Book Blitz & Excerpt: Sun, Sea and Summer Vibes + Giveaway

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Sun, Sea and Summer Vibes, by Zoe Allison

Word Count: 49,961
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 196

Genres:

CELEBRITIES
CHICK LIT
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
MULTICULTURAL
SECOND CHANCE

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Book Description

Sometimes first impressions are far from the truth…

Nina Darwish is a scientist who likes to proceed with caution and careful deliberation. When she arrives at the party destination of Ibiza to play PA for her best friend international pop sensation Isla Starr, she has trouble adapting to the carefree and easy-going vibe on the island. The situation isn’t aided by Isla’s seemingly surly yet irritatingly attractive music producer, the world-renowned dance DJ Logan Wild, known by his real name—Cameron—to his friends. Plus, Nina’s run-ins with, and repeated rebuttal of, an extremely entitled and very annoying male singer named Zac don’t help aid her mood.

Unbeknownst to Nina, Cameron remembers her from the past, when he was a geeky student who admired her from afar. Unfortunately, it’s clear that Nina considers him ill-natured, no doubt due to his natural awkwardness, which he masks using a stage persona. However, even if that weren’t the situation, he’s involved in a dead-end relationship with his celebrity girlfriend Ash. Plus, Nina’s eye appears to have been drawn onto Ash’s no good ex-boyfriend, Zac, therefore there’s no point in believing anything could ever happen between them.

But despite all that being the case, for some reason, he just cannot stop thinking about her.

Excerpt

Nina rolled her eyes as the racket from the rowdy young men at the rear of the plane grew louder. The stewardess marched down to tell them off for the second time. Nina didn’t envy the job of the plane crew at the best of times, never mind with that rabble.

She lifted the laminated flight menu and fought the urge to gag at the images of the greasy cuisine. I suppose that’s par for the course on a cheap airline. The stewardess came back to the front and recommenced loading the trolley in the galley.

One of the young men from the group staggered down the aisle toward the toilet. He tried the door, despite the very clear ‘engaged’ sign, then let out an exasperated noise when it didn’t open. He eyed the stewardess. “Can’t we just have one more drink?” he slurred.

She looked at him. “No. You’ve had enough. There’ll be plenty more alcohol for you once we get to Ibiza.”

He slouched against the wall. “For fuck’s sake, who put the rod up your arse?”

The young mum next to Nina put her hands over her small child’s ears. Nina gritted her teeth, unbuckled and stood. “Don’t speak to her like that.”

The guy did a double-take, clearly not expecting anyone to challenge him. “Mind your own business.”

“I am minding my business,” Nina said. “This is my flight as much as yours.” She pointed to the young mum and her daughter. “And theirs.” Nina gestured to the elderly couple in the row behind. “And also theirs. We didn’t pay good money to sit and listen to your crap. And the staff are trying to get on with their jobs. They don’t have to put up with your abuse.”

He opened his mouth.

“Shut it,” Nina said. “Shut your mouth, use the toilet, then go back to your seat and keep it shut. That stewardess has the power to instruct the pilot to turn back to Glasgow, land this plane and throw you all off. Then you’ll get the forty-thousand-pound bill to pay for the disruption to the flight.”

The guy glanced at the stewardess, who smiled and nodded.

Nina folded her arms and stared at him. He broke eye contact to glance at the floor. The toilet freed up and he nearly tripped in his hurry to get in there.

Nina took her seat again to the sound of applause from the people who’d heard the exchange.

The mum next to her touched her arm. “Well done.”

Nina smiled and waved her hand in an ‘it’s nothing’ gesture.

The stewardess came over and checked that the mum and her little girl were okay. She smiled at Nina. “Hi, I’m Laura. Can I get you anything? It’s on the house.”

Nina smiled back. “I’m fine, thanks. I’ll wait until we land.”

Laura perched on the staff seat across from her. “These summer Balearic flights are always the same—too many unruly groups who can’t wait until they arrive to get leathered and live it up. Sorry they caused a disruption.”

Nina shook her head. “It’s not you who should apologise.” She paused. “I did tell a white lie, though. I got this flight for free.”

