Naturally, Charlie

By: S. L Scott


My family means the world to me, so I want to give thanks to my sweet boys for their patience when Mama needed to write and for the kisses, hugs, I lub you’s and love you’s I received while writing this story. My husband, you are my heart.

I want to send a special thank you to my inspiring and amazing Mom, my stubborn and fiercely loyal sister, Stephanie, and my beautiful and smart niece, Andrea.

Thank you to the following:

To Kirsten who encouraged me to write and to pursue my dreams. To Jennifer who had to suffer through many early manuscripts as I found my legs in the writing world. And to Kerri who had to listen to my endless yammering about my stories on our live music nights.

I can’t give enough love back to the women who have supported me with their insight and hard work on this book. Many hugs and a personal thank you to an amazing team: Jada D’Lee, Irene, LemmieJenn, and Susi. Your words of support are as invaluable as you are to me. Thank you for making this journey fun and educational. Who knew Guinness has less calories than a Budweiser? Well, I do now.

To a group of friends who I cherish and must mention: Suzanne, Mary, Flavia, Laura, Sonia, Jaime, Ruth, Erin, Shauna, Tanya, Marie and my online community of friends. You are appreciated more than you know.

To Jada D’Lee again for so much, including this wonderful book cover.

To the lovely and hardworking team at The Writer’s Coffee Shop, thank you. Heartfelt thanks to Amanda, Janine, Kathie, Wyndy Dee, Elyse, and Andrea.

Dreams come in many forms and this book was one of mine. Thank you for reading and making my dream come true.

To my forever and a day

Chapter 1

Charlie Barrow

“Damn it!”

My day starts with an irritation that some might see as an omen of things to come. Others might see it as a minor speed bump. I see it as another hassle in a gigantic series of hassles, but a hassle all the same. My life seems to be filled with agitations these days.

The toothbrush drops, and I watch as it bounces off the sink and straight into the toilet. With a frustrated sigh, I lean forward and spit the toothpaste out, realizing now that I only got to my bottom left molars before my grip slipped and the toothbrush went down.

I look at the blue stick floating in the middle of the toilet, mocking me as it drifts around. Pinching it between my fingers, I rescue the toothbrush from the cold porcelain bowl. My life isn’t that bad to argue whether I should keep it or not. I toss the brush without a second thought and finish getting dressed for work.

I spill my coffee—er, I mean when a guy running into the Coffee Hut hits me with his shoulder, thus causing the coffee to bubble through the little spout on the lid and land on my shirt, I chalk it up to another annoying mishap in this stage of my life. After the coffee incident and ToothGate this morning, I need to pay closer attention to the world around me. These tedious little occurrences are still new to me, but they all add up to a large amount of unnecessary aggravation. I’ve always believed that it’s the little things that make up your life. The bigger events just connect them. This is a philosophy I live by now.

I arrive at Smith & Allen, an auction house representing property from private estates and corporate collections. It’s regarded as “preeminent in the marketplace of quality masterpieces, antiques, and antiquities.” That’s what’s written in the brochure. I’ve been known to believe in such greatness before, but today won’t be one of those days.

I make my way through the maze of cubicles to my own little sectioned-off grey area and find a large manila envelope crowding my tiny, tidy desk. I set my coffee down and toss my purse in the bottom right drawer, kicking the cabinet closed.

“Red or green?” Rachel Russo asks. She’s my friend, coworker, and all around party girl.

“Green.” I keep my voice flat, trying to maintain a straight face while I tease since I’m clueless to why she’s asking me about colors.

I slide my jacket down my arms. Catching it in my hand, I hang it on the hook attached to the half wall that divides our two cubicles. When I sit, my chair does a slow bounce, adjusting to the weight it’s now holding, and I slide my body forward.

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