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Seabreeze Shores (Summer Beach #7)

Seabreeze Shores (Summer Beach #7)

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Join the fun of the first Spa Week at the Seabreeze Inn!

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Book Description

Book 7, Summer Beach Series

As Ivy is trying to adjust to a new marriage, she also has to welcome spa guests and deal with more secrets her old beach house reveals—this time, from the Roaring Twenties.

Added to that, her sister Shelly is nervous about having her first baby. Will Ivy manage to pull off the first spa week and juggle her new life in Summer Beach?

Along the shores, more surprising discoveries fill the gossipy local residents with fresh speculation. In the charming town of Summer Beach, news travels fast.

Can Ivy come to terms with that and the nagging ghostly presence of Amelia Erickson, the former owner of the Seabreeze Inn?

Discover the latest chapter in the Summer Beach series set on sunny California shores, and find out why readers say, “Life is better in Summer Beach.” If you love clean romance and women’s fiction with fun characters you’ll want as friends, this series is for you!

Read A Sample

“Do you think the baby’s room will be finished in time?” Standing in her sister’s beachfront bungalow, Ivy pushed a heavy gray tarp aside and peered through the gaping opening in the wall.

Off the rear of the small house, a partially framed room stood open to brisk sea breezes. Ivy hugged her leopard jean jacket over her lightweight wool pullover. Although it was nearly spring, the air still held a crisp, late winter chill, while sunny rays rendered the ocean a bright aquamarine-blue. Winters along the Southern California beaches felt more like early spring in Boston, as Ivy recalled. 

“Mitch promised me the room will be ready,” Shelly said, though her frown betrayed her words. “He works on it in the evenings, but he hasn’t gotten very far.”

Ivy stared at the gaping hole. “It’s not very secure. Doesn’t that worry you?”

“Mitch thinks it’s okay. Summer Beach is pretty safe, but I’m a New Yorker at heart. I make sure to lock the back gate.” Shelly crossed her arms. “He hasn’t done as much as he’d planned. The coffee crowd at Java Beach keeps him busy.”

Lately, Shelly had been working half days at the Seabreeze Inn as she approached her final months before her first child. But this morning, she hadn’t come in, so after serving breakfast and handling guest departures, Ivy had gone to check on her. Shelly had overslept, but Ivy thought she needed even more rest.

Her younger sister eased onto a chair in the kitchen, gathering the folds of a flowing blue-and-white dress around her. Shelly wore one of Mitch’s creamy fisherman sweaters over it, and her chestnut hair was piled into her usual haphazard topknot, but the dark circles under her eyes were new. 

Instead of buying maternity clothes, Shelly was relying on stretchy yoga wear and flowing beach dresses that she could wear later. Ivy had to admire her unique sense of style.

“Bennett told me he’s been offering to help, but Mitch won’t let him,” Ivy said, recalling the conversation she’d had with her new husband on the beach last night.

Husband. Even after a few months, the word still seemed like a new pair of high heels in her mind—shiny and exciting, but not quite comfortable in that morning-hair relationship she’d had with Jeremy for so many years before his death. Although she and Bennett were still adjusting to each other’s ingrained habits, she felt fortunate that they’d found each other again in their mid-forties.

Ivy turned to her sister. “Has something happened between our guys?”

With one hand resting on her curved midsection, Shelly gestured toward the construction site. “I don’t know, but Mitch seems determined to do the entire job himself.” She paused to yawn. “There’s no sleeping while he’s hammering out there. I think it’s pride; he wants to say he built his first child’s room onto the house.” 

“Be glad that he’s a proud father—and willing to help.” Ivy glanced at haphazardly placed nails on a two-by-four. While Jeremy had spoiled their daughters, to him, they had been more like possessions to show off. He wanted to be their best friend more than their father. And when it came to pitching in, he always managed to slip out of those duties.

Shelly put her feet up on another chair and eased back. “Between you and me, my husband is more effective in the kitchen or on a boat. When he squeezes in time late at night to work on the room, I hear an awful lot of banging—not to mention some pretty colorful language.