Laura raised her eyebrows. “Oh?”

“My friend is out in Ibiza for a few weeks,” Nina continued. “She’s a singer and her new label is paying for me to go out as her PA.”

“That’s really cool,” Laura said. “Would I have heard of her?”

Nina nodded. “Maybe. Her name’s Isla Campbell, but her stage name is Isla Starr.”

Laura’s eyes widened. “Wow, I love her. She’s totally famous.”

Nina smiled, pride rising in her chest. “She’s really talented. I always knew she’d make it big.”

“What’s she doing in Ibiza?” Laura asked.

“There’s some hot-shot dance producer who’s asked her to do the vocal on his track. Her new label is massive with loads of contacts, so I think this is the start of her becoming known internationally.”

Laura sighed. “That sounds so glamorous. What do you do? Are you in the music industry too?”

Nina laughed. “Nope. I know nothing about music. I was a project manager for a drug company, but I just got made redundant…hence being available for this trip.”

“Sorry to hear that,” Laura said. “But I’m sure you’ll have a ball on Ibiza.” She sighed. “Anyway, I’d better get on with the trolley service. Shout if you need anything.”

Laura went back to work, and Nina stared out of the tiny window. She was pretty exhausted from the last few days, and only being given a couple of weeks’ notice about the trip had made the preparations very rushed. She smiled. Typical Isla.

Once they’d landed, Nina was among the first to leave the plane, getting a wave from Laura and her colleagues as she went. On the way through the airport processes, she tried to ignore the grumble of her stomach. She’d stop and get something once she got out into the arrivals hall.

Nina pulled her suitcase along and through the automatic doors toward the exit. Isla was always late, so when Nina locked eyes on a sandwich shop, she started toward it. A man holding a sign caught her eye. The placard said ‘Nina Darwish’.

Nina paused. Could it mean a different Nina Darwish? She went over to him. “I’m Nina, but I’m not sure if you’re here for me? My friend was supposed to meet me.”

The man nodded, saying something in Spanish then taking her suitcase and making toward the exit. Nina ran a few paces to keep up. This had better be for me, because goodness knows where I’ll end up otherwise. She wished she’d paid more attention in her Spanish class, but all she could remember was how to say ‘two beers, please’.

Out in the pick-up area, Nina expected a small taxi to await her but her jaw dropped when she clocked the guy putting her case into the back of a limo. There has definitely been a mistake. The driver held the door for her and she tried to ask him again if she was the right Nina Darwish, but he just ushered her into the vehicle.

Once inside, she scrabbled around in her bag for her phone and turned it on. She waited while it roamed to connect to the local service then brought up Isla’s number.

Isla’s face appeared on screen. She was among a crowd of people and there was a heavy bass line playing in the background. “Nina!” Isla shouted above the din. She flashed her megawatt smile. “You on your way here?”

“I’m on my way somewhere but God knows if it’s to you,” Nina said.

Isla’s frowned and flipped her red hair over her shoulder. “What do you mean? Didn’t you get the limo we sent?”

A wave of relief washed over Nina. “Yeah, I did, but I was confused. I didn’t think it was for me.”

Isla blinked, and her green eyes appeared a little glazed.

Is she drinking already? It’s only three p.m.

Isla shook her head. “The guy was meant to have a sign with your name on it.”

“He did,” Nina said. “But, you know, I still wasn’t sure.”

Isla rolled her eyes. “For goodness’ sake, you need to loosen up and stop second-guessing everything. I thought it’d be a nice surprise.”

Nina’s relief morphed into guilt. “It is a nice surprise. Sorry… I didn’t mean it that way. Thank you.”

Isla raised her arm in the air as she moved in time to the music. “Open the mini fridge.”

Nina leaned forward to do so and found a half-bottle of champagne. There was a glass in a holder next to it.

“That’s for you!” Isla called out over the music. “Drink up. You’ll be here soon.”

“Where’s here?“ Nina said, but the call cut off. She sighed. She was starving. Oh well. I’ll get something once I arrive. She lifted the champagne and popped the cork, pouring a glass. it was typical that Isla was fully embroiled in the Ibiza party atmosphere when she’d only been on the island a little over twenty-four hours.

