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Book 4: The Beach Blueprint (Hilton Head Island Romance)

Book 4: The Beach Blueprint (Hilton Head Island Romance)

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Escape to the beaches of South Carolina with this Supper Club of ladies, each of whom is starting over in some way in their 40s. New loves, new lives, new businesses - and they're waiting for YOU, their new best friend!

About THE BEACH BLUEPRINT: Joy Bartlett needs a blueprint before she takes a single step in any direction. She loves seeing what she's getting into before committing, and just because half of her Supper Club has moved 1200 miles away doesn't mean she's going to start packing boxes.Can she figure out how to arrange all of the pieces in her life in a way that makes sense? Or will she find herself cut off from everyone who's ever been important to her?

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Read Chapter 1 Now!

Listen to a sample here!

Joy Bartlett disembarked from the plane, her heartbeat one giant bass drum. She couldn’t believe what she was doing. Still, her step landed smoothly as she navigated the airport in Charleston, as she’d flown in here several times now. 

She knew where the rental car counters were, and she knew how to get from there to the cars without even looking at the signs. She could drive from Charleston to Hilton Head easily now, and she couldn’t wait to spend Christmas with her besties. Well, some of them, at least.

Bessie had gone to Peachtree to spend the holidays with her daughter. Joy knew they had plans to talk about opening a franchise here in Hilton Head of a bakery. It wasn’t franchised anywhere else yet, and when they’d gone to lunch last week, Joy had told her to simply open her own bakery.

Why should she put money in the hands of her boss? She was an excellent baker, and with all the tourists here on the island, there was definitely room for another bakery—especially one that only delivered the best Texas sourdough…in South Carolina.

Bessie had started sketching out new plans, and she called Joy almost every day to talk about it. 

Joy herself had not started talking to anyone about making a move from Sweet Water Falls, Texas, where she currently lived and worked full-time, to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Half of her Supper Club had made the move now, and the pull for Joy to do so felt like the weight of gravity on her soul.

At the same time, Joy was forty-seven years old, and she couldn’t go jump off a cliff—or move halfway across the country—just because all of her friends were doing it.

No, Joy had to have a blueprint first. She needed to be able to see her life here before she could commit to embracing anything that required her packing up almost fifty years of Texas lineage and moving it.

She hadn’t mentioned a possible relocation to either of her sons, and she had no husband she had to check off with. Her single grandchild pulled at her just as strongly, and she lived in Texas.

“Thank you,” she said to the rental car attendant as he lifted her bag into the back of the SUV she’d drive for the next two weeks. She’d packed a big bag and a backpack, but the latter would ride shotgun next to her.

The drive passed quickly, and before Joy knew it, she was turning into the parking lot of a restaurant called Mead’s. She’d not eaten here before, but she’d been told it was amazing, and at three-thirty in the afternoon on a Thursday before Christmas, likely to not be busy.

There weren’t very many cars in the lot, and Joy pulled into a spot in the first row next to the building. She had no idea what kind of car Scott drove, as they’d been texting back and forth a lot over the last few months, but their vehicles had not come up once.

“You’re insane,” she whispered to herself. She met her own gray-blue eyes in the rearview mirror and reached to fix the errant strands of her hair. Her ex-husband had once told her he loved her eyes, because he couldn’t quite identify the color of them. Not quite blue, but not quite gray, he’d landed on “slate.”

Joy had been describing herself with that adjective ever since. Her hair was blonde, starting to pull in some gray she didn’t bother to cover with anything synthetic. She wasn’t trying to pretend to be an age she wasn’t, and she rather liked her shoulder-length hairdo that waved down even on the worst of hair days.

She wasn’t Lauren by any stretch of the imagination. The woman always looked like a million bucks, without a single strand of hair out of place. But Joy had learned not to compare herself to Lauren a long, long time ago.

Joy swallowed and checked the clock on her phone. She’d made good time from the airport, and she’d arrived a bit early. She leaned her head back, a hint of exhaustion pulling through the tight muscles in her shoulders.

She’d have to eventually tell her friends that she’d lied to them. It wasn’t really a lie, as she’d had a couple of months to rationalize away this extra day on the island. One, Scott had asked her to come in a day early.

She’d agreed.

No crime in that.

Two, she hadn’t wanted anyone to know. Not Bessie. Not Lauren. Not Bea or Cass. If they knew, she’d end up going out with Scott and then staying up all night detailing everything to someone. She didn’t want to do that. She wanted a quiet evening to herself after the date so she could determine how she felt about the man.

Right now, as they’d only been texting for the past three months, every cell in her body vibrated in anticipation of seeing him in person. They video chatted often, but there was something different about being in the presence of another human being—especially a man like Scott Anderson.

He’d tickled her interest the very first time they’d met, though she’d tried to put a barrier between them. It helped that he’d barely looked at her, and then the second time they’d “met,” he’d come right out and said he couldn’t remember her. Constructing that wall had been easier then. Keeping him out of her thoughts had proven nearly impossible, and Joy really only achieved it when she slept.

“He canceled his date to stay home and talk to you,” she reminded herself. Every time she thought about that evening back in September, she grew warm. Then immediately cold, for now she had to live up to the reputation of a woman who could make a man cancel his date to stay home and talk to someone who lived over a thousand miles away.

Someone knocked on the window, and Joy jumped a Texas mile in her seat. A strangled yelp came from her throat, and she threw up both hands as if she’d ward off the unwanted evil trying to get to her through the glass.

Scott stood there, and he laughed right out loud. The rental car window didn’t mute it so much that she couldn’t hear it, and while her adrenaline poured through her, she also calmed. She grinned at him, all that nervous energy joining the hum already in her veins until it became a roaring buzz.

She reached for the door handle and popped the seal there. “Hey,” he said, grabbing onto the door and opening it the rest of the way. “Sorry. I realize how creepy that was.”

Joy slid from the SUV and had to look up at Scott as he stood about eight inches taller than her. His golden hair shone with that red she’d been dreaming about, and she had the strangest urge to run her fingers through it.

“Hello.” Awkwardly, she reached for him and sort of stutter stepped into him while she grabbed onto him to hug. “It’s good to see you.”

“In person,” he said. “In the flesh.” He held her easily, effortlessly, and Joy told herself to calm down. 

She moved out of the way and closed the door. Only then did she remember her purse. “Oh, I need my purse.” She retrieved it and smiled at him again.

“Can I hold your hand?” He grinned at her and looked at her out of the side of his eye. “I mean, I feel like we’ve been together for months, but I’ve never actually held your hand.”

Joy stepped with him, and on the next forward movement, her fingers slid into his. She smiled and said, “Yeah, this is nice.”

“Mm.” Scott took her into the restaurant. “You’ve never been here?”

“No, sir,” she said. 

“Chester didn’t bring you to Mead’s?” He acted scandalized, his grin playful and full of teasing. She’d talked to him via video where he did this too, and she found him so adorable. “I’m shocked by that.”

“Really?” She flirted right back, the action easier in person than she’d anticipated. “Why’s that? Do they serve…questionable meats here?” She glanced around like she’d see a horse or a dog on its way to the kitchen. 

Scott laughed, the sound as delicious in person as Joy had heard through her phone. “No,” he said. “But it’s definitely some of the best food in all of Carolina.” He spoke like a lifelong Southern boy, and Joy had to admit she sure did like that.

“When you come to Texas,” she said. “I’ll take you to my favorite place.”

Scott’s lighter blue eyes lit up. “You want me to come to Texas?”

Joy grinned at him. “I just invited you, so yes.” She turned toward him as they approached the hostess station. “What do you think? Can you ever take time off?” He owned a huge landscaping company, and he worked outside seemingly day and night. 

“Yeah,” he said slowly. “For you, Joy, I think I can take some time off.” He spoke in his slow, sexy, Southern drawl, and Joy swore the ground vanished beneath her feet for a few seconds.

The earth swooped and trembled, and then Scott was right there to hold her steady. “All right,” she said simply. “We’ll work that out later.”

“Two,” Scott said to the hostess. “And we want a booth away from all the noise, if possible.” He knocked on the top of the podium. “Thanks, Sam.”

“You got it, Scott.” She plucked two menus from the side of her stand and smiled at the pair of them. “This way.”

Joy’s phone rang, which sent her heart into another somersault. She plucked it from her purse, pausing as Scott started after Sam. The number was unfamiliar, but something inside Joy’s mind recognized the number, and she needed to answer it.

“I need to grab this,” she said.

“Sure.” He looked to Sam and back to her. “I’ll get the table and come back for you.”

She nodded and swiped on her phone, turning her back on the rest of the restaurant at the same time. “Hello?”

“Miss Bartlett?” a cool female voice asked.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“This is Sophie from The Island Sand Bar.”

“Oh, sure,” Joy said. She’d booked a room at the seaside hotel for tonight. Tomorrow, she’d be staying with Lauren in her cute cottage house. 

“I’m so sorry, but we won’t be able to have you stay with us tonight.”

Joy’s stomach dropped to her feet, where it wobbled and hung there for a moment. “I’m sorry?”

“Our kitchen flooded, and that sparked a fire. We have no electricity.” She sounded truly sorry. “I’ve already called our sister site, but unfortunately, they’re full.”

“Okay,” Joy said, really drawing out the word. “So…I just have nowhere to stay tonight?”

“I can provide a list of hotels in the area, and you can make some phone calls.” Something banged and then zapped. Sophie shrieked, and Joy pulled the phone away from her ear. The screen darkened, and alarm stitched through her.

She turned in a full circle, her mind doing the same thing. 

“Joy?” Scott asked. “You okay?”

She faced him and shook her head. “Uh, maybe? That was my hotel, and they had a flood that killed their electricity. I don’t have a room tonight.” She looked up at him like he’d know what to do. 

Call Bea, she thought. Or Cass. She has a huge house. 

But that would require her to tell them she’d come into town early—just to see Scott. She’d have to tell more than Lauren that she’d been texting him for the past three months. She wasn’t sure she wanted to do that quite yet, and the longer she searched Scott’s face, the more she thought she didn’t want to call one of her friends.

