Dreaming at Seaside

By: Addison Cole

Sweet with Heat_ Seaside Summers Book 2

Chapter One

BELLA ABBASCIA STRUGGLED to keep her grip on a ceramic toilet as she crossed the gravel road in Seaside, the community where she spent her summers. It was one o’clock in the morning, and Bella had a prank in store for Theresa Ottoline, a straitlaced Seaside resident and the elected property manager for the community. Bella and two of her besties, Amy Maples and Jenna Ward, had polished off two bottles of Middle Sister wine while they waited for the other cottage owners to turn in for the night. Now, dressed in their nighties and a bit tipsy, they struggled to keep their grip on a toilet that Bella had spent two days painting bright blue, planting flowers in, and adorning with seashells. They were carrying the toilet to Theresa’s driveway to break rule number fourteen of the Community Homeowners Association’s Guidelines: No tacky displays allowed in the front of the cottages.

“You’re sure she’s asleep?” Bella asked as they came to the grass in front of the cottage of their fourth bestie, Leanna Bray.

“Yes. She turned off her lights at eleven. We should have hidden it someplace other than my backyard. It’s so far. Can we stop for a minute? This sucker is heavy.” Amy drew her thinly manicured brows together.

“Oh, come on. Really? We only have a little ways to go.” Bella nodded toward Theresa’s driveway, which was across the road from her cottage, about a hundred feet away.

Amy glanced at Jenna for support. Jenna nodded, and the two lowered their end to the ground, causing Bella to nearly drop hers.

“That’s so much better.” Jenna tucked her stick-straight brown hair behind her ear and shook her arms out to her sides. “Not all of us lift weights for breakfast.”

“Oh, please. The most exercise I get during the summer is lifting a bottle of wine,” Bella said. “Carrying around those boobs of yours is more of a workout.”

Jenna was just under five feet tall with breasts the size of bowling balls and a tiny waist. She could have been the model for the modern-day Barbie doll, while Bella’s figure was more typical for an almost thirty-year-old woman. Although she was tall, strong, and relatively lean, she refused to give up her comfort foods, which left her a little soft in places, with a figure similar to Julia Roberts or Jennifer Lawrence.

“I don’t carry them with my arms.” Jenna looked down at her chest and cupped a breast in each hand. “But yeah, that would be great exercise.”

Amy rolled her eyes. Pin-thin and nearly flat chested, Amy was the most modest of the group, and in her long T-shirt and boy-shorts underwear, she looked like a teenager next to curvy Jenna. “We only need a sec, Bella.”

They turned at the sound of a passionate moan coming from Leanna’s cottage.

“She forgot to close the window again,” Jenna whispered as she tiptoed around the side of Leanna’s cottage. “Typical Leanna. I’m just going to close it.”

Leanna had fallen in love with bestselling author Kurt Remington the previous summer, and although they had a house on the bay, they often stayed in the two-bedroom cottage so Leanna could enjoy her summer friends. The Seaside cottages in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, had been in the girls’ families for years, and they had spent summers together since they were kids.

“Wait, Jenna. Let’s get the toilet to Theresa’s first.” Bella placed her hands on her hips so they knew she meant business. Jenna stopped before she reached for the window, and Bella realized it would have been a futile effort anyway. Jenna would need a stepstool to pull that window down.

“Oh…Kurt.” Leanna’s voice split the night air.

Amy covered her mouth to stifle a laugh. “Fine, but let’s hurry. Poor Leanna will be mortified to find out she left the window open again.”

“I’m the last one who wants to hear her having sex. I’m done with men, or at least with commitments, until my life is back on track.” Ever since last summer, when Leanna had met Kurt, started her own jam-making business, and moved to the Cape full-time, Bella had been thinking of making a change of her own. Leanna’s success had inspired her to finally go for it. Well, that and the fact that she’d made the mistake of dating a fellow teacher, Jay Cook. It had been months since they broke up, but they’d taught at the same Connecticut high school, and until she left for the summer, she couldn’t avoid running in to him on a daily basis. It was just the nudge she needed to take the plunge and finally quit her job and start over. New job, new life, new location. She just hadn’t told her friends yet. She’d thought she would tell them the minute she arrived at Seaside and they were all together, maybe over a bottle of wine or on the beach. But Leanna had been spending a lot of time with Kurt, and every time it was just the four of them, she hadn’t been ready to come clean. She knew they’d worry and ask questions, and she wanted to have some of the transition sorted out before answering them.

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