Love's A Beach
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by Katrina Devlin
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Christina and Jonah live in a two hundred year old farmhouse at the Jersey shore, where their family has been supplying peaches to the beach traffic for over fifty years. Christina is a modern woman -- an editor and a burgeoning freelance writer, married to a "Neanderthal" man. Jonah's a carpenter, surfer, and hippie musician who believes the best things in life are excellent waves, a simple lifestyle and the love of a good woman who obeys him or finds herself sprawled across his lap, receiving a healthy dose of his old-fashioned discipline. Of course, life is anything but simple, when paired with headstrong Christina, whose Irish roots and strong sense of loyalty and fun often descend into mayhem. She's a feisty Jersey Girl, a beauty with brains, wit, and a love of adventure that often lands her in a big heap of trouble. Will their love survive their differences? If you love romance, you'll love this story!
eBook Publisher: Newsite Web Services Publishing, 2008 2008
eBookwise Release Date: December 2008
15 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [224 KB]
Reading time: 133-186 min.
The happy hour crowd at the Sea Urchin was finally thinning out. Friday night was always jammed at the popular beach eatery; locals and tourists gravitated to the attractive deck surrounding the waterfront establishment. It was still too early for the later, drinking crowd and dining patrons were heading inside to the famed indoor waterfalls and real seascapes that decorated the spacious dining rooms. But the five women sitting at the table on the huge deck closest to the rocky sea wall were sill having a grand time, by the sound of it.
A guitarist sitting on a stool beside the tiki hut that housed the outdoor bar played beach tunes as the huge orange disc of the sun was sinking slowly into the horizon, casting slender fingers of amber over the rippling dark ocean.
"Look at that sunset," Chris sighed. "Is this the most gorgeous place in the world?" She pushed a lock of her almost black hair behind one ear. She was still wearing her work clothes--a gauzy cream skirt with a black tank top and black sandals. Her work life at the magazine was definitely casual, and she loved the fact that she could dress for comfort every day, unless there was an important client coming in for a meeting.
Sandy Creek Sunrise was a wonderful place to work, and she was lucky to have landed such a great job in such a small place.
"It is pretty sweet," Pamela agreed. "We have the best of both worlds--city during the week and beach at night and on the weekends."
"Speak for yourself about the city," Allison said. "I'm happy with my little Sandy Creek Board of Ed."
"Dear Allison of Avonlea," said Linda, smiling. "You love your little village school, don't you?"
"Yeah," Allison said. "Damn straight I do. I get the best of one world. I don't care if it's old-fashioned."
"Oh honey, I am so not dissing it," Linda said, reaching over to pat Allison's arm. "If Paul would let me, I'd absolutely chuck my job. I hate commuting to the city when most of my life is down here. After 2010, I'm done. No more teaching Biology 101 to the unfocused freshman class at City College."
"This has been fun, ladies," Chris said, licking the last dregs of salt from the rim of her Margarita glass. "We haven't had a girls' night out for awhile."
"Too long," agreed Allison.
"That's because you two are totally besotted with your Neanderthal husbands," Jeanette quipped. "We can't drag you away from them with giant pliers."
Pam and Linda snorted but nodded in agreement.
Chris jumped inwardly at the mention of her husband. She hadn't thought of him for hours. She surreptitiously slid her cell phone out of the pocket in her purse and groaned when she saw the ten missed calls. She still had it on vibrate from the afternoon meeting.
Jonah was going to be royally pissed.
It really wasn't her fault, she reasoned, somewhat blurry from five jumbo frozen margaritas. Jonah had been working a side job this whole week, building a new show room for his friend Jimmy's Surf shop. He hadn't been getting home until well after seven each night. How was she to know that tonight he'd be looking for her?
"Jonah is not a Neanderthal," she told Jeanette, sticking out her tongue for emphasis. "He's a perfect gentleman and a sweetheart!"
"Oh yeah, a six-foot-four sweetheart with that mane of long brown hair, huge biceps and pecs and a voice that sounds more like a lion than a lamb," Jeanette drawled. "Frankly, darling, I'm surprised he even lets you out. He's kinda like Me Tarzan, You Jane, isn't he?"