It was hardly ten minutes later that the limo arrived outside a beach bar on Playa D’en Bossa, and Nina climbed out. She made to pay the driver, but he waved his hand, indicating that the fare had been pre-paid. He said something in Spanish and pointed along the road, but Nina was at a loss. Then he pulled away, leaving her outside the bar holding her bottle of champagne, minus her luggage. I have no clue what’s going on.

She turned to the bar and decided to go find Isla. Maybe she could solve the mystery of the kidnapped luggage. Nina walked inside, scanning for her friend. Crowds of very beautiful, scantily clad people milled around. The women were wearing bikinis and the men tiny beach shorts and Nina found herself averting her eyes. She glanced at her vest top and linen trousers, feeling overdressed.

Nina stopped in the middle of the bar, her hunger perpetuating her frustration. She took a glug of champagne from the bottle, leaning against a pillar and feeling like some sort of reprobate. She caught movement out of the corner of her eye. There was another room leading off the bar, manned by a burly bouncer holding a clipboard. Nina took another sip then steeled herself for embarrassment, because there was no doubt she’d be turned away.

She approached the bouncer. “I don’t suppose my name’s on there? It’s Nina Darwish.”

The bouncer looked her up and down with a raised eyebrow then scanned his list. He nodded and shifted to the side. For a moment Nina was frozen with surprise. Then she remembered herself and walked past him, impulsively offering him a sip from her bottle as she went. He shook his head, a bemused expression on his face. She shrugged. “Suit yourself.” I think this champagne is going to my head. She paused, trying to spot Isla. Finally, she laid eyes on her, in the middle of a dancing crowd. Nina made her way over, excusing herself through the throng. “Isla!” she shouted over the music.

Isla turned. “Nina!” She threw her arms around Nina, causing her to nearly drop the bottle.

Isla released her. “I can’t believe you’re here. It’s been months.”

Nina smiled. “I know. I’ve missed you.”

Isla grinned. “Me too. I’m so glad you made it.”

“Yeah, but my luggage didn’t,” Nina said.

“What?” Isla frowned. “The airline lost it?”

Nina shook her head. “The limo guy took off with it.”

Isla laughed. “He’s taking it to our hotel, you idiot.”

Realisation dawned on Nina. She really did need to loosen up and not think the worst.

Isla grabbed the bottle from her and drained the last of it. “Come on. Let’s go to the bar.” She took Nina’s hand and pulled her through the crowd.

Isla leaned against the bar and gestured to the barman for another full bottle of champagne.

Nina nudged her. “I wish you’d told me I was coming straight here. I would’ve dressed up.”

Isla laughed. “Dressed up? Everyone’s in beach wear.”

“Yeah,” Nina said, eyeing a beautiful woman passing by in a tiny white bikini embellished with jewels. “But they’re still more glamorous than me.”

“Bollocks,” Isla said, drinking straight out of the bottle the barman had handed her, then passing it to Nina. “You look effortlessly awesome, as per normal. Come on. Let’s have a dance. Then I’ll introduce you to some people.”

Nina took a swig and huffed out her breath. I’d rather go to the hotel and stuff my face, then have a lie-down.

She followed Isla onto the dance floor. They took turns to drink from the bottle, and before long, Nina’s head was swimming from both the alcohol and Isla spinning her around. She paused to get her bearings and took Isla’s arm. “I need to go to the loo. Back in a sec.”

Isla nodded. “Take this back to the bar on the way.” She handed over the empty bottle.

Nina stumbled through the crowd. Did we finish it already?

After using the ladies’ room, she returned to the bar in order to get a soft drink, plus some snacks to soak up the alcohol. She was just stuffing herself with the remnants when someone nudged her arm. She glanced over and a guy was standing next to her, grinning. “Wish I was that packet of chips,” he said.

Nina frowned. I haven’t got any chips. She studied him for a second and was nearly blinded by the whiteness of his teeth. Her alcohol-addled brain took a couple of moments to process. He’s American. They call crisps ‘chips’. “Okay,” she said, for want of a better response.

He sidled in closer. “You’re English? That’s sexy. Can I get you a drink?”

