Tori just got a job at a library in South Carolina. But she is not ready for life in a small town. The former librarian is making things hard for her. Someone keeps taking the things she needs like the library appointment book and light bulbs from her front porch. Then the town sweetheart gets killed and Tori is the #1 suspect because the gossips were saying she stole the woman's boyfriend. All this and she had only been in town a few days! She must figure out who is doing all these things to save her job and reputation. The only redeeming thing is the sewing circle she joined.
EXCERPTShe wasn’t entirely sure whether it was the pull of the mahogany sewing box in the window, or a much-needed respite from the endless barrage of curious glances, but either way, Elkin Antiques and Collectibles seemed as good a place as any for a momentary escape.
Switching the paper sack of light bulbs to her left hand, Tori Sinclair pushed the glass door open, her presence greeted by a wall-mounted bell and a cocked eyebrow from the sixty-something woman behind the counter.
“Oh, I’m sorry are—are you not open?” Tori glanced back at the door, the inward facing “closed” sign in direct conflict with the irritation hovering above the clerk’s shoulders like vapors off scorching hot pavement.
“Of course, I’m open.” The woman stood statue-still as her gaze played across Tori’s pale yellow sundress and white strappy sandals, lingered on her light brown shoulder-length hair and heart-shaped face. “Can I help you with something?”
“I-uh, wanted to take a closer look at the sewing box in your window.” She pointed at the simple rectangular container that had piqued her curiosity from the sidewalk. “If I’m not mistaken, it’s from the late 1800s, isn’t it?”
The woman’s mouth gaped open a hairbreadth. “Why yes it is.”
Tori closed the distance between the entryway and the display in a few small strides, looking over her shoulder as she stopped beside the box. “It was built by a company in Kansas who specialized in furniture but occasionally dabbled in keepsake pieces, yes?”
The woman nodded, the gap between her lips ever widening.
“I thought so.” Tori ran a gentle finger across the backside of the box before coming to rest on the carved scene that adorned its lid. “My great-grandmother had one just like this. It used to sit on a hope chest in her bedroom and it was where she kept her favorite needles and buttons and ribbons. She’d gotten it as a gift from her parents.”
Slowly, gently, she traced the outline of the horse and buggy. “Only her box had a snowflake carved onto the lid.” She closed her eyes, focused on the feel of the design. “It’s funny but I can still remember how her box felt under my fingertips.”
“What happened to it?”
Tori turned to face the woman who’d left her countertop fortress in favor of blatant curiosity. “It was lost in a fire shortly after she passed away.”
A soft clucking sound broke through the white noise of memories in Tori’s mind, forcing her back to the here and now—and the unmistakable compassion that had chased aloofness from the shopkeeper’s eyes.
“Oh, dear, I’m so sorry.”
Tori shrugged softly. “It’s okay. Seeing this one is kind of nice, even a little comforting.”
“I’m glad.” The woman reached out, tentatively squeezed Tori’s forearm with a finely wrinkled hand. “Memories are a wonderful way to link us with the past.”
“I agree.” Pulling her hand from the top of the wooden box, she extended it toward the woman. “I’m Tori Sinclair and I—”
“Tor—you mean, Victoria Sinclair? The new librarian?”
Startled, Tori nodded. More here.