Series: Haven Point #8
Also in Series: Redemption Bay, Evergreen Springs, Riverbend Road, Snowfall on Haven Point, Serenity Harbor
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication date: June 19th 2018
Target Audience: Adult
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Years after betraying her, he’s back in Haven Point…and ready to learn the truth.
Megan Hamilton never really liked Elliot Bailey. He turned his back on her family when they needed him the most and it almost tore them all apart. So she’s shocked when Elliot arrives at her family’s inn, needing a place to stay and asking questions that dredge up the past. Megan will rent him a cottage, but that’s where it ends—no matter how gorgeous Elliot has become.
Coming back home to Haven Point was the last thing bestselling writer Elliot Bailey thought he’d ever do. But the book he’s writing now is his most personal one yet and it’s drawn him back to the woman he can’t get out of his mind. Seeing Megan again is harder than he expected and it brings up feelings he’d thought were long buried. Could this be his chance to win over his first love?
Someone was trying to bust into the cottages next door.
Only minutes earlier, Megan Hamilton had been minding her own business, sitting on her front porch, gazing out at the stars and enjoying the peculiar quiet sweetness of a late-May evening on Lake Haven. She had earned this moment of peace after working all day at the inn’s front desk then spending the last four hours at her computer, editing photographs from Joe and Lucy White’s 50th anniversary party the weekend before.
Her neck was sore, her shoulders tight, and she simply wanted to savor the purity of the evening with her dog at her feet. Her moment of Zen had lasted only sixty seconds before her little ancient pug Cyrus sat up, gazed out into the darkness and gave one small harrumphing noise before settling back down again to watch as a vehicle pulled up to the cottage next door.
Cyrus had become used to the coming and goings of their guests in the two years since he and Megan moved into the cottage after the inn’s renovations were finished. She would venture to say her pudgy little dog seemed to actually enjoy the parade of strangers who invariably stopped to greet him.
The man next door wasn’t aware of their presence, though, or that of her little pug. He was too busy trying to work the finicky lock—not an easy feat as the task typically took two hands and one of his appeared to be attached to an arm tucked into a sling.
She should probably go help him. He was obviously struggling one-handed, unable to turn the key and twist the knob at the same time.
Beyond common courtesy, there was another compelling reason she should probably get off her porch swing and assist him. He was a guest of the inn, which meant he was yet one more responsibility on her shoulders. She knew the foibles of that door handle well, since she owned the door, the porch, the house and the land that it sat on, here at Silver Beach on Lake Haven, part of the extensive grounds of the Inn at Haven Point.
She didn’t want to help him. She wanted to stay right here hidden in shadows, trying to pretend he wasn’t there. Maybe this was all a bad dream and she wouldn’t be stuck with him for the next three weeks.
Megan closed her eyes, wishing she could open them again and find the whole thing was a figment of her imagination.
Unfortunately, it was all entirely too real. Elliot Bailey. Living next door.
She didn’t want him here. Stupid online bookings. If he had called in person about renting the cottage next to hers—one of five small, charming two-bedroom vacation rentals along the lakeshore—she might have been able to concoct some excuse.
With her imagination, surely she could have come up with something good. All the cottages were being painted. A plumbing issue meant none of them had water. The entire place had to be fumigated for tarantulas.
If she had spoken with him in person, she may have been able to concoct some excuse that would keep Elliot Bailey away. But he had used the inn’s online reservation system and paid in full before she even realized who was moving in next door. Now she was stuck with him for three entire weeks.
She would have to make the best of it.
As he tried the door again, guilt poked at her. Even if she didn’t want him here, she couldn’t sit here when one of her guests needed help. It was rude, selfish and irresponsible. “Stay,” she murmured to Cyrus, then stood up and made her way down the porch steps of Primrose Cottage and back up those of Cedarwood.
“May I help?”
At her words, Elliot whirled around, the fingers of his right hand flexing inside his sling as if reaching for a weapon. She had to hope he didn’t have one. Maybe she should have thought of that before sneaking up on him.
Elliot was a decorated FBI agent and always exuded an air of cold danger, as if ready to strike at any moment. It was as much a part of him as his blue eyes.
His brother had shared the same eyes, but the similarities between them ended there. Wyatt’s blue eyes had been warm, alive, brimming with personality. Elliot’s were serious and solemn and always seemed to look at her as if she were some kind of alien life form that had landed in his world.
Her heart gave a familiar pinch at the thought of Wyatt and the fledgling dreams that had been taken away from her on a snowy road.
“Megan,” he said, his voice as stiff and formal as if he were greeting J. Edgar Hoover himself. “I didn’t see you.”
“It’s a dark evening and I’m easy to miss. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
In the yellow glow of the porch light, his features appeared lean and alert, like a hungry mountain lion. She could feel her muscles tense in response, a helpless doe caught unawares in an alpine meadow.
She adored the rest of the Bailey family. All of them, even linebacker-big Marshall. Why was Elliot the only one who made her so blasted nervous?
“May I help you?” she asked again. “This lock can be sticky. Usually it takes two hands, one to twist the key and the other to pull the door toward you.”
“That could be an issue for the next three weeks.” His voice seemed flat and she had the vague, somewhat disconcerting impression that he was tired. Elliot always seemed so invincible but now lines bracketed his mouth and his hair was uncharacteristically rumpled. It seemed so odd to see him as anything other than perfectly controlled.
Of course he was tired. The man had just driven in from Denver. Anybody would be exhausted after an eight-hour drive—especially when he was healing from an obvious injury and probably in pain.
What happened to his arm? She wanted to ask, but couldn’t quite find the courage. It wasn’t her business anyway. Elliot was a guest of her inn and deserved all the hospitality she offered to any guest—including whatever privacy he needed and help accessing the cottage he had paid in advance to rent.
“There is a trick,” she told him. “If you pull the door slightly toward you first, then turn the key, you should be able to manage with one hand. If you have trouble again, you can find me or one of the staff to help you. I live next door.”
The sound he made might have been a laugh or a scoff. She couldn’t tell.
“Of course you do.”
Despite the fact that the plot of this book was not at all what I expected based upon the blurb…it was another RaeAnne Thayne winner.
Megan manages her family’s Inn while moonlighting as a Photographer and Elliot is an FBI Agent who moonlights as a True Crime writer (Yum!). They sound like opposites with absolutely nothing in common…but as the story continues we learn about just how connected these two really are.
A cold case involving Megan’s brother Luke, which Elliot’s father was unable to solve before his death, is the thread woven through this contemporary romance. It’s amazing how many lives can be affected by one unsolved mystery and how devastating it can make the life of those presumed guilty.
Megan and Elliot end up working together to solve this mystery and in the process work though their misconceptions of each other as they predictably but enjoyably fall for each other. The romance is rather slow paced in The Cottages on Silver Beach, the 8th Haven Point book, but I sort of liked that about it. It felt very realistic…especially with the vulnerabilities they both felt and that were further revealed about their families.
I loved that the mystery was a good part of the plot of this story…and that the romance was more a natural progression, a secondary storyline. Thayne also touches upon the serious issues of childhood abuse and the relationships forged in such an environment.
I breezed through The Cottages on Silver Beach in just a few days – it was perfect Summer reading – and I am really hoping that we will get Luke’s story next!