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       Laguna Beach: Lost in Laguna (Kindle Worlds Novella), p.1

           K.N. Lee
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Laguna Beach: Lost in Laguna (Kindle Worlds Novella)


  Table of Contents

  PROLOGUE

  CHAPTER 1

  CHAPTER 2

  CHAPTER 3

  CHAPTER 4

  CHAPTER 5

  CHAPTER 6

  CHAPTER 7

  CHAPTER 8

  CHAPTER 9

  CHAPTER 10

  CHAPTER 11

  CHAPTER 12

  CHAPTER 13

  CHAPTER 14

  CHAPTER 15

  CHAPTER 16

  CHAPTER 17

  CHAPTER 18

  CHAPTER 19

  CHAPTER 20

  CHAPTER 21

  EPILOGUE

  Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.

  This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by Real You, LLC. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Laguna Beach remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of Real You, LLC, or their affiliates or licensors.

  For more information on Kindle Worlds: http://www.amazon.com/kindleworlds

  Lost in Laguna

  K.N. LEE

  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Lost in Laguna

  PROLOGUE

  CHAPTER 1

  CHAPTER 2

  CHAPTER 3

  CHAPTER 4

  CHAPTER 5

  CHAPTER 6

  CHAPTER 7

  CHAPTER 8

  CHAPTER 9

  CHAPTER 10

  CHAPTER 11

  CHAPTER 12

  CHAPTER 13

  CHAPTER 14

  CHAPTER 15

  CHAPTER 16

  CHAPTER 17

  CHAPTER 18

  CHAPTER 19

  CHAPTER 20

  CHAPTER 21

  EPILOGUE

  Laguna Beach

  About the Author

  MORE GREAT READS FROM K.N. LEE

  Dear Readers,

  Welcome to the Laguna Beach Kindle World!

  I’m so glad you are here and diving into this wonderful story. All of the Laguna Beach Kindle World stories are set in the same town of Laguna Beach, where my original series takes place. And if you’re familiar with the series, you’ll no doubt run across some of your favorite characters. The difference is, this book is entirely the work of the author. I didn’t help with plotting, writing or editing, but I was thrilled that when I asked her, she agreed to bring her imagination and storytelling skills to Laguna Beach!

  Happy reading. For more about Laguna Beach, stop by my website: www.KairaRouda.com

  Enjoy your time at the beach!

  Kaira Rouda

  PROLOGUE

  CHAPTER 1

  CHAPTER 2

  CHAPTER 3

  CHAPTER 4

  CHAPTER 5

  CHAPTER 6

  CHAPTER 7

  CHAPTER 8

  CHAPTER 9

  CHAPTER 10

  CHAPTER 11

  CHAPTER 12

  CHAPTER 13

  CHAPTER 14

  CHAPTER 15

  CHAPTER 16

  CHAPTER 17

  CHAPTER 18

  CHAPTER 19

  CHAPTER 20

  CHAPTER 21

  EPILOGUE

  Laguna Beach

  About the Author

  MORE GREAT READS FROM K.N. LEE

  Dedicated to my friends and family in the military

  PROLOGUE

  ISLA MAXWELL WATCHED GARRETT Thorne while he slept. She played with the waves of his coppery-brown hair, breathing in the scent of his deodorant and shampoo.

  She’d miss that smell. She’d woken up in a cold sweat that matted her brown hair to her face and head.

  Something wasn’t right.

  None of it was.

  It was the last night they’d have together before he deployed for Afghanistan. The sky began to brighten as early dawn crept upon them outside his bedroom window. She willed it to go away, to give them another day.

  She was eighteen and he was nineteen, and they were ready to begin their lives together. He just had to survive the army. Being at war, the many prospects worried her. She knew that his father and grandfather had served in the royal army in England, and he was compelled to follow the family tradition, even in a new country.

  Garrett was a good man, loyal, honorable, and the best thing that had ever happened to her. When everyone else turned their back on her, he was there, with open arms.

  Now, four years stood between them and happiness.

  She pressed her head to his chest and listened to his breathing. A tear escaped the corner of her eye.

  She’d miss him more than anything. Going off to college was supposed to be an exciting thing, but the truth was she was afraid. With her best friend going to an entirely different school and her boyfriend going off to war, she feared what would become of her.

  “Isla?” Garrett called, his accent making him pronounce her name in a way that sounded magical. “Are you okay.”

  He sat up and yawned before looking at the clock. It was five in the morning and they only had four more hours together.

  She looked away, not wanting him to see her tears.

  Alarmed, he held her hand. “What’s wrong? Why are you up so early?”

  She couldn’t keep the tears at bay and he pulled her into a tight embrace. She sighed and straddled his lap as he held onto her.

  “Baby?”

  “I couldn’t sleep. I keep having nightmares about something awful happening to you. My stomach is in knots. I don’t think you should go.”

  She sniffled and wiped her face.

  “They were just dreams.”

  Isla kissed him, desperate to convince him to stay. They’d been together for a year and he was the best thing to ever happen to her.

  “Don’t go, Garrett,” she said looking at him from behind a veil of tears. “Please.”

  He stroked her hair. “It’s too late for me to back out now, Isla. I can’t just change my mind. I’ve already done basic training and signed my contract.”

  She lowered her eyes and he tilted her chin to look back up at him.

  “Babe, it’s going to be okay. This is what will help us follow our dreams. I can take care of us after I get out.”

  She shook her head. “No. I don’t feel good about it. I feel it in my stomach that something bad is going to happen, and I can’t shake that feeling.”

  He gave her a smile, and cupped her face in his hands. “Whatever premonition power you have is all in your head. I am going to be fine, and we are going to be together forever. Trust me.”

  “You don’t have to do this to take care of me. I get my trust in a few days and I can support us for the rest of our lives.”

  Garrett’s smile faded. “No, Isla. I will not use your family’s money. Not after everything they’ve done to you and to us.”

  “It came from my grandfather. Not from my parents.”

  “It doesn’t matter,” he said, his green eyes looking deep into hers as he held her by her arms. “It’s my job to take care of you, not the other way around.”

  She put her hands on either side of his face and pressed her forehead to his. “We can take care of each other.”

  “Yes. We can. But I still have to honor my vow and serve my time. You go to school and get your degree. We will have our lives together when I come home.”

  She pursed her lips, knowing that her argument was fruitless. Garrett had to go, and there was nothing she could do about it but believe in their bond and their love.

  For without him...she’d be lost.
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  CHAPTER 1

  ISLA MAXWELL SPED down the quiet back roads to the local greenway. Something was off at home. A silent storm was brewing and Isla wasn’t sure she was prepared to face it.

  Clark hadn’t kissed her before he left for work at the marine base. Instead, he stepped into the bathroom while she was getting dressed and criticized her for the sports bra she’d put on for her run. When she told him that no one would see her and that she didn’t want to change, he stormed off.

  There was a limit to what she would take from him, and being told how to dress was something she wouldn’t tolerate.

  She parked her car in the empty parking lot and stepped out onto the gravel. Her phone buzzed. She glanced at it to see a text from Clark.

  “Come home. Now.”

  Rolling her eyes, she deleted the text and placed her phone into the plastic sleeve of her armband and strapped it to her forearm.

  Isla stretched her arms and legs and took a quick drink of water. Once she started down the path into the forest, she began to feel better.

  Running was all that took Isla’s mind off of the turmoil of her life. She breathed the warm air in and breathed out the negativity that seemed to cling to her.

  Clark was good, better than she deserved or could have imagined. Their home was nice—small in comparison to the custom-built mansion she’d grown up in—but cozy and far enough away from her parents to make her feel like she might just be independent for once.

  At twenty-one, she finally felt like she was an adult with her life together. She knew what that meant.

  Something bad was bound to happen.

  Isla tuned out all of those thoughts as her feet pounded the overgrown dirt path that cut through the thickly wooded area of the greenway. The scenery was just what she needed. It was early enough that she didn’t have to worry about crossing paths with anyone or having the heat affect the calm serenity she enjoyed above all.

  This was her time.

  A buzz of her phone distracted her as it vibrated against her forearm from within a hot pink armband. She ignored it, but it kept buzzing. She leaped over a fallen tree and cut through the clearing that led to one of the ponds.

  Once her phone rang for the third time, she sighed and stopped, snatching the armband from her arm.

  Her brows lifted when she saw that it was her mother. A picture of the two of them at her sister’s wedding almost made her answer it. Instead, she pushed the red decline button and worked at catching her breath.

  What could that woman possibly want? Weren’t they supposed to have disowned her—the slut who tarnished their squeaky clean family name?

  Just thinking of those dark days made her wince. She dialed her sister, one of the few people from Laguna Beach who understood her.

  “Isla! Holy crap. I was just thinking about you. I’m the one with a three-month-old, what are you doing up so early?”

  Isla started walking toward the pond, her eyes cast at the brightening sky. She loved that moment when the night began to lift its veil to welcome the bright sun. She sat down and folded her legs.

  “Mom just called,” she said, scrunching her nose at the thought.

  “What?” Chrissy asked. “What do you think she wants?”

  Isla shook her head. “No clue. I didn’t answer. It is an election year. Maybe they want to make sure I’m nowhere near Laguna. You know, they wouldn’t want me getting in the way of Dad’s reelection.”

  “Don’t say that,” Chrissy said, the sound of a baby crying in the background. “Maybe they are coming around. She might just want to talk. You never know if you don’t answer her calls.”

  “That’s not going to happen. They can pretend like they don’t have a second daughter all that they want.”

  “Isla. It could be something serious.”

  Isla exhaled. She wanted to say that she didn’t care, even though she did. She’d hate herself if one of them passed without a reconciliation. But...her pride. They’d watched her suffer. She would never forget that.

  “How is Kimmie?” Isla asked, changing the subject.

  “She’s fine. I’ll be happy when she sleeps through the night. Still feeding her every three hours,” Chrissy said with a sigh. “But, nice try changing the subject. You know I’m the voice of reason.”

  Isla smiled. “You are. I also know that you’re apparently perfect, and I’ll never be as good as you. In their eyes at least.”

  While Chrissy was the perky cheerleading captain with a perfect GPA, Isla was the one cutting class to make out with the boys from the lacrosse team.

  All of them.

  That didn’t turn out well.

  “Hey, I was there when you were born. You were the most perfect little curly haired baby girl I’d ever seen. Mom and dad remember that happy, energetic little girl as well. We all make mistakes, Isla.”

  “We do. I fell for a boy, and not the one they wanted for me. You’d think I robbed a bank.”

  “Well...you did get your trust.”

  “Shut up,” Isla said, laughing. “And I haven’t touched a dime.”

  “Except for that Porsche.”

  “A girl has to get around.”

  “How is Clark?”

  “He’s fine.”

  “That’s it? He’s fine?”

  Isla shrugged. “He’s nice to me. He’s nice to look at. And, he’s great in bed. What else could a girl want?”

  Kimmie started crying again, so loudly that Isla had to pull the phone from her ear. She looked out at the pond as the geese began their morning swim.

  “You’re too funny,” Chrissy said in between soft singing to Kimmie that calmed her. “Let’s talk again soon, Isla. I need to feed her and we’re going to go for a little walk.”

  Isla nodded. She didn’t want Chrissy to go. “Okay. I love you.”

  “Love you too. Bye.”

  Isla lowered her phone. She leaned back and rested on her arms as she gazed at the brightening sky, puffy white clouds revealing themselves as the sun’s rays peeked through. She closed her eyes. Chrissy was one of two people who understood her.

  So, why didn’t she tell Chrissy the truth?

  CHAPTER 2

  JUST AS SHE’D THOUGHT, something bad awaited her as she stepped into the two bedroom bungalow on base that she shared with Clark. The tension in the house was thick, and she almost turned and left before he could say anything to her.

  “Took you long enough,” Clark said as he stood there, in uniform, a stern look on his chiseled face. Like Hercules, Clark was a big man—tall, blond, and strong. But at that moment he looked less like a hero and more like a villain as his glare watched her step into the house.

  Isla stood in the foyer, meeting Clark’s blue eyes hooded with bright blond lashes. He had a scar on his square chin, from his first tour in Afghanistan.

  “What do you want? You know I run everyday.”

  He opened the fridge and poured himself a glass of milk. “When I tell you to come home, you do it.”

  “I’m here,” Isla said, sighing. She paused when she saw his duffle bag packed. It was his special pack and didn’t come out unless he was going overseas.

  “Clark,” she began. “What is this?”

  “I have my papers. I’m going back on another tour. Six months. Nothing serious. I’ll be back by Christmas.”

  She frowned as she turned back to him. “It is serious. You lied to me,” she said, her lips trembling. She wasn’t sure why she became emotional so quickly.

  Clark wasn’t perfect. Neither was she. At least she’d never hurt him.

  He leaned against the fridge, drinking his glass milk. “What? When did I lie to you?”

  Isla’s ocean-blue eyes narrowed as she pointed a finger at him. “You said that this would be your last year, that you would be a civilian by Christmas.”

  Clark held his hands up, his brows lifting. “No. You only seem to hear what you want to, Isla. I said that I would think about it.”

&nbs
p; Isla’s eyes lowered to the duffle bag set beside the front door of the home they’d shared for six months. Her heart started to pound as she stared at his bags, memories flooding her mind. She squeezed her eyes shut.

  She thought she could trust him, that they would spend their lives together.

  “I told you,” she said, her voice growing softer as she took off her other heel. Her shoulders slumped. “That I don’t date soldiers.” She glanced over her shoulder at him. “For this exact reason. And you go and enlist for another four years?”

  Clark shrugged his shoulders to his ears. “This is my life. I’m not a trust fund kid like you. Some of us have to work for our money.”

  Stunned, her eyes widened as she watched him fold his arms across his broad chest with a smug look on his face. “That’s a low blow. Don’t try to switch this around on me. You told me that you weren't going to make a career out of this. What happened to you going back to school to get your degree?”

  “What do you want me to say? I’m never going to be a politician like your father. When are you going to get that through your thick skull?”

  Isla shook her head, chewing her bottom lip. She looked him over one more time. She’d miss those big arms holding her at night, and the way he kissed the back of her neck before leaving for his morning PT on base. She wouldn’t, however, miss his temper, or the sting of his hand slapping her when she stepped out of line.

  Her heart broke, but not for him. It broke for the fear of what would happen to her if she were alone. She stayed with him despite all of the bad, because being left to her own devices would be worse.

  Dangerously worse.

  Still, Isla didn’t sign up for this kind of pain.

  Not again.

  Fresh tears welled and she wiped them away. This was her way out, and she was ready to take it.

  “Good luck out there,” she whispered, wiping her eyes. She headed back out the door, without a look back.

  “Where are you going? Come on, Isla. You don’t have to leave. I’ll be back.”

  Isla ignored him, walking barefoot down the front sidewalk in her yoga pants and sports bra to her silver Porsche. As she got inside her car, she lowered the top and tossed her house key onto the freshly-cut lawn. She caught a glimpse of her image in the rearview mirror, black eyeliner making her eyes look gothic in that moment. She turned the mirror away and started the ignition.

 
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