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Book 0: Memories at Friendship Inn (Five Island Cove Prequel)

Book 0: Memories at Friendship Inn (Five Island Cove Prequel)

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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...

START HERE! This is the prequel to the Five Island Cove series.

About MEMORIES AT FRIENDSHIP INN: AJ, Robin, Alice, Eloise, and Kelli are leaving for college after seven years of close friendship, sharing secrets, and surviving high school. Each has their own reason for wanting to leave or stay in Five Island Cove, and each has a future that’s wide open…Read this introductory novel to Jessie Newton’s Five Island Cove women’s fiction series today!

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Sample Chapter 1 Now!

AvaJane Proctor walked from the main ferry station on the horn of Rocky Ridge toward the south beach. She had no idea how long it had taken her to get from Pearl Island, where she lived with her father and younger sister, to the island on the other side of the chain of land masses.

Pearl and Rocky Ridge were the outer islands in Five Island Cove, and Robin would probably know down to the second how long ago AJ had left her house.

She could barely remember doing so. She knew she hadn’t told her father where she was going. Not that he cared anyway. He was always more worried about his next boat of fish and his next girlfriend than he was about his children.

AJ had done the best she could, and she wanted to climb onto the tallest building on the tallest mountain and scream to the world that she’d tried. She’d tried so hard to keep Amelia safe.

She’d failed.

“There she is,” someone said, and AJ looked up from the cement where she walked.

Kelli Thompson, AJ’s best friend, waved, but the person who’d spoken was Robin Golden. Robin was like a mother hen to their group, and today was no exception. She wore a visor and a pair of sunglasses, and she’d probably slathered herself in sunscreen before leaving the house.

Maybe to appease her mother, but really, Robin was terrified of getting sunburned. She was only eighteen years old, but she was already afraid of skin cancer and wrinkles. Thus, the sunglasses, the visor, and the hip pack that likely contained hand sanitizer, Band-aids, painkillers, and even a pair of nail clippers. Oh, and more sunblock.

“Hey.” AJ wished she could curb her vitriolic thoughts. She’d been friends with Robin for seven years, and the girl had more drive than adults twice her age. Sometimes that drive drove AJ right up the wall, but she did have a good heart.

AJ wished she could feel her heart right now. She was so tired, but when she lay down at night to sleep, she couldn’t. So every day was a new exercise in burning eyes and complete mental exhaustion but with her mind racing in a thousand different directions.

She blinked, trying to pull herself together. She needed to cage her thoughts and memories, stuff them away where she didn’t have to think about them. She had a date with Derrick Samson that night, and he would likely provide a decent distraction. It wouldn’t last long enough, though, AJ already knew that.

Eventually, she’d be left alone with her own mind, and the things she wanted to forget would simply come creeping back in, uninvited and silent, but very, very real.

“Where’s Alice?” she asked, glancing around. A measure of relief did sing through her, because she hadn’t been the last to arrive. Down the beach a bit stood Eloise Hall, a brunette who faced the water while her dark hair billowed in the breeze.

AJ envied Eloise’s hair, as well as the fact that she didn’t have a reputation with boys she needed to maintain. This summer since they’d all graduated had been easier for AJ, but she simply wanted the days to pass until she could get on the plane that would take her away from this place.

She had an athletic scholarship at Miami University, and that alone had kept her sober. Otherwise, with everything she’d been going through the past six months, she would’ve enjoyed the numbness alcohol would’ve provided. But she didn’t dare take a single sip. She’d seen what it had done to her father, as well as her older brother. 

She wanted to make something of her life, and she knew it wouldn’t happen here in Five Island Cove. Tiny specks of land in the middle of a big ocean, her hometown was a magical, white sand paradise. At least she’d thought so once.

Now, she just wanted to be on the mainland of the United States. Or at least somewhere that more than ten thousand people knew about.

Though Nantucket only sat in a diagonal line about fifteen miles north and east from Five Island Cove, no one knew about the islands here. No one knew—or cared—about AJ.

“Hey, are you okay?” Kelli asked.

