One day had turned into two.
Two days had morphed into three.
Ethan was still on the island, looking after his aunt’s beloved dog, Peaches. He had no idea when he’d be returning to New York. Aunt Birdie had cracked her pelvis, but thankfully it would heal without surgery. However, her recovery required her to spend a bit of time in physical rehab. Sunny Days Rehabilitation Center—the cheapest of the expensive alternatives—was located just outside of Boston.
The bad news was that Ethan had been sleeping on the lumpiest couch on earth. He shrugged one shoulder and then the other before rolling his head, trying to work out the kinks. He’d already tried his aunt’s bed, which was too soft and too short with a footboard that prevented him from dangling his feet over the end.
Too bad his aunt’s house was a small one-bedroom bungalow. He knew why she never sold the house. It was situated on the edge of town along Surfside Drive. The sweeping covered porch had an unobstructed view of the ocean. Talk about your million-dollar view. And in the summer, Aunt Birdie would open all of the windows to let in the sea breeze.
He closed his eyes again, not quite ready to face the day. The clip-clip of footsteps over the hardwood floors let him know that Peaches was growing impatient for him to get up.
Last night, after giving his parents an update on Aunt Birdie’s progress, he might have stayed up until well past midnight watching an action movie, but it wasn’t like he had any place to be until later in the day. His aunt had therapy in the mornings, so he tried to be at the physical rehab facility at lunchtime.
Though the last time he was there, she had insisted he not make the lengthy journey from Bluestar Island to Boston each day to visit her. She was making friends at the center and promised she’d be fine. She said it was more important that he spend time with Peaches. That was his aunt, always thinking of others before herself.
A whiff of dog breath preceded a swipe of a wet tongue over his cheek. Yep, it was time to get up. Ethan ran the back of his hand over his face. And yet the rest of him didn’t move. It was just too much effort.
“Just a little longer,” Ethan pleaded with the dog. With his eyes still closed, he reached out and ran his hand over Peaches’s furry back.
With a groan, he got up. After letting Peaches out in the small fenced-in yard, Ethan grabbed a quick shower, hoping the pulsating hot water would ease his stiff muscles. It didn’t. At least not much.
Once Peaches ate, they headed out for their morning walk to Beachcomber Drive and a stroll to the far end of the park. Peaches wagged her tail and greeted a few familiar faces. At that hour, most people were working or getting on with their day.
Ethan loved listening to the roar of the surf as the salty sea breeze rushed past him. It was as though it swept away all of his troubles—at least temporarily.
He paused at the intersection, checking for traffic before crossing. It took him a moment to remember there wouldn’t be any cars or trucks zipping up the street. With this being a small island, vehicles were prohibited unless issued a special day permit. He’d left his truck at one of the many parking lots on the mainland and taken the ferry to the island. Once on Bluestar, people got around via golf carts, bikes, or walking. It had always been that way. And he supposed it would remain that way. Bluestar was steeped in traditions that went back generations—
A scream pierced the peaceful morning air.
Peaches ears immediately perked up.
“Come on, girl.”
His feet pounded the sidewalk. Peaches kept pace with him. The firefighter part of him instantly took over. Adrenaline flooded his system. He listened for another scream to make sure he was headed in the right direction, but it was quiet now.
He slowed down and glanced between each building. And then he spotted a young woman with auburn hair pulled back in a ponytail. She had a hand pressed to her mouth. She was staring straight ahead at the side of a building.
He gave her curvy figure a quick once-over. She appeared to be physically all right. Could the scream have come from her?
His gaze moved to the building. It didn’t appear to have any smoke coming from it. After all of these years on the job, it was one of the first things he checked.
He approached the young woman. “Excuse me. Do you need some help?”
When her wide-eyed gaze met his, he felt a distinct jolt. It felt like the Earth had spontaneously sped up for just a moment, leaving him unsteady on his feet. And yet he knew nothing like that had happened. Logic dictated that the Earth continued to spin at its same steady rate—even if Ethan’s world felt a bit off center.
Whatever the reason for the strange sensation, he didn’t have time to evaluate it. She was in trouble and he was there to help—just like he’d been doing for strangers year after year.
The closer he got to her, the wetter the ground became. What in the world? He didn’t recall it raining while he’d been on the island.
“My bakery.” She never moved her gaze from the building. “It’s ruined.”
I used to like fall the most and still do love it, but summer is my favorite now because it stays light later!
Happy Release day, Jennifer!! This sounds like a great story and I have added it to my tbr.😊
Summer for the weather
I love spring because of the warmer weather and everything is in bloom.
My favorite season is fall because I am a sweater girl and I like the cooler temperatures and pretty leaves.
My fav season is Fall… love the cooler weather after all of the Summer heat, love Halloween, love pumpkin items! Happy Release Day!
My favorite season is fall. I love the cooler weather and seeing the leaves change.
My favorite season would have to be Spring because the sun starts coming out more, the flowers, trees and bushes start to come into bud, birds are singing again and I get to plant flowers with my Dad.
Book sounds like a great read. Would love to read and review in print format.
Thanks for chance to win.
Hope I Win.
I do like autumn. The cool night and sunny days.
Winter because of Christmas of course.
Fall is my favorite season. The changing of the leaves, the cooler temperatures, and I can wear my favorite sweaters.
I love the fall, the colorful leaves, so pretty.
I like Spring. Everything is green from our rainy season and it is not too hot yet so we can be outside enjoying ourselves.
I love Autumn–my birthday, Thanksgiving, Halloween, fall colors, sweaters, college football, etc…
My favorite season is fall because I like the cooler weather and no humidity.
Mine is the spring as I love to watch hubby put my raised gardens in and I love the yearly flowers that come up. Hubby put the bulbs in last Sept I was shocked he had done it and wow he created such a variety of flowers. I knew he had several bags of flowers but his creativity was just awesome. It really brightens up the front of the house. Now he has to get a few weeds out of the rose garden as all my roses survived and we find if you just leave them and not cover them you don’t lose any rose bushes. When we covered we lost several every year and we did it right as all the people that live within 2 miles of us covered the same thing. Happy Spring!!
My favorite season is Summer. It allows me to be out and about.