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Book 2: The Summer Sand Pact (Five Island Cove)

Book 2: The Summer Sand Pact (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 SUMMER SAND PACT: These five best friends made a Summer Sand Pact as teens and have only kept it once or twice—until they reunite decades later and renew their agreement to meet in Five Island Cove every summer. 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.

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Alice Kelton signed the paperwork on the clipboard and handed the keys to the sedan to the man who’d be driving it onto the ship. She tucked her arms into a fold as she watched, the wind coming off the harbor bringing the scent of summer with it. Sunshine, and ice cream, and an easier time was what Alice imagined summer to smell like, and she drew in a deep breath as she pressed her eyes closed.

In her mind, she saw Frank sitting behind his desk in his home office. She’d asked him for a meeting, but he hadn’t looked up when she’d entered. Until then, she’d second- and triple-guessed her decision to talk to him about a mutual split.

A divorce, she told herself as Charlie stepped to her side. Alice gave him a faint smile and put her arm around his shoulders. “That’s almost everything,” she said.

Her son said nothing, because the move from the Hamptons to Five Island Cove had been hard on all of them. Alice had spoken with the twins first, and they’d both agreed to move to the vacation home on Rocky Ridge. 

“Where’s Ginny?” 

“Waiting in the office,” Charlie said, his eyes focused out on the ship that would take everything they owned across the waters to the cove. “She said she doesn’t feel well.”

Alice didn’t either, and she watched the men on the ship too, thinking they looked remarkably like little dolls among all the huge shipping containers. Until recently, Alice had hosted one of those bright, vibrant shipping containers in her front driveway. 

She’d dealt with half a dozen visitors asking questions before she’d texted the most gossipy woman in the community and told her to spread the word that Alice wasn’t entertaining visitors, nor did she need any help going through things or packing.

In that moment, Alice panicked, wondering what she was doing here, standing in front of a waist-high wall made of gray stone, watching her life get loaded onto a ship.

Another breath, and the scene in Frank’s office played through her mind again.

“Frank,” she’d said, settling into the wingback chair in front of his desk. She placed the agreement she’d put together herself over a two-week time period on his desk and inched it closer to him. “I’d like to talk about splitting our assets.”

That had got him to look up from the small tablet he used to do literally everything. “What?”

“I’ve put together a proposal,” she said, staring straight at him. She’d been attending law school when she’d met Frank, and she still knew plenty of people in the industry. She’d worked in a family law firm for two years before the twins had been born. She also knew how to use the Internet, and she had all her facts lined up. 

Facts, not emotions. She wasn’t stupid, and neither was Frank. 

Frank reached for the eleven-page proposal and began to read it. Alice’s heart tapped out an extra beat every third second, but she folded her legs like boredom might overtake her before Frank finished reading.

“You’re going to move to Rocky Ridge?” He lifted his eyebrows but didn’t look up at her. 

“That’s right,” Alice said, knowing the next paragraph down laid out her request for him to either pay off the mortgage or provide the monthly payment to her. 

She knew when he’d reached that part of the proposal, because the air hissed out of his lungs. He put the packet down and looked at her. “You write very well,” he’d said.

“Thank you.” Alice didn’t miss a beat, because the time for praising her legal writing skills had come and gone twenty years ago. Of course, Frank was used to charming his way back into her good graces with compliments and gifts, but Alice would not be swayed this time. 

“Mom,” Ginny called, and Alice pulled herself back to the shipyard. She turned toward Ginny, who approached from the direction of the office. “He said we can go.”

“We better do it,” Charlie said. “We don’t have much time.”

“All right,” Alice said, turning completely away from the ship that would take a week to arrive at the industrial dock on Diamond Island. Then came the task of moving the cars and her belongings out of the storage container.

She’d paid for six months of storage at the dock, because the vacation home was fully furnished, and she didn’t really need anything she’d packed.

“Did they call a cab?” she asked.

“Yes,” Ginny said. “He’s two minutes out.”

Alice joined her, thinking of their tight itinerary. She’d booked their drop-off at the shipyard and their flight close together on purpose, because she didn’t want any opportunity for any of them to back out of their plan.

She walked with her children back to the office, through the back door, the office, and then the front door. By the time they arrived, a bright yellow cab waited at the curb. Alice waited for the driver to say her name, and then he loaded the few suitcases where she and the children had packed their immediate needs into the trunk.

He opened the back door, and Charlie slid in first. Alice rode in the middle, with Ginny the last to enter the car. Alice had tried to keep herself between the twins as the split had happened, because they needed her. She needed them.

Honestly, life for the three of them had not changed all that much, and Alice wanted to keep it that way. The only real difference was that everyone now knew Frank wouldn’t be coming home from the city. Before, there’d been the hope, the tiny glimmer of hope, that they’d see him in the kitchen on Saturday morning.

Ginny leaned against the window and closed her eyes. Alice didn’t, but the memories ran through her head anyway as the cab started navigating the streets farther inland.

After she’d thanked Frank for the compliment on her legal drafting, she’d said, “I’m being very fair. I don’t want this house. If you’d like to keep it, that’s fine. If you want to sell it, I’m requesting an even split on profit, as outlined on page four.”

He hadn’t gotten to page four, but Alice didn’t care. He was a huge corporate lawyer, but Alice had never gotten below an A in college, and her proposal was more than fair—and iron clad for any divorce lawyer.

“I want my car,” she said. “And you have the same choices with it as you do the house in the cove. I’d also like the Toyota for the twins.” Two cars—one of which no one had driven in months. But the twins would be getting their licenses soon, and the white Camry just collected dust in the expansive garage in the Hamptons. Frank would have no need of it in the city.

“All the other vehicles, you can do what you wish with,” she said. She didn’t care if she got an even split of the sale of them. She’d also been very careful to leave many decisions like that up to Frank, because he loved making decisions for her and the children. He excelled at it, and he’d already be reeling from her requests for car payments and house payments, child support…and alimony.

Alice had given him several seconds to say something, but he didn’t. He didn’t move toward the paperwork either, and Alice uncrossed her legs, and put the right over her left. “I’m asking for full custody. The children will move to Five Island Cove with me, and I’ve already discussed it with them, so you won’t have to.”

She hated that she’d sounded like she was doing him a favor, but they both knew she was. Frank barely spoke to the twins when he was home, and she couldn’t remember the last time he’d called or texted them during the week. 

“You’ll be free to speak with them whenever you wish,” she said. “Texts, calls, video, chat. They have phones, and we’ll have the Internet.” She wanted to shift, but she remained absolutely still.

“The alimony is an average of payments judges across the state of New York have awarded in cases like ours, in the past twelve months,” she said. “I’m asking for twenty-one years, the same number of years we’ve been married, as I started supporting you as you finished law school, and then quit everything when the twins were born.”

Alice hated the weakness in her stomach, but she did need the alimony. She could do anything, but she hadn’t been employed in over fifteen years.

“I’m aware of what you’ve done,” Frank said, his voice icy.

Alice nodded, schooled her face into complete passivity, and reminded herself not to make anything she said sound like an accusation. “The child support is the same as the alimony. The twins are in high school, with the activities, opportunities, and expenses that requires.”

Frank tapped the papers but made no effort to pick them up again. “So the beach house, the Lincoln SUV, the Toyota, alimony, and child support.”

“Full custody,” Alice said. “You can, of course, see them whenever you wish. It’s a forty-five-minute flight, and we don’t need to be so strict with visitation. We don’t need to go through the courts.” She stared at him, and he lifted his eyes to hers. Her message had gotten through. She didn’t want a nasty divorce, and she didn’t want to take him to court. Nothing about this needed to be made public.

“We’ll be out of the house by June tenth,” she’d said. “If you want to take them to Disneyworld for a week, just text me the dates. I’m sure we can work out those kinds of things.” 

Frank would want to take them during Homecoming week, or when they had finals, Alice was sure. He didn’t pay attention to that kind of stuff, because he’d never had to before. 

“And then you’ll be free,” she’d said. “To move to the city. Sell the house. Keep it. Do what you want.”

And she’d be free too, and she’d inhaled and held her breath.

She repeated the gesture in the cab too, pushing the hardest conversation she’d ever had out of her mind. 

“What’s the first thing you’re going to do when we get there?” Charlie asked, looking at her.

Alice smiled at him, her sweet, strong son. He looked so much like Frank, but his square jaw had been softened by Alice’s genes. He did sport the same dark hair and eyes, and when he kept the scraggly facial hair that had started to grow in patches along his chin shaved, Charlie was downright handsome.

“Go to the grocery store,” Alice said, grinning now. “There’s nothing to eat at the house.”

“We should get one of those island burgers,” he said, returning the smile. “Then we can go to the beach when we get there.”

“You and Ginny can go,” Alice said, patting his knee. 

“We’re going to have a great summer,” he said, and it sounded like he was trying to convince himself. His phone chimed, and Alice caught the name of the girl who’d texted him. Mandie. No last name, but Alice knew Mandie Grover. Her best friend, Robin, was Mandie’s mother.

Alice had sat Charlie down and talked to him about the girl he’d started a little relationship with the last time they’d been in the cove. Charlie had rolled his eyes through most of it, then he’d said he wouldn’t “mess with Mandie,” and he’d gone to Jessica’s.

Alice had been distracted enough by Ginny, who’d needed an extraordinary amount of help getting ready for the prom. Her first. She’d been beautiful in a bright blue dress that had layers and layers of fabric for the skirt. She’d gotten more of Alice’s fair features, with skin that would rather turn pink than tan.

When Alice had suggested that Charlie take Jessica to the prom, he’d once again rolled his eyes, and said, “No. We’re just friends.” He hadn’t gone at all, but he had hung out with her that night.

“Friends can go to the prom together,” Alice said.

“No, they can’t, Mom,” Charlie informed her, which hadn’t settled her stomach at all about sending Ginny with her date. Not with her shoulders bare and her makeup adding at least five years to her age.

But Matheson Turner had been very gentlemanly when he’d come to pick up Ginny. Afterward, Ginny said she’d had to dodge his attempts to hold her hand and kiss her for the whole night, and Alice had half a mind to march over to Sandra Turner’s house and tell her to keep her son in line.

But the shipping container had arrived the next day—a week early—and Matheson stopped texting. Apparently, he was not interested in a long-distance relationship with someone who was moving.

“Mom,” Ginny said, and Alice turned her head to see her daughter had gotten out of the car. Everyone had, except for Alice, and she quickly scooted to the end of the seat and stood up. She paid the cab driver, took her suitcase by the handle, and faced the airport entrance. 

She’d given up her position on the library board, the HOA presidency, and a prominent fundraising position on the PTA, all with simple texts. Just like that, positions she’d campaigned for aggressively were gone. 

With a couple strokes of a pen, Frank had agreed to her proposal. The divorce wasn’t final yet, but neither of them would contest it, and she wasn’t planning to come to the hearing at all.

“Okay,” she said, gripping the handle on her suitcase until her knuckles ached. “Tell me our summer sand pact.”

“Not a word about the divorce,” Ginny said, facing the doors with the same tenacity Alice felt rising through her. She looked at her son, her eyebrows going up.

“Be good with Mandie,” Charlie said, rolling his eyes.

She nodded and squared her shoulders. “Mine is to do something new every day.” And today, that thing was leaving behind the life she’d worked so hard to get. The life she’d thought she wanted. The life that had been suffocating her for years.

She took the first step, and the second was easier. The third landed smoothly, and the doors opened automatically, and Alice Kelton moved into a future without a housekeeper, the biggest house on the block, or a husband.

What Readers are Saying

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “What a great continuation in this series. I'm hooked on following the lives of Kelli, Alice, Robin, AJ, and Eloise. Their friendship and quirky pact made for a great read. So many new directions their lives can go. I can't wait to read more and follow them through more changes.” ~Jodi

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “I would definitely recommend Jessie's Five Island Cove series, I've really enjoyed getting to know all the characters, and The Summer Sand Pact has continued the story of a very special friendship between 5 very different women. I look forward to reading book 3 The Cliffside Inn.” ~Robyn

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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