Miranda jumped when the doorbell rang. She rushed to the kitchen door, drying her hands with a kitchen towel. It had to be the construction laborer her brother Aidan had recommended.
Opening the door just as the doorbell rang again, she came face to face with clear blue eyes. Eyes that spoke nothing of construction, but looked in to the long-guarded areas of her heart.
Suddenly the man made a slight sound and his eyes--eyes that mesmerized her--were dancing.
She cleared her throat to cover the awkwardness and reached for the hand she too late realized was extended toward her. Had she been gawking? Surely dreams had taken flight. Dreams that had no place in her life after David. Dreams that died on a fiery field in Iraq.
The man wore tight jeans and a royal blue T-shirt and extended a business card.
Professional Fixer-Upper. You need it, I fix it.
The only other thing it had was a phone number and e-mail address.
It didn't even list a website for people to visit. She didn't have the heart to tell him it didn't look professional. Maybe if she hired him and he worked out well, she'd help him make professional looking cards to help build his business.
She stepped aside. "It's nice to meet you, Mr. Fitzgerald. Please come in. My name's Miranda Scott. I hear you know my brother."
A smile crossed his face. "Call me Dan. Your brother and I met at church one Sunday, but I wouldn't exactly say we know each other. I mentioned I was trying to get my company going and he was nice enough to offer to drum up some business for me."
She motioned for him to sit at the kitchen table, then crossed to the other side and pulled out a chair facing him. "So you recently moved to the area? I haven't seen you in town before--not that I know everyone, of course. We're a small town, but growing every day."
He shifted in his seat, suddenly looking uncomfortable. "I've traveled a lot the past few years, trying to find a new place to live. Someplace I might feel happy. I decided it might be time to stop moving around, so a few weeks ago I turned in at the motor court on the way into town and rented a trailer for a month to see how I liked the town."
Miranda frowned. The Harper Motor Court? He couldn't have picked a seedier location. Questions flew at her a mile a minute. Maybe this wasn't the man she wanted working on Aunt Abigail's Gingerbread house. Perhaps someone a little more established would be better. Safer.
Almost as if reading her mind, he stood and forced a friendly laugh. "I'd be happy to look at the house and see what kind of damage we're looking at and how much work needs to be done." He turned halfway to the back door. "Or, I can leave if that makes you more comfortable."
Miranda closed her eyes. I'm sorry, God. Help me know what to say to this man. She'd just judged him on nothing other than where he lived. Her actions were little better than a snob, and he'd seen it in an instant. Lord, help me. You know I don't judge people that way. And hate those that do. Please forgive me.
She stretched out her hand as a peace offering, and made a guilty face, trying to keep her eyes from staring at his light brown hair. When she'd opened the door he'd had on a hat that read Hard Rock Cafe, Orlando, but he'd removed it before he entered the house. At least he has good manners!
"Please don't leave. I'd love you to look at the house so you can determine if it's fixable and maybe give me a quote."
"Everything's fixable, ma'am. Except people. Once they're broke, it's hard to put the pieces back together again. But as for houses, anything can be done. Just depends on how much time, money and effort you want to put into it."
"Well, I have all the time in the world to help repair it. I only have two more bookings through the end of the year, and they'll be in the front bedrooms. I'll be busy with them part of the time, but if they're out sightseeing after breakfast, I'd have plenty of time to help with repairs. Depending on the weather, people that stay here usually head to the antique shops or the nearby springs. Unfortunately, what I don't have is a lot of money." She crossed to the window and gazed out, almost forgetting he was there.