Evelyn Moore is just another disenfranchised American girl, trying to scrape by with the help of her best friend, Lily, during the Depression in New York City. When a tumultuous event cascades into a roller coaster series of them a few short weeks before the grand opening of the much anticipated 1939 World’s Fair, Evelyn worries how she’ll survive, even more so when she realizes that her every near miss ends up that way by the deliberate effort of her new and complicated boss, Andrew James. Cool, collected and complicated, Andrew James is the wunderkind behind much of his family and employer’s success but knowing the ropes so well you can always pull all the strings is only so rewarding. When Evelyn unexpectedly tumbles into his life, he finds himself pushed outside his wheelhouse and peering into a new and delightfully intriguing unknown, one with a future he relishes. A world of tomorrow.View More
“Stop, Peter!” Sarah exclaimed, whirling to face behind her. She shot her brother an angry glare. “Peter, for pity’s sake, don’t throw dirt clods at your sister,” Andrew called over his shoulder, shifting his swaddled, sleeping son from his right shoulder to his left as they walked the long, tree-lined drive that led to the James’ estate, perched with its back on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Gulls rode the ocean updrafts in the afternoon sun above the glistening water, occasionally diving when something of interest caught their eye. On the opposite side of the tree-lined drive, his wife’s tiny orchard of glossy-leaved oranges in full bloom left a sweet scent drifting over the drive on the warm, salty breeze off the sea. Not far away, Evelyn's gated garden was growing lush with upright stalks of corn, twined in the loving arms of pole beans with the wide leaves of squash spreading in a carpet at their feet along the ground in one row. In another, her tomatoes were already d
“M-ma-ma.” The stuttering word was an alarming half-sob and half-gurgle from the wounded Becky. “M-ma-m-ma.” Dear God! Whoever it was had shot her! That poor, helpless girl! Why!? She wasn’t a threat! And there was absolutely nothing here of any value! Evelyn’s heart leapt to her throat and hammered painfully. But she stayed close to the wall, inching forward on tiptoe to clutch at Andrew’s jacket. She pointed to the floor where their shadows fell long across it from the single overhead lamp in the middle of the room. If they drew too close to the door, their shadows would be visible to the intruder in the darkened hall leading to the bedrooms. She pointed to the window, and Andrew jerked his chin towards it in acknowledgement. Escape. They had to escape. Outside, on the sidewalk, they could summon the patrolling police officer. They could summon help. Men trained for this. Men with other guns. They had to move fast. Miranda’s daughter needed them. Even above the scuffling noises fr
Andrew rose slowly to his feet, an antagonized muscle twitching along his clean-shaven jaw. His expression looked like a bomb about to explode. Evelyn drew a sudden breath, one hand clapping over her mouth. She stared, in turns, first at Will, then at Miranda, and her mind whirled. What was it Alexander Lowell had said the day that Detective Kelly had attempted to arrest her? The same day he’d later resigned from the police department. Something about the detective being fed what he needed to lay an accusation upon Evelyn. The question of ‘why’ anyone cared about a lowly former secretary enough to attempt to kill her, let alone invest the effort in framing her was growing more convoluted by the minute. But it was clear it was centered here, with the account belonging to Glorietta Moreno and her rights as an heir to it. “It’s a stretch,” Andrew said softly, nodding towards Miranda, “but I can see why your mother might have had Russell’s name on that account. N
“You folks just planning on waiting?” their cabbie asked, his dark eyes studying Andrew and Will in the rearview mirror, despite that Evelyn was seated between them. “Meter’s running. Makes no never mind to me if you do, but I’ll have to circle the block or the flatfoots will cite me.” “How long do we have to decide?” Andrew asked, reluctant to have the cab move on the off chance that they might miss Miranda's departure for work during the process. “’Nother minute or two at most.” “Thank you.” He shifted slightly on the cab’s rear seat so he could better see his companions. “I know we’re early, but if she’s keeping business hours, I’d have expected she’d have to allow time to travel to a workplace. You’re certain this is the building, Will?” “It’s the place,” he replied definitively. “I can go in and wait. Tail her to wherever she’s going, then come get you.” “Is it possible she recognized you yesterday?” Evelyn asked, peering through the murk
The dancing had worked like a charm. For a couple of hours. Andrew had managed to get just shy of another couple hours on top of that, burning time off the afternoon by alternating between listening to the orchestra rehearse, dancing, and finally, by slipping a bribe to the broadcasting staff to show Evelyn their equipment set-up and to take their sweet time about it. After that, she’d become too fretful to do much beyond distractedly, which had quickly spoiled the ballroom option for both of them. They’d retired to their drawing room, taken afternoon tea, then Evelyn’s pacing had begun again in earnest. He had to admit, watching her as she combed through her drying hair at the dressing table, it might be time to worry about Will a little. It was going on eight o’clock. Late by any business standard, but certainly well past the time when most diners catering to the kind of clients they’d seen at the DeBaliviere Diner and Waffle House would be visiting
Wednesday morning in St. Louis dawned dark and gloomy and only marginally better than it had been upon their arrival early afternoon on Monday. When Evelyn emerged from the bedroom into the drawing room where he and the constantly-moving Will waited, Andrew flicked the newspaper he’d been reading down and smiled. They’d all slept poorly—again. They’d all woken late—again—and after their enjoyable brunch yesterday, both men were eager to see what other offerings were available in the East Lounge’s dining area. “Well?” she asked, her red-tinged and particle-irritated eyes roving the drawing room’s lush furnishings, immediately spotting the unmistakable coating of fine black powder and ash. “Are we trapped inside again today? It seems faintly better.” Will snorted. “By comparison to yesterday, being buried in black sand would seem better.” Andrew chuckled, setting aside the St. Louis Star-Times he’d been reading. He rifled through a stack of newspapers o
The hotel’s ballroom was a gently baroque style. Its elegant space was replete with all manner of luxuries one would expect of a high-profile hotel, no matter where one might visit in the world—custom paneled with artfully etched-mirror and plaster walls, gold-leafed accents and intricate crown moldings. Above the near-magical dancefloor, which was lit from below, hung in the decorative ceiling, a ponderous crystal chandelier lit the warm wooden dancefloor beneath it. Along the periphery, undulating balconies supported by Corinthian pilasters gave an air of classicism to the space, but one not overly staid. These generous galleries provided seating for those who had only come for a meal, to watch the dancing or to listen to the orchestra. They’d dressed for a late dinner, but though the orchestra played, their music broadcast exactly as Evelyn had always dreamed of experiencing, she and Andrew hadn’t danced. In fact, they hadn’t stayed much longer than
“The Coronado was built, and I believe is now run, by Preston Bradshaw,” Andrew advised more than an hour later as their cab pulled away from the curb at the train depot. “He graduated from Columbia with my brother, Russell. The two were quite good friends as I recall. My father introduced him to Stanford White in New York City where he worked before returning to St. Louis. He’s responsible for the monumental hotels on Lindell Boulevard. The Melbourne and the Coronado at midtown and the theatre district. And opposite, near the Central West end, the Chase and the Forest Park hotels were also his commissions.” “Did you know him?” Evelyn asked, closing her burning eyes and resting her head against his shoulder. “Is that why we’re staying at the Coronado?” She left unspoken the reminder that the Coronado Hotel, in particular the hotel’s famed Caprice Club, was where they’d found Charlotte to serve Andrew’s divorce paperwork after their tip-off from the Princes in Los Angeles.
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