Home > Fernhill Lane (Huckleberry Bay #2)

Fernhill Lane (Huckleberry Bay #2)
Author: Kristen Proby

 


Prologue

 

 

Sarah

 

 

January 1, 2000

 

* * *

 

Dear Diary,

I hope my parents don’t find this journal. Mama would probably tell me that it’s a waste of time, and I should concentrate on other things, but I think it’s fun, and it’s the only thing that I have for myself.

June, Luna, and I were up in the lighthouse, in our special place, the other day, and we found a super old diary from the 1800s. We started to read it but then decided to only read one entry at a time so that it lasts longer.

We also agreed to start our own diaries. So, here I am. What do people talk about in these things? I don’t want to say anything too personal. What if Mama does find it? I’d be in deep trouble.

Not that I won’t be, anyway. She’ll come up with a reason to be mad at me. That’s just how life is here.

I wish I could go live with Luna or June.

Anyway, the Christmas break is almost over, and it will be time to go back to school. I don’t mind it so much. I’ll get to see Tanner every day! I know he’s a whole year older than me, but he’s so handsome. And he’s really nice to me. Sometimes, he walks me home from school. Isn’t that the sweetest thing ever? I hope he had a nice Christmas.

I can hear Scott arguing with Dad again, so I’d better go see what’s up before it gets too bad. I love my little brother, and I hate that Dad can be too hard on him. He’s just a kid!

I hope I can write in this diary often. It feels kind of good to write down what I’m thinking.

TTYL,

Sarah

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Sarah

 

 

“I forgot how busy it is in the spring,” I say to my coworker, Sunny, as I grab a wet towel to wipe off a table. “We always think of summer as being the busy season, but it’s really all the time.”

“These days it is.” She taps on the computer screen, sending an order back to the kitchen. “And I’m grateful because that means we don’t have to lay anyone off during the slow season anymore.”

“There is that.” I shoot her a smile and hurry over to clean the table and then pass by another table to take an order.

I’ve been back in Huckleberry Bay for just over six months, and every single minute of every day has been a blessing.

I’m out of an abusive marriage.

I’m back in my hometown.

Life is finally the way I’ve daydreamed it would be for more than a decade.

“Hey, Sarah.”

I’ve had two best friends since I was a child, and one of them just walked through the door.

“Hi, June. What can I getcha?”

“The usual,” she says with a sigh. “Hey, when you get home later, can you help me tear apart Grandma’s bathroom? She says there’s a leak, and I can’t find it. I need someone who doesn’t have arthritis in her back to hold the flashlight for me.”

“Sure.” I give her a smile and then cross to the computer to tap in June’s order of a cheeseburger and onion rings.

I’ve lived with June and her grandma in the big Victorian house on the cliffs outside of town since my apartment burned down, along with my friend Wolfe’s auto mechanic garage, late last fall. And I’m grateful to June and Annabelle for giving me a place to live.

I really am.

But I do not want to help tear apart anything when I’m off shift. I want to go home—somewhere quiet—elevate my swollen feet, and curl up with a glass of wine and my cat.

Still, I’ll do what she asks because I live in the house rent-free, and it’s the least I can do.

The thing is, my friends, June and Luna, along with the whole town really, have been nothing but welcoming and supportive since I arrived last fall, and I’ll do whatever it takes to show my gratitude.

Even if it means giving up my solitude for a little while.

“Hey, did you hear that we were able to finally get the insulation and drywall up in Luna’s inn?” June asks as I slide her basket of food over to her. “It actually looks like a dwelling now.”

“Luna mentioned it.” I grin and wipe my hands on my apron. “I’ve been working on renderings for the website, and I think I’m going to go over there one evening when you’re all finished so I can soak in the atmosphere. I need to get started on the paintings for the guest suites.”

“It’s so awesome that you’re doing the artwork,” June says around an onion ring. “It’s going to be killer.”

“Luna’s come up with some fun themes for the suites, and I can’t wait to get started. I’m sorry, I might be working late. We had another girl call out.”

“It’s okay,” she says and bites into her burger. “I can swing back by later and pick you up.”

June’s been nice enough to drive me to and from work for each of my shifts. Annabelle’s house is a couple of miles outside of town, and although I could walk, it’s been nice that I don’t have to.

I’m on my feet all day as it is.

“Honey, you need to go home,” Sunny says as I put in another order. “This is your third double shift in a row. I’ve got this covered until Willow gets here.”

“I don’t like leaving you alone when we’re busy,” I reply. “Yeah, we’re a diner, and these people are supposed to clean up after themselves, but most don’t. And we’re short-staffed. Not to mention, I can use the money.”

“It’s only one hour until Willow gets here. I’ve been working this job for more than twenty years, so trust me when I say, I’ve got this. Go rest up.”

I sigh, feeling the exhaustion in my bones. It really has been a long, busy week.

“Are you sure you don’t mind?”

“Go. And take tomorrow off, too. We’ll have plenty of help.”

“A day off?” I blink at her. “What shall I do with all that free time?”

“Smartass.” She laughs and shakes her head. “I sure do like you.”

I hurry back to the break room to grab my purse from my locker and then rush back out to June with visions of an early night dancing in my head.

There should be time for bathroom fixing and wine with my cat, Petunia.

“Let’s blow this joint,” I announce to June, who’s in the middle of a conversation with Tanner Hilleman.

My high school sweetheart.

The man that still haunts my dreams.

He looks my way, his green eyes dancing as he takes me in, and a slow smile spreads over his impossibly gorgeous mouth.

And I remember vividly what the man is capable of doing with that mouth.

Clearing my throat, I offer him a smile, then tap June’s shoulder.

“Ready?” I ask her. “I’ve been sprung a little early.”

“Sure, but first, I’d like to chat for a few minutes with Tanner. He’s telling me about how his aunt down in Newport is having her kitchen redone, and it’s been a total disaster.”

My heart sinks, but I do my best to keep my smile in place. I just really want to go home. And while Tanner and I have an amicable relationship, it’s still uncomfortable to be around him for very long.

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