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Shore Love

Shore Love

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Shore Love

149 страниц
1 час
26 нояб. 2018 г.


Melanie Kurtis works as an advertising executive for a small company in New York City. In the eight years since graduating college, she's built a successful career, and she's stunned when a new management team abruptly dismisses the entire staff. Having time now for a long overdue vacation, she visits her parents at their summer home on Beach Isle, a small barrier island. Once there, she runs into Tom Madisen, who's still in her heart though she hasn't seen him in years.

While growing up, Tom and Melanie spent summers on the island. They lived next door to each other and were summertime best friends, until the summer before they both began college and their friendship blossomed into love. Tom never learned why Melanie ended their relationship, and he hasn't fully gotten over her. Now the owner of a construction company and a year-round resident of the island, he's surprised to see Melanie, and despite the urgings of his heart, he tries to treat her as only a friend. 

Although seeing Tom brings happy memories and stirs old feelings, Melanie, too, resists being more than friends. She's never forgiven herself for hurting him when she let love slip away, and she's afraid if they become too close, she'll hurt him again when she returns to the city to resume her career. But as she and Tom spend time together, their love reawakens, and Melanie must overcome the reason she broke off in the past or risk losing him forever.

26 нояб. 2018 г.

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Shore Love - Gary Robert Muschla


For Judy, Erin, and Callie, as always

Excerpt from Shore Love

THE END-OF-THE-DAY shadows stretched long on the beach as Melanie sauntered in the wash up to her ankles. A light breeze wisped her hair from her face and carried away the leftover heat of the afternoon.

Her thoughts drifted as if on a slow-flowing tide—to her boyfriend Randal, her job search, her life in the city. None seemed to matter like they once did. She told herself this was because she was on Beach Isle after having stayed away so long, that being there revived sunny feelings of her childhood that outshone, at least for now, everything else. But the explanation left her unsatisfied.

Immersed in her thoughts, she wasn’t aware of Tom approaching until he stepped into the water beside her.

Hey, Mel, he said.

The unexpected sound of her name in his voice caused a gust of warmth to spread through her.


Shore Love

Copyright © 2018 Gary Robert Muschla

Cover Design by Romance Novel Covers Now


Books to Go Now

For information on the cover illustration and design, contact bookstogonow@gmail.com

First eBook Edition November 2018

Warning: the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, any place, events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously.


THE TWO BABIES SAT across from each other on the beach, their diapers like little pillows beneath their bathing suits, cushioning their bottoms on the sand. They cooed and giggled as they dug a hole with plastic shovels.

The girl, wearing a pink one-piece, her white, wide-brimmed hat shadowing her face from the summer sun, smiled at her new friend.

Melanie, her mother’s voice came from above her, this is Tom. Tom, this is Melanie.

Looking up from under the blue baseball hat that matched his trunks, Tom smiled at Melanie. 

THE TWO MIDDLE-SCHOOLERS raced down the beach toward the incoming wave, their trim, tanned bodies proof of summer days spent at the shore.

Come on, Mel, said the boy, a few steps ahead.

I’m coming, Tom, the girl said, matching his pace, her coppery ponytail swinging behind her.

They ran through the wash and dove in just as the wave began to break above them. Surfacing, they grinned at each other, ready for the sea’s next surge. 

THE YOUNG MAN AND YOUNG woman strolled barefoot along the beach, near the water. The sun had slipped from the sky and daylight was fading to dusk. Except for a few people scattered along its length, the beach was empty.

Another summer’s over, Mel, he said.

And now we’re both starting college, said Melanie. She didn’t want to say goodbye. Not this year. Not ever again. Tom, do you realize we’ve spent every summer of our lives here together?

Yeah, I do, he said. 

He stopped, took her hand, and turned her to him. 

At first Melanie was surprised at his touch, but then her heart quickened. 

I’m going to miss you, he said.

I feel the same about you. Sparks of excitement streamed through her. She couldn’t believe this was happening, but hoped it was.

Slowly, hesitantly, Tom slipped his arms around her, gathered her close, and with infinite tenderness kissed her, igniting senses she’d never known.

When his lips at last left hers, Melanie looked up at him and smiled. That took a while to come.

I’ve wanted to kiss you for a long time, he said, but I wasn’t sure if...

With a blaze of desire rising within her, Melanie stretched up on her tiptoes and pressed her lips to his.

I’ll call you every day, Tom said, his face still inches from hers. I’ll visit during every break.

I’ll never forgive you if you don’t, she said, truly meaning every word. 

