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Book 7: The Seafaring Girls (Five Island Cove)

Book 7: The Seafaring Girls (Five Island Cove)

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Take a vacation any time of year in the seaside town of Five Island Cove!

Meet five best friends as they reunite after years apart and rekindle their strong bond with one another, weather storms, and uncover secrets that have been lying dormant for decades...

About THE SEAFARING GIRLS: Journey to Five Island Cove for a roaring good time with friends old and new, their sons and daughters, and all their new husbands as they navigate the heartaches and celebrations of life and love. But when someone returns to the Cove no one ever expected to see again, old wounds open just as they'd started to heal. This group of women will be tested again, both on land and at sea, just as they once were as teens.

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Alice Rice got up from her desk when she heard the back door open. The twins were home from school. Or at least one of them was, as Alice glanced at the bright pink sticky note on her computer. Ginny’s working today! had been scrawled there, in her daughter’s handwriting.

She smiled at it and tapped it as she went by the computer on the other side of the desk. “Charlie?” she called as she stepped into the hallway. Down and around the corner into the back of the house showed her that her son had indeed arrived home from school, but he wasn’t alone.

His girlfriend, Sariah Page, had come with him, and she currently had her fingers fisted in the collar on his jacket, kissing him.

Alice cleared her throat, and Sariah and Charlie jumped apart. He looked at her, plenty of panic in his eyes. “Hey, Mom.” He cleared his throat too, and she dang near rolled her eyes.

“Didn’t think I’d be home?” She folded her arms and glared. “Hello, Sariah.”

“Hey, Alice.” She hovered half a step behind Charlie. “I should go, Charles. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Okay,” he said, following her to the garage exit. They didn’t kiss again, and the pretty blonde slipped outside. He faced her, his usual devil-may-care expression on his face. “I knew you’d be home.”

“You seemed surprised.”

“I’m a little surprised. You don’t always come out of your office the moment we get home.” He sighed and opened the fridge. “I don’t know what to do about Sariah.”

Alice scented blood, and she moved in for the kill. “What do you mean?” She strode toward him, telling herself to calm down, move slow. Big movements could scare the teenagers away. 

“I mean…I like her. She’s pretty. She’s smart.” He closed the fridge and opened the cupboard, obviously trying to do anything he could not to look at Alice. “But she’s also going to NYU in the fall, and…I’m not.”

“Ah, I see,” Alice said. Charlie had never particularly excelled in academics—except for chemistry. He loved the stuff, and he had applied to Boston University. He’d gotten in too. No scholarship. No nothing. He’d have to pay for all of it, and Alice had helped him look into getting grants to help fund it.

Truth be told, he hadn’t even decided if he was going to go or not. She knew one of his New Year’s goals was to make a decision for the fall, but only a week into January, and he hadn’t done it yet.

Alice was trying not to put any pressure on him. A pressured, cornered Charlie usually wasn’t a good thing.

“Plus,” Charlie said, and he turned his back on her. Alice sat at the bar, ready for anything. Or so she thought.

“Mandie and I have been talking again,” he said, and Alice so wasn’t ready for that. She almost toppled off her barstool she flinched so hard.

“What?” she asked, her voice mostly made of air. “Mandie Grover?”

“Yes.” Charlie pulled down a box of popcorn and turned toward her. “Can I make this?”

“Sure,” she said. Arthur wasn’t home from the high school yet, but he loved popcorn as much as Charlie did. Alice was just glad they had something in common, though Arthur got along very well with the twins. He was one of those special breeds of human who actually liked and understood teenagers, and they liked and understood that he just wanted them to be the best they could be.

He’d helped Ginny a lot with her college applications, and she’d gotten into NYU, BU, Yale, and Towson. Charlie had only applied to Boston University, and he’d gotten in, so that had spared him from feeling like a failure compared to his sister, something Alice knew he did a lot.

“And?” she prompted. “What about Mandie?”

“I’m thinking…I don’t know what I’m thinking.”

