Home > The Path to Sunshine Cove (Cape Sanctuary #2)(4)

The Path to Sunshine Cove (Cape Sanctuary #2)(4)
Author: RaeAnne Thayne

   “That is a lovely offer. I do appreciate it, but I also know how busy you both are. Nate, you’re running a construction company with more projects than I can keep track of and Sophie is plenty busy with school.”

   “We can still find time to help you,” he started to say but his mother cut him off.

   “This is what Jess does for a living. Lucinda told me hiring Transitions was the best decision she had ever made. She said Jess made the process of cleaning out years of clutter as painless as possible.”

   Eleanor paused, then added quietly, “I think I’ve been through enough pain, don’t you?”

   Her words stripped away all his objections. He had worried for her physical and emotional health since his father died. She was only now beginning to smile again over the past month or so, to find some enjoyment out of life.

   If she was excited about cleaning out Whitaker House, how could he argue?

   “Who knows?” Eleanor went on with a small laugh. “It might turn out that I’m not able to part with a single dishcloth and Jess might find she wasted her time coming all this way up here.”

   Jess Clayton. He grimaced, remembering his surliness when she arrived. “I wish you had given me some warning that you were expecting company. I wasn’t very welcoming to her when she pulled in and started parking her trailer.”

   “I know. I should have told you. I’m sorry I put it off. I suppose I’ve been afraid to tell you. I know how much you miss your father, too. I wasn’t sure how you would feel about me clearing out all his old things when he’s only been gone six months.”

   He did miss his father, though their relationship had always been somewhat complicated.

   “I don’t care about a few old shirts and sweaters, Mom.”

   “I know I’m being silly,” Eleanor said. “Change is always so hard.”

   “But inevitable.”

   “Whether we like it, or not.” His mother paused. “I hope you weren’t too hard on my guest. She’s giving me two weeks of her very packed schedule so we can go through the house. She’ll be staying on the property for that time. You’re bound to run into her again. I would hate for things to be uncomfortable between you.”

   “I’ll talk to her and try to clear the air,” he said.

   “Come for dinner,” his mother suggested. “I planned to make that lemon shrimp pasta you like.”

   He sighed. “I’ll have to see. I’m behind on a couple of projects and might be late but I’ll try. Don’t wait for me.”

   “Of course.”

   They said their goodbyes. As he disconnected the call, he saw their guest backing her pickup truck out of the spot and driving down the street.

   She left her trailer behind, so he could only assume she would return at some point.

   He needed to apologize.

   The realization wasn’t a pleasant one. He had been rude and unwelcoming, treating her as if she were trespassing. Had he really threatened to call the police on her? He could be such an overprotective ass sometimes.

   He needed to apologize as soon as possible. Eleanor had pointed out that Jess Clayton would be staying at Whitaker House for two weeks, living only a few hundred yards away from him. For his mother’s sake, he had to make things right.

   That didn’t mean he had to like it.

 

 

3


   Rachel

   “For the love of Christopher Robin, can you please give me five more minutes? That’s all I need. Five minutes.”

   “But I’m starving!” Her five-year-old daughter, Ava, whined, just as if she hadn’t finished a mozzarella stick and several apple slices a half hour earlier. “If I don’t eat something, I’m going to die. Can I have one of your cookies?”

   “Eat.” Her brother, Silas, echoed the sentiment if not the words.

   Rachel Clayton McBride closed her eyes and released a heavy breath to keep from snapping back. She dredged up a calm smile. “Give me five more minutes and I will be done taking pictures, I promise. Then I can make you some macaroni and cheese.”

   “I don’t want macaroni and cheese. I want a cookie.”

   Of course she did. If Rachel had said she would give her a cookie, Ava would have said she was in the mood for macaroni and cheese. She was in training for the debate Olympics, apparently.

   “I don’t need a cookie, Mama,” her other daughter, Grace, said from the kitchen table in a prim voice that seemed out of place in a seven-year-old girl.

   She knew her oldest well enough to be quite certain Grace would quickly change her tune if Rachel actually did start doling out cookies to Grace’s younger siblings. That wasn’t going to happen with these particular cookies. She had worked too hard on them to see them gobbled up by little mouths that wouldn’t appreciate the nuances of flavor.

   “Grace, could you please grab a granola bar for Ava and Silas?”

   “I don’t want a granola bar,” Ava whined. “I want one of those. It’s purple and pretty.”

   Ava pointed to the tray of perfectly decorated almond sugar cookies Rachel had been working on all afternoon.

   “I told you when we were making them. These are for my book group tonight. I made some for only us and you can have one after dinner.”

   “But they’re so pretty. Why can’t I have one now?” Ava whined.

   “Because you can’t.” It was the worst sort of maternal response but she was just about out of patience for the day.

   Undeterred, Silas reached on tiptoe for one but still couldn’t reach. If she hadn’t been focused on the photographs for her blog and social media properties, she might have seen the telltale signs of a tantrum. The jutted-out lip, the rising color, the obstinate jawline.

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