Monday, July 2, 2018

A Summer Love--Chapter One--Lenora Worth


A Summer Love
(Ladies of Love Inspired Summer Serial)



Chapter One

Lenora Worth


     “Ralph, give up, boy. You aren’t going to catch a seagull.”

     Jake Watkins grinned down at the German shepherd that stood at his feet, woofing each time a seagull cawed. The big dog was getting old but still has some spunk in him.

     And so did Jake. Maybe they’d both come home wounded and suffering, but being back at Summer Shores gave Jake hope. His physical wounds were healing. No more nighttime pain or grabbing for pills. Ralph had caught shrapnel from that bomb, too. Just a couple of deep gashes but good as new now.

     There would be no going back for these two.

     Jake lifted the leash and Ralph stood so they could keep walking along the boardwalk. The sunshine shimmered over the blue water, bringing back memories of sailing and fishing and flirting with pretty girls. Jake came back here to find that part of himself again, the part where he laughed and smiled and breathed in the fresh air. He wanted to put away the sound of machine guns and battle cries, the taste of dust and the feel of dirt. The pain of death. He was glad to be home.

     But where did he go from here?

     He’d been gone fifteen years and while Summer Shores remained mostly the same, small and quaint and proud, the perfect image of a small American town, he’d changed a lot.

     Would anyone here remember him?

     “Jake?”

     Jake pivoted away from the ice cream shop and turned to stare down the hill. “Dr. Merritt?”

     An older woman with curly gray hair approached him, her smile as bright at the sun. “It is you. In the flesh. Oh, Jake, we’re all so glad to have you home.”

     Jake hugged Dr. Cheryl Merritt close. She was an old family friend. His mother and Dr. Cheryl had been pals since they’d met in nursery school at Summer Shores Church. Dr. Cheryl had a daughter Jake’s age. A daughter he’d rather not think about right now.

     After small talk and a teary-eyed sympathy for the loss of his mother, Dr. Cheryl took his arm. “I want you to come to dinner Friday night.”

     “I’m not sure—.”

     “I won’t take no for an answer,” the petite pediatrician told him, her blue eyes daring him to refuse. “Jenny will be so glad to see you.”

     “Jenny?”

     “Oh, I didn’t mention her? She’s home from California.”

     “For the weekend?” he asked, hoping so and then wishing for more time.

     “No, for good,” Dr. Cheryl said on a smug note. Then she motioned her head and looked past him. “In fact, there she is now. We’re meeting for lunch at the Dock Café. You could join us.”

     Nick turned, his breath stopping. Jenny Merritt. Tall, tanned, curvy, with strawberry blonde wavy hair flowing around her shoulders. She wore a blue sundress and strappy white sandals.

     She looked up when her mother called, and then stopped and stared, her green eyes going wide.

     “Look who I found,” her mother shouted with too much hope. “He’s coming to dinner Friday night.”

     “Mother,” Jenny said, finally reaching them, her eyes on Jake, her frown telling him this was not a good idea. “What are you doing?”

     “I’m talking to Jake,” Dr. Cheryl said with all the innocence of a prime Southern belle and all the steel of a mother who wanted grandchildren soon.

     “Jake,” Jenny said, her smile tentative. “I didn’t know you were home.”

     “Yep.”

Ralph looked from Jake to Jenny, his big brown eyes asking the obvious question—Who is this?

Jake nodded and ignored his curious partner. “I came back to decide what to do with the house.”

     “I’m sorry about your mom,” Jenny said, her discomfort obvious in spite of the sympathy in her eyes.

     “Yeah, me too,” he replied, still angry that he hadn’t made it home in time to say goodbye before his mother passed a few months ago.

     Then Jenny asked him something that made him wonder about what might come next. “You can’t sell the beach house, Jake.”

     Jake stared at the woman he’d loved most of his life and remembered when he’d had to tell her goodbye one time too many.

     She’d ended things that day, unable to deal with him being a soldier. So why was she so concerned about him now?

     “I don’t know,” he said. “I thought it might be for the best.”

     Dr. Cheryl snorted with an unladylike disgust. “Jake Watkins, can’t you see Jenny wants you to stay in Summer Shores?”

     “Mother!”

     Jake looked at Jenny, trying to hide his smile while a becoming blush covered her freckled cheeks. “Jenny, is that true?” he asked, surprised he could still flirt. “Want me to stay around a while so we can relive some of those memories again at the beach house.”

     “Yes,” her mother said.

     “Woof,” Ralph replied.

     But Jenny, beautiful, fun, sweet Jenny just glared at him with that look he knew so well. That would be a definite no.

     “That is entirely up to you,” she said, grabbing her mother’s arm. “We have lunch plans.”

     “I’ll see you Friday night, Jake,” her mother said with a wink.

     And because teasing Jenny felt so good, Jake replied, “That’s a date, Dr. Cheryl.”

     Jenny shot him one last glance and turned and hurried her mother away.

     Ralph looked up at Jake, his dark eyes wide.

     “It’s a long story,” Jake said. “A very long story.”


    

    

6 comments:

  1. What a great start! I am rooting for something good for Jake. And Jenny.

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  2. Love this! Can't wait to see where this story goes!

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  3. Well. That’s a real teaser! I would like more please!

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  4. Hmmmm, wonder what's up.
    This looks great. Thanks for a fun start, Lenora.

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  5. Thanks, Ladies. I tried to post this morning but blogger didn't like me then. I'm already in love with Ralph, the dog, so we'll see what happens to his friend, Jake!

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