Chapter 6 - Price
I was going over before construction began on my eighth rental. My plan was to own the twenty houses surrounding the one I lived in. I’d done the math, and along with the money from my pittance of a trust fund, the rent should bring in enough for me to live comfortably. My luck, since moving to Sandy Shores, had improved appreciably, as had my bank account. I made a couple of calls to the contractor and printed off some financials for my next trip to the bank for another loan. Rover slept at my feet, twitching occasionally.
I leaned back in my chair to stretch my back out and noticed the time. I needed to move, so I went out on the deck to watch the people on the beach and clear my mind. That’s when I had spotted her. She was on her back. Her book was in the sand beside her, pages blowing in the wind off the water. I could see that her skin was pink from my position several yards away.
Rover sat beside me, sniffing the air and thumping his tail.
“Come on, boy. Let’s go rescue a damsel in distress,” I’d said. And we did. Rover was curious about the woman he’d had his morning run with, so he wanted to sniff her in greeting. His nose on her burned skin had been all it took to awaken Joan. She was lobster red up close. Did she thank me for saving her? Hell no. She’d huffed off once again.
I laughed, thinking of the way she’d turned to see if I had watched her leave. I’m a man, aren’t I? Of course, I watched her. The fact that she’d wanted to know told me she was more interested in me than she let on. I stretched and breathed in the smell of the water. A group of pelicans skimmed the surf, searching for their next meal. Kids yelled and chased balls and each other. The water was turquoise near the beach and a deep blue beyond the sandbars. The puffy clouds held no chance of rain. A perfect day in paradise, I thought as I returned to my desk to get more work out of the way so Rover and I could go enjoy the rest of the day.
Inside, my phone was vibrating. Susan’s picture appeared, so I picked up immediately.
“Hey, Price. I got a call from the renter at Sea-renity today,” she said.
My heart rate kicked up. What was my newest renter complaining about now? The jury was still out on whether her prickly personality was worth my effort.
“Yeah? She complaining about something again?”
“Don’t know about again. This is the first message I’ve taken from her since she checked in.”
“Oh. Well, never mind. What’s up?” I sat down to hear the news, whatever it might be.
“Seems she has no hot water. I figured you might want to check it out before I contact someone who’ll charge you a fifty-dollar fee just to show up.”
“You’re absolutely correct. That’s why I like working w...