It’s tough to grasp a second chance at love when you’re holding on to the past.
Thanks to Cassandra for inviting me as her guest today to tell you about my new release, The Cottage Next Door. It's a second-chance-at-love beach romance and this morning, with the temperature only 50 degrees outside, I could use a little beach!
After his wife died in a car accident, bestselling author Hunter McCaffrey stopped writing—and stopped living. He’s rented a beachfront cottage to try to get his head on straight, and start the long climb up from his pit of despair.
Instead of pounding out a first draft, though, he runs the beach, drinks away his pain, and tries to ignore the vibrant woman in the cottage tucked next to his.
Still floundering months after the loss of her adventure-junkie husband, Sylvie Chase hopes some beach relaxation will help her decide what to do with the rest of her life. Instead she’s wondering what to do about her unexpected attraction to Hunter, who makes her body long for the feel of his arms around her.
As Sylvie drags Hunter back to the land of the living, soon they’re agreeing to a short fling. Just to get past their sorrow, not because it means anything. But when emotions get in the way, it’s a struggle to leave the past behind and dare to love again.
Sylvie started. Hunter’s disembodied voice sounded loud in the darkness. She couldn’t see a thing on the deck next door, but had to assume he was sitting in his usual deck chair. Had he heard her moan?
Her heartbeat slowed back down to normal. “No.” She held her breath, waiting for him to swear and stomp into the cottage for intruding on his want-to-be-alone time. Or make a sarcastic comment about what she’d been doing when she thought no one was there.
“This is my favorite time at the beach,” he said, surprising her with his deep, pleasant tone.
“Because you can’t see the hundreds of people around you?”
His soft chuckle surprised her even more. He was quiet for a moment, then said, “Partly. But there’s something about the ocean at night. Do you hear it? Right now, this isn’t the fun-loving shore where kids splash and make sandcastles. It’s more primitive.” He was silent for a moment, and Sylvie got caught up in the roar of the waves as they crashed onto the beach. The sound pulled at her, called to her.
“Think of the hundreds of thousands of years the ocean has been pounding the sand,” he went on. “Eating away at the land, reclaiming it. Taking it back into the bowels of the deep.”
Her body heated more, even with the cooling breeze. His voice rolled over her, as powerful as the tug of the waves. She’d known there had to be more to him than that angry, bitter man she’d seen so far.
“Ashes to ashes? Dust to dust? Ocean to ocean?” she asked softly.
The waves pummeled the shore for several long moments before he replied, “Something like that.”
The words she’d been thinking slipped out easier in the darkness. “I’m sure she would want you to be happy.”
“What do you know?” he snapped, but Sylvie thought his voice contained more hurt than anger.
“I know what it’s like to roll over in the middle of the night and still be surprised to find the other side of the bed empty.”
“It’s like a kick in the gut every time.”
“Yeah.” She wrapped her arms around her knees. “I still save up things I want to tell him about my day…”
“And then remember she’s not there to share those things with anymore.”
“I have to look at pictures to remember what he looked like when he was healthy and fit and eager for the next adventure.”
“I can’t remember what she smelled like anymore.” Hunter’s voice cracked. “She had this soft scent like powder and flowers and I don’t know what, but I used to be able to smell it everywhere in our apartment. It’s gone now too.”
She nodded even though she knew he couldn’t see it. “I used to sleep with one of Matt’s shirts and I cried all day when I realized his scent was gone.” Sylvie was pleased she could say that without getting tears in her eyes. Maybe she’d finally reached acceptance.
The Cottage Next Door is available today!! I hope you enjoy Hunter and Sylvie's story!
To celebrate the release of The Cottage Next Door, I'm giving away a $10 gift card to one commenter. Just tell me where you like to go on vacation? Would you pick the beach...or somewhere else?