Nina’s sixth sense told her that he was the sort of guy who’d feel entitled to whatever he wanted in return for buying a female a drink.

“No thank you,” she said.

He frowned, clearly not used to hearing the word ‘no’. “Don’t you know who I am?”

Nina rolled her eyes. Does that line ever get him anywhere? Even if she did know who he was, she still wouldn’t be interested. “I know you’re a dickhead,” she said, aware that the drink had loosened her tongue but figuring he deserved it after that arrogant statement.

He laughed. “Your loss.” He took his drink from the barman and turned to leave.

“Thank God for that,” Nina muttered. She glanced up and locked eyes with another man across the bar. He seemed vaguely familiar, but she couldn’t think when she’d have met a guy as handsome as him before. He had hazel eyes and sandy, sun-tinted hair. Before she had a chance to smile, he looked away and moved from the bar.

Dammit. Why couldn’t he have been the one to offer me a drink? Someone nudged her arm and she sighed. “For God’s sake, I said no, okay?”

“What?” Isla said, leaning in next to her. “What’re you talking about?”

“Oh. Nothing.” Nina said, glancing behind to check that white-teeth-guy had gone.

“Were you talking to Zac before?” Isla said.

Nina frowned. “Who?”

“Zac,” Isla said. “Like, the hottest male pop star on the planet.”

Nina raised her eyebrows. “Hottest, as in most attractive—or as in most popular?”

Isla smiled. “Both.”

“I’m not sure,” Nina said. “Has he got wavy bleached-blond hair with short sides that comes over his forehead, nearly obscuring his ice-blue eyes and bright-white-teeth that nearly blot out the sun?”

Isla sighed. “Yes.”

Nina frowned. “Then I think I might have spoken to him. I told him I didn’t want a drink and he wasn’t impressed.”

“You turned him down?” Isla said. “Are you mental?”

Nina shook her head. “I didn’t find him attractive. He was an arrogant prick.”

Isla craned her neck, clearly hoping he might return and buy her a drink instead. “Then you must be the only woman on earth who thinks so.”

“Doubt it,” Nina said.

Isla turned back. “Anyway, you need to come meet Cameron.”

“Who’s Cameron?” Nina said. She rubbed her stomach. Maybe eating those crisps so quickly on a bellyful of champagne hadn’t been a good idea.

“Cameron Wild,” Isla said. “My producer? His stage name is Logan Wild. Don’t tell me you’ve not heard of him either.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard of him,” Nina said. It wasn’t a lie. She vaguely knew of Logan Wild, DJ and dance-music producer, but had no idea what he looked like or any details regarding his background.

“Come on,” Isla said, grabbing Nina’s hand and leading her through the throng.

The sudden movement caused Nina’s stomach to lurch and her niggling nausea intensified. She took a deep breath in an attempt to quell it.

Isla weaved them through the crowd toward the back of the room where a small group was conversing. There was one guy with his back to them who Nina assumed was Cameron, mainly because the rest of the group was female. As they approached, she realised it was the handsome man she’d locked eyes with across the bar. That did nothing to aid her nausea.

Isla tapped him on the shoulder, and he turned. His eyes struck Nina. Up close they were even more intense.

“This is my friend Nina,” Isla told him. “The one I was telling you about. “Nina, this is Cam.”

He surveyed her with a cool expression then held out his hand for a shake. But before Nina could grasp it, she gagged and slapped her hand over her mouth. She turned and fled for the ladies’ room and only just made it to the toilet before vomiting profusely.

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About the Author

Zoe Allison

Growing up, Zoe Allison loved stories about falling in love. But rather than being rescued by a knight in shining armour, she imagined herself fighting dragons alongside him, battling supervillains as heroic allies, or teaming up to dive into perilous waters in order to save a loved one from drowning. Once Zoe did grow up, she became a doctor. But as time went on, she craved a creative outlet to counter the soul sapping burnout that her career inflicted upon her, and also to achieve those happy endings that were so often lacking in the real world. She wanted heroes who truly love and value women, who find their true love inspiring, are fascinated by her, want to connect with her as a soulmate and fully open themselves to her on an emotional level. And so, Zoe began to write her romances.

