I’m so sad today, but excited too. Excited because I get to read Danielle Stewart’s latest release, Sweet Rendezvous, which is part of the Indigo Bay series which is a sweet small town world set along the Atlantic ocean. All those things you love most about my books are in this series. But I am a little sad today as this is the last awesome quick read novel to appear on my ereader as if by magic on a weekly basis. This is book 6 and the end of our Indigo Bay books–for now. We have lots more in the works. I can’t wait to share more news about this series in the coming months
(If you’ve missed any of the Indigo Bay books, scroll down as there’s more info on those below!)
On her last tank of gas Elaine Mathews drives South. Spontaneity had never been her strength, but there was something about being publicly fired that had a way of changing things. An empty bank account, broken heart, and enough humiliation to last a life time was all Elaine could claim as her own. Her car choked to a stop in the quiet beach town of Indigo Bay and all she could do was sit on the curb and wait for the sun to set on her misery.
Davis Mills has a routine. Wake. Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. It hadn’t always been that way. He’d left indigo bay once and returned a broken man. Now he kept his dreams small and his schedule tight. If there was no room in his life for anything new then he’d never repeat his mistakes.
When fate has them, quite literally colliding Elaine and Davis are faced with an important question. Can you live a full life if you never take a risk? Or is life made up of every mistake, miracle and chance that comes with being in love?
(P.S. If you missed the first five Indigo Bay sweet romances, you can find them here: Book 1: Stacy Claflin’s Sweet Dreams, Book 2: Jean Oram’s Sweet Matchmaker and Book 3: Kay Correll’s Sweet Sunrise, Book 4: Jeanette Lewis’s Sweet Illusions, Book 5: Jennifer Peel’s Sweet Regrets. These books can be read out of order. Dive in anywhere!)
Sneak Peek of Danielle’s Sweet Rendezvous
The passing street lights were reduced to blurry orbs, obscured by the tears in Elaine’s eyes. She wasn’t entirely sure when the sun had set. Without her noticing, day had been devoured by dusk. Dusk was now entirely consumed by the night’s pitch-black darkness. Her sleek black stilettoes were somewhere a mile or so behind her, kicked off when the blisters became unbearable. That pain was gone now. Numbness had taken over. She’d long since stopped feeling the jagged pinch of rocks against the soles of her feet. There was no longer any sensation as she stumbled step by step farther from all she was attempting to outrun.
Using the sleeve of her dusty fitted white button-up shirt, she cleared her eyes and tried to focus on the mirage-like scene coming into view. Elaine knew her legs would not carry her much longer. At least three miles back her car had sputtered to a stop, sucking the fumes of the last gallon of gas in the tank. Whatever salvation was up ahead, she’d have to allow it to swallow her up.
As she inched closer to civilization her heart was lulled by the rhythmic drumming of waves pummeling the sand over the dunes she passed. The street sign read Seaside Blvd., and something about being by the ocean calmed her. The salt in the air was so heavy she could taste it on her lips. It was the closest thing to food she’d had since the previous night. When buildings and lights finally folded in around her, she felt the drag of her feet grow more pronounced. The ability to lift them was fleeting as she settled in on a curb lit by the neon lights of a hardware store. It looked like it had been closed for hours. Everything on the street was still, eerily so, considering what every corner in New York City looked like this time of night.
Forward motion had been her only goal for the last fourteen hours. Move. Keep moving. Now that she’d finally stopped, the difficult task of taking inventory of the journey’s toll began. Her feet were stained black with dirt. The light behind her cast a shadow on the sidewalk, showing how frazzled and unkempt her normally sleek blonde hair had become. The gray pencil skirt she’d slid into early that morning was now covered in dirt and shimmied too far up her body to be comfortable.
“Ma’am?” A voice burst into her life like an intruder kicking down the door to her mind. “Ma’am are you all right?”
“Fine,” she answered out of habit. “I’m fine.” A lesson learned many years ago. Rule number one for a woman in a male-dominated business. If you were less than fine, there was some womanly reason why. If you were mad, you were hormonal. If you were hurt, you were too sensitive. “I’m fine,” she repeated, surprised by how raspy and tired her voice sounded.
