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Wood Lessons E-Book

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When the lonely carpenter finds the curvy girl of his dreams.

Shy Anna needs a change

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With a new move and job, she's ready to build the dream life she's always wanted. But will that future include a handsome carpenter?

Peter enjoys working with his hands. Woodworking has always been a calm escape for him until loneliness threatens his peace. But how is this hardworking mountain man supposed to find a woman holed up in his shop?

When Peter offers to teach Anna "wood lessons", the match is struck for a steamy union!

Content Note: A hot man in plaid meets the curvy girl of his dreams for an instalove so sweet, it's sure to make your teeth ache. Watch these two lonely people discover a love and passion that'll leave you sweating!

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From Wood Lessons

CHAPTER ONE

ANNA

The empty wall mocks me as I sit on the carpet of my new apartment. A cream couch with matching coffee table surrounds me along with the rest of my unpacked bookshelves and knick knacks, but this wall stands bare except for an inset fireplace ﹘ no mantel to interrupt the flat surface.

My eyes travel over the three cube shelves I built myself, and dread at having to buy more weighs on me. After moving from the small town I’d lived in since college, I wanted to feel like an adult ﹘ someone who’s actually put together. Building furniture from a box like a college kid felt like a step back from that goal.

“You’re being ridiculous,” I admonish myself. Furniture doesn’t make you an adult; no matter what HGTV shows.

But I can’t ignore the vision in my head of a welcoming home designed with purpose instead of a hodgepodge of things. Can’t stop the dream of inviting friends over and feeling pride instead of embarrassment at the state of my home.

What friends?

“It’ll happen,” I say aloud, praying that voicing the hope will make it a reality. I promised myself with this move I’d step out of my comfort zone and be more outgoing. Part of the rut I found myself in back home was limiting my world to work and home, so socializing became harder the longer between visits with friends became. Everyone I knew lived an hour or more away with busy lives filled with husbands and children.

Somehow, I became the hermit friend despite my best intentions.

Not this time.

Crawling over to the laptop resting on the coffee table, I start searching for small businesses that specialize in custom furniture ﹘ a clear image of a beautiful mantel and bookcase becoming the focal point of the room appearing in my mind’s eye.

The vision symbolized friendship and community. A piece of furniture tangled with my dream ﹘ two seemingly unrelated things symbolizing the bright future I hoped to build.

Releasing a deep breath, I shrug. “Here goes nothing.”

***

Two weeks and multiple email exchanges later, I turn onto a gravel drive, following it to the home of CC Designs. Their reviews mentioned excellent service with quick turnaround times, so I’d messaged them for a quote. Spending so much money made me uneasy, but I figured it meant quality. Besides, could I really put a price on my dream of hosting friends? Something this piece was a key part of?

Reassuring myself, I keep driving until a large barn set back from a house looms ahead. Today, I’m inspecting the progress made, and nerves cause sweat to gather under my arms.

These are professionals while I’m just a woman pretending to know what I’m doing. Imposter syndrome rides me hard, but fake it until you make it, right? Normal people do this all the time which means I can handle it, too.

Parking next to a black SUV, I breathe deeply in an effort to calm my racing heart before grabbing my purse and getting out. Despite being fifteen minutes from the city limits, the area looks like it belongs on a mountainside with forests of trees surrounding it. Wind ruffles the treetops, carrying the whine of power tools emitting from the barn.

A woman steps outside of the house and waves. “Hi! You must be Anna; I’m Cora. Did you have any trouble finding us?” 

I shake my head and force a confident smile. “Nope; for once GPS didn’t lead me astray.” Plus, I’d driven by their entrance earlier to double-check the address, but she didn’t need to know about my paranoid behavior.

Cora laughs then continues, “Awesome! Peter and Chris are in the barn working on some projects right now. I can show you what we have done so far, and you can see part of the process. Sound good?” 

Nodding in agreement, we begin walking towards the barn, our shoes crunching the gravel underneath.

“So, this is your first custom piece?”

“Yep, I felt very adult going over all the details.” I joke, thankful for the brief easing of tension coalesced in my neck and shoulders. 

“Ha! I still feel that way, and we’ve been doing this for four years now.” 

“When does it stop being adulting and start being just living? Maybe when we’re like fifty?” A running gag between my friend group flickers in my mind. We used to laugh about how close we were to forty in college like that number meant something important, and now the age keeps shifting as we grow older.

