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Seaside Surprises

She’s hiding from danger. He’s deeply wounded. Could they be exactly what the other needs?

Tiffany Saunders is on the run. When she winds up stranded in a seaside town, she wants nothing more than to forget her horrific past and kept moving. But a chance meeting with a handsome local changes everything.

Jake Hunter has some deep emotional scars and is trying to cope with running the family business. The last thing he wants is a relationship—until a mysterious brunette walks into his store and complicates it all.

Tiffany prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong—in her rear view mirror. But dark secrets cannot stay hidden forever. Just as the walls around Tiffany’s heart start to come down, the past catches up with her. Will true love be able to conquer all?

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The bell rang and a pretty brunette walked in by herself. Jake did a double take for that fact alone. During tourist season, everyone traveled in packs.

She looked about his age, early-twenties, and had long, wavy hair that nearly reached her waist. Despite the heat, she had on skinny jeans and a long-sleeved sweater.

As the door closed behind her, she pulled her dark sunglasses to the top of her head and looked around the store. She had gorgeous, almond-shaped eyes. Most of the girls coming in looked like they hoped to run into a Hollywood producer who would hire them on the spot for the next blockbuster. This girl had a natural beauty, and that made Jake curious.

He got up and walked over to her. “Can I help you?”

Looking startled, she turned to him. “I just need a few things. I don’t think I’ll need any help.” She crinkled her cute, button nose as she gazed to the back of the store.

“Are you sure? I know where everything is.”

She turned back to him, her bright green eyes studying him. “I’m not even sure what I need yet.”
“No one else is here, so you may as well take advantage of my expertise. Once the next rush hits, I’ll be stuck at the register.”

One side of her full lips curled down. “I’ll risk it, but thanks.”

“Okay, but if you do need any help, you know where I am.”

She nodded, not moving her feet.

Jake studied her lightly freckled face. She seemed to have a lot on her mind, very much unlike every other girl running into the shop. People came to town so they could forget their worries and the locals were all busy with their own businesses that time of year.

“Just give me a shout if you need anything.” He went back around the counter, this time, leaning against it rather than sitting, so he could watch her. There was a sadness about her that made him curious. Jake wanted to know more, but she obviously didn’t want to talk.

She switched her purse to the other shoulder while still standing in the same spot. Finally, she went toward the far side, near the back where they had some refrigerated goods. He continued to watch her in the mirrors along the ceiling. The girl stopped and looked at a few things, but didn’t even pick anything up.

The door opened, forcing Jake to focus on ten new people in the store. He recognized a few of them who had been coming in regularly since the previous weekend. Another group came in, followed by another. The store was soon as packed as it had been all day.

He kept his eye out for the sad, pretty girl, but she didn’t come to the register. He couldn’t find her in the mirrors either, so she must have not found what she needed and slipped away when he was busy with customers.

People came in and out for the next half hour before the store emptied again. He looked at the clock. It was only a quarter past three. Where were his brothers when he needed them?

The brunette came around an aisle, holding a few basic items. Where had she been hiding?

He smiled. “You found what you need. Sure I can’t help with anything else?”

She shook her head, the sunglasses falling over her forehead. “I’m good.” She pushed the glasses back and dumped everything on the counter.

Jake rang up the microwave dinner, milk, coffee, and cold cereal. He told her the total and waited for her to hand him the card so he could find out her name. Instead, she gave him some cash.

“No card? You’re not the typical tourist.”

“Nope.” She looked around, looking eager to get out of the shop.

Not that he could blame her. Jake couldn’t wait for the shop to close. “Where are you staying?”


“There are a lot of places to eat around here. You don’t need to eat this.” He held up the TV dinner before putting it into the bag.

She gave him a sad look. “I’m not a tourist.”

“Do you live around here? I thought I knew all the locals.” He did, actually, but he didn’t want to put her on the spot.

She took the bag and stepped away from the counter. “Keep the change.”

“But it’s over five dollars.”

“Get yourself a latte. I gotta go. Sorry.” She hurried toward the door, sliding her glasses back onto her nose.

Shaking his head, Jake watched as she left the store. If she wanted to lay low, she had come to the wrong town.

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