"Finding friends and love where the redwoods grow"
Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted June 25, 2013
Kristen's been working in Hawaii, and now she has taken the
job of concierge in a new hospitality development on the
north California coast. Fishermen and redwood gawkers are
how the tourists are described, so she's hoping the new
hotel will attract class to the small town of Starfish
Bay. When the motel owner directs her to a flat for rent,
she is disconcerted to find that the landlord is a man
she's already splashed with her car. Clint, for his part,
dislikes the way that Kristen resembles his ex-fiancĂ©e.
After a rocky start to SEASIDE BLESSINGS, Clint, a park
ranger, reminds himself to be a good person and make the
new lady welcome. Kristen needs to check out attractions
for prospective guests, and as she values exercise, hiking
a trail seems like a good way to learn. Clint takes her
along on a trail, musing on the contradiction in terms that
makes up Kristen. As they pass under seven-hundred year old
redwoods and meet banana slugs, elk and marbled murrelets,
the two find that they have love of the outdoors in common.
But this is all just work-related, and each of them has a
sadness in their past romantic lives, so they're not
looking for love. Especially when Kirsten learns that
Clint's favourite hangout is the hard-rocking Harley biker
Just when we thought we knew where the story was headed,
Irene Hannon throws a spanner in the works by bringing
Kristen face to face with her past and changing her
present. If she can't cope with herself, how can anyone
else cope with her? We all make mistakes, is the message
of this inspirational tale, but they don't need to burden
us forever. And sometimes we get a second chance to make
things right. Friendly faces, hearty food and stunning
scenery await in SEASIDE BLESSINGS, just right for a
Starfish Bay could be a fresh start for Kristen Andrewsâ€¦even
if her new landlord isn't exactly tossing down the welcome
mat. Haunted by his past, Clint Nolan isn't ready to open
his heart to another woman. But Kristen's also harboring a
secretâ€”the daughter she gave up for adoption nine years ago.
When the little girl arrives in the California seaside town,
upending Kristen's entire world, the cop-turned-park-ranger
can't walk away from them. For he's beginning to feel part
of the family of two. Can Clint convince Kristen it's time
to claim their long-overdue happy ending?
ExcerptWhat had she gotten herself into?
Kristen Andrews eyed the leaden skies
over the gray Pacific Ocean as she maneuvered her rental
car around yet another curve on cliff-hugging Highway 101.
Wasn’t California supposed to be sunny and warm? Or
did that description only apply to the southern part of the
She checked the outside temperature
gauge on the dash. Forty-eight degrees on April 2. Hardly
spring weather. Northern California must play by different
rules—unless the cold was an aberration.
Otherwise, she was going to start
having serious second thoughts about trading in the
tropical warmth of Maui for Starfish Bay.
Cranking the heater up another notch,
she checked the map on the seat beside her. Less than five
miles to go. Maybe her new home would make up in charm what
it lacked in warmth.
But ten minutes later, as she took
inventory of the five-block-long stretch of 101 that
comprised Starfish Bay’s straggling main street, her
spirits sank. A biker bar and the cheesy-looking Orchid
Café and Motel bookended assorted shops and small
businesses, including a general mercantile store, post
office and dentist. An art gallery was the only bright
spot. If she didn’t have to spend the next few nights
at the motel, she’d get a good laugh out of the gaudy
sign in front that featured a huge purple orchid.
She was in no mood for mirth, however.
What in the world had the president of
Mattson Properties seen in this place to merit spending
millions of dollars on an upscale destination resort?
But a few minutes later, she had her
answer. After pulling into the resort entrance and
following a winding road through a spruce and hemlock
forest, she emerged onto a windswept headland that soared
above the ocean.
The view alone would bring people in.
In the far distance, a slight haze
softened the line where sea and sky met. To the right and
left, other headlands jutted into the blue water along the
irregular coast, their steeply sloping rock faces sporting
forested or barren tops, some of them wrapped in horizontal
tendrils of cloud. Offshore from the tiny beaches and cliff
bases, jagged boulders thrust through the surface of the
water, aiming for the sky as the surf churned around them.
The resort was none too shabby, either.