A Zoe Allison novel promises a heroine who is not only her hero’s equal in ability and intellect, but whose hero equals her in emotional intelligence. Her characters overcome conflict infused with spine tingling sexual tension to forge a deep connection as soul mates as well as lovers, and ultimately, they both rescue each other emotionally. Even if they might begin their journey as enemies…

Giveaway

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Zoe Allison Sun, Sea and Summer Vibes Giveaway

ZOE ALLISON IS GIVING AWAY A BEAUTIFUL BLUE SARONG TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN AND GET A FREE ZOE ALLISON ROMANCE BOOK! Notice: This competition ends on 20TH July 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Book Blitz: Summer, by Lynn Mapp & Janis McCurry

summer

 

Summer
by Lynn Mapp & Janis McCurry
The Matchmaker Chronicles Duets, Book 1

Chick Lit, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Mapp & McCurry LLC

Mothers. Meddling. Matchmaking. What could possibly go wrong?

Best friends Rina Thorn and Maggie Barnes decide it’s time to help their not-even-looking-for-love children find their happily ever afters.

Ander Thorn will do anything for his mother Rina—except get married. But when he collides with his mother’s beautiful home renovator, more than walls come tumbling down. Noelle DeWitt refuses to give into her attraction to the arrogant and aggravating man. At first. Time and proximity chisel her resolve. She falls hard for a commitment-averse Ander, which poses a dilemma because she wants forever.

***

Police officer Finn Riley reluctantly agrees to help his neighbor Maggie find a husband for her daughter, Jennifer. After he meets her, Finn puts his name at the top of the soul mate list. Romance is on Jennifer’s backburner until she meets Finn. Their strong attraction seems impossible to ignore until Jennifer discovers he’s been helping her mother in the crazy matchmaking scheme. Can their relationship survive when it began with deception?

Purchase Link

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Other Books in the Matchmaker Chronicles Duets series:

 

Autumn

The Matchmaker Chronicles Duets Book 2

 

Winter

The Matchmaker Chronicles Duets Book 3

 

Spring

The Matchmaker Chronicles Duets, Book 4

Amazon

Summer Blitz

About the Authors

Janis McCurry – I was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, nestled in the beautiful Treasure Valley. I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else. We have four distinct seasons, mountains, lakes and deserts. My sisters and I were close growing up and we all still live in Boise. I could no more leave out a family connection than I could the romances I put in my novels. I write contemporary romance because I believe in happy endings, whether with a first-time love or a second chance love. An inveterate reader and moviegoer, I like romantic comedies, drama, and adventure themes.

Lynn Mapp is a daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother, teacher, writer…obviously a multi-faceted diamond, princess cut. Lynn was a navy brat, born in San Diego, California. While she was born in California, her Idaho roots are deep. Her mother and grandfather were Idaho natives. She has always looked for happily ever afters, the light after the darkness. Families and humor are central in her life and her stories.

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RABT Book Tours & PR

Book Blitz & Excerpt: Each and Every Summer + Giveaway

Each and Every Summer Banner

Each and Every Summer, by L A Tavares

Word Count: 76,038
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 297

GENRES:

CHICK LIT
CONTEMPORARY
ROMANCE
SWEET ROMANCE

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Book Description

Time heals some wounds.

The first time Lyla Savoie Kenney found love—boundless, passionate love—it wasn’t with a person but a place. She found deep-rooted endearment there, and in keeping with tradition, it caused her first real heartbreak too.

Lyla grew up on the beaches at Begoa’s Point, a campground she and her father visited each summer for seventeen years. She spent each non-summer month counting down the days until she could return, until going back was no longer an option. Begoa’s Point closed with no explanation.

Fifteen years later, now a widowed mother with a child of her own, Begoa’s Point is reopening its doors. Lyla is surprised when she is abruptly moved off the waiting list and given a reservation at the camp, but even more surprising is what she finds when she arrives.

Weston Accardi, the first boy Lyla ever gave her heart to, is the proud new owner of the Begoa’s property. He has changed—and not just because a prosthetic leg now exists where a natural limb once did. He is no longer the carefree rebel he used to be but has grown into a responsible businessman.

