Cape cod promises, p.1
Cape Cod Promises, p.1Part #2 of Love on Rockwell Island series by Bella Andre
Love on Rockwell Island
This is a work of fiction. The events and characters described herein are imaginary and are not intended to refer to specific places or living persons. The opinions expressed in this manuscript are solely the opinions of the authors and do not represent the opinions or thoughts of the publisher. The authors have represented and warranted full ownership and/or legal right to publish all the materials in this book.
CAPE COD PROMISES
All Rights Reserved.
Copyright (c) 2015 Bayside Books, LLC
This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Cover Design: Natasha Brown
BAYSIDE BOOKS, LLC
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Note to Readers
We love hearing from our readers and have been so excited about your response to our Love on Rockwell Island books! Creating the island and all of our sexy characters is so much fun, and we're thrilled to bring you Trent Rockwell and Reese Nicholson's love story. Watching them fall back in love has been an emotional journey well worth the wait, and we hope you love them as much as we do!
Happy reading, Bella & Melissa
Table of Contents
CROUCHED ON THE worn hardwood floor beside the shelf he was building, Trent Rockwell sat back on his heels, turned the hammer over in his palm, and listened to the sounds of the island. Crickets, tree frogs, and occasional distant voices snuck in through the open windows of the old gristmill, bringing back great memories of growing up on Rockwell Island with his four younger siblings. The familiar sounds of his youth had nearly been erased by the constant noise of New York City, where he'd been living for the past ten years. He'd been back on the island just shy of two months, returning after his stodgy grandfather, Chandler Rockwell, demanded that Trent and his siblings take over management of the prestigious Rockwell Resort.
It had been a blessing in disguise. Trent had been contemplating returning to the island for quite some time, but finagling a way to do so without losing his successful law practice had kept him from making the move. Now that his grandfather was in his mideighties and had suffered two heart attacks in recent years, Chandler Rockwell had needed to make a drastic change. Trent wondered if his grandfather had somehow known that his grandchildren had needed a change, too.
While two of his younger siblings, Ethan and Sierra, had made the island their home after college, Trent and his other siblings, Quinn and Derek, had built their careers on the mainland. But in the weeks since they'd returned to take over the resort, Quinn had already fallen in love with Shelley Walters, who had been vacationing on the island--and she'd fallen so deeply in love with Quinn and the island that she'd never left. They'd moved in together, and Shelley had bought the old gristmill, where she was opening an organic coffee shop called Shelley's Cafe. After weeks of renovation, which Trent and his brothers were handling, her cafe was almost ready for its grand opening.
Trent's life had also changed drastically since coming home. After watching Quinn and Shelley fall madly in love, he had begun to take stock of his own life and reclaim aspects that had been missing for too long, like time off from work to enjoy being with friends and family. After years of grueling hours sitting behind a desk with his mind entrenched in legal jargon, he no longer pored over legal documents until all hours of the night. Instead, he once again found relaxation and enjoyment in working with his hands, preferring to come to the gristmill and work late in the evenings, long after his other siblings had called it a night.
Scents of Cape Cod Bay swept over Trent's bare chest like a caress, stirring memories that had kept him up at night long before he'd moved back to the island. His mind drifted to a summer ten years earlier, when in the space of six short weeks, he'd met, fallen in love with, and married Reese Nicholson. She'd been just nineteen years old to his twenty-six, with hair as blond as spun gold and gorgeous brown eyes that were like windows to her enormous warm and loving heart.
Without the distraction of overtime hours, the questions Trent had been asking himself for a decade kept rising to the forefront of his mind: If he hadn't worked seventy hours a week, if he'd paid more attention to Reese's needs and slowed down enough to put her first--above his career, above the need to socialize in the circles that had secured his rising to the top of the practice--would they have split up six months after their wedding? Or could they have made their relationship work?
He rose to his feet, trying to push past the familiar tightening in his chest. But he never could escape thoughts of Reese for very long, and since coming back to the island, it felt like she was everywhere--even though she'd been in Oregon helping her sister with her new baby ever since Trent had returned.
Still, her absence hadn't stopped the memories from assaulting him at every turn. It didn't help that her gallery was right across the street from the gristmill. Hell, Trent couldn't even pass the local beach without seeing the image of Reese, looking angelic in her wedding gown. He still heard her sweet laugh in the brushing of the leaves in the wind. And even now, as the breeze wrapped around his chest again, it was her fingers he felt trailing along his skin.