Christina Pendleton laughed, but it sounded hollow to her own ears.
"C'mon, Jeanette, you're crazy," she cried. "Yes, my husband is tall, and his hair is long, and his muscles are huge, but give me a break, do I look like the type to be hooked up with a caveman? Puleeeeze!"
Jeanette laughed with the others, and she bowed her head.
"Mea culpa," she said. "My bad. You basically run that magazine by yourself, so you're actually a big bad editor mama! This round is on me. Jamie!" She called their waiter over. "One more for my buddies and me!"
Christina felt a twinge of uneasiness. She was pretty well hammered already.
"Make mine a club soda, Jamie," she called.
Her friends chanted "wimp, wimp, wimp," until she finally acquiesced and let the waiter bring her another Margarita.
"I am so fried," she whispered to Ally, her best friend.
"Me, too," the blond said. "What the hell are they putting in these drinks?"
"Uh, maybe alcohol?" Chris guessed. "Jonah called me ten fucking times."
"You're dead," her friend stated bluntly. "Thank God David is away, or I would be as dead as you are."
"That sounds not as nice or helpful as you think it must sound," Chris told her friend.
"Well, you know what I mean," Ally said, lifting her eyebrows and scavenging through her tiny purse. "Oh God, you know what? I left my stupid cell phone in the car. Dave might have called me too. Crap!"
The waiter appeared with a tray heavy with their Margaritas. He placed a fully salted glass in front of Chris and winked.
She didn't know what the wink meant. She didn't think she had flirted with him in a way that would cause him to wink at her.
She smiled lamely at him and cradled her drink in her hand. Jonah would take exception to that wink. He didn't like winking waiters. Actually, Jonah would take exception to the fact that she was plastered at the Urch, before 8:00 at night. They often came to this bar and sat on this very deck and had a drink or two and dinner or just drinks and appetizers. But the fact was, he didn't ever get drunk, and he would not like the fact that she was.
"Where's Rob, Jeanette?" Allison was asking. "I know you said he was away on a long business trip but I missed where it was."
"My dear hubby is in Hong Kong," Jeanette said, taking a swig of her drink. "He's away until after Labor Day, so I've been wild and fancy free all month."
"Really?" drawled Pamela. "Because your wild and fancy free days seem an awful lot like exactly the same as your normal days."
"Shut up," said Jeanette. "I can be wild."
"She is wild, hear her roar," said Linda dryly.
"Just stop," said Jeanette. "I don't know why you're suddenly picking on me. So I get up early and work late every day, so what. That's who I am. I'm a partner, right?"
Jeanette was an attorney at a high-powered firm in Newark. She made partner last spring at the youthful age of thirty-three.
They all nodded, mock clapping.
"You beeyatches are hateful," Jeanette laughed, taking a big swallow of her drink.
"I have to pee," Chris said. "Anyone?"
"Me," Allison chimed in.
The two friends sauntered across the deck and giggled as they struggled with the heavy glass door leading into the dark, air conditioned lounge.
"Jonah will be pissed," Chris said nervously. "I didn't tell him I was coming here. I didn't talk to him all day."
"Shit, Christina, are you crazy, girl?" Allison made a face. "It's like, late, and he probably thinks you went off the road and cracked up your extremely adorable antique car or that you left him or that someone in your family is sick. You know how these men think. It's never that you had to go food shopping or that you needed a girls' night out."
"I guess I should have called," Chris said.
"Damn straight," Allison agreed, opening the door labeled Urchinettes for her friend.
* * * *
Jonah Pendleton glanced at his watch as he finished sanding the edge of the cherry desk in his workshop. The desk was gorgeous, if he had to say so himself--it was a large, impressive piece of furniture that he was fashioning for Christina as a present for her thirty-fifth birthday next week. She had no clue it was for her; she commented on its beauty every time she stepped into his workshop and he would just tell her it was for his clients up north with the big guanda house and the big guanda money.
"They don't deserve something so beautiful, Jonah," she said the other day. "Buy them something at Pottery Barn and let's keep the desk. They'll never know."