“Let’s go sit down,” he said, taking her arm in his. “We’ll figure something out, okay?”

She nodded and let him lead her to a table in the far corner of the restaurant, with big windows that looked out over a pond. She had no idea what possessed her, but the moment she slid into the booth, she looked at Scott doing the same and blurted out, “Maybe I could stay with you?”

What Readers are Saying

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “I can't put these books down! The Beach Blueprint is my favorite so far. I love Joy & Scott!! Onto the next book.” ~Lydia

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “I have been blessed to have had the true friendship of several women just like the women of the Supper Club. We too have experienced the highs and lows of life together and apart as two of our four have moved away. This increases the enjoyment I’ve been having getting to know each character and their unique personalities, watching them navigate life and unexpected events, yet maintaining the love and loyalty they have for each other. They comfort one another through heartache, and cheer each other on in relationships and achievements. Elana portrays all of this so very well, as if you too are a part of the Club. So come along this time as Joy tries to make “plans” for the future by creating a Beach Blueprint!! Then, if you haven’t already read them, go back and start at the beginning to read the other three books in the Hilton Head Island series!!” ~D

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Indulge in a delightful journey to the Lowcountry and visit Hilton Head Island to fall in love!

For fans of heartwarming women’s fiction, beach romance, and feel-good stories, immerse yourself in these later-in-life romances and found family friendships of the Hilton Head Island Romance series!

  • Book 1: The Love List

    Beatrice Callahan loves lists. Sometimes she even makes a to-do list of things she’s already done, just to go check, check, check and feel accomplished. So it’s easy to understand why, when her divorce is finally final and her ex is all moved out, Bea takes a cool, close look at her life…and makes a list. But when things get confusing and her life morphs once again… Can she add fall in love at age 45 to the list and check it off?

  • Book 2: The Paradise Plan

    Cassandra Haslam loves plans. Lunch plans, wedding plans, and floor plans—they all bring her joy. But then her husband dies suddenly, right when she’s about to enjoy the fruits of all of her hard work and planning, leaving Cass reeling and…well, without a plan. So, with one of her best friends now living in Hilton Head, Cass makes a move and purchases a piece of waterfront property on the island. Can she find her new life and a new love, all without any plans at all?

  • Book 3: The Seaside Strategy

    Lauren Keller understands strategies. She adores them and never enters a marketing meeting without Strategy A, B, and C tucked away in the back of her mind. She’s one of the top executives at her firm…until it all comes crashing down with the news that her boss has been stealing money from their clients for almost a decade. So she strategically decides she’s had enough of the high-profile, corporate life, and she makes the move to Hilton Head Island – and the man who’s asked her out before. Can she strategically insert herself into Blake’s life without compromising her seaside strategy and finally get what she really wants…love and a lasting relationship?

  • Book 4: The Beach Blueprint

    Joy Bartlett needs a blueprint before she takes a single step in any direction. She loves seeing what she's getting into before committing, and just because half of her Supper Club has moved 1200 miles away doesn't mean she's going to start packing boxes. Can she figure out how to arrange all of the pieces in her life in a way that makes sense? Or will she find herself cut off from everyone who's ever been important to her?

  • Book 5: The Tropical Ticket

    Bessie Clifton adores baking. With her daughter Wynona by her side, she's turned her passion for the perfect loaf of bread into a dream for a bakery. They move to Hilton Head Island and work to get their shop open with the help of Bessie's five best friends. Enter Oliver Blackhurst, the grumpy owner of The Mad Mango smoothie shop. Bessie's sunshine and warmth seem to clash with his prickly exterior. Will Bessie's journey to self-discovery lead her to the love she's always craved? Can Oliver let go of his past and embrace the warmth that Bessie brings to his life?

  • Book 6: The Waterfront Way

    Sage Grady is a master of transformation. She's a seasoned hairstylist who's perfected the art of change, one cut and color at a time. Ty's made a fortune flipping properties and developing luxury resorts. Yet beneath his polished exterior is a man who's been burned by love, and he's built walls higher than any of his skyscrapers. As Sage snips, styles, and sashays her way into Ty's heart, she discovers that her way of life isn't the only transformation happening. Can Sage and Ty navigate their contrasting worlds to create a happily-ever-after? Will they find that the path to true love doesn't always follow the path most trod, but might just be discovered through...the waterfront way?

Fall in love with the hometown heroes of Hawthorne Harbor!

Escape to the beach today with single moms, single dads, and that one old lady that knows everyone in town... This sweet and clean romance series is sure to have the heartfelt love stories and heartwarming women's fiction you're looking for. Travel to Hawthorne Harbor for these hometown heroes without leaving your house!

Read this series if you like: 

✔ Second chance romance

✔ Sweet Beach Reads

✔ Contemporary romance

✔ Later in life romance

✔ Friends to lovers romance

✔ Enemies to lovers romance

✔ Small-town romance

✔ Military romance

✔ Single-dad romance