Blackbird Lake

Blackbird Lake by Jill Gregory Page B

Book: Blackbird Lake by Jill Gregory Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jill Gregory
Tags: Romance
you’re doing, hiring him on for this, Jake. Not that I’m against giving him another chance, because personally I like the boy, but…you sure he’s up to it?”
    “I’m sure.” Jake settled back in his chair as Brady started toward them.
    Both Jake and Denny went silent as the younger man reached their table, tucked twenty feet away from the long mahogany bar and directly across from the jukebox, where Blake Shelton’s “Hillbilly Bone” was playing.
    “Have a seat,” Jake suggested when Brady merely stood there, a flush rising up his neck.
    “You heard him,” Denny added, pleasantly enough. He’d been shy all of his life and had never even really dated until he was forty-five and met Karla. Everything about his life had changed on that day.
    Now he and Karla were married, Denny was a father of two, happier than he’d ever been in his life. And he had comeinto his own. More and more, he was taking over the daily management of McDonald Construction. His father had always been the one in charge of the business, but his dad was slowing down—and Denny, at forty-nine, was sliding fairly effortlessly into a leadership role. Still, he knew his father liked to pretend nothing had changed. Sam still had a hard enough head that he was out of the hospital already today and raring to get back to work, despite the docs telling him to take a good five, six days to recover from the accident.
    “Got a business proposition for you, Brady.” Denny squinted up at the good-looking young man who’d been his best employee in years.
    Until the day he walked off the job without a word.
    Brady Farraday had left McDonald Construction one man short, and up a creek with a hard-ass client pushing for a home remodel deadline to be met. Denny would be lying if he didn’t admit he’d been pissed and furious at the kid for months.
    But Brady’s brother had died. And the boy had always been responsible up until then. Yeah, he’d give him one more shot.
    But if he ever bailed again…
    “What’s this all about?” Brady stared warily back and forth between Jake and Denny.
    “Sit your butt down and find out.” Jake pushed a menu toward a space at the table where there was an extra chair. “Hurry up,” he said in an even tone. “Denny and I are ready to jump with both feet into a new project and we need to know if you’re in or out.”
    “A new project? You mean you’d hire me again?” Dazed, Brady stared at his former boss.
    “Depends. Jake’s willing to vouch for you, to guarantee you won’t leave me in a bind again. So if you give me your word—”
    “I will. I mean, I
won’t
…run out on you, that is.”
    “Order yourself some lunch, then,” Denny told him gruffly. “And let’s get down to business.”
    A half hour later Jake took off for Travis and Mia’s place. The more he reflected on the plan to turn his land and cabins into a part-time haven for bullied kids and their families, the more he felt like this was what he was meant to do.
    He intended to have at least a quarter mile of open land in between each of the cabins. Plenty of space for people to sit out on a porch and take in the staggering mountain view, to watch wildlife right in their own backyard, to appreciate the scope and wonder and beauty of the Montana wilderness. To simply breathe.
    There could be riding lessons and group activities at the main lodge, possibly even some low-key, upbeat counseling sessions. A guide to take guests on hikes or fishing trips up to Blackbird Lake or one of the other lakes in the basin, a chance to hone new skills and make new friends.
    During most of the year, he could rent the cabins out to tourists, along with the three bedrooms on the second floor of the main house, making them available to vacationers, hikers, and fishermen, but he’d block out the summer months—and maybe two weeks of the school year’s winter recess—for the kids who needed a real break.
    Something to put a smile back on their faces,

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