Happy Sunday! 😊
Thank you so much for joining me to celebrate the final book in The Bell Family of Bluestar Island. I hope you’ve enjoyed the glimpse into the start of Summer and Greg’s story.
Today I’m sharing the prologue in its entirety. Happy reading!
And don’t miss your chance to win a $25 gift card!
The Bell Family of Bluestar Island series concludes with…
SUMMER BY THE BEACH
Back Cover Blurb:
The Bell Family of Bluestar Island series concludes with a charming second-chance romance!
As summer winds down with the promise of a long-awaited wedding, the island’s new yoga instructor is drawn into an arrangement with the one man who wants nothing to do with her.
In this summertime novella, Summer Turner has returned to Bluestar Island and opened the Beach Love Yoga studio. Anxious to expand her clientele, she is not expecting her former friend Greg Hoover to be one of her students. Their friendship was already in tatters after an ill-timed kiss. But when a family emergency draws them closer, their relationship is tested. Maybe this summer will be the season for forgiveness…and love.
Includes a recipe for Summer’s buttery blueberry pound cake!
The Bell Family of Bluestar Island series:
Book 1 – on #sale for 99¢ –Love Blooms (Hannah & Ethan)
Book 2 – Harvest Dance (Aster & Sam)
Book 3 – A Lighthouse Café Christmas (Darla & Will)
Book 4 – Rising Star (Emma & Noah)
Book 5 – Summer by the Beach (Summer & Greg)
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Four years ago…
If she was going to do this…she needed to do it now.
It was so much easier said than done.
Summer Turner strolled through Beachcomber Park. It was a beautiful August day. The clear blue sky allowed the sun to shine brightly while the gentle sea breeze kept the temperature feeling comfortable.
The island was still busy with the last of the summer tourists enjoying a vacation before they returned to the daily grind of work and school. Summer never minded the crush of visitors during the summer months. To her, it gave Bluestar a sense of energy that it lacked the other times of the year.
Could she really move away? She didn’t think this decision would weigh on her so much. But if she wanted to further her education, leaving was her only option. She didn’t know exactly what the future held for her, but she knew getting her business degree would help her find an occupation she was passionate about—at least she hoped so.
She had been working at the Island’s Welcome Center since she was in high school. She’d been working there since she was in high school. And though she loved meeting new people, she needed something more challenging.
She wished she was more like her best friend, Emma. She’d known what she wanted to do in life since she was a kid. And now that Emma had qualified to be on the Songbird reality show, the island was all abuzz with excitement. Summer was certain her friend would win the singing competition in the fall. And her friend’s amazing journey had spurred her to go on her own adventure—even if it was less glamorous.
Just to be sure going back to school was the right decision after being away from it for close to a decade, Summer had taken a couple of summer classes in Boston. And she had been surprised and relieved by how easily things had come back to her.
She’d applied to be a full-time student for the fall semester and had been accepted. It was like everything was falling into place. The hard part would be telling people she was leaving the island.
She’d know that voice anywhere. She turned around to find Greg Hoover approaching her. She tilted her head upward until their gazes met. With Greg’s height of six feet seven inches, he made her feel short, even though she was five feet ten inches. She’d been the tallest girl in her class.
A smile immediately pulled at her lips. They’d been friends throughout school, along with Emma Bell and some others. He was one of her closest friends. In the past year, things had changed between them. They didn’t talk as much as they used to and when they did it was a bit awkward. She hadn’t even spoken to him since she’d spent the summer in Boston.
“Hey,” she said, “what are you doing here?”
A warm smile lit up his handsome brown face. “I was just heading to work at the Purple Guppy.”
“What?” How was this the first she was hearing about him getting a new job? And then she realized with her commuting to Boston a few days a week, she wasn’t around all that much anymore. “That’s wonderful. Congrats. They’re lucky to have you.”
A tinge of color filled his face, and he lowered his gaze to the ground. “Thanks.”
“I shouldn’t keep you, then.”
He glanced at his fitness watch. “I have a little time. No need to be too early. How are you doing? We’ve been missing each other lately.”
She smiled. Leave it to Greg to be early to work. That was one thing about him; he always played by the rules. While other friends would push limits, Greg was okay with doing the right thing. He didn’t let peer pressure force him into doing things he wasn’t comfortable with. Some might even consider him as reserved.
As other people came along, they had to move to the side, and Summer said, “Why don’t we move over to the wall?”
He nodded in agreement and followed her to the sea wall. She sat down and swung her legs around so she was facing the ocean. He joined her. When she placed her hand on the wall, her fingers brushed against his hand. A jolt raced up her arm and settled in her chest, making her heart beat faster. She moved her hand, allowing a reasonable distance between them.
