Book 3 in the Corsair’s Cove Chocolate Shop series
September 15, 2017
Bittersweet is only an acquired taste if you haven’t been craving it half your life …
Jamie Finlayson can’t imagine a more magical place than Corsair’s Cove. His family has deep roots here—in fact, the legendary pirate Ruadh Jem Finlayson was an ancestor. All Jamie has ever wanted is to build homes where other people can put down their own roots. If only the woman he’s loved since high school shared his dreams and hopes! But she left the moment she could to chase her own dreams.
Brynn Kato is CFO of Ocean Technology, the first woman ever to be appointed to the executive staff of the tech company. Why now, of all times, does she have to go back to Corsair’s Cove? Her only connections with the place are her cousins and a weird inheritance—one quarter of a haunted chocolate shop. She’ll sell her share and leave the town behind—again. The last thing she expects is a reunion with a certain carpenter who has only grown more attractive since her junior-high crush on him. She’ll just overlook the thing about the ghosts.
Can the high-powered but lonely executive and the homebuilder without a home find their way to what each needs most? Or will his sweetness and her bitterness be as incompatible as chocolate and lemon cream? And as the veil between worlds becomes thinner with the approach of Halloween, the Wolf of the West is getting more desperate in his quest to bring the last members of his family to true love …
“Love is a sweet adventure—especially in Corsair’s Cove! I always love Shelley Adina’s books!” —Bella Andre (aka Lucy Kevin), New York Times bestselling author of The Sullivans
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Excerpt from Kiss on the Beach
Copyright 2017 by Shelley Adina
Corsair’s Cove, Washington
Second Friday in September
“Come on, my girl, let’s have a look under your skirt and see what the termites are up to.”
James Finlayson hung in a safety sling from the roof of the Zephyr’s Rest, the local inn and tavern owned by his buddy Mack, which had a prime spot on Water Street. A guy didn’t have to be a carpenter to appreciate the view from up here—the ocean, the sailboats tacking across the channel, the beauty of late Victorian architecture lining the sleepy streets below, dreaming about the secrets of the past. Like Red Gem’s Chocolates and Confections up the way, for instance, whose roof beams had once been the ribs of the Belle Swift, the famous pirate ship that had gone down right out there in the harbor in 1850. Or like the Zephyr’s Rest, here, whose corner was formed by beautiful Belle herself. The figurehead from the ship was supposed to be Zephyr, god of the west wind, but local legend had it that the Wolf of the West, Daniel Blackthorne, had made sure the wind bore his beloved’s face and form.
Not that it had done him any good. He’d left to go a-roving and when he didn’t come back, she’d cursed him and died alone in Tortuga. Some said of a broken heart. Others said of rage.
Jamie sighed. Two hundred years from now, would there be a legend about the Cove’s carpenter? Poor Jamie, they’d say. He was descended from the Wolf’s murderer, Ruadh Jem Finlayson, you know, who took aim from the harbor shore and shot the Wolf through the heart, right on the deck of his own ship. The Wolf’s crew tried to get him to the doctor’s house at Spinnaker Beach. Rowed like madmen, they did, their captain bleeding in the bottom of the skiff. But he didn’t make it over the strand. Over the final bar, more like. It was the curse.
Poor Jamie Finlayson. The curse lives on, they say. Probably why no woman would stick around for more than a week. He died alone, too, hammer in hand at the very last.
Jamie shook himself out of a story that wasn’t even his.
That was no way to think. He’d forgotten to bring a mask up here; the paint fumes were obviously getting to him. He had a lot to be thankful for—a job he loved, a town he loved, and right over his shoulder the stunning view that tourists paid big bucks to enjoy on weekends. Particularly this weekend. Monday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and Corsair’s Cove needed no better excuse than that to throw its big annual pirate festival from Friday through Sunday.
Hence the urgency to get the zephyr here cleaned up and shipshape before the tourists engulfed the town like a happy, hungry tsunami.
