Authors: Karolyn James
Karolyn James Books
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Brothers of Rock
A Voice to Love
A Song for Us
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WELCOME TO FERRY CREEK!
small town built on family, hope, and a chance to find true love.
A CHANCE AT LOVE
(A FERRY CREEK NOVEL)
Coming to Ferry
Creek was supposed to be a short trip to settle a past, not begin a future.
billionaire businessman Sullivan Chasen receives a phone call that his father
is dying is the day his world became turned upside down. The problem is that
his father has been dead for ten years. The bigger problem is that the person
who called keeps calling, insisting that Sullivan
s father is going to die soon.
A shocking DNA
test suddenly has Sullivan questioning everything he has ever known and has him
packing up and driving to the small town of Ferry Creek, North Carolina.
confronts a past he never knew existed, including a half-brother who is living
in a small apartment above the family diner, a local staple in Ferry Creek.
What begins as a
short trip to settle any necessary needs soon turns into a new life for
Sullivan. The longer he stays in Ferry Creek, the more he falls in love with
the small town
a waitress named Jess who works at the diner.
It wasn't the top floor of the
building that attracted Sullivan Chasen to it, nor was it the fresh deep grey
color carpeting, rich, shiny furniture, or lemon fresh clean scent that
lingered in the office. It was the view. From the main conference room, where Sullivan
stood with his hands in his pockets, he was able to see the faint silhouettes
of the buildings far into the horizon. From his office, Sullivan was able to
look upon the subtle, almost forestry view of Alexandria, Virginia. There was a
better sense of home about being in a nice, small city that Sullivan enjoyed.
Today wasn't about home. Today was
about business. The ironic part was that Chasen didn't even have a home. He had
an expensive condo just minutes from his office that came with a doorman and building
fees that were high enough to make a man sick.
A knock at the door took Sullivan's
eyes away from the view.
He looked back with a nod.
"Parker. Are we ready?"
Parker Ruthers adjusted his tie and
nodded. "All set. They
coming up right now."
said. He walked down the long conference table, his fingertips touching the
smooth surface. "Let's stick to our figure the best we can. They need us
more than we need them."
"Is that the truth, or just a
Sullivan looked at Parker and
caught the smug grin on his top employee's face. Parker had been working with
Sullivan for almost five years now. He had worked on some of Sullivan's biggest
real estate deals and had helped Sullivan navigate through the real estate
crash that wiped out a large chunk of Sullivan's wealth. During that time,
Sullivan had one request... nobody lose their job. No matter what, nobody was
allowed to lose their job. The company survived on a rotating schedule and a
credit line that made Sullivan nervous each time Parker brought it up.
But they survived.
The company thrived, and thanks to
some risk-taking by Sullivan, they were able to purchase enough property to
keep themselves busy for decades. Now, Sullivan wanted to hold the property and
let it increase in value for a little while.
Today, however, wasn't about
holding. It was about signing papers. It was about closing a deal that had been
on the table for almost a decade. A deal that would help shape up a tough
neighborhood and would soothe a place in Sullivan's heart. He had put a
personal deal on the back burner for about two years now and it was time to
make things right. Not a man of faith nor a man of superstition, Sullivan made
a pact with himself on the roof of an apartment building in New York City
during a party when he was younger. It was before the city skyline changed and
before the after effects of that skyline changing, long before economic
problems, personal problems, friends leaving, friends fading, and family dying.
It was a time when wearing a suit was still cool. When eating cheap noodles
four nights a week was habit. When he used the pittance of a paycheck he
received to wine and dine any lucky NYC single women. One of those single women
t single, which led to
him losing his first job after his boss found out Sullivan was the
his boss's daughter decided to have the night before her wedding that
Sullivan had sat on the roof of
that building nursing a piss warm bottle of beer. Using his thumb he peeled
most of the label off the bottle, letting the tiny pieces fall to the rooftop.
His feet were up on the ledge of the roof and the skyline stretched for miles.