Alice watched him put the popcorn in the microwave and start it. Her mind whirred like the appliance, and she drew a breath. “I think I know what you’re thinking.”

“What’s that, Mom?” He finally gave her his full attention, plenty of challenge on his face. He looked so much like his father, but he was much gentler, and much kinder. Alice thanked God for that every day.

“I think you’re wishing you didn’t have a girlfriend,” she said. “Then it wouldn’t be so confusing to be friends with Mandie. You might even be able to take her to a dance this spring and hang out with her in the summer.”

Charlie didn’t make a face and sigh, which meant Alice was right. He’d never admit it right away, and he simply turned to get out a big bowl for his popcorn. The buttery, salty scent of it started to fill the air, and Alice let the silence fill the spaces between what she’d said.

“Maybe,” Charlie said as he opened the microwave and shook the bag of popcorn. “And Mom, you were right about girls.”

“Which part?” Alice got to her feet and approached her son. She curled her hand down the side of his face and around to the back of his head.

“They’re aggressive,” he said. He shook salt all over the popcorn and looked at her again. “Sariah wants to, you know. Do it before we graduate. I told her you’d be home this afternoon, and she still sort of attacked me when we walked in.”

Alice narrowed her eyes. “She’s being aggressive with you?”

“I mean, I think so,” Charlie said. “Maybe it’s just because you’ve talked to me and talked to me about sex, and girls, and I don’t know.” He did the hefty sigh she’d heard before and walked into the living room. 

Alice stayed in the kitchen, almost afraid to move. His girlfriend wanted to sleep with him, and he hadn’t done it yet? She wasn’t sure if she should rejoice or panic. Usually, the guy had to convince the girl that everything would be okay. Not having that barrier would make everything easier for Charlie.

Her stomach churned, and now the popcorn smelled slightly charred instead of delicious and buttery. 

She turned as the garage door opened again, and this time, her husband of four months walked in. “Hey, beautiful,” he said, a smile curling the ends of his mouth instantly. He took her into his arms, and Alice pulled on Arthur’s strength and stability to use in her own life. 

“Hey,” she whispered into his shoulder.

He pulled back and looked at her. “Everything okay?” His gaze skimmed further into the house, obviously searching for what had upset Alice.

“Yes,” she said firmly. “Everything’s fine.”

Arthur took his briefcase over to the counter that acted as a credenza and said, “Hey, Charlie. How was school?”

“Great, Arthur,” Charlie said, flipping through the channels without looking at his step-father.

Arthur turned back to Alice, and she shook her head. Her son was sitting here, bored out of his mind while he tried to find something to watch on TV, when he could be with his girlfriend. It wasn’t that hard to find somewhere for two teenagers to go, not if they were both properly motivated.

Charlie obviously wasn’t, and Alice didn’t want to disrupt something in the cosmic universe by freaking out about nothing. 

Yet, she told herself. She didn’t have anything to freak out about yet.

* * *

A week later, Alice hummed to herself as she went around the house, picking up socks, shoes, and dishes. No one seemed to be able to get anything where it belonged except for her. She’d needed a break from her case—a nasty dispute between two parents fighting over their kids—so she didn’t mind the clutter that had accumulated this week.

She usually made everyone go around on Saturday for a few minutes and help her put the house back together. This week, they’d been busy with Arthur’s mother, who didn’t have very much time left on this earth. She’d been sick for a while, and Alice would miss her once she finally passed.

The silence in the house filled Alice with peace, where it had once struck her with fear. She knew now that no one was going to ring her doorbell and judge her the way they did in the Hamptons. She had no images to protect or uphold here. No pretenses to live up to. 

She was a busy lawyer who worked from home, with two kids who’d graduate from high school in six short months, a new husband to dote on, and plenty of household chores to keep her busy.

Her phone chimed in her back pocket, one notification after the other, telling her that her friends had started a lively conversation while she’d been in a dead zone picking up plates with dried cheese on them from Ginny’s nachos last night. 