Ivy secured the tarp over the opening. “Maybe this job is a little out of his scope.”

“Without any instruction manual at all, I’ve created a little human,” Shelly said, waving a hand. “I thought he could manage a second bedroom. Aren’t hammers and nails in guys’ DNA?”

Ivy had to laugh. “Why don’t you call Forrest? He could have this knocked out in no time with his crew. Problem solved.” Their brother usually worked on larger construction projects, but Ivy thought he could find time to help his sister.

Shelly shook her head. “I offered, but Mitch won’t allow it. And we’re way past me being useful on a construction site. I don’t know which was worse—the morning sickness or feeling like I have to pee every five minutes. I have to keep telling myself I can do this.”

“Of course, you can.” As she spoke, Ivy put away the clean dishes teetering by the sink. “Pregnancy isn’t forever. Just wait until you get to hold your baby.” Those moments when she’d first held her daughter stood out like treasured snapshots in her mind, as clear and vivid as the days they occurred.

Ivy paused with her hands on the cool tile countertop. A part of her wished for another baby with Bennett, but at her age, with two grown children? That was no more than some ridiculous, romantic notion brought on by Shelly’s pregnancy. She finished putting away the dishes and shut the cupboards. 

A flush filled Shelly’s face. “I am excited…and grateful. But this is harder than I thought it would be.” She pressed a hand on her stomach and shifted. “Before I met Mitch, I thought I’d never have a family. When we married, I dreamed of having a sweet, Instagram-perfect baby, but the way this one is punching and flipping, we might have created a little troublemaker. This rascal sure made me sick in the beginning.”

“Thank goodness that’s over,” Ivy said, smiling. “You’ll love your child no matter what they’re like. They come with their own personalities baked in.

Ivy pulled a pair of clean dishtowels from the drawer and looped them over the oven handle. Then she sat at the table, touching her sister’s hand in support while studying her. 

Despite a rosy bloom in Shelly’s cheeks, her bloodshot eyes revealed her weariness. Ivy recalled how tired she’d been in her last months of pregnancy with her daughters. Eager to lift Shelly’s spirits, Ivy spoke with cheerful nonchalance. “So, what names have you two decided against?”

Shelly slid a gaze toward Ivy and grinned. “I know what you’re doing.”

“What?” Ivy asked, feigning innocence.

“You’re trying to trick me, and I’m not falling for it. You’ll find out the gender and name when this baby is born. We don’t want the entire town’s input on names—and the Bay family is pretty opinionated, too.” She tapped her belly. “You hear that, kiddo? You’re going to have a lot to deal with when you arrive. Maybe that’s why you’re so feisty.” 

“Can’t say I didn’t try,” Ivy said with a small laugh. “I heard old Charlie is taking bets on the gender at Java Beach.” Shelly’s decorating scheme didn’t offer any clues. She’d decided on seafoam green and sunny yellows with a daisy motif. So they could reuse items for another child, she’d said. Everything she’d bought was stashed in a corner of their only bedroom.

Shelly rolled her eyes. “Charlie would take bets on which way the sun rose if he thought he could make a penny.”

“Since you’ve nixed a baby shower, how about a gender-reveal party instead?” Ivy asked, tapping a finger on the table. At least her sister was smiling again.

“We can’t reveal what we don’t know. Why can’t people accept that we want to do this the old-school way?” Shelly picked a thread from her dress. “Besides, I don’t want all the fuss. I saw enough disasters when I was working the party circuit in New York. People got so wound up and forgot they were supposed to be having a good time.”

Ivy squeezed Shelly’s hand. “Can’t blame people for being curious and wanting to be involved.” 

Although Shelly and Mitch had scheduled an ultrasound to check on the baby’s development, they told everyone they didn’t want to know if the baby was a boy or a girl. Yet, Ivy suspected they knew but just weren’t telling anyone. She smiled to herself. Privacy was precious in a small town where gossip was part of the entertainment. She’d learned that when she and Bennett were dating.

“Speaking of events,” Shelly began. “Is everything arranged for our spa week at the inn? I’m sorry I haven’t helped much.”

