Penobscot Bay is the perfect place for romance. Pippa has more than her share of suitors. But who will win her heart? The answer seems clear as her feelings for best friend Jake begin to change. But when a handsome stranger checks into the Samoset Hotel, all bets are off!
The corridor leading out to the side garden was empty. She hurried, bursting through the side entrance onto the wide verandah like a schoolgirl rather than a proper twenty-three year old. Thankfully no one saw her, so no one was the wiser. Her gaze scanned the grounds just beyond the white railing and—
There. Jake waited patiently, his straw hat pushed back on his head and one foot on the bottom step. When he saw her, he hurried up the stairs. Then, casting a furtive gaze around them, he swept Pippa up and whirled her once around.
“Oh! Jake, stop it!” Her protests were only for show. Her mind told her it was improper for Jake, her best friend since childhood, to twirl her like this but her body told her otherwise. This summer she had begun to feel things for Jake she’d never felt before—for any man. His nearness now sent her heart hammering so hard she felt it might push its way out of her chest. Digging her fingertips into Jake’s shoulders and lowering her voice so as not to draw attention to what they were doing, Pippa hissed, “Jake! Put me down—now. We’ll be sent packing if anyone sees.”
When Pippa’s toes touched the polished porch floor her heart dropped with them. Although Jake hadn’t yet stepped back and put a decent distance between them she already felt lost. Alone. The only times lately she’d felt alive had been the few instances when she and Jake were pressed together, their bodies close enough she could feel his heart thudding in tandem with hers.
“Sorry, Pip. I couldn’t help myself. You know I get excited on Friday.”
It was true. It seemed every employee’s step was lighter just before the weekend. Most would enjoy the freedom of two days off. Two whole days with no one to serve, no whim to cater to save their own. Fridays brought smiles without fail.
Jake and Pippa had plans that were more than the usual Friday-night dinner at the luncheonette counter at Bindle’s Emporium in town. Had they not been so close their plan may have seemed reckless to the hilt.
Pippa knew Jake almost too well. She could read him as if he were one of those well-worn lobby magazines. The sparkle in his eyes told her everything she needed to know.
“I know. I’m excited too, especially since we’re going to do something a little different tonight.” Pippa patted her hair, turning the ends of her bob under with the tip of her index finger. She had it cut for Easter and its short, lightweight swing was liberating. “That is, if you think it’s the right thing to do.”
Looking less thrilled than he had a moment earlier, Jake was quick to reply, “I do. That is, if you still do. I don’t want to push you or anything, Pip. You know I’d never do that. Don’t you?”
She took a deep breath. Here was her chance to get out of their plan without making a scene. No hard feelings, just a clear-cut opportunity to put an end to what lay ahead. “I know. And you’re not pushing me.” She glanced down at the slim watch on her wrist. Time to go. “Listen, I get off work in an hour. I’ll meet you near the lawn bowling green right after I grab my stuff and clock out. All right?”
Two steps were all she managed to take, hurrying as she was for the doorway, before a tug on her arm stopped her. Jake pulled her close, planted a fast kiss on her cheek and said, “I’ll be waiting.”