Home > Summer Love : A Steamy Small Town Romance Anthology

Summer Love : A Steamy Small Town Romance Anthology
Author: Piper Rayne


Chapter One






Brooklyn and Wyatt’s son, Lance, plays in front of me on the couch with some action figures in their farmhouse on the outskirts of Lake Starlight while Brooklyn makes us tea. Their home is beautiful, as is their life together. I’m happy knowing my best friend found her place in this world.

Me, I’m still searching for mine.

“Here you go, lots of sugar just like you like it.” Brooklyn sets down the steaming cup on a coaster on the coffee table and carries hers to the corner of the plush couch where she crosses her legs and faces me.

“Thanks.” I smile.

“So, how’s work going?” she asks.

I tilt my head. “I’m sure you know.”

Brooklyn’s husband, Wyatt, is the owner of Glacier Point Resort and my boss. I’ve worked my way up to being the manager of housekeeping, which in itself is a small miracle given that I’m pretty sure he wanted to fire me when he first showed up in town.

She shrugs. “I hear about things from his end, but I want to know how it’s going from your end.”

I pick up my mug and blow on the steaming liquid. “It’s going well. I enjoy being the manager. It’s a different set of responsibilities, so the challenge is nice, and I definitely do not miss cleaning up after the benders the tourist college kids leave when they come up for their ski trips.”

Brooklyn chuckles, understanding full well what I mean. Before she married her millionaire husband, she worked alongside me, cleaning rooms in the resort. “Oh God, do you remember those kids who came in from California that year who booked one of the suites and thought it would be fun to throw ham and cheese slices into the ceiling fan?”

I giggle and sip my tea, just so it won’t spill while I’m laughing. Who knows how much this couch cost? “It took us hours to clean up all those little pieces of meat and cheese from the ceiling and walls.”

We both start laughing uncontrollably. It was so gross, but it’s funny as hell to relive the memory now.

“Mommy, what’s funny?” Lance asks.

Our laughing steals his attention away from his toys.

Brooklyn ruffles his mop of brown hair. “Nothing, buddy. Reagan and I are just laughing about something from when we used to work with each other at the resort.”

He smiles sweetly at his mom. “Daddy’s resort?”

She nods. “That’s the one.”

“I wanna go see Daddy!” He throws his hands up in the air.

Even though it’s Saturday, Wyatt’s the owner of the resort, so he has owner responsibilities. Lucky for me, I’m middle management, so I have the weekends off unless an issue arises.

“Daddy’s working,” Brooklyn says in a soothing voice. “But he’ll be home soon.”

Lance frowns. “But I want to see Daddy now.” His voice holds a whine.

“Sorry, buddy. Not today.”

He pouts, his full bottom lip curving down toward his chin and trembling like he’s about to burst into tears.

“Tell you what. Why don’t I turn on the TV for you and after Reagan and I are finished talking, we can take her out to the greenhouse and show her our new plants?”

“Yay!” Lance looks over at me with a proud smile.

Brooklyn had a greenhouse put in on the property a few years ago so that she could grow all the plants she uses for her essential oil business year-round.

“Will you show me all the new plants you and your mom are growing?” I ask him.

He smiles and walks to my end of the couch. “They’re gonna be huge.” He stretches his arms out as wide as they will go.

“I bet they will.” I can’t resist the urge to tickle his ribs, because he’s so damn cute.

He giggles and rushes over to the small chair in the middle of the great room, ready to watch television.

Brooklyn turns on the kid’s TV channel, then turns the volume down before rejoining me on the couch. “I swear if I have to listen to any more toddler shows, I’m going to lose it.”

I chuckle. “The last time I was here, I had the damn song from whatever show Lance was watching stuck in my head for a week.”

“Seriously. It’s like some kind of brainwashing, I swear.”

We both laugh and then take a sip of our teas. The mood between us falls somber as I knew it would at some point.

Brooklyn looks across the couch at me with concern. “How are you really doing?”

Tears instantly well in my eyes. My best friend knows me well and although the general catching up was nice, I’m not surprised she turned the conversation. I would do the same for her.

Jeez, it’s been almost a year since my mom passed. You’d think I’d be able to hold it together, but grief is a tricky thing. It hits me sometimes when I least expect it.

“You know, good days and bad days,” I manage to say without any tears falling.

She sets her tea down on the coffee table and shuffles closer to me, taking my free hand.

I was being literal when I said she understands. Both her parents died when she was a teenager in a snowmobiling accident, so although it’s a little different since my dad is still alive and living in Utah, we’ve both lost our mother.

“Have you given any thought to what you want to do next week?” she asks, squeezing my hand.

I shrug. This coming Thursday is the one-year anniversary of my mom’s passing. I’d mentioned to Brooklyn last month that I feel like I need to do something to honor the date, but I wasn’t sure what.

“I haven’t decided. It feels wrong to let the day pass without acknowledging it in some special way, especially with this being the first anniversary, but I’m not sure what to do.”

She looks at me for a beat, like she wants to say something.

“What is it?” I ask.

“Well… I had one idea. It’s not super original or anything.”

I tilt my head in question.

“How about a tattoo? Something to remember your mom by, not just on the anniversary of her death, but every day.”

I roll the idea around in my head. A tattoo hadn’t occurred to me, which is surprising given that the majority of the Baileys have tattoos to honor their parents. I’m not against tattoos or anything, I just never felt strong enough about something to want it permanently etched into my skin. Hell, I love the look of a guy covered in tats. One particular guy comes to mind, but I push the thought away. He’s long gone out of my life now.

“If I did it, I know what I’d get,” I say.

“A rainbow,” the two of us say in unison and smile at each other.

My mom loved rainbows. Was always excited whenever she saw one and used to pull over on the road to snap a picture when we’d come upon one. Even well into her early onset of dementia, she still had her love for rainbows. I smile wistfully at the thought of her room in the nursing home filled with pictures of rainbows.

“What do you think?” Brooklyn interrupts me.

I slowly nod, setting my mug on the coaster. Something about her idea feels right. “I think it’s perfect.”

“Yay!” Brooklyn claps her hands in front of her. “I’ll make all the arrangements with Liam if you want.”

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