Sea Dreams Chapter One
I hope that you enjoy chapter one of my new book Sea Drams.
You can purchase through Amazon at amzn.to/2kV30oS
or through Smashwords, Create Space, Kobo or Barnes and Nobel
“Maybe, just maybe, this might actually work,” Harmony said more to herself than to anyone else as she scanned the newspaper article once more before neatly folding it in half, slipping it into her leather purse and randomly tossing the bag onto her car’s front seat. Scrunching up her face in frustration, she was instantly transported back to the heated budget meeting she’d just left.
More like a gathering of courtroom judges than a meeting of collegial council members, three middle aged men and two somewhat younger looking women sat in judgement, vocalizing their demands and expecting Harmony Merriman to meet each challenge head on.
But how was she supposed to do that? She couldn’t just make money magically appear… or could she? After all, in addition to being the mayor, she was one very talented witch.
The New Moon Beach City Council budget meeting proved far more draining than Harmony had ever expected. And driving home, her head throbbed to a painful beat as she’d recalled her colleagues' biting comments.
“You need to get the roads in the outer city limits repaired now, they’re disintegrating as we speak. What are you waiting for, some poor driver to drive into a pothole?” Boom!
“Are you ever going to get the boat ramp on the pier adjusted? You promised the boating community you’d take care of that at last month’s council meeting.” Boom!
“The children’s climbing equipment in Beach Bay Park is falling apart. You’re just setting the city up for a lawsuit if you don’t do something soon.” Boom!
“The city police department is going to be asking for salary adjustments next month. We hope that you have a plan for handling that!” Boom!
They’d all looked at her with expectant eyes that said, You’re the Mayor, fix it! Fix it all!
And they were right. She was the mayor and she was trying to fix it. But their demands far exceeded the small pot of money available in her city treasury. Harmony needed to find a way to cut costs and generate revenue quickly before she could ever hope to handle even one of their demands. Unfortunately for her, the needs of her beach city only grew greater by the day while the pot of available money remained stagnant. And while she hoped to fix every concern that had been brought forward, she couldn’t help but worry where the money would come from.
Harmony longed to get home, pour herself a glass of wine and share her day with Matt. Parking her car and walking towards her front door, Harmony tried valiantly to get control of her taxing concerns. All that she honestly wanted to do was to escape into the welcoming arms of her overstuffed, flowered couch. Harmony ached for the quiet and serenity she knew her clutter free quarters provided. Her home was her cushy castle where she had intentionally chosen soft pale wall colors, accented by warm, muted furnishings, portraits and plants.
A peach colored soy candle rested on a table near her front door in a large flat bowl of crystals. Chips of Amethyst rested next to smooth Lavender Fluorite stones. Between these two crystals all tension, negativity and bad vibes were instantly vanquished from her home. Black and blue chunks of turquoise offered up delight and happiness and smooth green Tree Agate provided the solutions to life’s most challenging problems. As Harmony lit the candle she silently offered up an incantation:
Blessings and honor fill my home
I offer thanks and recognize I am not alone
May my dwelling remain safe and in the Goddess’s care
As I light my candle and its scent fills the air
Spirit guides come and converse with me
Lead me to the answers that I need
Fill my heart and brain with love
Shining down on me from the Goddess above
Walk with me and guide me true
And I will give praise and thanks to you
Having offered up her intentions to the gods, she wandered off to her bedroom feeling more at peace with herself than she had all day. It was so good to be home.
Harmony casually kicked off her shoes and shimmied out of her charcoal pantsuit before returning them to her well ordered closets. Substituting black yoga pants and a teal velour stretch top for her pantsuit, she finally started to relax. She knew that Matt preferred her in those yoga pants and she liked to make Matt happy. Harmony was crazy, head over heels in love with the man and had been for some time. And if she got her way they’d find the time to get married this year, which was something they’d been talking about forever. Just thinking about her teddy bear of a man made Harmony smile.
Matt was a horticulturist finishing his Ph.D at the University of Southern California. He’d played a big part in helping the Merriman sisters develop the land surrounding Jasmine’s Cottages By The Sea and he was also the hunky big brother of Jonathan, her sister Olivia’s husband. Tall, broad shouldered and good looking Matt was one fine specimen of a man.
Retrieving the newspaper from her purse and tucking it under her arm, Harmony went back to the living room as she mentally revisited the article. The front page of the Sea Breeze held a picture of a handsome, middle aged man with a long thick graying pony tail. His face had initially captured her attention, followed quickly by the story itself.
Mayors Should Be On Alert. Bradley Summers. Sea Breeze News. Morning edition.
“Mayors up and down the coast of California should be on alert for an incredible opportunity to have famed artist and environmentalist, Thor Hudson, honor their city with one of his famous marine life murals.