She shakes her head, sending the high ponytail swishing back and forth. “Maybe…”

We reach open barn doors where I can see one guy using a power saw while another looks to be marking a two by four.

“Hey!” I jump at Cora’s unexpected shout. One man looks up then taps the other who turns off the saw and removes his safety glasses. Damn, these are some good looking men. They both have plain tees under open plaid shirts with dark jeans and boots ﹘ exactly what I’d imagine a guy who works with his hands to wear.

“Guys, this is Anna. She ordered the bookcase mantel. Anna, this is Peter and my husband, Chris.” She gestures to the blonde who bows his head in greeting.

Peter comes over to shake my hand. “Nice to meet you.”

A blush stains my cheeks as I return the sentiment. His rough hand sends my imagination into overdrive as it leaps to past fantasies of lonely lumberjacks claiming their women.

You’ve just met the man; no one’s claiming you.

“She’s here to see the progress we’ve made. Join us, you’re the one doing the bulk of the building on this one,” Cora says.

Shoving the ridiculous thoughts aside, I take a deep breath and remind myself I’m here on business, not to drool over this attractive man. Save that for later.

When we reach my project, a plea runs through my mind: please don’t embarrass yourself by asking stupid questions.

“So, what do you think?”

Even unfinished, it’s beautiful ﹘ the perfect statement piece. Relief that I made the right decision relaxes my tense muscles. “Wow, it’s amazing.” I reach forward to touch it when Peter quickly grabs my hand.

“Careful; it’s not completely sanded yet.” His gruff voice softens as I freeze at the contact.

“Sorry.” My hand pulls back, but it takes a second for him to let go. Or you wish he hesitated, I berate myself. Pull yourself together. Remember: professional.

“Right…” Cora glances at Peter before returning to me. “You can see that the base is built, and once Peter’s done sanding, I’ll get started with priming and painting. But you’re satisfied with the work so far?”

“Definitely; it’s way better than I imagined.” Massive, towering over my short stature, I’m grateful I won’t be the one carrying it up my apartment stairs.

“Did you want to add anything else like doors? Because now would be the time to do it,” Cora asks, making notes on her phone.

“No, I think this is fine.” I’d already gone back and forth with the door idea and didn’t want to revisit the debate.

“In that case, I think we’re good here, Peter. Anna and I will finish up with the color choices. Thanks for your help!”

Peter nods, his gaze lingering on mine before leaving with us following behind to head towards the house. Cora’s studio is in the front room, shining bright with creams and blues decorating the walls and furniture. It resembles one of the HGTV showrooms I’d thought of when I came up with this original plan.

After an hour talking about different shades of grey, which I oddly enjoy as a graphic designer, we finish and go back outside where the guys are taking a break. Both of them rest against a wooden bench with water bottles held between their hands.

“All done?” Chris asks as we reach them while Peter straightens to his full height ﹘ the gesture of respect warms me. Maybe chivalry isn’t dead, after all.

“Yep! How are things here?”

“Good, we’ve made a decent headway on the Garth family’s collection.” He gestures to a table and two chairs with intricate legs sitting at the edge of the barn’s concrete floor.

Admiration washes through me, and I absentmindedly murmur, “I wish I could do stuff like that.”

“I could teach you,” Peter suggests, confounding me with the immediate offer. Chris and Cora exchange confused looks while I struggle to decide if he’s being serious.

“Oh, no, That’s not ﹘”

He cuts me off in a rush. “I have everything at my shop, and once you have the tools it’s easy to get started. We could make a simple birdhouse for you to try first. Very basic.” Earnest grey eyes bore into me, and my potential answer hangs in the air like it’s of vast importance to him.

Yes or no. What’s it gonna be?

“Alright, sure. I’d like that,” I agree.

Why not? I want to change my life, right? Old me would never agree to spending time alone with a man I don’t know ﹘ especially not a man as hot as Peter. Anxiety about sounding dumb or humiliating myself would be too much of a risk to take.

Who are you kidding?

I’ll still be nervous, but I’m committed now.

“Cool, I can get your number from Cora, and we can work something out.”

“Sounds good,” I say, speculating if this is his smooth way of getting my number or if he’s genuinely being a nice guy offering lessons. Probably the latter.

“Yeah…” Cora drawls as she stares at Peter who avoids her scrutiny, mumbling something about getting back to work and waving good-bye. Taking my cue, I drag my focus away from his retreating form, excuse myself, and head home ﹘ the drive flying by in a haze as I replay the afternoon.

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