Disclaimer: Weaver is the second book in the Alice Cunningham series. If you are reading and finding yourself totally confused, please read Threads first. That will help. Weaver has been written and posted. It had not been edited for minor spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. I try not to make spelling mistakes, but I'm only human. Please do not waste time by commenting on spelling and grammar. Happy reading!
The high-pitched voice made Alice Cunningham jump, nearly dropping the mug of tea in her hand. She turned, startled to find a painting hanging on the wall of her shop, stuck between two tall shelves, a portrait of a thin, squinty looking old man in round spectacles. He looked, Alice thought, rather like a banker.
“Pardon?” She said, as politely as she could. It was rather startling to be yelled at by a painting. “Did you say something?”
The painting moved. The old man shifted a little, and he had the grace to look slightly embarrassed, “Well, you might be a thief. Right?”
“Oh,” Alice cried, delighted, “You must be Mr. Duff, of Mr. Duff’s stuff! The alarm system disguised as a painting. I only ordered you a few days ago. Wow,” she mused, “Mr. Duff’s Stuff sure ships his stuff fast!” She stopped, a bit confused with all the tongue twisters.
“Well that nice lady hung me here,” Mr. Duff beamed, “the one with beautiful silver hair and the pretty smile.”
“Yes,” Alice wondered if a painting could get a crush on someone, “Azura.”
“She’s not a thief,” Mr. Duff said pointedly, and he looked at her suspiciously.
“I’m not a thief,” Alice protested, “Look, you can’t just go about accusing people all willy- nilly like that!”
“Can so,” Mr. Duff crossed his arms and puffed out his skinny sweater-vested chest. “It’s effective.”
“Well, I suppose if you call everyone a thief someone might be a thief someday.” Alice mused, “But I’m the owner.”
“So you say,” the man in the painting narrowed his eyes at her and Alice sighed, “Well, it was nice meeting you, mostly. I haven’t got time to argue though. I’m about to move the shop.”
She turned away from the painting and went into the backroom. Maya was sitting at the big oak desk, her fingers ticking away on the lap top key board. Alice had gratefully relinquished all of the paperwork to the girl, since she seemed to have a natural head for numbers. Azura was perched on the desk holding a tea cup and saucer, her long skirts draping over the side. She gave Alice a fond smile.
“Ready to move?” Alice asked.
Azura gave her a thumbs up, and Maya said, “Ready. Just let me know the moment I should close my eyes.”
“Okay,” Alice leaned around the doorframe and shouted up the staircase towards the upper suites, “Hey everyone! Moving the shop, brace yourselves!”
Gabriel poked his head out the first door and grinned down at her, “Yeehaa! Look out Prague, here we come!”
Alice smiled. Gabriel had been pushing them to go to the city of Prague for weeks now. He kept raving about the “city of one hundred spires” and how amazing it would be to visit. So Alice had finally given in. After all, she’d already made them go to Hawaii this month. The sales hadn’t been amazing. Tourists mostly wandered in, wondered out loud about the lack of puca shell necklaces and shirts that said “all I got was this lousy shirt” and then walked out again. But it had hardly mattered. She’d got to spend two sun- soaked weeks roaming the beaches with Altair. Something she’d badly needed after all that ridiculous drama with Ambrose. Not to mention, lying about in the sun all day with a muscular, bronzed Altair hadn’t been half bad either…