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Chick Lit
(Fic)
Return to Sandy Shores
by Shirley Holder Platt


A woman who'd just been canned. A kitten needing a home. A new start for both. "Sounds interesting!"

Chapter 1 - Sam

Cold rain blew under my umbrella until I was drenched and shivering. It wasn’t bad enough that I’d been laid off unexpectedly, I’d missed my bus and had to wait for twenty minutes in the storm. My Louboutin’s were ruined, my mascara ran down my cheeks, and my hair frizzed from the roots. I repeated to myself, this is a change, a reason for a new start. Don’t look at it as good or bad. It’s an opportunity, that’s all. I pressed toward my house with my eyes squinte...



Chapter 2 - Trent

The rain came down so fast that my wipers couldn’t keep up. I pulled into the closest parking lot to get out of the rising water. It was a PetSmart. As if working in a veterinarian clinic all day wasn’t enough, I’d happened into more animals. Good thing I loved ‘em. After standing on my feet for ten hours, all I wanted was to get home to my cat. He was a big tom I rescued recently, and I wondered how the thunderstorm was affecting him. If he killed the basil plant I’d been b...



Chapter 3 - Sam

By the time I made it home, Vee was already in my house playing with Sally. Vee had been my best friend since I met her on the job three years earlier. She was still working at the engineering firm, moving up the corporate ladder, like I was supposed to. Except I kept getting laid off, and she didn’t. Vee sat on my couch with a laser pointer driving Sally crazy. The cat followed the light, pounced to catch it, but nothing was there. Poor kitty, she had no idea what she was up against. Vee had the p...



Chapter 4 - Trent

Killer growled at me from the starboard window as I walked down the dock. I waved to Mr. Winkler, who polished the teak on his boat with a loving hand I was sure his wife envied. He raised his head in acknowledgement and Mrs. Winkler raised her ever-present margarita glass to me. Maybe if she’d put down the tequila, Mr. Winkler would put down the polishing rag. But who was I to judge? Janine had laughed at me when I told her I quit drinking. We’d been fighting like cats and dogs, and I was su...



Chapter 5 - Sam

Vee stumbled into my kitchen, following the smell of fresh brewed coffee the next morning. She had wrinkles in the shape of the pillow my grandmother had hand-stitched and given me for Christmas. If I could have colored in the lines, she would have looked like she had a merry pair of Northern Cardinals on the left side of her face. I knew better than to laugh by the look in her eyes.

“Hung-over much?” I asked. I poured a big mug of dark roast and held it out for her. She nodded slightly...



Chapter 6 - Trent

It was my last week at work. I’d hoped for a slow day, but that wasn’t happening. The clinic was full to capacity. I’d performed surgery on a rottweiler in the morning, and he was sleeping it off in the back. His owner had called a total of twelve times according to Deidre, our receptionist. The girl was barely old enough to work, but she’d lived as many lives as an alley cat with bad luck. She took too many smoke breaks, but she was hell on the computer, and the pet owners seemed...



Chapter 7 - Sam

I pushed through the heavy door of Berryhill’s, and my friends waved me over to a booth they’d already occupied. They each got up and gave me a hug and sympathetic looks.

“Was it as bad as you thought it would be?” Lyle asked.

“Worse. Let me go order, and I’ll tell you about it,” I said. They nodded and sat back down. Angie dipped a chip into the bowl of salsa and dropped half of it onto the table. Lyle swiped it clean with a napkin, and Vee drank her...



Chapter 8 - Trent

I saw her again! Couldn’t believe my eyes. I walked into Berryhills and there she was, sitting with a group of friends. I played it cool, planned to talk more to her before she left. But Cliff came in arguing with Michael. It was the same family feud they frequently fought over, the care of their sister. Margie was in an accident the night of her senior prom. Car full of loaded teenagers, driving drunk with their lights off on the seawall in Galveston. None of them made it out unscathed, but Margie...



