
"I'd have known you anywhere," he said. "You look just like old Murph."
"I do?" The idea made her heart beat a little too fast.
"Well, you're certainly prettier than Murph, but you've got his eyes and the red hair."
She put a hand to the auburn curls she'd pinned up for travel. These days the color came straight out of a bottle; no sense telling Reggie her original shade was something her mother had always disparaged as "mouse."
"We've got about a forty-minute drive, but I can use the time to fill you in on all the details of your father's estate and answer any questions you might have," Reggie said, when she'd pointed out her suitcase and he'd snatched it from the belt.
To her relief, he didn't drive a Harley, or at least he hadn't brought it with him to the airport. Instead, he loaded her suitcase into a dusty blue Subaru with vanity plates that read: LGL EGL.
"I'm very sorry about your father's death," Reggie continued when they were buckled in and headed toward the airport exit. "Murph was a great guy, and a good friend of mine."
"I—I didn't really know him well," she said. "Not at all, actually. He and my mother split up shortly after I was born."
"Yeah, he told me the story. His side of it anyway. His biggest regret was never getting to know you."
"He could have picked up the phone or got on a plane anytime," she said, unable to keep the iciness from her voice.
"Yeah, and he should have." Reggie adjusted the visor to block the worst of the sun's glare as they turned west onto the highway. "He knew it, but he couldn't make himself do it." He glanced at her. "Murph was a great guy, but he wasn't perfect."
How great could a guy be who abandoned his wife and child, and never even tried to get in touch with them? she thought. But she kept the idea to herself. "The papers you sent said he left a gold mine?"
"The French Mistress." Reggie chuckled. "Heck of a name for a mine, ain't it? No one knows if there ever really was a mistress, or if it was just wishful thinking on the part of some lonely miner."
"So my father didn't name it?"
"Oh no. All these old mining claims were named over a hundred years ago. There's some pretty colorful ones: The Etta May, Colorado Princess, Last Chance—there's even one over in Lake County called the Codfish Balls Mine."
A hundred years ago. "So there's not actually any gold?"
"Some people say there still is, but it's hard to get to, and not worth the money it would take to get at it. Some of the mines never had any to begin with. Though there were always rumors about the French Mistress."
"What kind of rumors?"
"You'll understand better when you see the place. Your dad was quite a character."
Characters were people in plays and books. They weren't real—just as her father had never been real to her.
"What is it you do in Houston?" Reggie asked.
"I was the office manager for a shipping company." Carter's company, actually. "I was laid off a few months ago." Divorced, but the result was the same.
"Ah," Reggie nodded. "The economy's hitting a lot of people hard."
Carter's business was still booming, just without her. She'd thought about scrambling all the computer files before she left, but she hadn't had the heart to wish disaster on the woman who'd taken her place in the office.
Francine Dupree, aka the future Mrs. Carter Stevens, had no need to risk her manicure working in an office. The Dupree millions left to her by her first husband afforded her a life of shopping, spa treatments, and sleeping with other women's husbands.
How long before a forty-something shipping magnate with thinning hair and the beginnings of a paunch began to bore her? Carter had his moments, but the man had definitely been absent when charisma had been handed out. Maggie had always thought of him as "comfortable," a quality she thought desirable in a marriage partner. Unlike her adventurous soldier father, Carter had seemed guaranteed to stick around for years to come. A man who insisted on staying in the only house they'd ever owned, who drove the same model of car year after year, and who wore clothes until they were threadbare seemed a good bet for stability.
So much for thinking she knew anything about odds. Maybe it was a good thing she wasn't headed to Vegas.
"Do you have any children?" Reggie asked.
"No." The single syllable caused a tightness around her heart, the pang of deep regret. Carter hadn't wanted children, so they'd never had any. Of all the things he'd stolen from her, Maggie regretted this sacrifice the most.
"I've got two daughters," Reggie volunteered. "And two granddaughters. Girls run in our family."
"That's nice," Maggie said. What else could she say?
"Do you have reservations at one of the hotels in town?" he asked. "I can stop by there if you want to check in before we run up to Murph's place."
"Your letter said there was a house. I thought I'd stay there."
Reggie flushed. "I'm not sure you'd like Murphy's place. I mean, it's not really fit for a woman like yourself." He glanced at her gabardine slacks and matching jacket.