“Be careful up there,” a feminine voice called. “I wouldn’t want my oldest buddy to fall on a tourist.”
Carefully, keeping his boots away from the old fish-scale siding, Jamie braced his feet on the drop of the roof and looked down. Prudence Parker—whom he’d called Pru since he’d pulled her pigtails in kindergarten—shaded her eyes with her hand and gazed upward, concern forming a pleat between her brows.
“I mean it, Jamie. This town would fall into a ruin without you. Has she got termites?”
He shook his head. “Nope. All she needs is a coat of weather-resistant paint, and she’ll be good to go.”
“Come by for lunch when you’re done?” Pru waggled her eyebrows and the pleat smoothed away. “I’ve made shrimp risotto, spinach salad, and a bacon tourtière.”
His mouth had begun to water at risotto. “Twist my arm.”
“Great! Spencer is coming, and Livy and Mack, and Eloise too. It’s our last chance before the crazy starts.”
He bit back a groan at the thought of playing fifth wheel, even to the people he loved, and waved in acknowledgment instead. Then, hand over hand, he lowered himself to the balcony to prep his paint. Since the pitch of the roof was too steep to set down a paint can, he’d made a kind of palette for the job. Made with holes for the small cans, he could hang it from the sling without having to raise and lower himself to fetch another one each time.
The zephyr’s gown was yellow, her sash red and purple, and her hoop earrings and the locket on her spectacular bosom were picked out in a special gold paint that he’d ordered from Seattle. Her hair was glossy black and banded in the Greek style in red to match the sash. He worked from top to bottom, light to dark, finishing with her locket just before noon.
The next step was weatherproofing under her skirt. That was tricky, because the artisan who had carved her had wanted her draperies to look as though they were flowing in the west wind. But to do that, he had to carve out a hollow underneath her skirts for the post and nails that would attach her to the bowsprit. Hence the perpetual danger of wood rot and termites, to say nothing of the occasional nesting pair of swallows. One year, he’d had to put off the painting until after the festival, when the nestlings were grown and everyone had flown south for the winter.
“What do you think, my girl?” he asked her now, carefully using a hand mirror to reach up and under the lip of the hollow, using a special coating that would ward off the rain and mist of winter and protect the hundred-and-fiftysomething-year-old wood. “Think Eloise and I can handle two pairs of lovebirds for an hour? Even with Pru’s recipes, that’s a pretty steep price for lunch.”
The zephyr didn’t answer. She just waited for him to go on. He appreciated that in a woman.
“Not that I’d want any of them to split up—I want my friends happy. This seems to be the summer of love, doesn’t it? I wonder who’s going to be next?”
Again, no answer. Instead, he heard the sound of a well-tuned and expensive engine revving as the shifter was shoved into Park. The slam of a door. And the tap of high heels on the sidewalk below.
He looked down to see a silver Tesla—a car he’d recognize anywhere, illegally parked in front of the tavern and already stopping traffic. Or maybe the traffic had stopped to take in the slender woman in the black suit who was standing on the sidewalk with her head tilted back and her hands on her hips. Sleek sunglasses shaded her eyes, and her glossy black hair was pulled back in a severe ponytail. There were those cheekbones, that smooth skin, that mouth a man absolutely couldn’t look at if he knew what was good for him.
“Do you enjoy hanging around with your hand up a woman’s skirt?” she called over her shoulder as she turned and walked up the street. “Doesn’t anyone answer their phone in this town?” The bell jingled as she pushed into the chocolate shop.
The paint fumes weren’t making him lightheaded at all. Only one person could do that. Jamie took hold of the safety rope with his free hand so he wouldn’t lose his balance.
Brynn Kato was back.
“Shelley Adina makes Kiss on the Beach entertaining with an engaging couple and compelling circumstances… There is at times an enchanted feel to Corsair’s Cove, and each interesting detail that is revealed about the town always captured my thoughts.” —Always Reviewing