“I’m supposed to wear that on my head?”
“Totally,” Shane said as if I’d lost my mind a little. “You have to keep your hands free to catch those jokers.” I raised my eyebrows, andhe clarified, “They’re really fast.”
“Ahhh.” I nodded as I put the headlamp on. “I feel like we’re going caving.”
Shane reached to my forehead and turned the lamp on. “That’d be awesome. I’ve never done that before.”
“No way I’m ever doing that. I’ve seen too many horror movies.”
“I’ll add it to my list of things we’re doing together one day. Right after skydiving.”
“Yeah, right,” I said, but at once felt an arrow to my heart.
Unless one of our lives changed in the next week, we’d never even be able to fight over attempting his list of things I’d never want to try. Shane’s expression told me the same realization crossed his mind. I snapped to a different, happier emotion, “So, what now, beach master?”
He grabbed a sand bucket that could have possibly been his as a child. “Beach master?” He opened the door from Gram’s garage leading outside. “I like that nickname. Suits me well.”
“You would think so,” I said as I followed him out, closing the door behind me. Shane transferred the bucket in his other hand and reached back to take mine, staying just in front of me. The warmth of his fingers wrapped around mine spread through my limbs, the rushing along my skin set it ablaze.
Our headlamps, combined with the lights from inside Gram’s, helped us make our way on her path leading alongside the house.
“Kick your sandals off.” He stopped at the edge of the dunes.
I did, then he took up my hand again. “Now what?”
“We walk.” He pulled me north along the ocean. “Trust me, if you keep your head down and pay attention, you’ll see them.”
The second he finished speaking, a white spider crossed right in front of my bare feet. I screamed and gripped Shane’s shoulder. He burst out laughing, and I mock-punched him. “Those things are creepy,” I said with a shudder.
“I know.” He taunted, “Try catching one.”
“With my hands?” I held them out.
He crossed his arms over his chest, and his grin held a challenge. “Yup.”
“Fine.” I looked at the sand, which caused it to light up. I took a few steps and saw one a couple feet away. I went for it, never one to shy away from a dare, and wasn’t even close.
“Told you those jokers are fast.”
“I’m fast. I’ll get one.” I grabbed for another and missed.
He got beside me. “You have to predict where they’ll go and reach there, ahead of them.”
It seemed logical. I tried again.
“Better.” He took a few steps, leaning over so far I wondered how his back wasn’t hurting, but it left him close to the sand. His snatched one and stood with his hand fisted. “Got it.” He dropped it into the bucket.
“What do they feel like?”
“They have a shell. But it’s not too hard.”
I peered inside. “It’s almost translucent and…ugly.”
“You don’t want to eat one of those?” He elbowed me. “Kidding. And I’m winning.”
“Not for long,” I said, getting serious. I would not lose a ghost crab catching competition to Shane. We both set out a few feet from each other. I reached and… “I got it,” I squealed as the impulse to throw it back to the ground overwhelmed me. I held on long enough to toss it into Shane’s bucket.
“Nice. But mine’s bigger.” His hearty laugh rang out above the waves as my face reddened with anger.
“You’re impossible,” I said, buta smile crept up without permission.
He leaned over and kissed me on the lips, dissolving my irritation. He pulled back, and instead of saying something enchanting, said, “So. Are. You.”
I turned back to my ghost crab challenge, fleeing his piercing gaze. “You’re reallyirritating, but I am glad you finally let go of that scowl you wore for so long.”
Shane concentrated on where his light hit the sand. “I’m trying. And I’ve made progress, releasing some sadness and filling it with…well…” I looked up at his hesitation, and he shrugged. “You.”
The intensity of his words electrified me. I moved to him. He dropped the bucket and caught me in his arms. I grabbed his face and kissed him with everything in me, setting free the desire I’d longed to act on for weeks. Time was lost on us as he left my mouth and kissed my neck, leaving me fighting for oxygen, suffocating on my need for him. He inched his way back up, and I bent my head to meet him, the eagerness for his lips to be on mine overwhelming—
Until our headlamps knocked together.
The sound and force jolted us apart.
I covered my wide-open mouth, but my voice was stuckin my throat at the hilarity.
Shane seemed to choke on his ownlaugh before picking up the bucket. “Let’s check out a sea turtle nest on the way back, and then watch those Law and Order reruns.” He pulled me into a side-hug to escort me…home.
Addie McHenry, restoration home builder extraordinaire, catches her big break when the House to Home network contracts her to film a reality TV show focusing on how she brings homes back to life. She sets her sights on one of the oldest on Moanna’s beach and has to risk everything just to get it.
Shane Armstrong moved from Savannah to his grandmother’s Moanna oceanside house when his world shattered five months before. He went on leave from his job as a Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer, hopeful his grandmother’s peaceful street will help him heal. The reality TV show’s arrival threatens this serenity.
But the construction and camera crews are nothing compared to Addie herself. She’s tough as nails, challenging, and superbly bossy as she works to get her way. But she’s also kind, hardworking, and has a relationship with God Shane can’t begin to understand.
With each encounter, Shane’s walls start to crumble as Addie brings more than just the historical home back to life, but him as well. Addie tries desperately not to enjoy spending time with the irritable and scowling boy from next door. He hides his heartache well, but she sees it there behind his prickly exterior. Soon she begins to uncover the sacrificial hero underneath the façade.
With both of them only temporary residents on Moanna Island, their thin ice relationship crashes to a halt. Can Shane return to his risky job with the Coast Guard? Does he even want to? And can Addie let him go and follow her dreams even when tragedy strikes?
Kristen holds a Master's degree in Theological Studies and served as a Children's Ministry Director for five years. She cherishes her Southern roots and currently lives forty-five minutes outside of Atlanta, GA. With the support of her husband and two children, she stays at home writing Christian fiction, allowing God to take the story where He needs it to go. She blogs for Wholly Loved ministries at WhollyLoved.com and Crosswalk.com. Shealso loves serving her local church on their women's leadership and teaching team. You can check out her current novels at www.kristenterrette.com.
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorkristenterrette/
Twitter Handle: @KTerrette
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