Chapter 9 - Sam

After a tearful night of packing, hugging, and drinking, I said a final good-bye to my friends. My body was tired, but my mind was a whirlwind of activity. What would I do for a living in such a small town? Where would I live? Was Bernacki’s Bakery still on Main Street? Would I ever see Hot Guy again? Should I take Sally to the vet here or load her up and go to Maria Helena’s clinic when I got to Sandy Shores? How long would my savings last? And then I’d start at the beginning and ask m...



Chapter 10 - Trent

My last day at work was crazy busy, but I smiled the whole time. My co-workers must have thought I was dying to leave the place, but it was all about the redhead. As soon as she left, I got Deidre to give me her name and cell phone number. Deidre gave me a smirk, but retrieved the file and wrote the information down on a post-it note.

“Thanks.” I smiled at her, stuck the note in my pocket and started whistling. I could feel her eyes on me as I walked away. And I couldn’t have car...



Chapter 11 - Sam

I drove all day to get to Sandy Shores before dark. It’s about a six-hour drive from Houston. It was a good thing it was summer and the days were very long. I stopped in Corpus Christi to get gas, stretch my legs, and to have lunch from a favorite seafood restaurant that has take-out. I hadn’t thought much about having a cat in the car with all that fishy smell. The pheromone spray that Hot Doctor Trent sold me had been working until I got in the car with my fish sandwich. Sally wanted me to ...



Chapter 12 - Trent

My slip fees were paid through the end of the month, so I had a week to get the boat ready for the big trip. I used most of my time stocking, cleaning, and checking all the gear. When I wasn’t working or shopping, I hung out at the marina pool with the friends and neighbors I’d be missing. Somehow, Janine got word of my impending departure. She made an appearance at the pool one day. I had closed my eyes and slipped into a dream of blue Carribbean waters and a certain red head in a tiny bikin...



Chapter 13 - Sam

I found the key exactly where the landlord said it would be and let myself in. The place was tiny, but it was as cute as I’d hoped it would be. I opened all the windows to let the musty smell out and the sound of waves in. I pulled a lawn chair out of the back of my car and sat on the back patio with Sally in my lap for a few minutes. I got her set up in the bathroom with a bowl of water and her litter box. She didn’t like the closed door, but I figured that was better than taking the chance ...



Chapter 14 - Trent

The day finally arrived. Cliff and Michael had taken a couple of days off and were going to crew with me. I’d checked everything I could. Surface ocean currents in the Gulf looked good, prevailing winds were in our favor, and the weather man predicted happy sailing days. Cliff had raced with me many times, so I had complete trust in his capabilities. Michael was a born athlete, so I knew he’d take to his tasks easily. We were going to take it easy down to Port Isabel. I would lose my crew aft...



Chapter 15 - Sam

Two weeks later and no job prospects had me feeling anxious. Sally was growing quickly, and she had an appetite like a growing boy. She was going to break my bank if I didn’t find employment soon. Of course, I didn’t feel the least bit guilty about stopping in at Bernacki’s every morning for breakfast. I could eat a lot cheaper, but those cinnamon rolls and kolaches were amazing. I’d missed them during the years I’d been away. Plus, I got to chat with Mr. B some mornings. It...



Chapter 16 - Trent

We sailed proudly into the marina in Port Isabel that would be my home for at least the next month. I’d give it that long to decide if this was where I wanted to stay. No motoring in for me. It was a point of pride I’d probably regret one day. But not today. The marina was smaller than my place in Seabrook, but the few people aboard boats seemed friendly enough. We found the only vacant slip and pulled in. Cliff tied her up, and Michael and I folded the sails and wound the halyards. A weather...



Chapter 17 - Sam

I got to work early the next morning, anxious to learn the ropes. I’d always loved to browse through shell shops, and now I’d be working in one. Life was looking up. Cat unlocked the door when she saw me.

“Here you go,” she said as she held out her hand with four keys hooked on a fob with a silver starfish charm. Her hair was up in a messy bun that looked like a million bucks. If I did that with my hair, I’d scare small children. Not fair!

“Did you make thi...



Chapter 18 - Trent

Tessa insisted we walk to the restaurant. It would be almost two hours before sunset, and the heat would have been unbearable if not for the breeze off the water. We strode together arm in arm like we’d done when we were children. The beach was full of people. Families huddled under brightly colored awnings. Kids laughter floated on the breeze. A young girl threw bread crumbs into the air and giggled as sea gulls flocked around her for the treats, laughing in that mocking way they do.