“Poppy took the calls and handled everything for you.” This was their first spa week, and Ivy was working hard to make it extra special. Filling the inn during the summer season was easy, but the rest of the year took more creativity. “Your Roaring Twenties party sounds like a fabulous idea. We still have time to pull it together.”

“I could take guests to the vintage thrift shops in town for costumes,” Shelly said.

“That would be fun for them,” Ivy agreed. “Let’s plan for it and send an updated schedule to guests. It would be fun to have someone teach the dances, too.”

Shelly twirled her hand. “Like the Charleston?”

“Exactly.” Ivy added that to the endless mental list she kept in her head.

Although the sun still shone, a crisp late afternoon breeze blew through the edges of the tarp, scattering papers from the table like leaves in the wind. Shelly reached for them but was hampered by her belly.

“I’ll get those,” Ivy said, reaching down to scoop papers from the floor. “It’s pretty chilly in here. Why don’t you go into the living room and rest?”

Shelly stifled another yawn. “I could use a nap, but I’m starving again. Those mini-meals don’t last long for two.”

Ivy plucked an apple from a fruit bowl. “I’ll bring you a cup of tea and a snack. The evening’s new guests have already checked into the inn, and Poppy can manage until the afternoon wine-and-tea event.”

“You’re the best,” Shelly said, pushing herself from the chair. She grinned and added, “But I’m still not giving up baby names.”

Smiling, Ivy turned to fill a kettle, placed it on the stovetop, and adjusted the gas flame. While the water heated, she sliced an apple and a chunk of white cheddar cheese she’d found in the refrigerator and arranged these on a plate with a few nuts. Shelly couldn’t eat much at once because the baby was crowding her stomach, so she’d been nibbling throughout the day.

Ivy wished their mother could be here to help Shelly, but she and their father had embarked on their well-deserved, round-the-world sail after Shelly’s wedding last summer. Ivy wasn’t complaining—she’d do anything for her younger sister—but she was no replacement for Carlotta and Sterling.

A car pulled into the driveway, and a minute later, Mitch charged through the back door. He wore a tattered Grateful Dead T-shirt and held a hard plastic, sand-encrusted kiddie pool in one hand. He leaned it against the wall in the kitchen.

“You’re home early,” Ivy said, greeting him. “Shelly is resting on the couch.”

“My afternoon charter cruise canceled, so I decided to get some work done on the room while it’s still daylight.” Mitch grabbed an apple from the bowl. Motioning toward the rear, he added, “I bought some bright lights, so I can work better after the sun goes down.”

“Forrest would be happy to help you with that,” Ivy ventured.

“Shelly and I already talked about that.” Mitch frowned and ran a hand over his spiky blond hair. “I might be behind, but I’ve got this. We still have time. Besides, the baby will sleep in our room for a while anyway. I can work a few hours every night, especially as the days grow longer.” He gave her a reassuring grin. “I’ll finish the room. I know Shelly wants to decorate it.”

“That would mean a lot to her. Cute pool,” she added. “The little one will love playing in that.

Mitch’s grin broadened. “That’s for Shelly. We can fill it with saltwater, and she can have the baby right here in the kitchen. Cool, huh?”

Ivy held a cup in mid-air, shocked at what he was suggesting, although she knew many people did it. But that old thing? It was probably teeming with germs.

“You’re kidding, right?”

Book Reviews

“A wonderful story… Will make you feel like the sea breeze is streaming through your hair.” – Laura Bradbury, Bestselling Author

“A novel that gives fans of romantic sagas a compelling voice to follow.” – Booklist 

“An entertaining beach read with multi-generational context and humor.” – InD’Tale Magazine
“Wonderful characters and a sweet story.” – Kellie Coates Gilbert, Bestselling Author
“A fun read that grabs you at the start.” – Tina Sloan, Author and Award-Winning Actress
“Jan Moran is the queen of the epic romance.” —Rebecca Forster, USA Today Bestselling Author

“The women are intelligent and strong. At the core is a strong, close-knit family.” — Betty’s Reviews

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