"I know my father was a bachelor and probably not much of a housekeeper, but I can clean the place up. It is mine now, right?"
"Yes, it's yours. And it's pretty clean. My wife and I emptied out the refrigerator and took out the trash so you wouldn't have to deal with that."
"Then what's the probl—Oh, he didn't have a girlfriend living there, did he? Or a wife?" The weight of the idea pressed her down in the seat. No one had mentioned anything about this, but her dad had only been sixty. Why shouldn't he have remarried? Oh God, did she have brothers or sisters running around somewhere?
"No, no, there was no girlfriend. And Murph never remarried after your mother, at least as far as I know." He nodded. "Yes, I'm sure I asked when we wrote up the will, and he was positive your mother was his only wife and you were his only child."
Excerpted from The View from Here by CINDY MYERS Copyright © 2012 by Cynthia Myers. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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The View From Here by Cindy Myers Maggie is relocating after she found her husband had cheated on her. Her father who she had never known left her a cabin in the Colorado mining town and she was heading to check it out. Her best friend Barbara is a true friend as she's helped her and been there for her the whole time. What she discovers in the town is a small community where everybody knows everybody and their business, but a caring one. The book also follows the antique shop/mayor when her daughter and son return to live with her. There is much about the town history and how it's preserved. The mines fascinate me and I loved learning about it all and things discovered. Although there were a lot of people it was easy to keep track of them and what they mean to the story being told. Everything is going along fine as she discovers a new love and her and Barbara discover the mine that was locked up. It leads to other things that can harm some people. Jamoso is a lifesaver as he tells her many stories of her father, piecing it all together as she never knew him at all. Love and sex make this a really great story.
I got right into this one as a sample so I ordered it. It read easily all the way through. The story was just a really nice story...I liked the people - even the ornery ones. The issue I had is that it just wrapped everything up too quickly. After I finished I kept thinking I needed to finish it off...nope...it was over. It was just cut off. I did enjoy reading it...just felt a little short-changed.
I liked the story and the characters but there if no way I would pay 11.50 for an authors second book, the sequal, especially since there are more established authors equally as talented whose books are under five dollars.
Enjoyed very much
This one is worth a read. Nicely written.
Review facts before writing, story not believable
will buy more of Cindy Myers books
I like the fact that it's a bit more modern than most books I read about the mountains and "mountain-folk". It was refreshing to find one set in present time and not the depression or earlier. I am also about to start the sequel (which I figured was coming after the ending). I'll enjoy seeing how Maggie and Jameso's romance continues!
Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite Maggie Stevens has been a faithful wife to her husband, Carter, for twenty years. But she finds he has cheated on her for five years and now has the audacity to divorce her, leaving Maggie for an older, wealthier woman. Poor Maggie! Carter has taken most of their furniture and paintings, leaving her with hardly anything beyond the Steuben glass they have collected over the years. Then Maggie finds that the father, Jacob Murphy, who abandoned her and her now dead mother when Maggie was only a newborn baby, has died. He has left her his cabin, a Jeep and a gold mine named the French Mistress. So, bidding farewell to Houston, Texas, and her dear friend Barbara Stanowski, Maggie heads to Eureka, Colorado, where her inheritance is located. Jacob, as he is known to everyone in the small town of Eureka, was a town eccentric. He fought in Vietnam and he carried awful memories of his time there. Jake found peace living with the residents of Eureka and even made a friendship with Winston, a mountain goat who loves being fed Lorna Doones. Can Maggie settle down here in Eureka and enjoy the view that is offered? "The View from Here" by Cindy Myers is a delightful and well-written story of a middle-aged woman, Maggie Stevens, who has to chart a new path in life. The residents of Eureka are three-dimensional to say the least. They come alive with the author's sense of humor which is apparent in "The View from Here". On page 137, the author reminds readers that the gate to Jake's French Mistress mine has a sign that reads "No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again." The plot flows smoothly to the story's conclusion and readers will love reading every word in "The View from Here". It is a story, a romance, and a tale that will bring smiles to faces everywhere.
ANGIE VARONA, WHOOP.
(Sorry, most people ive seen with the name teegan are guys. Sorry.) She sits down by *her. "So this is just a regular hangout for people?" She asked.
Saw that nick XD) *looks around bored and stands at the base of the tree with the tree house she looks up at it*
*he growls, followed by a series of faint clicks*