The device continued to sing at Alice until she put all the dirty dishes in the sink and pulled it from her pocket. “My goodness,” she said, swiping to see what was so important.

I’m dying, Eloise had sent. Billie got asked to Sweethearts today. She’s fourteen. Aaron’s going to go ballistic. I need all the chocolate I can get to sweeten him up.

Who asked her? Robin had asked immediately. Now that she wasn’t swamped with clients, she had more free time to respond to texts quickly. Not that she hadn’t before. Her cellphone was practically sewn to her fingers.

Alice’s was too, so she wasn’t judging. She did so much business with her phone, and it was easy to get absorbed into it for long periods of time and not even know it.

A boy named Luke Howard, Eloise said. He’s a year older than her, and Aaron’s not going to like that.

It’ll be okay, AJ had said. The Howards live right by us, and they’re a good family.

Agree with AJ, Robin said. The Howards are good people.

Aaron’s looking them up right now, Laurel sent as Alice watched. She sent a winking emoji, but Alice didn’t think she was kidding at all. The Chief of Police would probably run a background check, call them in for fingerprinting, and do a deep dive into their past going back generations. He had all the resources to do it.

How wonderful for her, Kristen sent. 

Jean chimed in with, I can help with a dress if she needs one.

I don’t even know if it’s formal or not, Eloise said.

It’s not formal, Robin said, and she would know. Robin knew everything that happened in the cove, and sometimes she irritated Alice. At the same time, there was no one Alice loved more than Robin Grover. But it’s not casual either, she said. It’ll be best dress. Not jeans. Not prommy.

Alice didn’t really have anything to add to the conversation, but she tapped out, It’ll be okay, Eloise. He’s got a month to get used to the idea, right?

Good point, Eloise sent. I just wish they got along better. He’s so protective of her.

There could be worse things, Kelli said. How exciting for her to be asked. How does she know Luke?

The conversation went on from there, but Alice had work to do. She rinsed the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. She wiped down all the counters and the stove. She straightened all the pillows in the living room and took the kitchen trash out to the big, black can Charlie towed out to the street on Thursdays. 

She started a load of laundry, taking Ginny’s clean clothes upstairs to her room. She peeked in the twins’ bathroom and frowned. She didn’t clean their rooms or do their laundry, but she would come up here to make sure the toilet and tub weren’t going to rust through or be stained permanently.

Obviously, no one had cleaned this bathroom for a while, and Alice couldn’t even remember whose turn it was. The garbage can lid bulged open, and she stepped into the bathroom to collect that. 

She opened the lid, her hand already reaching for the sides of the bag that had been pulled over the can. She froze, her breath wheezing into her lungs, at the sight of the pregnancy test sitting there.

It had been used, and it showed only one line. 

Not pregnant.

Her heartbeat sounded like a bass drum as it banged through her whole body. Whose was this? 

Her mind raced; Sariah had been over to the house just yesterday, along with the rest of the Academic Olympiad team she was on with Charlie. She’d asked to use the bathroom, and since someone else had been in the half-bath off the kitchen, she’d gone upstairs.

Ginny had a boyfriend, but to Alice’s knowledge they hadn’t slept together. 

She pulled in another breath, and the extra oxygen reminded her of the conversation Charlie had had with her last week about Mandie. They’d been talking and texting again—Alice checked his phone regularly—and Mandie had dropped by two or three days ago. She’d talked to Charlie and Ginny together on the front porch for about a half-hour, left a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread, and gone home.

Alice didn’t recall her coming in the house. Charlie couldn’t be sleeping with her…could he?

She reached for the pregnancy test, dislodging some used make-up remover wipes. In her mind, teenagers were so very stupid, because whoever had put this in the trashcan should’ve done a better job of hiding it. Even if it had been under the make-up remover wipes, Alice probably wouldn’t have seen it.