“Did you have car trouble?” the figure looming over her asked, and finally she turned her eyes up and blinked until he was in focus. “My name is Davis. I can call a tow if you need it.”
“Yes,” she answered, nodding and patting her hair, fruitlessly trying to tame it. The man was like a giant, his broad shoulders fighting a war against his snug flannel shirt, looking like they were about to win. Sandy blond hair dipped across his forehead and nearly covered his eyes, until he wrangled it back with a flip of his hand.
“Do you need a tow?” he asked again, speaking slowly enough for her to realize he wasn’t sure she was sane. How could she blame him? She was a sight.
“No, the car is a few miles back. I’m leaving it there. I don’t need a tow.” She tried to shift her skirt over her scraped knees. She’d fallen somewhere along the way and banged them up.
“You’re leaving your car back there?” he asked, gesturing with his hand the way she’d come. “Is it just on the side of the road or something?”
“I don’t need it anymore. I live here now.” She shrugged, crossing her legs at the ankle, as though suddenly remembering she was a lady, and even when hitting rock bottom she should act like it.
“You live in Indigo Bay now?” he asked, arching one of his thick brows at her quizzically.
“Indigo Bay?” she asked, looking up and down the small street as though she were assessing the whole scene.
“Yes, that’s where you are. You said you live here now?” He was nervously wringing his hands, moving them like a load of laundry repeatedly tumbling in the dryer.
She laughed in a breathy way as though he were the one being ridiculous. “I live here now,” she said, patting the hard cement below her. “I live on this curb.”
“Oh,” he said, nodding as though he could officially deem her insane now. “I see. Well, it’s going to rain so you may want to rethink your new living arrangements. It doesn’t look like you have much shelter.”
“It’s not going to rain,” she said, looking up at the dark night sky. “It’s a perfectly nice night. I’ll be fine, thank you. Dave, was it?”
“Davis,” he corrected, unwavering in his concern. “And I’ve lived here my whole life. When the air smells like this, and the wind changes so quick, there’s rain coming.”
Elaine sniffed at the air and looked at him curiously. “Really? I don’t smell anything.”
“My bum shoulder starts aching too,” he said, jutting his chin out confidently. Her eyes narrowed as she scanned his face until he faltered into a smile. “Plus they just said it on the radio.” If his smile wasn’t so damn magnetic, she’d probably yell at him for being smug. He was interrupting a perfectly good mental breakdown here.
“I’ll be just fine. Thank you for stopping.” She folded her arms across her chest and pretended to be interested in the empty street. No matter what she wouldn’t look at him again. That would make it clear she wanted him gone.
“I can’t leave you here,” Davis apologized. “It’s late. You’re alone. Clearly you’ve had a rough day. I really don’t want to sit on that curb next to you in the rain, so maybe I can take you somewhere.”
“You say it like it’s some kind of law you have to help me,” she scoffed. “I lived in New York City. I can assure you that you are under no legal obligation to stop and help anyone. I once saw a guy texting while he crossed the street. He got hit by a cab and about six people stepped right over him and his broken leg without even noticing. So as much as I appreciate the charming southern guy act, I don’t need it.”
“There’s a lot to unpack there,” Davis said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “But the only thing you should know is the curb that’s now your house, it’s in Indigo Bay. People here don’t step over anyone. It might not be law, but I can promise you there are about ten old ladies at the church that would beat me within in an inch of my life if they heard I left you out here. It would be a flurry of umbrellas and oversized handbags stuffed with hard candies. Do me a favor and save me that pain. I’ll give you a lift to the cottages. My buddy Dallas owns them. I can get him on the phone even at this late hour. I’m sure he can set you up with something. I think he’s close to full up, but he’s always got something he can work out.”
“I can’t afford that,” Elaine said, clearing her throat. Somehow that admission was harder for her than being seen in her disheveled state.
“Well there’s a motel at the back side of the property. Those rooms are cheaper. Like I said, I don’t know what they’ll have open.”