The building right across had plenty of tenants with their windows and blinds
opened; all walks of life just simply living. Sullivan knew greater things
waited, but then again, so did the rest of everyone he knew. Everyone thought
their shit didn't stink and that their young, pretty faces were going to net
them millions. After all, they were in New York City, right? But that night
Sullivan swore to himself as he put his head back and gazed upon a blank night
sky that when his time came to become rich he wouldn't flaunt it. He wouldn't be
beautiful. He wouldn't make it the only thing he had in life. In fact, if - no,
when - he became rich he would give a lot away. He would do all the things he
never had growing up in a rundown forgotten New Jersey city that sat just
twenty minutes from the beach. There was now no real playgrounds, just rusted
skeletons of a better time that had been occupied by the homeless and drug
dealers. No organized sports. No real homes for anyone, except Sullivan. His
parents did their best and while they always came up short, it was his father
who instilled plenty of hope in Sullivan.
That night in New York City changed
Because it wasn't long after that
most Sullivan packed a bag and traveled south to DC for a job.
The rest, as they so often say,
Sullivan opened the leather folder
in front of him and nodded to Parker. Three men and two women sat along the
table. They all looked uninterested in hearing Sullivan talk again.
The deal had to be done the right
way. Sullivan wasn't going to bend over the conference table and let these
people steal his wallet. He had a heart, but he didn't wear on his sleeve. Hell
no. That kind of nonsense could see a man off to bankruptcy.
"We need a discount,"
Sullivan said. "I'm going to steal this show and keep it simple. It's
Friday and nobody wants to work. Not even me. So, let's negotiate a discount
and go from there."
"You're valuing the property
at its lowest value," the man at the far end of the table said.
Charles Strutten, businessman
extraordinaire. A man who bought condos in Florida in 2007 and teetered on
losing everything he ever owned in 2009. The man sometimes forgot that it was
Sullivan who helped him find a bank willing to restructure his loans and also
helped him sell two condos at a small profit. Now that his wealth was growing,
so was his ego.
"What do you have it valued
at?" Sullivan asked.
"Numbers are going to be
thrown out there," Parker cut in. "But are we getting anywhere?"
"I value everyone's
opinion," Sullivan said.
"We did this for two hours
last time," Parker said.
His face looked drained. He was red
cheeked and annoyed.
Sullivan looked at Charles.
"Young blood. Can't handle it."
Sullivan's cell phone began to
vibrate on the wooden conference table. Sullivan leaned and checked. It was a
number he didn't know. That was a rarity for him these days. He pressed a
button to silence the call.
"Do you need to take
that?" Charles asked.
"My biggest priority is right
here," Sullivan said. He pushed from the table and stood up. His hands
went to his pockets and his gaze to the window. "It's a shame what's
happened around here, isn't it? Big banks closing their doors to lending.
Holding cash, waiting to see what the market is going to do. Pieces of land
sitting vacant, breeding grounds for mischief and crime." Sullivan looked
over his shoulder. "Parker, didn't you tell me that crime in Alexandria
has gone up... ten percent..."
"Simple crimes," Parker
said. "Eleven percent."
Sullivan said. "All we need to do is put our heads together and clean it
"On whose dime?" Charles
Sullivan smiled at the robust man.
Sweat collected on his forehead. He was nervous because he was under the knife,
so to say. He worked for the city and they weren't going to mess around any
longer with unused property and deals that wouldn't follow through. For all
Sullivan knew, this could be Charles' last stand before losing his job.
"I hate these meetings,"
Sullivan said. "I'd rather be out there watching things happen. Everything
in this world seems to be at a stand still. And all we're doing is squabbling
over the truth because we think the truth lies on a piece of paper - a balance
sheet, income statement - when in reality the truth is already in front of us.
Just waiting to be found."
Sullivan's phone began to go off
again. He stepped back to the table. It was the same number as before. He
pressed a button and terminated the call this time. He looked at Parker. Parker
raised an eyebrow.
