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from Return to Sandy Shores by Shirley Holder Platt

Copyright © 2019–2021 Shirley Holder Platt

Chapter 28 - Trent

With Tessa back in Chicago, Mom being well cared for in rehab, my worries about Dad abated, and Killer settled, I had time to wonder why Samantha hadn’t called me, or at least sent a text to say eff-off. I stopped by to have breakfast with Mom. I figured I could endure the runny, scrambled eggs if she could. She introduced me to her table mates, three women in their eighties, one who kept falling asleep in her chair. I prayed that I’d never have to stay in a place like this and wondered how Mom kept up her cheerful face. When we finished the last of our coffee, I wheeled her to the therapy room, or as she called it, the torture chamber. I kissed her on the forehead and said my goodbye as a tall woman greeted Mom with an “Are you ready for this?” I left before I could hear Mom’s reply.

I was at loose ends about my life. I had a month to figure out if I would stay at the marina, if I would get a job close to the parents, and if I was honest with myself, I was obsessed with a certain woman in a different town. Instead of doing the responsible thing that I’d normally chose to do, I drove to Sandy Shores. The whole time, I rehearsed my speech. At the shell shop, I parked and took a few deep breaths. Why was this making me so nervous? No woman had ever affected me like this. I started to turn around and go back to the boat. I could pull up the mooring lines, set the sail, and head to ports unknown. In a month or two, I wouldn’t remember there ever was a redhead to think about. I stared into the shop windows. As I reached for the {} to put the car into reverse, she walked to the front and began rearranging the merchandise.

I sat, transfixed, as she took a boring display and turned it into an inviting presentation of shells, mirrors, and windchimes. The sun on her short hair brought out various shades of red, and for the first time, I noticed that she had freckles on her shoulders. I couldn’t leave. My mind raced as I imagined kissing those shoulders, that neck, those ears, that adorable nose. As I reveled in these thoughts, she looked up and straight at me. I should say, she scowled. When she recognized my face, she whirled around and went to the back of the shop. I shot out of the car and ran to the door, opening it with more strength than necessary. The knob came out of my hand, and the arrangement of crosses made out of tiny shells jingled and almost fell to the floor. I winced and shut the door quietly. I couldn’t see Samantha. The teenager at the counter was a different one than I’d left my number with. He watched me as if he thought I wanted to rob the place.

“Where did Samantha go?” I asked as I ran my hand through my hair nervously.

The guy pointed his thumb to a closed door in the back.

“She said she wasn’t to be disturbed,” he said.

“Oh, did she?” I started for the door. The guy stepped in my path.

“You can’t go in there,” he said. I had to give it to her. She had already fostered some loyalty in this little shop.

“Watch me.” I brushed past him and left him standing with his mouth open. I knocked on the door and tried the handle. Locked. “Samantha.” I was practically shouting, and I was rattling the door knob as if I could shake it loose.

“Dude. No one calls her Samantha.” The guy was chewing bubble gum. He blew a huge bubble tha...

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