“I don’t have any money,” she explained. “I left without my wallet. I don’t have my credit cards, my driver’s license. Nothing.”
“You left in a hurry?” he asked, looking thoroughly concerned now. Any levity he’d been trying to interject was gone. “Are you in some kind of danger?” He looked up and down the street as though the threat might be imminent.
“No.” She laughed. “Nothing that exciting. I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to sit here and—” It suddenly dawned on her that she couldn’t finish that sentence. What exactly did she want to come next?
“Not much of a planner are you?” Davis asked, sitting down next to her with a loud huff. “So you live on this curb now, and that’s all you know.” A rumble of thunder boomed in the distance.
“You’re not leaving are you?” she asked, giving him a sideways look filled with annoyance. In truth she felt a little relieved to have some company.
“I’ll take you over to see Caroline. She’ll know how to sort this out. She owns a coffee shop down the way. It’s late, and they’re closed now. It’s past ten o’clock but she stays late.”
“It’s past ten at night?” Elaine asked, stunned by how long she’d been traveling. “It’s been a long day.”
“She’ll know what to do,” Davis promised as he stood and extended a hand for her to take. Lightning lit the sky behind him, and she felt the charge jolt her heart.
“You seem pretty sure about that,” Elaine sighed, getting reluctantly to her feet. “Maybe you didn’t get a good enough look at me. I have no shoes. Did you notice that?”
“I noticed everything,” Davis replied as they walked down the silent street with him just a half step ahead.
“What state am I in?” Elaine asked, suddenly realizing she’d lost track somewhere along the way.
“South Carolina,” Davis said tentatively. Clearly his level of concern for her stability continued to grow like snow piling up in a blizzard. “You really don’t know where you are?”
“I didn’t care where I ended up,” Elaine admitted, wincing as a rock caught the soft spot of her heel. “I only cared I wasn’t where I started this morning.”
“You need shoes,” he said, watching her try to dodge anything that might hurt her feet. “Hop on my back,” he said, gesturing for her to climb up.
“That’s ridiculous. I’m not getting a piggy back ride. I’m a grown woman.”
“You know who usually gets piggy back rides? Toddlers. And you know what you have in common with a toddler right now? A lot. You have no money. No shoes. You look overtired and cranky. Now get on.”
He was stopped in front of her, and she knew trying to get by would be pointless. Plus her feet were throbbing and scraped. Davis crouched down a few inches lower, and she hopped on. Her arms looped around his neck, and his hands slipped under her legs to hold her up. “If you say I’m heavier than I look, I’m going to hop down and make you regret it.”
“You’re like a feather,” he said, pretending to be serious. “I hardly know you’re here at all.”
“I’ll pretend you didn’t grunt when I first got on,” she said, resting her tired chin down on him.
“How exactly did you end up here?” he asked, as he moved effortlessly down the street, even with her weight on him.
“It’s not that complicated. Basically I got in the car with nothing but a little cash in my pocket. I drove south, stopping to fill the tank once with the money I had. Kept driving until the car ran out of gas and my money was gone. Then I walked until I couldn’t walk anymore.”
“Very uncomplicated,” Davis agreed sarcastically. “As clear as mud. The good news is the light is on at Sweet Caroline’s. She must still be there.” He let her down, and she missed their closeness the second her feet hit the pavement.
“I’m suddenly regretting getting off my curb,” Elaine admitted, hesitating at the door step to the café. She’d have to face another stranger during what could only be described as her rock bottom.
“Caroline doesn’t judge,” Davis offered, but Elaine knew better than that. Everyone judged. Everyone looked out for themselves. “I’m sure she can help.”
“I’m sure she can’t,” Elaine sighed as he pulled open the door. “I thought you said they were closed? Why is the door unlocked?”
“Before you get your mail forwarded to your new curb, you’re going to have quite a bit to learn about Indigo Bay.” Davis laughed. “This is not New York.”
Elaine looked around the quaint café and felt a wash of relief as she heard his words. “This is not New York,” she repeated. “Thank goodness for that.”