Their past, however, refuses to remain such, cycling back to smother the fire they’ve tried so hard to rebuild since her arrival to the reopened campground.

 Excerpt

The campground was quiet. Not silent, but quiet. Silence on the grounds was a rarity. Birds chirped and critters snapped twigs and crunched leaves as they ran through the abundant foliage, sounding off their small, happy-to-be-out-of-hibernation squeaks. The fire Weston Accardi kept lit continuously, day and night, crackled and popped as it chewed into the pieces of wood he fed it.

Soon the soundtrack of the campground would transform from its current nature-inspired sounds to a blend of noises that belonged to the incoming camping families. Children would run and play, shrieking at decibels specific to summertime. Their laughter and yells would echo through the plush pine trees as parents unpacked the camping gear and essentials from the overloaded trucks to prepare the site that they would call home for the duration of their stay. Music—both played through Bluetooth speakers and strummed on old guitars—would travel from the dirt driveways beneath each RV and become one with cloudless blue sky above.

Each currently bare site would have a tent or RV secured on it, and every available rental trailer or cottage would have people occupying them. Every single one, Weston thought as he thumbed through countless pages of reservations. He’d requested the bookings be printed and delivered to the site he’d claimed as ‘The Owner’s Headquarters’ during the off-season renovations. The rest of the employees had WiFi access within the offices and laptops or tablets to view the information and spreadsheets, but Weston found nostalgic peace of mind by holding the printed reservations in his hand the exact way his father before him had done while sitting in the very same chair. A half-grin slid onto Weston’s cheeks. He was pleased with the turnout of reservations for the grand reopening of Begoa’s Point Family Campground. His father would have been too, had he been alive to see it.

Weston tucked the most recent reservation listings into the worn-out openings of the accordion-style folder and tossed it inside the door of his RV, which was situated in a wooded area well away from the hustle and bustle of the main grounds. When his parents had owned the campground more than fifteen years before, they had chosen a site at the center of the grounds directly within earshot of anything and everything going on within their property’s perimeter. They’d preferred it that way—involved, hands-on. In many ways, Weston liked that too, maintaining full control, but when the sun went down, he preferred a hushed space to retreat to in order to separate himself from his work and enjoy the serene nature that surrounded him.

“Achilles.” Weston followed the call with a quick, wet-lipped whistle and a pat of his palm against the thigh of his cargo shorts. He grabbed a leather leash from the picnic table with a clink as the metal clasp sounded against the tabletop. The dog’s ears perked up like antennas receiving a signal. His tail picked up speed, wagging in long, swift motions that swept the sand off the patio mat that covered the land just outside the RV. “Want to go on a run?”

The dog leaped from the shaded dirt area he could usually be found in—a spot he’d claimed to hide away in from Maine’s hot summer rays. He darted toward his owner and pushed his large head into Weston’s hips with a force that almost knocked him over.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” Weston used his palm to ruffle the fur between the German Shepherd’s ears. Achilles bounded around in circles with an impressive agility comparable to that of a show dog. With his energy and antics, no one would guess he was missing part of his hind leg. Then again, like pup, like owner. Most people hardly noticed that Weston was an amputee as well. He was a man who ran multiple miles per day, every day, with his dog stuck to his side. He walked all over the campground and was hardly ever seen in a golf cart unless there was an emergency that he needed to handle sooner rather than later. He maneuvered around using his left leg prosthetic as if it were his own natural limb.

Weston stretched out his back and his existing leg before clipping the dog’s leash around his waist. The dog usually ran free, but the leash stayed on Weston’s person in case the need arose for him to use it. Weston took off down the winding dirt path into a long trail of cookie-cutter cottages—empty now but soon to be filled with families ready to embark on their summer camping adventures. There would be some newcomers, but most of the reservation list was composed of returning families from his parents’ time of owning and operating the same campground prior to its untimely closure.

He and Achilles ran uphill, turning a corner to jog past the recently updated tennis and basketball courts, as well as a newly renovated shower and bath house. A custodial worker waved as Weston came around the bend of the road and jogged past.

