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Read, Write, Love at Seaside

By:Addison Cole

Read, Write, Love at Seaside

Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers Series

Addison Cole

Chapter One

THE TIDE LAPPED at the sandy shore beyond the deck of the cedar-shingled bungalow where Kurt Remington sat on the deck of his cottage, fingers to keyboard, working on his latest manuscript. Dark Times was due to his agent at the end of the month, and Kurt came to his cottage in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, to hunker down for the summer and complete the project. He lived just outside of New York City and he wrote daily, sometimes for ten or twelve hours straight. In the summers, he liked the change of scenery the Cape offered and was inspired by the Cape’s fresh air and the sounds of the sea.

He’d bought the estate of a local painter a few years earlier with the intent of renovating the artist’s studio that sat nestled among a grouping of trees on the far side of the property. Initially, Kurt thought he might use the studio as a writing retreat separate from where he lived, with the idea that leaving the cottage to work might give him a chance to actually have a life and not feel pressure to write twenty-four-seven. What he found was that the studio was too far removed from the sights and sounds that inspired him, and it made him feel like even more of a recluse than he already was. He realized that it wasn’t the location of his computer that pressured him. It was his internal drive and his love of writing that propelled his fingers to the keyboard every waking second. The idea of making the studio into a guest cottage crossed his mind, but that would indicate his desire to have guests, which would mean giving up his coveted writing time to entertain. So there it sat, awaiting…something. Though he had no idea what.

The cottage was built down a private road at the top of a dune, with a private beach below. A curtain of dense air settled around him. Kurt lifted his eyes long enough to scan the graying clouds and ponder the imminence of rain. It was seven twenty in the evening, and he’d been writing since nine o’clock that morning, as was his daily habit, right after his three-mile run, two cups of coffee, and a quick breeze through the newspaper and email. Once Kurt got into his writing zone each day, other than getting up to eat, he rarely changed his surroundings. The idea of moving inside and breaking his train of thought was unsettling.

He set his hands back on the keyboard and reread the last few sentences of what would become his thirteenth thriller novel. A dog barked in the distance, and Kurt drew his thick, dark brows together without breaking the stride of his keystrokes. Kurt hadn’t risen to the ranks of Patterson, King, and Grisham by being easily distracted.

“Pepper! Come on, boy!” A female voice sliced through his concentration. “Come on, Pepper. Where are you?”

Kurt’s fingers hesitated for only a moment as she hollered; then he went right back to the killer lurking outside the window in his story.

“Pepper!” the woman yelled again. “Oh geez, Pepper, really?”

Kurt closed his eyes for a beat as the wind picked up. The woman’s voice was distracting him. She was too close to ignore. Get your mutt and move on. He let out a breath and went back to work. Kurt craved silence. The quieter things were, the better he could hear his characters and think through their issues. He tried to ignore the sounds of splashing and continued writing.

“Pepper! No, Pepper!”

Great. He was hoping to squeeze in a few more hours of writing on the deck before taking a walk on the beach, but if that woman kept up her racket, he’d be forced to work inside—and if there was one thing Kurt hated, it was changing his surroundings while he was in the zone. Writing was an art that took total focus. He’d honed his craft with the efficiency of a drill sergeant, which was only fitting since his father was a four-star general.

More splashing.

“Oh no! Pepper? Pepper!”

The woman’s panicked voice split his focus right down the center. He thought of his sister, Siena, and for a second he considered getting up to see if the woman’s concern was valid. Then he remembered that his sister often overreacted. Women often overreacted.

“Pepper! Oh no!”

Being an older brother came with responsibilities that Kurt took seriously, as had been ingrained in him at a young age. That loud woman was someone’s daughter. His conscience won over the battle for focus, and with a sigh, he pushed away from the table and went to the railing. He caught sight of the woman wading waist deep in the rough ocean waves.

“Pepper! Pepper, please come back!” she cried.

Kurt followed her gaze into deeper water, which was becoming rougher by the second as the clouds darkened and the wind picked up a notch. He didn’t see a dog anywhere in the water. He scanned the empty beach—no dog there, either.