The first book in the Lucky Harbor series, 2010
Maddie drove the narrow, curvy highway with her past
Or her own failings.
Good thing, then, that she was done with failing.
“Come on, listeners,” the disc jockey said jovially on the radio. “Call in with your Christmas hopes and dreams. We’ll be picking a random winner and making a wish come true.”
“You’re kidding me.” Maddie briefly took her eyes off the mountainous road and flicked a glance at the dash. “It’s
“Any wish,” the DJ said. “Name it, and it could be yours.”
As if. But she let out a breath and tried for whimsy. Once upon a time, she’d been good at such things.
“The lines are lit up,” the DJ announced. “Best of luck to all of you out there waiting.”
Well, maybe not men. Men she was giving up entirely. Pausing from that thought, she squinted through the fog to read the first road sign she’d seen in a while.
About time. Exercising muscles she hadn’t utilized in too long, she smiled, and in celebration of arriving at her designated destination, she dug into the bag of salt and vinegar potato chips at her side. Chips cured just about everything, from the I-lost-my-job blues, to the my-boyfriend-was-a-jerk regrets, to the tentatively hopeful celebration of a new beginning.
“A new beginning done right,” she said out loud, because everyone knew that saying it out loud made it true. “You hear that, karma?” She glanced upward through her slightly leaky sunroof into a dark sky, where storm clouds tumbled together like a dryer full of gray wool blankets. “This time, I’m going to be strong.” Like Katharine Hepburn. Like Ingrid Bergman. “So go torture someone else and leave me alone.”
A bolt of lightning blinded her, followed by a boom of thunder that nearly had her jerking out of her skin. “Okay, so I meant
The highway in front of her wound its way alongside a cliff on her right, which probably hid more wildlife than this affirmed city girl wanted to think about. Far below the road on her left, the Pacific Ocean pitched and rolled, fog lingering in long, silvery fingers on the frothy water.
Gorgeous, all of it, but what registered more than anything was the silence. No horns blaring while jockeying for position in the clogged fast lane, no tension-filled offices where producers and directors shouted at each other. No ex-boyfriends who yelled to release steam. Or worse.
No anger at all, in fact.
Just the sound of the radio and her own breathing. Delicious,
As unbelievable as it seemed, she’d never driven through the mountains before. She was here now only because, shockingly, her mother’s will had listed property in Washington State. More shockingly, Maddie had been left one-third of that property, a place called Lucky Harbor Resort.
Raised by her set-designer dad in Los Angeles, Maddie hadn’t seen her mother more than a handful of times since he’d taken custody of her at age five, so the will had been a huge surprise. Her dad had been just as shocked as she, and so had her two half-sisters, Tara and Chloe. Since there hadn’t been a memorial service-Phoebe had specifically not wanted one-the three sisters had agreed to meet at the resort.
It would be the first time they’d seen each other in five years.
Defying probability, the road narrowed yet again. Maddie steered into the sharp left curve and then immediately whipped the wheel the other way for the unexpected right. A sign warned her to keep a lookout for river otters, osprey-what the heck were
Barely missed a guy on a motorcycle.
“Oh, my God.” Heart in her throat, she craned her neck, watching as the bike ran off the road and skidded to a stop. With a horrified grimace, she started to drive past, then hesitated.
But hurrying past a cringe-worthy moment, hoping to avoid a scene, was the old Maddie. The new Maddie stopped the car, though she did allow herself a beat to draw a quick, shuddery breath. What was she supposed to say-
Bolstering her courage, she got out of the car clutching her Blackberry, ready to call 911 if it got ugly. Shivering in the unexpectedly damp ocean air, she moved toward him, her arms wrapped around herself as she faced the music.
He was still straddling the motorcycle, one long leg stretched out, balancing on a battered work boot, and if he