“...



Chapter 19 - Sam

Aunt Millie bustled into the café like a train arriving at the station. She was a big woman, and despite the fact that she lived in a beach town, insisted on wearing almost all black. On this evening she wore a black caftan over flowing black pants with black sandals. She swished when she walked, and people noticed. Being a local, she knew most of the patrons and stopped to speak to them as she passed each table.

“How’s that carpel tunnel?”

“When will your grandbabie...



Chapter 20 - Trent

I knocked on Tessa’s door and waited. A silly smile I couldn’t hide greeted her when she opened up.

“Guess that went well,” she said as she turned away from me and walked into the little sitting room. “She seems nice enough, but I’ve never seen you get googly-eyed over someone like this. Well, not since you were in middle school.”

“I don’t know what it is about her. I met her by accident and haven’t been able to get her out of my hea...



Chapter 21 - Sam

Trent was a no show. I waited until one-thirty before giving up. I didn’t want to think that he would stand me up, but there was no getting around it. I should have known. I’d never had good luck with guys. Why would things change now? He was too good to be true. Brad was helping a couple of girls that were obviously there to flirt and not to buy anything. He had everything under control, so I broke down and went to lunch by myself. I walked the couple of blocks to my house and let myself in....



Chapter 22 - Trent

Having been away from my little sister for a few years, I was surprised to find that she was not a morning person. Our family had always been early risers, so it annoyed me to watch her stumbling around the kitchenette trying to figure out how to make coffee in the tiny pot the condo provided. I eventually shoved her to the side and made it for her.

“I hope this is strong,” she said as she blew across her mug.

“I thought we’d be leaving by now.” I paced back and...



Chapter 23 - Sam

My day got worse. I had an email awaiting me when I came back, dripping puddles, into the office and plopped down into my chair. It was time to do payroll. I’d been dreading this day; afraid I’d find out that my paycheck wouldn’t cover my rent. Unfortunately, I was smart to be afraid. Cat was paying me more than minimum wage, but barely. I printed checks for me, Brad, and Trisha. It irked me that Trisha’s check was for more than mine. Never mind the fact that she’d worked mo...



Chapter 24 - Trent

Mom was released and moved into a rehab facility the next day. I helped gather things she could put in her room to make her feel more at home. Dad was no help. He’d walk into a room and stand quietly until I’d ask him what he needed. He’d look lost, scratch his head, and tell me he’d forgotten. Tessa kept a running dialog up with him. I think she was scared to let the house get too quiet. We all piled into Dad’s truck and drove to Mom’s new home away from home for the ...



Chapter 25 - Sam

The trip to Los Fresnos was exciting. The warehouse was huge with lots of bays for trucks to load and unload. The variety of shells was astounding.

“I feel like a kid in a candy store,” I said as I picked through a bin filled with tiny seahorses.

“I know what you mean. I get so many ideas for jewelry here. Plus, trucking the stuff myself saves me a lot of money.” Cat rummaged through a bin of mushroom coral. “I could make some cute button earrings like these.&rdq...



Chapter 26 - Trent

Tessa and I lost the fight with Dad about golf, so I convinced him to let me play with him and his buddies. We all met at the clubhouse in time for breakfast. The hostess nodded as Dad and I passed her podium. I followed as Dad headed to a table with two gray haired guys deep in conversation. When they saw us, they barely looked up.

“Is that you, Mr. Sandoval?” I asked.

He stopped his conversation to check me out.

“This your boy?” he asked Dad.

“Yeah...



Chapter 27 - Sam

Of course, I missed the hot postal worker that day. As a matter of fact, I missed him every day for the rest of the week. It was like he was avoiding me. I knew that wasn’t it, since he’d never met me, but still. I didn’t even get a look at him again. It was downright disappointing. I had the office organized already. By the end of the week, I’d either stored or displayed all the merchandise Cat bought at the wholesaler. I twiddled my thumbs and felt guilty. Maybe this wasn’...



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 M...




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