Who was he kidding? He hadn't been able to escape thoughts of her since he'd come home to the apartment they'd shared in New York City ten years ago with a diamond bracelet and a bottle of champagne on their six-month anniversary...and found the Dear Trent note that had ended their marriage.
I never thought I'd write you a note like this, and I know it's--
No. He couldn't go there again. Being back on the island always served to sharpen the rough edges of those memories, and he forced himself to push the painful thoughts away. The sound of a car door closing helped bring his mind back to the present. No sense in wallowing in what was...or what could have been. He wiped his brow with the shirt he'd tossed aside and picked up the hammer again. He'd pound her out of his head. One nail at a time.
He brought the hammer down and missed the nail. Uttering a curse, he tightened his grip on the hammer and tried again, missing his thumb by a hair. Now, more than ever, he could use the release another few hours of manual labor would provide. But if he kept thinking about Reese, he was sure to nail his thumb to the floor. He set the hammer on the old grinding stone and looked around for his painting supplies, figuring he couldn't do much dama
Realizing he'd left his brushes in the car, Trent blew out a frustrated breath and headed outside. He couldn't see a darn thing with those overgrown bushes lining the front yard. He'd have to remember to ask Shelley if she wanted them trimmed, or at least cut a pathway so people didn't have to push through them, just like he was doing right--
He smacked head-on into a soft, curvy form, instinctively putting his hands around the woman's waist to steady her at the same moment that her hands clutched at his chest. Whatever she had been holding crashed to the ground, but he held her steady so that she wouldn't also stumble and fall.
His hands and body recognized the feel of her curves immediately, even before his brain had a chance to kick in. His brain still wasn't fully functioning when her name--"Reese"--slipped from his lips, soft and familiar.
"Trent?" Her body went rigid. "I...I was just...I wanted to welcome Shelley to the neighborhood."
He knew he should let her go, but for this one perfect moment, he couldn't keep from drinking her in instead. She felt so good, so warm and sweet, even after all these years.
"At eleven at night?" Somehow, he managed to force his hands back down to his sides.
She looked away, but the moonlight caught the rosy blush on her cheeks. "I wanted to leave her a gift basket as a surprise for when she gets here tomorrow. And I didn't think anyone would be working this late."
Trent followed her gaze to the street below--and her car parked at the curb. The one with the Rockwell Island lighthouse he'd given her the week they'd first met still hanging from the rearview mirror.
WITH HER HEART in her throat, Reese bent to pick up the contents of the gift basket she'd brought for Shelley. She'd known Trent had been back on the island for nearly two months--her best friend and employee, Jocelyn Steller, had called her the minute she'd heard about the Rockwell siblings taking over the resort. But Reese thought she'd have time to prepare before running into Trent.
Now, as she tossed the items she'd brought for Shelley back into the basket, she was a trembling mess, and the way he was looking at her in the moonlight as he helped her pick up the gifts was only making her more nervous. Especially after she'd all but admitted she'd come late to avoid seeing him.
"You don't have to help me pick everything up," she said, wishing he would leave but aching at the thought of him walking away. He smelled like hot, sweaty, yummy man...and it brought back a thousand sexy memories she couldn't let herself think about. Lord knew she did enough of that late at night, when she was alone with the memories of him touching her, holding her--
"It's okay, Reese," he said as he set a bottle of lotion back in the basket.
Oh Lord. She'd forgotten how deep and sexy his voice was and how when he said her name, it vibrated all the way through her.
Even after all these years, he still had the ability to turn her inside out.
As he picked up the driftwood on which she'd painted a scene for Shelley and drew his dark brows together as he studied it, Reese couldn't resist making a quick visual inspection of her own. The line of his jaw had sharpened over the years, and the peppering of dark whiskers gave him an edgier feel than the suit-and-tie Trent she'd remembered from their life in New York.
Did he still have to be so darn good-looking? So gorgeous that her pulse didn't have a chance of staying steady when he was this near to her.
She'd caught only brief glimpses of him a handful of times over the past few years when he'd been in town for short visits with his family, and she'd certainly never allowed her eyes to linger the way she was now. Allowing that was probably a huge mistake, given the way her stomach was fluttering like crazy.
His dark hair was slightly longer, reminding her of how he'd looked when they'd first met. His eyes were still as serious as they'd always been, but something was different about them--the longer he looked over the painting, the more they softened. And--holy cow--how had she not noticed until now that he was bare-chested? He was broader, thicker, more manly than he'd been when they'd shared a bed. A deliciously wild and sexy bed.
