About THE SEACREST
They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Finn McGraw disagrees.
He was just seventeen when he had a torrid summer affair with the girl who stole his heart—and then inexplicably turned on him. Finn may have moved on with his life, but he’s never forgotten her.
Now, ten years later, he’s got more than his lost love to worry about. A horrific accident turns his life upside down, resurrecting the ghosts of his long-dead family and taking the lives of the few people he has left.
Finn always believed his estranged brother was responsible for the fire that killed their family—but an unexpected inheritance with a mystery attached throws everything he knows into doubt.
And on top of that, the beguiling daughter of his wealthy employer has secrets of her own. But the closer he gets, the harder she pushes him away.
The Seacrest is a story of intrigue and betrayal, of secrets and second chances—and above all, of a love that never dies.
Check out Chapter 4
July 2nd, 1997
We played with the beach ball for about an hour, laughing and churning up sand three hundred yards up the beach, away from the sunbathers and family picnics. After the first few nervous minutes, the whole thing felt very natural, as if we were just kids and there were no boy-girl elements to be embarrassed about.
But there certainly were boy-girl elements.
I watched her tawny arms as they flailed and whapped the ball and marveled at her long, delicate legs when she ran back and forth along the quiet stretch of sand we’d chosen. Her eyes had a way of widening in mock horror when I tossed it too high and she missed it, quickly followed by a wide smile that dizzied me.
She had a nice figure, with slim legs, a narrow waist, and pretty shoulders. Her one-piece black suit covered areas I tried not to stare at, but couldn’t help wanting to. I wondered how it would feel to touch her. Probably softer than silk. Her hair cascaded along her back, bouncing dark against her summer brown skin.
We collapsed on the sand with the ball between us, breathing hard and laughing.
“You’re pretty good at this,” she said.
I leaned back on my arms and chuckled. “So are you. For a girl.”
She sat up and hit my arm. “What? For a girl?”
Afraid she’d storm off, I took her hand and pulled her close to me. “I’m just kidding! Really, you’re good, even for a guy.”
She smiled that lazy, sweet grin again and I felt my heart melt.
“Okay. That’s better.”
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Okay.” I sat up, furrowed my brow, and placed fingertips against my temples, staring at her. “I’m getting something. It’s coming.”
She laughed and poked my chest. “Oh, really? What do you see?”
I gave it a shot. “Jennifer?”
She snorted. “No!”
I tried again. “Sarah?”
She giggled. “Heck, no.”
I tried to think of the most popular names of our generation, hoping it was one of them. “Allison?”
“Uhnt-uh.” She shook her head.
“Give me a hint.”
“Oh, come on!” I frowned. “How can I guess?”
“You have to.”
“Okay. Hannah? Jessica? Carly? Jenna? Lisa?”
“No, no, no, no, and no.”
“Hey. How ‘bout if I tell you my name?”
“What is it?”
I hesitated. “It’s a weird one.”
“Okay. It’s Finn.”
She tilted her head. “That’s not weird. I like it. Finn.” She seemed to taste the letters on her tongue, enjoying the feel of it. “It’s different. But nice.”
“Okay. Your turn.” I sat forward expectantly.
“Nope. I’m not telling. You have to keep guessing.”
I ran through all the names I could imagine, and didn’t hit on it. Frustrated now, I flopped back on the sand. “Okay. Then I’m gonna make up a name for you.”
She made a face. “Really?” Quickly, she leaned over me, her face blocking the sun.
In a sudden rush of feeling, I wanted to pull her to me, to smother her in kisses, to taste the salt on her skin.
“Okay, what’s it gonna be? What’s my new name?”
“Let me think.”
Her hair danced over my bare chest. I caught it and played with it. “You are sweet. I could call you
“Boring,” she said.
“How about Candy?”
“Sexist,” she pouted.
“Even worse! I’m not a playboy bunny!”
“Okay, Well, you look delicious. How about Cupcake?”
She hissed. “That sounds like a chubby girl. Or a pony.”
“Okay, okay. Let me think. Maybe I need some inspiration. How about a kiss?”
At first I thought she’d reel back and hit me. But to my surprise, she lowered her lips to mine, stopping just an inch apart. “Okay. Just a little one, though.”
I reached my arms up to her neck and pulled her toward me. At the last minute, just as I felt the soft sweetness of her mouth brushing mine, she pulled back.
“Nope. Too soon.” She got up and laughed, twirling around with the ball. “Come on. What’s my
I sat up, trying to control the heat surging beneath my bathing suit. “Okay. I’ve got it.”
“What? What is it?”
She pranced toward me. “I love that! Okay. From now on, I’m Sassy to you.”
Her father appeared out of nowhere, his face a study in disapproval. I think he hated me from the moment I’d asked her to toss the ball around. I also figured he’d probably seen us lying near each other, and got nervous.
He glared at me. “Time for lunch. Let’s go.”
There was no arguing with his stern tone. She tossed him the ball and wiggled her fingers at me.
“See ya ‘round, Finn.”
I grinned like an idiot. God, she was cute. “Okay, Sassy. See ya.”
I watched her link arms with her father and sashay away from me. The sun winked on the brilliant sand, almost blinding me. As if hypnotized, I stared with slack jaw until I could barely make out her figure among the crowded, colorful throng of beach-lovers.
Oh, Sassy. You’re the one for me.
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