Did you miss Chapter One?
From Dying for Gold
At six p.m., we finally ushered everyone out of the store. Three
cases of champagne later, we’d rung in one of our best nights
for fine jewelry. Dad was grudgingly pleased, even if gold had taken a
back seat to fine stones for one day.
Ginger was beside herself, squealing every three minutes. “We
need to go out and celebrate!”
“I have a date with Jason,” I said, pressing my hand against my
tummy to quell the butterflies.
Tonight could be the big night!
“Right, right,” Ginger said. She glanced over at Wendy. The two
never went out without me, but it seemed that the day had been so
successful that they might be gearing up for it. “Well, do you want to
get a glass of Chardonnay with me over at the Wine Jug?”
Wendy shrugged. “Sure, why not? I’ve tolerated you all day. I might
as well tolerate you a little longer.” Ginger giggled as if Wendy had
I pinched Wendy. “Be nice.”
Wendy laughed. “Okay, I’m just kidding. Besides we need to be
together so you can call us when you get your big news.”
I slipped my cell phone into my pocket.
“Don’t worry, I’ll call you guys. How late will you be at the Wine
“Late,” Ginger said. “We’re celebrating. We’re going to be late.”
Wendy glanced at her watch. “Well, my darling husband will be
home from the mine—”
Ginger grabbed Wendy’s arm. “No you don’t. If we go to the Wine
Jug together, you can’t ditch me.”
“I’ll walk with you guys since it’s on my way to Jason’s,” I said,
wiggling my fingers in Dad’s direction.
Dad, who was closing down the final till, said, “See you in the
morning. Don’t stay out too late.”
I hadn’t exactly told him that I expected Jason to propose tonight. I
knew Dad wasn’t very fond of the idea of Jason and me getting
married. Dad wanted me to marry again, sure, but Jason’s career goals
were not part of Dad’s overall plan. Dad had made it clear that he
wanted me to stay in Golden and run The Nugget, and Jason was in
line for a promotion and the new position included moving to New
As it happened, I personally loved the idea of moving to New York.
The Big Apple was glamorous: skyscrapers, fine dining, Fifth Avenue
department stores with designer names, theater, and opera.
All we had designer in Golden were secondhand goods sold in a
small store around the corner from The Nugget. If you wanted to do
any real shopping, you had to head down the Sierra foothills and into
Sacramento to hit a mall. But even then, it wasn’t nearly as sophisti‐
cated as New York.
Ginger, Wendy, and I walked the steep and windy streets of down‐
town Golden, passing the Chocolate Shoppe, the antique clocktower,
and the theater. Dusk was falling, and one by one, the vintage lamp‐
posts that lined the narrow walkways flickered on.
We stopped in front of the Wine Jug before saying goodbye.
“Call me first thing,” Ginger said, pushing open the door to the bar.
Wendy followed her in, but not before turning around and
mouthing to me, “Call me first!”
I waved at them and then proceeded up the hill toward Jason’s
apartment. It was strange that he and I hadn’t spoken all day, but
maybe it was because he had a surprise in store for me . . .
Like a proposal.
I pushed the thought out of my mind. No need to go overboard
with anticipation. If the time was right, Jason would know.
I’d been married before, but only for a short time. We’d both been
straight out of high school and considered it a starter marriage. At
least that’s what everyone else called it, I think partly to make me feel
better. Being a divorcée at twenty-one is not exactly what a girl
dreams about, and it still broke my heart to think about how quickly
it all fell apart for us. But things were different now.
This time around it’d be forever.
I turned the corner on Jason’s street and climbed the rickety stair‐
case to his apartment. In real estate lingo, they’d call the staircase orig‐
inal, but in reality it was one board shy of a full disaster.
I pressed the doorbell, waiting for Jason to answer. After a
moment, the door flew open and my boyfriend appeared. There was
stubble on his normally clean-shaven cheeks, his shirt was wrinkled,
and he looked like he hadn’t slept in twenty-four hours.
Ah! My computer genius.
I pressed my lips to his. “What’s going on, Jason? You’re a mess.
Did I wake you?”
He dragged a hand across his blond hair. “No, um, I’ve been work‐
ing. You know, I’m focusing on that promotion, so I was . . .” He
shrugged his shoulders. “Did we have plans for tonight?”
“Yeah.” My heart sank. He’d forgotten our date altogether. So
much for a proposal. “I thought we were going to have dinner.”
“Oh.” He looked befuddled. “Um.” He scratched his head. “I think
I’ve got a box of pasta somewhere. You want to have spaghetti and
“Hmm. Spaghetti and sauce sounds appetizing,” I teased, poking
him in the ribs, but he looked more offended than happy.
“Come on in,” he said.
I followed him into his apartment. There were papers strewn
across his coffee table, and his laptop was open and buzzing.
Jason did a little a jig and rotated his body so that it blocked my
view of his screen. He seemed a little jittery.
Why was he acting so strange?
“Are you even hungry?” I asked.
“I could eat,” he answered. “You know, I can always eat.”
He padded over to the kitchen and waited for me to follow. He pulled
open the refrigerator door. There was a half-full bottle of Chardonnay
and a carton of eggs. Aside from that, the refrigerator was empty.
“I cleaned out the fridge earlier,” he said.
“Do you want to go out to eat?”
“Out?” He suddenly looked ashen. “Uh, you know, I’m working on
this project. I don’t think I have time to go out. I’ll miss my deadline.”
“Well, I could fry a couple eggs for us,” I said, ignoring the unset‐
tled feeling creeping into my heart.
He rocked from his toes to his heels and then back again. “If you’re
hungry, that’s fine. Or we could order takeout.”
Jason was always ordering takeout, the ultimate bachelor. I figured
one day when we were married, I’d show him what a regular Martha
Stewart I was. I could cook with the best of them. I opened the small
cupboard that made up his pantry.
“Let’s see if I can find some beans and salsa or something. I’m sure
I can make something yummy out of those eggs.”
“No, don’t bother. It’s kind of a hassle to cook.” He pulled out the
bottle of Chardonnay and poured a glass for me.
“It’s only a hassle to cook if you’re not hungry,” I said.
“I am hungry,” he admitted.
“Well, then I’ll make something.” I rummaged a bit more through
his cupboard and came up empty-handed. “If you had some chorizo
and peppers, I could make you Huevos a la Flamenca.”
“I love it when you talk sexy to me,” he said, pouring himself a
glass of Chardonnay.
I socked him in the shoulder. “It’s not sexy, it’s Spanish.”
“I guess we’ll have to settle for fried eggs. You do have oil, don’t
you?” I asked.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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