When Tom kissed her again, she pulled him tight to her, wanting the warm glow of this moment to last forever.

Chapter One

TWELVE YEARS LATER, Melanie Kurtis walked through the glitzy restaurant in downtown New York City to the table where Randal Norris, her boyfriend, waited for her. Seeing the rich leather furniture, men in pricey jackets and ties, and women in designer outfits, she instantly felt underdressed in her gray slacks and white blouse.

Melanie, Randal said, rising. Dapper in a dark suit, his brown hair thick and full, he appeared the accomplished business executive he desired to be. He kissed her on the cheek.

Randal, I just came from work. I wish you would’ve told me this place was so...


Yeah, she said uncomfortably. This wasn’t at all what she expected when he asked her to meet him for dinner. I would’ve worn something more appropriate.

You look fantastic.

Melanie smiled at Randal’s flattery. Somewhat tall and slim, a little gangly, her green eyes set in an oval face and her copper-hued hair tumbling to below her shoulders, she’d never consider herself to look fantastic. 

He pulled a chair out for her.

Thank you, she said, sitting. She noticed the open bottle of champagne and the two filled glasses. Her stomach tightened. Are we celebrating?

We are...which is the reason I didn’t mention the quality of this place. You would’ve suspected something, and I wanted to surprise you.

Randal, she said, squirming a little in her seat, does this have anything to do with our discussion of taking the next step in our relationship?

Melanie, no, he said with an easy wave of his hand. I respect that you need more time. This is about me.

You? she said, relieved, despite having no idea why she wasn’t ready to move forward with him.

Randal nodded. The biggest client I had when I worked with you at Harper and Glenn switched marketing firms and signed with mine. And my boss gave me the account. I’m flying to Atlanta next week for a meeting to talk about a new national promotion.

That’s great, Melanie said, happy for him that all the extra hours he worked every week were paying off.

It’s better than great. 

They raised their glasses of champagne, clinked, and sipped. 

But why did they leave Harper and Glenn? Melanie asked, aware that the client had been with the company for years. She hadn’t heard even a whisper of dissatisfaction. 

I don’t know, Randal said, shrugging. Maybe they got nervous that Harper and Glenn was sold and is under new management. Whatever the reason, my boss was impressed that they followed me. He wagged his finger at her. You should have left when I did.

Oh, Randal, we’ve been through this, she said. Sometimes he could be exasperating in his efforts to plan every detail of life, including hers.

I’m only trying to look out for you.

I know, Melanie said, and I appreciate that. Though there were times Randal’s insistence that his way was best proved exhausting. 

A shakeup may be coming to Harper and Glenn.

I’ve always liked working there, Melanie said. And so far, nothing’s changed. 

Randal picked up his glass and saluted her. To you, then. May the new management team recognize your hard work and loyalty.

Smiling, Melanie raised her glass. Thank you.

EVERY ELEMENT OF THE media blitz should reflect that the company is traditional and family-oriented, Melanie said, sitting at her desk in her office at Harper and Glenn and looking across to her assistant, Nicole Phillips.

Nicole nodded as she entered notes on her tablet. Got it.

Good, said Melanie. And I want a tight schedule on this.

I can’t recall a single project when you didn’t, said Nicole, smiling, her round face set in a mass of black curls. Her lips turned downward in a sympathetic frown. As your assistant, I admire your above and beyond work ethic, but as your friend, I have to say you got to slow down. Enjoy life a little.

I do, said Melanie, though in quiet, reflective moments she sometimes doubted that—unless days that consisted mostly of work or thinking about work, squeezing time in to see Randal, and tending to daily routines qualified as fun. As for the timetable for the blitz...

I’ll start setting things up today. I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks, Melanie said. 

She smiled as Nicole left, and then she turned to the computer on her desk to check her e-mail.

Soon after Nicole was gone, a woman’s curt voice came from the open doorway of Melanie’s office: Melanie Kurtis?

Melanie looked up from her computer screen at a thin woman in a gray business suit, her hair pulled back in a severe bun. Yes. Hi.

I’m Elaine Carter, the woman said, stepping into the room, carrying a brown leather satchel. I arrived from the home office this morning.

Melanie rose and walked around her desk. Nice to meet you. She extended her hand.

But instead of taking Melanie’s hand, Elaine fished into her satchel and pulled out an envelope.

There’s never an easy way to do this, she said, handing the envelope to Melanie.

Glancing at it, Melanie saw her name. 

Do what? she asked. But as her thoughts flashed ahead to what

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