"Christina Anne, you're an evil woman," he told her, swooping her up in his arms and lifting her to sit her on the edge of the desk. She had tugged on his long brown ponytail, pressing her breasts into his chest.
"Hey, hippie, you ever going to cut this thing?" she asked, pulling the glossy plank of hair around his back to shake in front of his eyes.
"Probably not, you got a problem with that?"
She just smiled, bringing the hair to her lips.
He knew she had no problem with his long hair. Christina always told him that she was in love with the whole deal. She loved his waist length hair, his joy in music and his carpentry business and the fact that he lived his life the way he wanted to. She loved watching him surf on the weekends, and she loved to join him sometimes too. There were times when a night out meant that they would just lie on a blanket under the apple tree and watch the stars, watch the bats dance in the night currents and listen to the owls.
They lived in a very prestigious resort town on the New Jersey shore, but that was only because fifteen years earlier, Jonah had inherited a weather-beaten farmhouse from his grandfather, not three blocks in from the beach. To buy such a property today would require more than a few million dollars and yet they had nothing. The old white stucco farmhouse was charming to be sure, but it was oddly out of place with its high tech neighbors--the sleek, grandiose, half-timber McMansions that lined the boulevards of their neighborhood. The farmhouse came with a huge parcel of land so their nearest neighbors were half an acre away on either side. Plus there was an orchard of peach trees in the backyard, shielding them from the golf course/condo development that bordered the back fence. The orchard yielded enough fruit to sell at the farm stand that had been in operation for well over fifty years. Jonah remembered his grandmother sitting on her lawn chair, gossiping with the people who stopped to buy brown bags of the succulent fruit. Now Christina ran the stand when the peaches were ripe. August was the best time, and she had been selling in the late afternoons after she got home from work and on the weekends.
The Pendletons had lived on this property in Sandy Creek for the last two hundred years. And Jonah Pendleton was not going to be the first one to sell out. Christina knew his resolve when she married him ten years before. She did not hook up with him for the prospect of future fortunes. She loved Pendleton Whitehouse Farm as much as he did.
Glancing at his watch again, he wondered just where the hell she was. If she had a deadline and was working late, she always called him. He had worked late three out of four nights this week and had called her, letting her know that he would be at Jimmy's. He was worried, wondering if that damn foolish car of hers had broken down, stripped of oil or if maybe her sister Kate had called her to come over, feeling nauseous now in her first trimester of pregnancy at age forty.
The Clancy girls were in no hurry to reproduce; he knew that firsthand. One of their first arguments as a married couple had been about her refusal to become pregnant. She wanted to establish herself first. Jonah thought that there were better things than establishing yourself. But Christina had been adamant, and he had giving in, knowing that winning that battle would not be winning at all.
He didn't usually give in. Their arguments often ended in one way, and that was with his wife sprawled across his lap, her naked bottom poised to receive his chastisement. But if there was a legitimate reason for her stubborn behavior, he always paid heed.
He pulled out his cell and hit the button for redial. She had not answered her cell since he started calling two hours ago.
He clenched his fingers, feeling helpless when the rings ended in her voice message yet again. Where the hell was she?
The shop was hot. Normally, he didn't work shirtless, out of consideration for Christina, but the night air was humid, and he was sweating. He stripped off his old polo shirt and tossed it on the lawn chair next to his worktable.
He had steak ready to grill and salad in a bowl in the refrigerator. He had turned off the grill half an hour ago, not wanting to waste any more propane.
Frowning, he snatched up the sleeve of sandpaper and looked at his wrist once again. It was nearly eight p.m.; she had better have a damn good excuse for being this late, he thought.
* * * *
Chris slurped up the last of her drink. She had already licked off all of the salt.
'I have to go," she told her friends. "It's late, and Jonah will be worried."
"What? Jonah will be all buff and half-dressed and standing in the yard waiting for you?" asked Jeanette.
"Shut up," said Chris. "I did not say that, bitch. You read too many romance novels. And my husband does not walk around half-dressed unless he's at the beach."
"A girl can dream," said Jeanette.
Chris laughed, hugging her friend to her side.
"Kiss me, Jeanette, my dahlink," she said.
"I have to go, too," Allison said.
