. . . Acting on their own agenda, local power brokers expect general contractor Azrael Hanson to monitor renovations on That House, tossing in diversions whenever possible.
. . . .Az is torn between duty to superiors and a private life he craves. If he stands with Maddy, a woman who dreams the impossible, he'll damage his career beyond salvage. If he follows orders, he'll lose a future with the only woman who makes him want forever.
Meet Madeleine Flynn, owner of Pine Tree Lodge, Serenity Harbor Maine.
Where are you from, Maddy? I was born here, at Pine Tree Lodge, though it did not bear that name in those days.
Tell us a bit about It Had To Be You. After my Grandmother's death, I was left the house and grounds as well as a boat load of money in her will. I've always been entranced with the idea of running an inn so I decided to refurbish the house and grounds and turn it into a B&B. Problems arose almost immediately when I had the devil of a time finding a general contractor who was willing to tackle the project. Circumstances happened and I met Azrael Hanson who agreed to help me.
What did you think the first time you saw him? I don't remember much of our first meeting as I'd been attacked in my home and was pretty badly beaten up. I managed to get myself to the local police station and proceeded to pass out in Az's arms.
What was your second thought? When he poked his head in the cubicle at the ER, I was looking at Remington Steele in jeans and a flannel shirt. He moves with astonishing grace and fluidity. I guess it comes from playing ice hockey for more than twenty years.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? Oh no. I was too consumed with renovating and redecorating the house with Gran's treasures and keeping my friends Suzie, Lou and Cori from killing one of the workmen--if not each other.
What do you like most about Az? He's always there for me when I need his help. At least I thought he was until I learned he was an integral part of a conspiracy to prevent the Lodge from becoming a reality.
What made you choose hospitality for a career? I feel it's in my blood. After all, my Granny was the madam at this house from before I was born. This is the only home I've ever known so I want to bring it back to its former style and grace, then share it with my guests.
Tell us a bit about Az's family. He has five or six siblings. His mother had a thing for the minor archangels so named her children after them: Azrael, Uriel, Brachiel, Haniel and three or four others; I haven't met them all yet. Uri and Brach are identical twins. The family calls them “the boys”. They are the rehab people on the project and speak with heavy Maine accents. They're identical and it's quite difficult to tell them apart.
His mother, Rosemary, is a throwback to Woodstock. She wears her hair in a thick braid which falls to the small of her back and dresses in denim jumpers, Birkenstocks and flannel shirts. She runs Hanson Scapes with an iron hand and takes no crap from anyone. Protest music plays non-stop at the garden center which annoys the crap out of the younger employees. Next to my Granny, Rosemary is my hero.
What is your biggest fear? Failing to bring the house back to what it used to be.
If you had to go back in time and do something different, what would it be? I would spend more time with Gran in the months before she died. Picking her brain. Learning where she found her strength and determination. Loving her.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I adore all the women from Steel Magnolias. Whenever I need a good cry I play the DVD and wait because sooner or later I'll be able to let loose. The scene at the cemetery breaks my heart--then almost immediately I'm doubled over, laughing. The characters are rich and layered and true to themselves and their ideals. Rather like my Gran.
Any favorite movies? Like Azrael I like sports themed movies: Major League, Miracle [On Ice], and Bull Durham. Recently, I introduced him to Spotlight. He's watched it so many times I've had to replace it.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? This came from my Gran: “Depend on no one but yerself, me girl. Let no man turn you into their personal slave.”
Is there anything you like to add for our visitors? I hope to be featured in the next Serenity Harbor anthology. The opening line will be: “I'm pregnant.”