Breathe, Reese. Breathe.
He lifted his eyes from the driftwood she'd painted and his lips tipped up in a smile. "This is beautiful, Reese. The detail in the waterwheel really brings it to life, and the brook is so well done that the water practically flows off the wood."
Hearing Trent's praise brought back such good memories. Trent had not only been the first person to support her artwork outside of her family, but he'd also understood in a way no one else had how it fulfilled her and set her free at the same time.
She opened her mouth to respond with a thank you, but the urge to kiss him--to thread her fingers into his hair and pull his mouth down over hers so that she could see if he still tasted as good as he used to--was so strong it stunned her.
Reese snapped her mouth closed, more than a little surprised by the desires that her ex-husband had so quickly reawakened. Trent set the wood in the basket, and their fingers brushed, sending a shiver of heat up her arm, before he rose to his feet and reached for her hand.
Oh no. If I take your hand, I'll want to be in your arms, and I can't get hurt again.
She had to get out of there. Now.
She pushed to her feet and managed to find her voice. "Can you be sure Shelley gets the basket?" She took a step backward. "I've got to run."
"But you just got here," he said as she headed for the sidewalk.
She stumbled over her own feet as she hurried away, afraid that if she looked back at him again, her resolve to keep her distance until she could handle seeing him without going all squishy inside would simply dissolve.
She needed a few days.
Or a year.
Or maybe it was going to take a lifetime to figure out how to get over Trent Rockwell.
THERE WEREN'T MANY things that made Reese happier than sitting atop her favorite spot on the dunes and painting in the early hours of the morning, when the sun spread its beauty over the bay. Hues ranging from peach to vibrant orange melted into the fray of the blue-gray sky. Reflections of clouds danced off the water, broken only by boats and buoys and their liquefied shadows.
It was also where she and Trent had first met.
She'd spent years avoiding this very spot after their divorce, and hadn't set out this morning with the intention of ending up here. But as if her legs had a mind of their own, it was where she'd ended up. And now she remembered just how spectacular this view of the beach and the bay was. She could even see the tips of the resort's roofs off to her right. She'd always thought that this was the most beautiful location on the whole island.
Reese tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and inhaled the salty sea air, trying not to think about last night and how good it had felt to be back in Trent's arms. But being here, in the very spot where she'd first set eyes on him, it was impossible not to think about him.
She'd spent ten years moving past their marriage. Ten years trying to forget the summer they'd fallen in love, when every day had held such wonderful promise and every night had sparked with the flames of their insatiable passion. She'd even stopped drinking her favorite smoothie, which she'd concocted out of fruits and yogurt the first night she and Trent had made love. They'd both been ravenous after hours of lovemaking but too revved up to eat. Trent had made a joke about surviving on the glory of passion, and their Passion and Glory smoothie was born.
She'd been so naive, thinking that an island girl like her could ever be happy in a big city like New York. They'd had such big hopes and dreams, and they hadn't been worried about making things work--not when they'd been sure that true love would trump any obstacles in their path.
But while it turned out that true love hadn't actually been able to make their marriage or life in New York work, Trent's love had inspired Reese so deeply that her artistic abilities had surged while they were together. She'd been inspired by him in a w
She shivered, thinking of the way her name had rolled off his tongue with familiarity that went beyond an old friend. And his hands. Good Lord, his big, strong hands. The way he'd caught her by the waist and held on tight... It was as if he'd zapped a magic wand and erased all the years of hurt with just one touch.
Ohmygod. No. No, no, no! I cannot get wrapped up in him and be hurt all over again.
She began packing up her painting supplies, lifting her eyes at the sound of seabirds sweeping down to the beach, where they gathered and pecked at a fish that had washed up onshore.
Was that what she was doing? Pecking at something that was long gone and should be left alone?
Leaving Trent had been the most difficult thing Reese had ever done. She'd thought they had the type of love that could never be ignored or be broken. But after six months of Trent coming home long after she'd gone to bed, seven days a week, she'd realized that she wasn't anywhere near the top of his priority list. Work came first. And then networking. And then sleep, when he could fit some in. A wife barely made the list, especially one who never managed to say the right thing at his important networking events and who just couldn't find her footing in such a big city, no matter how hard she tried. She wasn't happy, and she knew he couldn't possibly be happy either. Splitting up had seemed like the only way forward for either of them--so that he could give his all to his career without anyone holding him back and she could head back home to the island to paint.
Cape Cod Promises by Bella Andre / Romance & Love / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes