Cape cod kisses, p.1
Cape Cod Kisses, p.1Melissa Foster
CAPE COD KISSES
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 author and do not represent the opinions or thoughts of the publisher. The author has represented and warranted full ownership and/or legal right to publish all the materials in this book.
CAPE COD KISSES
All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 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
For the past year we have been having the most wonderful time writing about the loyal, loving, and super-sexy Rockwell family—and we couldn’t be more excited about finally getting to introduce you to everyone in Rockwell Island!
There’s nothing we love more than creating big family romances that you can disappear into and become a part of. Quinn Rockwell and Shelley Walters’ love story made both of us laugh, cry...and sigh with happiness. We hope you love Quinn and Shelley as much as we do!
Bella & Melissa
PS. Trent Rockwell is going to be the next Rockwell to find love in Cape Cod Promises—a seriously yummy romance with the woman he’s never been able to forget. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter so we can let you know as soon as the newest books in our Love on Rockwell Island series are released!
Table of Contents
Note to Readers
SHELLEY WALTERS STOOD on the porch of the Rockwell Resort honeymoon cottage, gazing out at Cape Cod Bay. Silver ribbons of moonlight reflected off the dark water, dancing with the motion of the tide.
She stepped from the porch onto the beach with a bottle of champagne in one hand and her cell phone in the other, and dug her toes into the sand. She was a lightweight when it came to alcohol, but she liked carrying the bottle instead of a glass. It felt more celebratory. More fun.
A cool breeze brushed her dress over her thighs.
This place is perfect for a honeymoon. Seven full days and six nights of pure, unadulterated bliss.
Her phone vibrated with a call. Taryn, her cousin and closest friend.
“I was just about to text you to let you know that I’m finally here,” Shelley said as she sank down to sit in the sand and sipped the champagne. Mm. Those Rockwells don’t skimp on a thing. While researching places to honeymoon, Shelley had learned that the Rockwell family had owned the resort—and the island—for generations.
“How great is the island?”
Shelley pictured her cousin in her design studio, her long dark hair pinned up in a messy bun with a pencil securing it in place and a wide smile on her lips. With most women, Shelley felt like an accessory. Rochelle Walters, sole heir to the diamond dynasty Walters Enterprises. Her name carried weight in the social circles she worked hard to avoid—and that others clawed their way into. Luckily, Taryn didn’t care one whit about wealth or social status.
“The honeymoon cottage is just as cute as the pictures online.” Shelley sighed dreamily as she looked out over the water. “And it’s right on the beach, with the most amazing view of the bay.”
“I’m so glad you decided to do this for yourself, Shell. You’re my hero for even thinking up something as great as a solo honeymoon, let alone actually doing it!”
Shelley loved running her coffee shop, the Creek Café, and she wasn’t so overly stressed by it that she’d needed time away from her everyday life. But after watching what felt like half the single women in Maryland get married and then hearing all about their fabulous honeymoons, she’d decided she wanted one. A honeymoon, that is, not a marriage. She had yet to see a marriage where the husband and wife loved each other more than they loved material things and the idea of being married, but the honeymoons sounded spectacular.
Shelley had always followed her own path through life, letting gut instincts and her heart lead the way. So, having thrown societal norms out the window long ago, she threw caution to the wind yet again, stopped waiting for Mr. Right, and booked a solo honeymoon.
Over the years Taryn had supported all of Shelley’s whims, like moving to Maryland, buying the coffee shop, and refusing any monetary help from her parents. In fact, Taryn had made the beautiful, strapless, lacy dress that Shelley had on tonight, and she was glad she was getting to share some of the joy of being on Rockwell Island with her cousin.
“Coming in on the plane, I got a spectacular view of the whole island. It’s like paradise. I saw two marinas, a lighthouse, and lots of little ponds.”
“Kettle ponds probably,” Taryn said excitedly. “They’re common around the Cape.”
“The Cape,” Shelley repeated. “I’ve always loved the sound of that.” She couldn’t stop smiling. “There are also miles of beaches and several pools at the resort. The Rockwell Island Resort is big and fancy, but the staff is so warm and friendly that it isn’t snooty, like all those over-the-top resorts my parents dragged me to when I was growing up.”
“I can’t picture your parents ever vacationing anywhere near Cape Cod,” Taryn agreed.
“Only Aunt Marla would,” Shelley said.
Shelley’s best memories from childhood were of her weeks spent in Eastham, on the Cape with her aunt—the perfect break from the exhausting jet-set life her parents lived. One that truly had no place in it for raising or nurturing a daughter. Especially not a free spirit like Shelley. But with Aunt Marla, Shelley had spent wonderfully lazy hours looking for sea glass and meandering through the small towns. They’d cooked meals over outdoor fires and had gone fishing at the spur-of-the-moment. Aunt Marla had been the polar opposite of her sister, Shelley’s mother—spontaneous rather than rigid—and Shelley missed her aunt every day since she’d passed away five years earlier.
“Sometimes,” Shelley admitted in a low voice, “I used to pretend that I was actually her daughter.”
“Anyone would have,” Taryn said, as supportive as ever. “Marla was such a wonderful person.”
Saltwater spraying from a wave crashing to the shore helped bring Shelley back to the beach she was sitting on. It should have been easy to push the uncomfortable thoughts of her parents away, given that she’d been doing it forever. She’d had to in order to break free from their grasp an
“So...” Taryn said, and Shelley knew what her cousin was going to say even before the words, “give me the lowdown on the hunky male options,” left her mouth.
Just then Shelley spotted an older man being pushed in a wheelchair down the beach by a tall, exotic-looking blonde. A golden retriever padded alongside them. Perfect. Teasing Taryn was more fun than trying to convince her cousin that men weren’t all they were chocked up to be.
“Actually,” Shelley said, “I see one of the local men right now. He’s got a golden retriever, and he’s heading up the beach.”
“And?” Taryn sounded excited. “I need more details.”
The old man said something that caused the blonde to stop pushing the wheelchair. He patted his legs, and the dog put its fluffy paws on his knees and stuck its muzzle toward him. The man held its head with both hands and kissed it on the top of its snout.
“Aw, that’s so sweet,” Shelley whispered.
“Sweet?” Taryn made a sound of disgust. “Sweet is not exactly alpha material. I was hoping you were going to say how sexy he was.”
Shelley laughed. “No, definitely not sexy. But he just stopped to kiss his dog, and it was really sweet.” She watched the woman turn the wheelchair around and head back the way they’d come. “Anyway, I’m here for a solo honeymoon, not to scope out the hunky island men, remember?”
It had been ages since Shelley had been close with a man. Most of the guys she met reminded her of her father—all business. Finding someone who wasn’t afraid to live life and had a mind of his own was like playing an impossible game of Where’s Waldo? She was done with that whole disappointing scene.
“Come on, Shell,” Taryn replied, clearly undeterred. “No one on Rockwell Island knows you, so why not cut loose, meet a guy, and get a little wild for a night or two? You usually throw caution to the wind, but not when it comes to guys. Why not live a little?”
“Because all the men I’ve ever met wouldn’t know how to go with the flow if a good time came with a map.” Shelley sipped more champagne. “Besides, I am cutting loose. The resort left champagne in my cottage, and it is delish. I think I’m going to take a walk on the beach now and dip my toes in the water.”
“Okay, but be careful of sharks.”
“I’m almost positive that sharks don’t swim in the bay, but if I meet any on land, I’ll definitely let you know.”
“Steer clear of those, but promise me you’ll have some fun. Go skinny-dipping or do something crazy, okay? And if a great guy does happen to come along, at least think about giving him a chance.”
After hanging up, Shelley took another sip of champagne. She probably should have eaten dinner, but it was almost nine p.m., and she was far more interested in exploring the island than eating. She watched the woman and old man move farther down the beach, and then she headed off in the opposite direction.
The last thing she wanted this week was to think about men. A solo honeymoon meant Shelley could enjoy the things she wanted, exactly how she wanted them, without being told where to go and what to do by anyone. Taryn knew that, but she still had hope that the right guy was out there somewhere.
Shelley wasn’t holding her breath.
But skinny-dipping? That sure sounded like fun...
QUINN ROCKWELL PACED across the plush carpeting in the resort suite with his cell phone pressed to his ear and his other hand pinching the bridge of his nose as he listened to his business partner lay into him about leaving Annapolis.
“We’re on the brink of the merger of a lifetime, and you leave town with nothing more than an e-mail telling me you’ll be in touch?”
Richard Bailey had been Quinn’s business partner since day one. After graduating from Stanford, he and Rich had set out together, bound and determined to build a shipping empire to rival all others. Rockwell Bailey Enterprises, RBE, was a leader in the industry, and the impending merger with Capital Freight Management would solidify their untouchable stature. Both Rich and Quinn wanted this merger, and they wanted it bad. But for Quinn, it wasn’t just building the business that was driving his crazy hours and laser focus on the merger. He hadn’t talked with Rich about the feeling he’d been fighting lately, that he was spinning his wheels running their company. They were more successful than ever, and he should have been happier, more satisfied with his life. Quinn hoped this merger would bring back the excitement he’d felt in the early days of building RBE.
“You know this is a huge inconvenience to me, Rich, coming back to the island where I grew up.” And couldn’t wait to leave. “I’m not here because I want to be.”
“I still don’t get it. Your bullheaded grandfather demands that you and your brothers drop what you’re doing and run back to appease whatever whim he’s got going, and even though you’re thirty-four years old, for some reason you still go.”
After getting caught in an evening meeting and missing his flight, Quinn had to charter a plane to get to the island. It was almost midnight, and he was in no mood to defend this trip to Rich when he hadn’t wanted to take it in the first place.
“My grandfather had another heart attack a month ago. I don’t know what he’s got up his sleeve, but family comes first.” Always. “Even crotchety, old, stubborn family.”
Quinn’s grandfather, Chandler Rockwell III, owned the Rockwell Resort and employed more than half of the island’s workforce. He wasn’t known by his family or his staff for his warm demeanor. But that didn’t mean Quinn would ever disrespect him.
“At least you made tonight’s meeting,” Rich relented. “I’ll have those documents ready for signature by this time next week, but you need to go over the reports as soon as possible.”
After agreeing to compile information for Rich to take to Monday’s meeting and get back to Maryland in time to sign the documents in person, Quinn ended the call and loosened his tie. Needing to go for a run to burn off some energy, he threw his leather duffel up on the bed and pulled out his jogging shorts. He was as much of an exercise junkie as he was a workaholic. He believed in keeping his mind and his body sharp, and even though he was tired after a grueling sixteen-hour day, he was going to go for that run.
He changed into his shorts, splashed water on his face, and glanced up at his reflection in the mirror. For a moment, it was like looking into his grandfather’s eyes—serious and way too stressed.
Quinn shook his head to clear that strange thought, stuffed the keycard into his pocket, and headed out the door just as his eldest brother, Trent, came out of the suite next door.
“I thought I heard you.” Smiling, Trent embraced Quinn.
The Rockwell men were all over six feet tall and broad shouldered. Trent, Quinn, and their younger brothers, Derek and Ethan, all resembled their father, with thick dark hair, an angular nose, and a strong jawline. Quinn and Trent shared their mother’s baby blues, while their brothers and their sister, Sierra, inherited their father’s dark brown eyes.
“Got in late. Hope I didn’t wake you.” It had been a few weeks since Quinn and Trent had been able to find a couple of spare hours away from their demanding jobs to meet for dinner in New York, where Trent lived and ran his legal practice.
Trent raked a hand through his hair. He was still wearing his suit pants but no shirt. “I’m not even close to heading to bed yet.” He eyed Quinn’s shorts. “Going for a run? At midnight?”
“Gotta work off some steam. Want to join me?” Quinn and Trent had often run together as teenagers and when they were home during college breaks.
“Thanks, but I’ve got at least another hour of work to do on these briefs, and we’ve got the meeting with Chandler in the morning.”
They always called their grandfather by his first name when speaking to each other, since he wasn’t warm enough to be considered Grandpa, and he’d never have allowed the endearmen
“Now that you’ve reminded me about Chandler, I think I’ll make it a six-mile run instead of five.” Quinn blew out a frustrated breath. “Did you hear anything more about why he’s made all of us come back here?”
“Sierra said she thinks it has to do with the resort, but I couldn’t get ahold of Dad. He’s going to meet with all of us tomorrow afternoon.” Trent checked his watch. “You’d better go if you’re set on running.”
“Right. We’ll catch up in the morning.”
Quinn’s legs felt like they’d been caged in place for too long as he headed out for his run. It took a while for his limbs to loosen up and his body to remember it liked to run.
He took off down Bay Road, running parallel to the water. Stars dotted the sky, and moonlight basked the road in a soft glow. Finally, he found his groove and ran at a good clip for the first few miles, mentally working through his meetings from earlier in the day and trying to ignore his agitation at being summoned to the island.
Like always, he ran down a path by the trees, heading for Mill Cove. If any place on this island could help him clear his head, it was the secluded cove where, as a kid, he used to escape when he felt the island pressing in on him.
Rockwell Island was large in size but had always felt like it was small on choices for Quinn. He knew if he’d stayed on the island, he’d have been railroaded into running the resort, like his father had. His grandfather had not been pleased when Trent, Quinn, and Derek had left the island to build careers elsewhere, or when Sierra and Ethan had followed their own career paths outside of the resort, even though the two of them had returned to the island to live after college.
With the encouragement of their parents, the five of them had all found ways to avoid falling under the scrutiny of Chandler as the latest Rockwell Resort employee. Their father, Griffin, however, had not been so lucky. He’d worked at the resort his entire life under the controlling and often demeaning eyes of Chandler. Although Griffin practically ran the resort now, Chandler still refused to acknowledge his son’s vital role in the resort’s success.
Cape Cod Kisses by Melissa Foster / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes