In a tiny Adirondack village, a secret is about to be exposed. Noah Sanders learns from his mother on her deathbed that he is not who he thought. Suddenly the unassuming Noah finds his entire life called into question, and only he can separate the truth from the lies.
He'd been given one clue: his real name. But what was the reason for his abduction from the family he should have known? The coastal paradise called Cane's Inlet is where Noah finds himself, trying to keep a low profile as he quietly begins his investigation. Sexy diner owner Demetri catches his attention, as does the local police chief when Noah stumbles across a corpse on the beach.
Cane's Inlet is known for its sunny shores, the lush waves of the ocean. A deeper mystery lies beneath the surface, and Noah is the unwitting key to unraveling a long-held truth. Insinuating himself into the ways of the locals, Noah learns of the feud between the founding family, the Canes, and to the rich newcomers, the Hatchers. With no one to trust, Noah tries to fight his attraction to Demetri while desperately trying to keep secret his reason for coming to town.
As he drove past a sign welcoming him to the Township of Cane’s Inlet, Est. 1868, he felt like he’d been transported back to another time. An immediate sense of nostalgia hit him, but he couldn’t be sure if it came from the carnival nature of his new surroundings, or if deep inside of him something had been awakened. That he’d been here before. If what his mother said was true, that he’d been born here, hadn’t she also claimed she’d taken him away as a newborn? He would remember nothing.
It was an unsettling feeling in the pit of his stomach. Noah decided he was hungry.
“There must be a restaurant nearby,” he said aloud. The sound of his voice after the long trip echoed inside the otherwise empty Subaru Forester. His head spun around as though someone was riding along with him even as, rationally, he knew he was alone.
He continued along a couple of tree-lined side streets that were populated by houses with lovely porches, which were no doubt well used during the warmer months. A few streets down he turned, following a painted wooden sign pointing toward the Business District. And there, like a shot of familiarity he found the Shore Thing, a diner. Not unlike Shiner’s, where he had worked back in White Pine. He found a parking space on the street and pulled in, grateful to turn off the engine, get out and stretch his legs. It was windy, so he pulled his jacket tight. He smelled the air again. As opposed to the fragrant wafts of evergreen back home, swirling around him now was a briny odor, all ocean and its flotsam.
He could take a tour later. For now, a late lunch awaited him. He hoped they were open.
Shiner’s always shut down between two and four in the afternoon. It was 2:20 right now.
Thankfully, the metal door opened, and a bell sounded over his head as Noah stepped in. A young blonde girl behind a cash register was playing with her smartphone. She barely looked up when she said, “Sit anywhere.” Her text clearly was more important.
Noah took up at the counter, on a stool that again spoke of nostalgia. Red leather cushions resembled those from a malt-shop back in the 1950s. A man came out through the swinging doors, a welcoming smile on his handsome young face.
“Hi, welcome to the Shore Thing.”
“First time here?” It was barely a question, but not exactly an accusation.
“Well, yes, but am I that obvious?”
“Nah. Just, most people here eat early.”
“I just arrived. Sorry, were you getting ready to close?”
“Nah. I can serve you whatever you like.”
This guy liked that word nah. Noah wondered if it was a local thing. Lots of stuff he’d have to get used to.
“How about a glass of water first.”
“Sure thing. Then I’ll get you a menu.”
A little joke, he supposed, which allowed Noah a chance to smile. It took some time to go through the menu, because the diner served everything, albeit with a Greek bent. It also gave him a moment to assess his cute waiter. Probably around the same age as Noah, perhaps five nine, with thick dark hair, cut short, a severe part on the side. A trendy look. He was also very good-looking, his face friendly, the scruff of his beard dark. On his exposed forearms was a healthy amount of springy hair. Noah decided he wasn’t just attractive. He was sexy, and for a moment a memory of White Pine’s hunky fireman hit him. Had that night in the motel only been two days ago?
“So, you ready to order?”
Noah realized he’d been staring at the guy. “Oh, uh, sorry. I was lost in thought. Still can’t believe I’m here.”
“You sound like it’s calculated, you know, you being in Cane’s Inlet.”
Noah smiled. “It’s complicated. So, since I’m near the beach, how ‘bout something fishy.”
“Just so you know, we call it the shore down in these parts,” he said with that easy, friendly smile. “Not the beach. And I recommend the fried clam strips sandwich. Our coleslaw is awesome, even if I say so myself.”
“You the cook, too?”