Home > The Path to Sunshine Cove (Cape Sanctuary #2)(2)

The Path to Sunshine Cove (Cape Sanctuary #2)(2)
Author: RaeAnne Thayne

   Jess found it extremely inconvenient that Nathaniel Whitaker happened to hit every single one of her personal yum buttons.

   “Who are you?” he demanded. “And how do you know my mother?”

   Ah. This was tricky. Eleanor was her client. She must have had her own reasons for not telling her son Jess was showing up. Jess felt compelled to honor those reasons. Until she could talk to the woman, Jess didn’t feel right about giving more information to Nate than his own mother had.

   “My name is Jess Clayton. Your mother knows I planned to arrive today. I have her permission to set up anywhere. I thought this would work well.”

   Beautifully, actually. The more time she looked around, the better she liked it. A twisting path down to the ocean started just a few yards away, leading down to what looked like a protected cove.

   “Set up for what? Why are you here?”

   “You really should ask your mother,” she said. It would be so much better if he could hear the explanation from Eleanor.

   “I just tried to call her when I saw you pulling in. She’s not answering.”

   “Probably in the middle of the movie. She told me she and Sophie were going to a matinee after the orthodontist.”

   If she thought this further knowledge about his family would set Nate’s mind at ease, she was sadly mistaken. His gaze narrowed further. “How the hell do you know my daughter had an orthodontist appointment?”

   “Your mom happened to mention it.”

   “Funny, the things my mother told you. I talk to her several times a day, every day, and she hasn’t said a word to me about a strange woman setting up a trailer in the side yard. Tell me again what you’re doing here?”

   She wanted to be finishing her trailer setup so she could unhitch and go into town for groceries. She would rather not be engaged in a confrontation with a strange man, no matter how hot, who didn’t need to know every detail of his mother’s life.

   Why hadn’t Eleanor told him already? It’s not as if the woman could keep their efforts a secret for long.

   Still, it was not up to Jess to spill the dirt.

   “I’m afraid that’s between me and your mother. You really need to get the answer to that question from her.”

   “Sorry, ma’am, but that’s not good enough. Right now, you’re trespassing. If you don’t move this out of here, I’m calling the police. The chief happens to be a good friend of mine.”

   “Yes, I know.” Done with this discussion, Jess reached down to wedge the chock behind the passenger-side wheel. “You play poker with him every other Friday night. Your mother told me.”

   “What else did she tell you?” He had moved beyond suspicion to outright hostility. She probably shouldn’t have said anything about the poker. She certainly wouldn’t want someone she didn’t know poking into her business. If he hadn’t been so blasted good-looking, she might have been able to handle this whole thing better.

   She forced a smile, trying to take a different tack. “I assure you, Eleanor knows I’m coming, as I said. She told me to settle in and make myself comfortable until she gets home. You can try calling her again.”

   Or you can accept that maybe I’m telling the truth and give me a break here. I’ve been driving for hours. I’m tired and hungry and I would really like to make a sandwich, which I can’t do with you standing there like a bouncer at a nightclub in a bad part of town.

   “I’ve tried multiple times. She’s not answering. You’re probably right, her phone is probably on silent.”

   “Look, when Eleanor and Sophie come back from the movie, she can tell you what’s going on. Until then, I would really like to finish setting up here.”

   “No matter what I say?”

   She didn’t want to challenge him but she was starving.

   “This is your mother’s house and she invited me here,” she said simply. “It will be easy enough to prove that once Eleanor returns. If I’m lying for some unknown reason and just happened to make an extraordinarily lucky guess about your mom and a daughter named Sophie who had an orthodontist appointment today, you and the entire Cape Sanctuary police force can boot me out.”

   He didn’t look at all appeased, his features still suspicious. She couldn’t really blame him. He was only trying to protect those he loved. She would probably do the same in his shoes.

   “Would you like a sandwich?” she said, trying another tack. “I make a mean PB and J.”

   For the first time, she saw a glimmer of surprise on his expression, as if he couldn’t quite believe she had the audacity to ask. “No, I wouldn’t like a sandwich.”

   “Suit yourself. I’ve had a long day already and I’m ready for some food. And I need to see how Vera survived the drive.”

   As she might have expected, his frown deepened. “Who is Vera?”

   She patted the skin on the Airstream. “It was, um, a pleasure to meet you, Nathaniel.”

   “Nate,” he muttered. “Nobody but my mother calls me Nathaniel.”

   “Nate, then.”

   She nodded and without waiting for him to argue, she slipped into the trailer and closed the door firmly behind her.

   The curtains were still closed from the drive and she didn’t want to open them yet to the afternoon sunlight. Not when Nate Whitaker might still be lurking outside.

   Instead, she sank onto the sofa that doubled as her office, dining room and guest space, astonished and dismayed to find her hands were shaking.

   What was that about? She had a familiar itchiness between her shoulder blades and could feel a little crash as her adrenaline subsided.

   Nate Whitaker wasn’t a threat to her. Yes, he might be angry right now but he wouldn’t hurt her. She already felt like his mother was an old and dear friend. Eleanor surely couldn’t have a son who was prone to random violence.

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