Sweet Passions at Bayside

By: Addison Cole

Chapter One





THERE WERE A few things worse than being stuck in traffic and needing to pee, but after driving since the crack of dawn and sitting on the same stretch of highway for the past forty minutes—which was about thirty minutes longer than her bladder could handle—Emery Andrews couldn’t think of a single one. Her back teeth were floating, and if she didn’t find a bathroom soon, her car would become a swimming pool. She should have thought about weekend traffic before hightailing it out of Oak Falls, Virginia, and heading for her new home and workplace, Summer House Inn, in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. But thinking things through wasn’t Emery’s forte. She was more of a just-do-it-and-worry-about-things-later type of girl, as evident in her move to the Cape.

Now, if she could only get there.

She gazed out at the long line of brake lights in front of her and picked up her phone to call her best friend, Desiree Cleary. Desiree had been like a sister to her since they were five years old, and last summer, she had fallen in love, reconnected with her half sister, Violet, and decided to move to the Cape and open the inn, all in the space of a few short weeks. Desiree’s excitement was contagious. Every time they spoke on the phone, she raved about her new life with her fiancé, Rick Savage, and her plans for the inn, and it had sparked introspection in Emery. She realized she wasn’t living a life she was excited by in Oak Falls—and she had no one to blame but herself. After making a poor decision right before the holidays and going out with her boss at the Oak Falls Back Care and Rehabilitation Center, where she had worked full-time as a yoga back-care specialist, she’d ended up leaving the practice. Unfortunately, she’d signed a non-compete specifically for providing the one thing that brought her the most fulfillment and could no longer practice yoga back care within a fifty-mile radius of the rehabilitation center. In the small rural town of Oak Falls, her career, and her personal life, seemed to have stalled.

She’d needed a fresh start, and when Desiree had invited her up to Wellfleet to teach yoga at the inn, she’d jumped at the chance.

Desiree answered the phone on the second ring. “Hey, Em. I can’t talk. It’s changeover day. I have three customers waiting to be checked in and two on hold. Call you later?”

“Wait! I’m in Orleans, trying to get there. But—”

“Orleans? Really?” There was no missing the excitement, or the hesitation, in Desiree’s voice. “I thought you were coming next week. I don’t have an open room until this Wednesday. Why didn’t you call and let me know you were coming early?”

“Because after quitting my job and packing up my apartment, the emptiness freaked me out and I was excited to get the heck out of Oak Falls and see you!”

Emery had always been the adventurous one, while Desiree had been cautious, thinking things through to the nth degree. But along with Emery’s boxed-up belongings came a big what if. What if she couldn’t find enough clients to make a living? And as she’d sat in her empty apartment contemplating that worry, she’d realized that leaving the only place she’d ever lived, and leaving her family, wasn’t going to be as easy as she’d imagined. But although she’d been sad about leaving them, her three older brothers had called her several times during her long ride up, making her glad to be moving out from under their watchful eyes. She knew if she had stayed in town for another week, they, and her other worries, would have driven her batty. She had never let anything stop her from doing things in the past, and she knew the only way to get over those fears was to plow full speed ahead—and plow she did!

“But with this traffic,” Emery said, “I’ll never get there. I’m stuck on the highway right before the rotary. Should I get a motel room until you have a vacancy?”

“Oh, Em, you’ll never get one. It’s peak season. Everyone’s booked. But don’t worry. I’m sure Vi will let you stay in her cottage.” Desiree and Violet had renovated the old Victorian and the four cottages that had once been owned by their grandparents. “I’ll mention it to Vi, but you might as well find someplace to hang out for a few hours until the traffic eases up. Maybe you can do some shopping in Orleans,” Desiree suggested. “I’m so sorry, but I really can’t talk right now. Will you be okay for a few hours on your own?” Before Emery could respond Desiree said, “Of course you will be. You love new adventures! We’ll catch up when you get here. And if you hang out in Orleans, be sure to bring me something from the Chocolate Sparrow!” Desiree blew a kiss into the phone and the line went dead.

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