AJ blinked again, wishing that wasn’t her only method of focusing. Kelli, who had just gotten her hair permed, now stood in front of her, and AJ hadn’t even seen her move. “I’m fine.”

“I just asked you about your coach, and you didn’t even look at me.” Kelli wore concern in her eyes, and AJ didn’t dare meet her gaze for long. Kelli knew her better than the others, because they always took the ferry from Diamond Island to Bell together. Then Kel would get off, and AJ would have to make her way home alone. 

AJ could tell Kelli things she didn’t tell the others, and Kelli confided in her too. “Sorry,” AJ said, the haze in her head already starting to creep in again. “I’m okay. Did Robin say where Alice was?”

“No.” Kelli looked over her shoulder to the edge of the beach, where Robin stood, both hands on her hips. “She’s going to have a stroke if she doesn’t show up soon.”

“Maybe she won’t come,” AJ said. Alice had always been a little more mature than the other girls, and this summer, she’d really separated herself from everyone. She claimed it was because her father was working her hard on the shrimp boat, but AJ suspected it was something else. What, she didn’t know. Alice was extremely difficult to read sometimes.

Eloise turned from the water and joined AJ and Kelli. “Are we really rowing ourselves to the island?”

“People do it all the time,” AJ said. “I’ll go rent the boat.” She walked away, always willing to be doing something instead of standing around, breathing in Robin’s displeasure.

To her surprise, Eloise said, “I’ll come too.” She caught up to AJ and walked beside her. 

“When do you leave for Boston?” AJ asked. She was sure Eloise had told her, but AJ felt like she couldn’t even remember her own name most of the time. 

“Tuesday,” she said.

“I think you’re first,” she said, glancing at Eloise.

“I’m ready,” Eloise said. “My roommate already moved in, and she called me this morning to say we got a great view.”

“And you don’t know her?”

“Just her name,” Eloise said. “And we’ve talked a few times on the phone.”

“Are you nervous?” AJ asked. Maybe if someone as super-smart as Eloise was nervous, AJ wouldn’t have to hide her own insecurity about moving to a brand new city all by herself. 

“You know what?” Eloise asked. “I didn’t think I would be, but I am.” She looked up at AJ. “Are you?”

AJ just nodded, because she didn’t need to give voice to all of her fears and worries. She thought she might have had it harder than Eloise, because she not only had to get the grades to stay in school, she had to perform on the field too. Her muscles bunched on the next step, and her knee almost locked.

She stumbled in the sand, and Eloise’s hand shot out and steadied her. Eloise was always so steady, and AJ smiled at her. Eloise also wouldn’t ask what was really going on with AJ, which she also appreciated. 

They arrived at the canoe rental, and AJ took a five-dollar bill out of her pocket. “We want a canoe for the afternoon. Five oars.”

The man standing there looked utterly bored, and he said nothing as he held out his hand. She gave him the money, and he tucked it into a pouch before he turned to get the oars. AJ turned to wave down Kelli, who said something to Robin and then started across the sand toward them. 

AJ loaded everything into the canoe, and the three of them took it toward the water. When AJ turned around again, she found Robin and Alice walking side-by-side toward them, both of them seemingly talking at the same time. 

Alice looked like she’d lost even more weight, as her cutoffs hung off her bony hips. She seemed to know what would be fashionable before it hit the teen magazines, and AJ wondered if she’d see ultra-thin models with their clothes hanging off their skeletons in the near future.

“I said I was sorry,” Alice said, finally looking away from Robin. “Sorry, guys. My dad had some stuff he wanted to do today, and I couldn’t get away.” She shot Robin another glare. “We’re canoeing out to Friendship Island?”

“Yep,” AJ said. None of them had enough money for the clipper that took people from the dock to Friendship Island, and plenty of people rowed out to the island. AJ just wanted one of the guava watermelon shaved ices, and one of those foot-long corndogs. She didn’t care that Robin had looked up what they were made of and that it wasn’t good.

They tasted good, especially with spicy brown mustard and something cold and sweet to follow it with. 

