Zumba teacher Isabella Ramos moved from Miami to quirky, small town Calusa to open a restaurant. Luc Girard arrives on the Florida island to become a painter, or so he says. The attraction is instant. But the secret he’s keeping threatens to deflate their relationship like a fallen soufflé. It takes just the right mixture of ingredients for dreams to come true.
One step closer to her dream.
Isabella Ramos drove her refurbished van across the drawbridge and towards her home in Calusa. After catering a breakfast at a golf club on the mainland, she had already dropped off the two women she hired for larger jobs like this one. She yawned and let go of the steering wheel long enough to rub her eyes. It was only noon, but she had risen early to prepare three varieties of Cuban pastries along with the hot items she had served.
The society women who belonged to the club had oohed and aahed over her food, and many had taken her business card, promising to call her for future high-profile events around town. The manager of the club was a valuable contact too. Isabella was certain he had a vast network that she hoped to tap into when she finally opened her restaurant.
Isabella had loved to bake from the first moment she stood on a chair before her abuela’s kitchen counter back in Miami and wielded a miniature rolling pin. As she got older, and taller, she learned how to prepare the Cuban dishes that made her grandma’s home the place to be when mealtime rolled around. The seed of the dream to open her own restaurant was born.
Up ahead, she spotted a man standing on a ladder next to a utility pole. She didn’t recognize him, and he wasn’t dressed in an official uniform of any kind. She didn’t see a truck, only a rusty bicycle that lay flat on the adjoining bike path. Who was he? Was he up to some mischief?
But what if he was in trouble? Before she could stop to think twice, she pulled the van over to the side of the road and got out.
The man shaded his eyes against the Florida sun as Izzy approached. The light glinted off his brown hair, gathered in an untidy man bun. A beard obscured the bottom half of his face making his expression unreadable.
“Can I help you?” he called.
He spoke with an intriguing accent. French?
“Oh, no,” Izzy said. “I wondered if you needed help.”
“You mean you wondered what I am doing,” the man replied. He gestured to several open cans at the foot of the ladder, half hidden in the weeds. “I am painting.”
“Painting on that pole? Why?”
He chuckled. “Because it is there. Is that not what people say when they climb Mount Everest? Simply because it is there.”
About the author:
Fran Thomas is a transplanted Pittsburgher now living on an island off the coast of Southwest Florida. She once was the editor of the newspaper in a small, quirky town not unlike the one in her Calusa Town Tales series.
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