“Good morning, Larry!” Weston called. Larry tipped his hat in Weston’s direction. Weston had made it a point to learn the name of every employee—a rule of his father’s that he’d inherited and valued. He continued his journey down the pathway toward the beachfront bar and restaurant, stopping where Mark Jenson was readying the place for the upcoming grand reopening. The outdoor bar itself was a new addition, built while the cabins and sites were being remodeled, but Mark was an original employee. A longtime friend of Weston’s father, Mark had run the bar and restaurant during Begoa’s Point’s first run and had agreed to come back to manage the new facility.

“Morning, boss.” Mark moved large boxes of glasses from the ground to the bar top as the sun beat down on the tiki-themed hut while he worked. He wiped his brow on his forearm. His sweat-soaked shirt clung to his skin at his chest and back. “What are we having today?”

“The usual will be fine.” Weston slowed and came to a full stop. Achilles followed suit, coming to a halt, then lying down in the small bit of shade the bar provided.

Mark grabbed a silver bowl from a below-bar cabinet and filled it with water before stepping out from the service area and coming around the bar to serve it to Begoa’s Point’s most prominent VIP. Mark stayed on one knee for a moment, scratching below the dog’s chin. Achilles stood and started lapping water from the bowl, leaving more water on the ground in a messy puddle than he’d swallowed.

Mark returned to his position behind the counter, filled a cup with ice and water and slid it across the bar into Weston’s hand.

“Where are you headed to today?” Mark leaned into the bar.

“All over the grounds, I think. The usual path.” Weston paused to take a sip of the ice-cold water. “At least as far as the marina. I just want to make sure everything is ready to go for the opening.”

“That’s what you said yesterday.” Mark raised an eyebrow. “Then again, it’s what you will probably say tomorrow and the day after that too.”

“I like to be prepared.” Weston sent his now-empty plastic cup back across the bar.

“You will be. You are your father’s son, after all. I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

Weston looked at Mark, analyzing the new lines that sank into his skin, but other than a few signs of aging, Mark looked almost the same as he had when Weston’s parents had owned the campground before its closure, leaving Mark and many others without a job.

“Thank you for coming back, Mark. This place wouldn’t be the same without you, even after all these years. I’m sorry we ever put you out of a job in the first place.” Weston turned his eyes downward in sadness.

“It’s not your fault, Weston—”

“It is, actually,” Weston interrupted, adjusting his ballcap, with his gaze still glued to the floor. He watched the dog, if for no other reason than to avoid Mark’s eyes. “You know it and so do I.”

“It’s not. You knock that off right now.” Mark’s voice teetered on scolding, and he wagged one aging finger in Weston’s direction. “You know that your dad used to come down to the old bar every night for last call. Every night. He sat on the same barstool each time, and you know what he told me?”

Weston shook his head. He had been only seventeen when his parent’s ownership had come to an end, so he’d not reached the legal drinking age where he could spend those waning nighttime hours with his dad, occupying Mark’s bar stools. His ‘no’ wasn’t an entirely honest answer to Mark’s question, however. He knew what Mark was going to say—what his dad had used to say—but he wanted to hear it. If he couldn’t hear it from his own father, Mark’s affirmation was the next best thing.

“He said it was his dream to see you run this place. So maybe it didn’t happen as he’d expected, but it’s happening, and you should be proud of that. You’re not a kid anymore, Weston. You’ve grown and should be so proud of who you’ve become. Your father would be.”

“I remember that. He used to come down here every night but never had a sip of alcohol.” Weston smiled at the seemingly small memories of his father, but they were anything but insignificant. They were everything.

“I remember watching you run around these grounds, from learning to walk all the way to chasing after the girls on the beach in your teenage years.” Mark continued to speak, but Weston’s mind was elsewhere, time-traveling down a winding path to his childhood.

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About the Author

L. A. Tavares

When it comes to romance, L A doesn’t have a type. Sometimes it’s dark and devastating, sometimes it’s soft and simple – truly, it just depends what her imaginary friends are doing at the time she starts writing about them.

L A has moved to various parts of the country over the last ten years but her heart has never left Boston.

And no, the “A” does not stand for Anne.

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