AJ climbed in the boat and positioned herself in the front. Kelli whimpered as she followed, and AJ glanced at her. “Just sit right there, Kel,” she said. “I’ll hand you the oar when we get out.” 

“I hate canoeing,” Eloise said. She took up a position at the back of the canoe though, with Robin right in front of her, and Alice right in the middle.

“I’ll tell you all what to do,” AJ said, though they’d all literally done this before. Kristen Shields had been their Seafaring Girls leader for seven years.

Every one of them was well-versed in the ocean, boats, rescuing, and yes, even canoeing. 

“Are we ready?” She glanced back at them all, and a flash of nostalgia washed over her. It hardly made sense, because she’d seen these girls every day for years. 

Yeah, she told herself. And come this weekend, you won’t.

“I’m ready,” Alice said, gripping her oar like she could use it to fend off an attack. AJ shook her head, a smile filling her face for the first time in a long time. A real smile. She hoped she could shake off this fog and find her way back to happiness soon. 

“All right,” AJ said. She knew Alice was ready for the next step of her life. AJ was too, always at the front of her own boat, ready to captain it. Kelli went into most things with a whimper, but even she was gearing up to leave the cove. Eloise squared her jaw and faced forward, and that too summed up how she approached life. 

She was nervous to go to BU, but she’d firm up her resolve, and she’d face it head on. 

AJ looked at Robin last. She nodded at AJ, as if she had to give her final approval before they could push off and let the water support the canoe. In so many ways, that was true. Robin was used to being in charge, even if she didn’t want to appear to be. 

AJ had never minded, and she didn’t now. “All right,” she said, turning to face the water. There were plenty of people at the beach today, and it was highly unlikely that they’d get lost. What was more likely was that they’d run over a swimmer or ram into someone trying to get up on their boogie board. 

She put her oar in the water and strained to get them going. “Push us out,” she said, and she had no idea if anyone did, but they did get off the shore, and stroking was much easier. AJ twisted and handed the last oar to Kelli and said, “Put it in the water on the left side, Kel. Pull back, like Kristen taught us.”

Kelli’s eyes were so wide, but she nodded like she could do exactly what AJ said. She’d try, AJ knew that.

There was plenty from these girls for her to take with her as she left the cove. Kelli’s refusal to give into her fear. Eloise’s determination in the face of the unknown. Alice’s confidence. Robin’s drive.

She wondered what they’d take from her when they left the cove. Did she have any qualities they admired? The only one she could think of was her work ethic, both on and off the field. AJ never quit, that was for sure.

Armed with that knowledge, she kept dipping her oar into the water and pulling them closer and closer to Friendship Island. She’d do the same every day moving forward too. One step at a time. One more sunrise. One more task to complete.

Some more of the fog that had been following her everywhere lifted, and she finally felt an inkling of herself returning. It felt nice.

What Readers are Saying

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “I enjoyed this prequel and immediately began The Lighthouse. I had to know what was going to happen to the five friends. Now I’m reading The Summer Sand Pact and I really like this series.” ~Lori R.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “This is such a wonderful story of friendship and how their lives intertwine. These girls became friends as young, nervous kids joining a group for many different reasons. You’ll get to know each of them and share their journey as big life changes loom.” ~CK.

View full details

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

Customer Reviews

Based on 13 reviews

Great book

Jane L.

Beautiful story, good narratives and relatable content. There’s nothing Elana Johnson writes that I haven’t loved. The writing style is easygoing and immersive. Compelling reading

Ramona H.

Highly enjoyed reading this preview of the five best friends as they talk about their hopes and fears before leaving the islands to pursue their future endeavors as they stay at Friendship Inn after being landlocked because of a storm. They promise to meet each year, but will life interfere with that promise?

Alice F.

Funny, how can 5 friends remain friends for years. I have friends just like that, years apart and then wham, it is like we can pick up after life gets in our way. The memories of our life, secrets that we keep and laughter that bonds us together. These are our memories. We may be a lot older now, but our lives are intertwined forever.


This is a touching story that will hold your attention and you'll think about it long after you finish reading it.