Not that she’d expected it to be. Louis Mattson
didn’t do things on the cheap. The low-slung
two-story structure, constructed of wood and stone and huge
expanses of glass, hugged the sloping headland, blending
perfectly into the landscape and reeking of understated
Her anxiety dissipated a smidgen. It
didn’t have palm trees or tropical breezes, but Inn
at The Point would be a pleasant place to work until she
was asked to move on again. And when that time came,
she’d leave with no regrets—and no strings.
A sudden pang of melancholy tugged at
her heart, and she tightened her grip on the wheel.
Focus on the future, Kristen, not
the past. Once you get settled in here, your mood will
improve. It always does.
Fortified by her little pep talk, she
followed the curving drive that led to the main entrance.
The front door opened to disgorge some of the construction
workers, and she stopped to let them pass. Painters, judging
by their white pants and shirts. Too bad the place
wouldn’t be ready for occupancy for another month.
She’d much rather spend the next few nights here than
at the Orchid Motel. But at least she’d get a tour
tomorrow, when she met with Mark Stephens, the general manager.
In the meantime, she might as well
check in at the motel. And maybe she could find a slicker
at the Mercantile. Given the ominous sky, chilly
temperature and puddles of water on the inn’s drive,
she was going to need one.
She rounded the circle drive and
accelerated back toward 101, groping in her purse for her
lipstick. After her dash through the rain to the rental car
at the Arcata/Eureka airport, she could imagine the state of
her makeup. The repairs she’d made in San Francisco
between plane changes had probably been washed away long ago.
Keeping one hand on the wheel, she set
the lipstick in her lap, adjusted the rearview mirror and
checked out her appearance. Not great. The shadows under
her eyes from the long trans-Pacific flight made her look
older than her thirty-one years, and her blush and lipstick
had faded. A quick touch up before…
“Hey! Watch it!”
The muffled shout jerked her attention
back to the road. Somehow she’d drifted toward the
shoulder—and in another two seconds she was going to
sideswipe a compact pickup truck that hadn’t been
there when she’d arrived.
Heart hammering, she wrenched the wheel
to the left…and sent a spray of water from a puddle
all over the guy who’d yelled at her.
Once clear of the truck, she jammed on
the brakes, closed her eyes and took a slow, deep breath.
Then another. Whew. That had been a close…
A loud tap sounded on her window, a few
inches from her ear, and she jerked again.
Clenching the wheel, she turned her
head to find a tall, broad-shouldered man with dark brown
hair, piercing blue eyes and an angry glare giving her the
evil eye. Fresh mud was splattered across his sweatshirt
What she noticed most, though, was the
ax in his hands. A big ax. Like the kind in the stories
about Paul Bunyan.
When she remained frozen, he motioned
for her to roll down her window.
Double-checking that her car doors were
locked, she pried her fingers off the wheel and cracked the
window two inches.
“Sorry about that.” Her
apology came out shaky.
His gaze flicked to the lipstick in her
lap and he narrowed his eyes. “In the future,
I’d suggest you focus on your driving instead of your
Warmth stole onto her cheeks, and
irritation steadied—and sharpened— her voice.
“You don’t have to be rude about it. I said I
Instead of responding, he gave her a
once-over. Not the appreciative kind she was accustomed to
from men, but one fraught with disapproval.
“This is private property.
Didn’t you see the sign at the entrance?”
Her hackles rose. Who was this guy to
question her? He didn’t look as if he belonged here,
either. He wasn’t even close to the main job site,
and his casual, rugged clothing didn’t match the white
attire of the painters she’d seen coming out the
“I happen to work for Mattson
Properties. And you are?”
He gave her another appraising perusal.
“You’re not a construction worker, and the only
staff on site so far is Mark Stephens.”
Okay, so he knew the manager’s
name. Maybe he was legit. “I’m the
One side of his mouth quirked up in a
humorless smile. “I can buy that. You look the
She had no idea what that was supposed
to mean—but his tone wasn’t positive.
“You never told me who you were.”
As drops of rain began leaving dark
splotches on his denim shirt, he scanned the sky and
hoisted the ax over his shoulder. “Mark knows
I’m here. So does Mattson. And put the lipstick away
before you venture onto 101. The highway curves are a lot
With that, he turned and marched toward
Fingers still trembling, Kristin
watched him in the rearview mirror as she put the car back
in gear. He hadn’t told her who he was.
But that was fine.
Because if she was lucky, their paths
would never cross again.
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