Once upon a time in high school, she’d had the biggest crush on Greg. She’d hoped he would ask her to the prom, but he went with Sally Nash instead. When he was available, she was dating someone. And when she was free, he was with someone else. The timing was never right for them. She took it as a sign they would never be anything more than friends and finally moved on.
“So how are things going?” he asked.
“Really good. I just finished my summer courses, and I signed up for the fall term.”
“I’m glad school is going so well for you.” His deep voice lacked conviction.
“And well for you too. When did you start working at the Guppy?”
“Today is my first day.”
“And what will you be doing there?”
“Running the kitchen.” His voice lacked any bit of arrogance, even though it was an impressive accomplishment.
Greg was a volunteer firefighter in addition to his work in the food industry. His first job had been at Whippy Dips, the local ice cream shop. Since then he’d worked at various restaurants on the island. After high school, he’d gone away to culinary school.
“You’ll have to stop by soon. You can be my guest.” His warm brown gaze met hers.
“I’d like that.” She didn’t even imagine his offer was anything more than a friendly invitation. “I just don’t know when that will be.”
“Make it soon. I plan to introduce some new items to the menu that I think you’ll like.”
She shifted on the wall so she was facing him. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.”
When his gaze met hers, the words lodged in her throat. She hated the thought that she wouldn’t see Greg—erm, or any of her friends—regularly. She would miss him—um, them.
His gaze held hers as his thumb brushed over the top of her hand. The touch sent her pulse racing. That couldn’t happen. She moved her hand to her lap. It wasn’t happening. It was just the surprise of the touch and anxiety over the news she had to share with him.
She was nervous about how he’d take it because they were friends, and that meant a lot to her. It was best to just get it over with. The faster, the better.
They spoke at the same time. They both stopped at the same time.
He was the first of her friends that she had to tell the news. There was a part of her that didn’t want to leave her friends and family—a part of her that wondered if she’d made the right decision—a part of her that worried she wasn’t going to succeed.
Once she said the words, once they were out in the world, she wouldn’t be able to take them back. She would have to move away from the only life she’d ever known. If she stayed, everyone would know she lacked the nerve to go after what she wanted. And so the words died in her throat.
“Go ahead.” She needed a moment longer to calm her nerves.
He paused as though surprised by her suggestion that he go first. “Oh. Okay. I think we both want to talk about the same thing.”
“We do?” Her mind started to race. “You know?”
“Of course, I know.”
This was a small town. There were no secrets in a small town. All it took was one person to overhear her or her parents mention her enrolling in college full time for it to start to make the rounds.
“And what do you think?” She hoped he wouldn’t be upset about her leaving.
“Don’t you know?”
She shook her head. “How would I know? You haven’t said anything yet.”
He paused. His gaze lowered just a bit. The breath hitched in her lungs. Was he looking at her lips? Before her mind had a chance to process what was happening, he leaned toward her and pressed his lips to hers.
She froze. Every nerve ending felt as though it tingled. A million thoughts ricocheted through her mind. They most definitely hadn’t been talking about the same thing.
His lips were soft and warm. And they most certainly shouldn’t be pressed to her lips. After years of waiting for this moment, it had come at exactly the wrong time.
She jerked back. Her trembling fingers moved to her lips. They still tingled from the feel of his mouth on hers.
“What just happened?” She asked the question of herself.
His dark brows drew together. “If you don’t know, I must not have done it right.”
Her eyes widened as she realized she’d uttered the words aloud. Her heart raced with panic. She could feel their friendship disintegrating right in front of her eyes.
The last thing she wanted was to lose a lifelong friend. Greg was always there for her if she was in need or if she just wanted some company. Sure, at one point she’d had romantic notions about them, but she’d given up on those hopes a while back. Now she had to try to fix this—to salvage their friendship.
“Greg, this… It can’t happen. I’m moving to Boston.” She watched as his eyes widened. She rushed on to get the rest out. “I’m going to college full time. I have an apartment, and I…I met someone.”
There was a gasp.
They glanced off to the side to find their kiss had a captive audience. Agnes Dewey’s weathered face was marred with frown lines. Summer inwardly groaned. Just what they needed, Bluestar’s biggest gossip to witness this awkward moment.
There was nothing she could do about what Agnes had witnessed, but she could try to make Greg understand that she wasn’t rejecting him—not really. It was just bad timing. Wasn’t it always for them?
She turned back to Greg. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.”
He was quiet as he stared down at the sand. She wanted to ask him what he was thinking but she didn’t dare. She’d hurt him.
It made her feel awful, but what alternative did she have? She’d met someone else—someone very special. Craig was an associate professor, and he lived in her building. In fact he was the one who told her about the available unit.
“I have to go.” Greg turned away from her and stood.
“Greg wait. We should talk.”
He shook his head as he walked away. She sat there, feeling awful for hurting her friend. But even he had to admit that their chance for happiness had long passed them. Because if it was going to happen, it would have happened before now.
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