"Yeah, me too," Linda stood up. "Paul will be half asleep on the couch, never thinking that he could start dinner or maybe make himself a sandwich."
"Pam and I are going inside to have a bite," Jeanette said.
"No more ritas for you!" Chris said, shaking her finger.
"Oh, definitely not," Jeanette agreed. "Six is my limit. Now I switch to red wine."
"Watch her," Chris told Pamela.
"We got dropped off here," Pamela said. "We're just going to take a cab back to Jeanette's."
The friends hugged and promised to meet at the same place next week at Christina's birthday party. They let Pamela, the accountant, figure out what they each owed on the check and left their money with her.
"Ciao, ladies!" Chris linked arms with Allison and Linda and headed across the white gravel towards their cars.
Linda's Volvo was parked closest.
Chris and Allison were near each other at the back of the lot.
"Oh, Ally cat, what the hell am I going to do?" Chris moaned. "You know Jonah, he is going to be mad as hell, and I'm a little tipsy."
"A lot. What about you? Can you drive?"
"Sure, but I'm a lot closer than you are. You've got deer on that back road to be worried about," she said.
"It ain't the deer I'm worried about," Chris told her. "It's the dear."
She started snickering, and Allison looked at her blankly.
"D-e-a-r," she spelled.
She cracked up at her joke and soon she and Allison dissolved into giggles, bent over and holding their stomachs.
"At least you can still spell," Allison said.
"I'm gonna pee my pants," Chris gasped.
"We could always call Jonah for a ride," Allison ventured.
"Hell no. That would not be fun," Chris said. "I'm fine. I'll be home in five minutes."
"Don't hit the deer," Allison cautioned.
"I'm more worried about the dear hitting me," Chris blurted out, starting to laugh again.
Allison bit her lip, trying not to laugh. It wasn't funny. She knew Christina was putting on a show of bravado. She had been in her shoes often enough. Dave and Jonah were so much alike that they could be brothers. Dave worked on a fishing boat, wore his sandy curls longish and was built like a lumberjack. Besides being big, outdoors type of men, they both also believed in the merits of an old-fashioned spanking when it came to dealing with bratty or irresponsible wives.
"Well, you can't say we didn't know what we were getting into when we married 'em, Chris," she said seriously. "And I love David, so I guess I'll be putting up with his quirks for a long time."
"Yeah, me too." Chris hugged her best friend and waited while she unlocked her car. "Call me tomorrow, Ally, maybe if it's nice we could hit the beach in the afternoon."
"Okay," Allison said. "Dave's getting back around dinner time."
She watched Christina bend over to unlock her cherry red 1976 Triumph Spitfire. That car was her pride and joy. It had belonged to her oldest brother, Patrick, who had died in a boating accident when Christina was only ten.
Chris unrolled her window and called over to her friend.
"Got any messages, Ally cat?"
Allison reached for the cell phone that was tucked into the cup holder. The red message light was flashing. She hit the button and groaned when she saw there were five missed calls from David's cell.
"Some," she called back. "You're such a brat."
"Payback's a bitch," Chris laughed as she rolled out of the parking lot, heading toward home.
Allison sat for a moment, punched in her password and listened to her husband's deep voice.
"Hey babe, what's up? It's five now. Call me back."
"Ally? It's almost six, where are you? Call me back."
"Hey Al, it's about seven, and I'm just pulling in and wondered if you wanted to meet me at Tico's for dinner. The boat needed some repair work done so we came in early. Call me."
"Allison, where the hell are you? Are you with Christina? Jonah's really worried. Call me."
"Are you all right, Ally? Please call me."
Oh, boy. Her stomach flipped a little, but she was also glad that he was home. Now, she had to decide quickly. If she drove home and he even suspected that she was as looped as she was, there would be royal hell to pay. If she called him, explained that she had some drinks and needed him to come get her, there would still be a little hell to pay because of the lack of communication on her part, but he would be much more understanding. It made sense to call him. He'd been out for three days, and there was no way they weren't going to be making love, and he would certainly suspect the level of booze in her at that point.
Shit. She might as well go for it. She missed him. She didn't want to start the weekend with a big fight.
She hit the send button and waited for him to pick up.