With the stick in her hand, Alice felt like she was swimming outside of her body. Nothing made sense, and questions formed her whole world. Her feet felt like they were slipping down a muddy slope, and she couldn’t catch herself. 

Bottom line, she needed to know who’d used this pregnancy test. No matter who it was, Alice felt like her whole world was about to change.

What Readers are Saying

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “I have absolutely loved each and every one of it these stories! Start with the first book so you can develop relationships with these ladies. Can't wait for number 8 to come out!” ~Elizabeth A.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “I have really enjoyed this series. I find myself laughing, crying, holding my breath, rooting along or gasping in shock or surprise at the emotions of each personality. They are unique, fun and real women. I can't wait for book 8 to come out and pray there are more after it. I’m just not ready to leave the lives of these women and their families.” ~D. Reynolds

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Take a vacation any time of year in the seaside town of Five Island Cove!

Meet five best friends as they reunite after years apart and rekindle their strong bond with one another, weather storms, and uncover secrets that have been lying dormant for decades...

This series is best read IN ORDER, as each book builds on the other and there are open storylines throughout. Each book features these amazing friends as they reunite and bring others into their fold, addresses the woman's journey later in life, and shows sweet, closed-door romance!

  • Book 1: The Lighthouse

    After the death of a childhood loved one, 5 best friends reunite in the small coastal town of Five Island Cove. One doesn't expect to find love with a high school crush. Another isn't prepared to find the strength she needs to take control of her life. And none of them are ready for the secrets they'll uncover at the lighthouse...

  • Book 2: The Summer Sand Pact

    Get ready for more secrets to come to light in Five Island Cove, and for these five women to show each other what it means to love and support someone through thick and thin.

  • Book 3: The Cliffside Inn

    With their different personalities and in their different states of mind, none of these best friends are prepared for the secret contained within the walls of The Cliffside Inn. They've survived tough situations before, but this might be the thing that tears them apart for good...

  • Book 4: Christmas at the Cove

    Secrets are never discovered during the holidays, right? That's what these five best friends are banking on as they gather once again to Five Island Cove for what they hope will be a Christmas to remember.

  • Book 5: The House on Seabreeze Shore

    Join best friends, old and new, Robin, Alice, Eloise, Kelli, Laurel, and AJ as they learn about themselves, strengthen their bonds of friendship, and learn what it truly means to thrive.

  • Book 6: Four Weddings and a Baby

    Four weddings and a baby are on their way to Five Island Cove! Join Alice, AJ, Kelli, Robin, Kristen, Eloise, and Laurel as they learn how strong they really are, and the great power they hold as women, and as friends, in any circumstance.

  • Book 7: The Seafaring Girls

    When someone returns to the Cove no one ever expected to see again, old wounds open just as they'd started to heal. This group of women will be tested again, both on land and at sea, just as they once were as teens.

  • Book 8: Rebuilding Friendship Inn

    A single phone call changes everything.

    Will these women in Five Island Cove rally around one another as they've been doing? Or will this finally be the thing that breaks them?

  • Book 9: The Glass Dolphin

    With fresh challenges and ever-deepening bonds, these incredible women remind each other, and themselves, of the enduring power of friendship, love, and the resilience of the human spirit. As the truth unravels, the limits of their courage and the strength of their sisterhood will be tested in ways they never imagined.

  • Book 10: The Bicycle Book Club

    When Tessa decides to look into the past to help shape the future, what she finds in the Five Island Cove library archives could bring them closer together…or splinter them forever.

Get more romance & women's fiction in Getaway Bay!

Join the wedding planners, billionaires, and hometown heroes that live in small-town Getaway Bay! It's the perfect blend of sun, sand, beaches, and sweet romance.

Read this series if you like:

✔ Beach reads

✔ Forced proximity

✔ Billionaires

✔ Military heroes

✔ Fake dating tropes

✔ Friends to lovers

✔ Rockstar romance

✔ Single dads

✔ Perfect small town beach settings

✔ Sweet & Steamy kisses