"Perfect," Sullivan said.
Sullivan opened his mouth and the
office phone at the end of the table beeped.
It was Beverly, his secretary. A
grandmother of three with a heart of gold, six years to retirement, but
sometimes with the common sense of a child. Sullivan stared at the phone for a
second, shaking his head. He then pointed to Parker who promptly jumped up and
rushed to the phone.
"I apologize for that,"
Sullivan said. "Now, where were we?"
"You were spinning a fairy
tale," Charles said. "One where we give you land and you build on it
and make tons of money."
Sullivan considered the thought for
a second. "That would be nice, wouldn't it?"
"Bev... okay. Calm down."
Sullivan glanced back at Parker.
His eyes were wide, confused.
Sullivan asked in a whisper.
Parker shook his head. He then
rolled his eyes. Sullivan wasn't sure what to make of it, but he did have
something more important to deal with in his office, in his conference room, at
his conference table.
"I'm looking to build
something that matters," Sullivan said. "That's all. I don't want to
get into political bullshit. If I can be honest."
Everyone shifted in their seats.
The squeaks of leather called out as Sullivan realized he had just made
"I don't want to shake hands
with the mayor," Sullivan said. "I don't want my picture taken. I
don't want to cut a ribbon with a giant pair of scissors. Okay? I just want to
take that piece of land and make it something for the community. It can be
stepping stone for all of us. Something to start with."
"You do know the mayor enjoys
his picture being taken," Charles said.
"From what I remember during
the last election, he had pictures surface..."
Charles waved a hand. "We're
not going that way."
Charles finally opened his folder
and began to scan through documents his finance team had prepared. This was how
it always went. Two finance teams battling it out over spreadsheets and
Behind Sullivan he could still hear
Parker on the phone with Beverly. Now Sullivan was getting annoyed. This was an
important meeting for the company - and for Sullivan personally. Sullivan had
funded payroll for a long time out of his own pocket to keep someone like
Beverly on payroll and working instead of collecting unemployment, worrying
about her bills. He moved down to Parker and grabbed the phone out of his hand.
He covered the receiver.
"What the hell is going
on?" he asked through gritted teeth.
His eyes moved right; Charles was
still researching through documents.
"I'm sorry," Parker
whispered. "She's upset. Said someone keeps calling looking for you."
"Who the hell wants me that
"She said something about...
Sullivan's face became stern.
Parker's cheeks flushed for a second. He tugged on the phone.
"I'll tell her to just ignore
the calls until we're done here," Parker said.
Sullivan pulled on the phone,
taking it from Parker's hand.
"Listen to me," Sullivan
whispered. "Keep an eye here for a second." Sullivan turned his back
to the conference table, which he hated to do. He put the phone to his ear and
reminded himself to stay calm and collected. He always swore he'd never become
that jackass boss who screamed at employees.
"Beverly," Sullivan said.
"Oh, Mr. Chasen," Beverly
said. "I'm so sorry. I know you're in your meeting. But this man. He keeps
calling and calling."
"What man? What's he
Sullivan could hear murmuring
Charles began to pose questions
with Parker. Sullivan trusted Parker.
"Mr. Chasen, it's about your
father," Beverly said.
"Beverly, tell me what this
man said. Please."
"I'm so sorry," Beverly
said. "I tried to get his name and number. I said you'd call back. He
didn't believe me. He said he called your cell phone."
Sullivan made a fist with his free
hand as he shut his eyes. He wanted to scream.
"Okay, okay. I don't want to
be the one to tell you this, Mr. Chasen. But the man said your father is sick.
He's very sick. And he's not going to make it."
Sullivan exhaled a breath and
laughed. "That's what he said?"
"Yes. Over and over..."
"Some man called to tell you
"Yes. Mr. Chasen, why are you
Sullivan rubbed his forehead. He
was laughing but his heart was aching.
"Beverly... my father isn't
sick. My father isn't going to die."
"How do you know?"
"Because my father's been dead
for almost ten years."