Renowned for his realistic, life size paintings of whales, dolphins and other sealife, Hudson has been known to spend up to a year working on just one piece of artwork.
Prior to his retirement, Hudson completed several massive murals in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii and even one in Mexico and another in Nicaragua.Not content to stick with painting on a traditional sized canvas, Thor Hudson features his artwork on skyscrapers, sports and theatrical arenas and other jumbo sized buildings to create murals often in excess of two hundred feet. And now he’d like to reach out to some of the small California beach communities to paint again.
Hudson surprised the art world and fellow environmentalists alike three years ago when he announced that he was retiring and moving out of the limelight. Specific reasons for his premature retirement are unknown, but some suspect it is the breakup of his short marriage to the actress, Nina Clay, that played into his decision.
Each city will have the opportunity to apply and one winning town will be selected to receive their own mural. Applications are available through Mr. Hudson’s publicist, Brian Braidie.
Sitting on her couch, her long legs tucked comfortably beneath her, Harmony reviewed the article again and again. Her excitement grew as she read the words out loud, wondering if she could genuinely pull this off. Could she actually get this famous artist to her town?
As the mayor of the city of New Moon Beach, Harmony had been searching for a way to increase interest in her beach community. This was a beautiful town by the sea and it had so much to offer. But tourism had grown little in the last year and Harmony was determined to see that change because an increase in tourism equaled an increase in city revenue. She was single minded in her drive to grab this newly found opportunity. It might just be the event she needed to draw more people into her town. Surely interested people would come from all over to watch Thor Hudson at work again. And once the mural was complete she knew that Hudson’s own company would join her city in advertising his latest project.
Fingering a strand of her long curly hair as it naturally wound its way around her index finger, Harmony continued to ruminate. What could she write in her application that would capture the interest of Hudson or his publicist, Brian Braidie? How could she make her appeal stand out from the others? She’d need to pull a committee together, quickly seek their support in writing the perfect application, cherry pick their ideas, she’d…
Quietly entering the room and seating himself on the couch next to Harmony, Matt said, “I can see those little wheels in your head turning. You get this look of determination that’s all focused and nerdy and kind of cute. I love to watch you in action doll and whatever you’re planning, I’m all in.”
“Cute? Yuck! I need to look powerful not cute and I need a plan. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a famous artist come to our town? I mean, that doesn’t happen every day, does it?”
“Which artist and why do you want him to come here so badly?” he asked, stretching his long legs out and comfortably placing them on top of her coffee table.
“Oh Matt, I think this may be it. I’ve been looking for a way to build up our tourist trade at the beach for a while now. As this city’s mayor, I’ve got to somehow find something to draw more people and their money into our little beach city and I think I’ve found at least one way to do that,” Harmony said handing the newspaper to Matt for his review.
“I’m not sure I understand what you’re talking about Harmony? I’m not certain what good a painting of a whale will do anyway?” he said as he absently dropped the paper on the couch and headed to her kitchen in search of a cold beer.
Scooping up the paper Harmony continued, “Not just any painting of any whale, Matt. This will be a Thor Hudson painting of a life sized whale and the actual sea life that lives along our own seashore. Haven’t you heard of him? I mean he’s fabulously famous. We’ll have tourists and news media camping out here before, during and after the painting process. Because he’s been in seclusion for a while, everyone is curious about where he’s been and what he plans to do. Hudson is now one of the most sought after artists and I’m going to find a way to get him here.”
Beer in hand, Matt leaned into the doorway between Harmony’s kitchen and living room. Staring intently at her for a full minute and waiting for her eyes to find his, he calmly asked, “Without magic?”
“What?” Harmony responded, covering her face with the newspaper and refocusing her complete attention on the handsome man captured on the newspaper page.
“I said, are you going to use your magic to get Hudson here?”
“Oh, I guess I didn’t even think about that. Well, maybe a little magic couldn’t hurt, could it?” she said turning her eyes his way. “I mean, a simple spell or two, or perhaps an incantation calling for Mother Nature’s help? Just a few tiny phrases? A mere wisp of magic?”
“Harmony, some of the other mayors you’ll be competing against are your good friends. Wouldn’t you rather keep it on an even keel? That means playing fair and no magic.”
“But we really need this Matt. Even though Jasmine’s Cottages By The Sea has brought in some new visitors, we could still use a whole lot more.”
“Yeah, I know. But I’m also sure that every other mayor has their own good reason for wanting Hudson to paint up their town.”
“Okay, okay. I’ll keep it fair,” she said, turning her back momentarily so her mortal boyfriend couldn’t see her cross her fingers.
“You’re right, Matt. No magic…,” she whispered. “At least for now…”