Read A Misty Harbor Wedding Online

Authors: Marcia Evanick

A Misty Harbor Wedding (6 page)

BOOK: A Misty Harbor Wedding
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Matt joined her back on the shore and handed her a blanket. “Hope you and Austin like chicken salad sandwiches, iced tea, and cookies.”
She spread the blanket on the only spot and hoped the tide wasn't coming in. If it was, the blanket was going to get wet. Sand was at a premium on the small island, and she just covered it all. “What kind of cookies?” she asked teasingly. It really wouldn't matter. She'd never met a cookie she didn't like.
“Chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin.” Matt sat the cooler down at the edge of the blanket. “I couldn't make up my mind, so I packed both.” Matt gave her a charming smile that must have gotten him out of a whole bunch of trouble when he was a young boy.
“Smart move.” She looked over to where the boys were playing and called, “Lunchtime.”
Austin and Tyler put whatever they were playing with back into the shallow tide pool and came scampering onto the blanket. “We're hungry,” Tyler said to his uncle.
Matt dug into the cooler and Tyler wiped his hands on the seat of his pants.
“You boys have to wash up first.” She reached for her tote bag.
All three males looked at her as if she was talking Greek. “Sierra,” said Matt, “in case you hadn't noticed there isn't anywhere to wash up.”
She raised a brow but kept on digging through the tote. “I noticed.” She was a mother to a four-year-old and came prepared for anything—short of nuclear holocaust or an organ transplant. She took out a small bottle of antibacterial gel and a plastic carrier of moist wipes.
Austin obediently held out his hands. She squirted some of the gel on his hands and he started to rub them together.
Tyler shrugged and held out his hands for the same stuff.
She handed Austin and Tyler each a moist towelette. Tyler wiped his hands and then gave them a sniff. “They smell funny,” Tyler said.
“It's strawberry.” She took the trash from the boys and deposited it into an empty Ziploc bag she had dug out from the bottom of the tote. “Your hands are now sterile. Eat up.”
Matt looked at the tote with much speculation. He handed the boys and her a sandwich. “I packed extras, so if you're still hungry after eating one, there's more.”
“Uncle Matt,” said Tyler. He took a big bite of his sandwich. “After we eat, can I show Austin where the dead guy was?”
“Don't talk with your mouth full.”
Her hand froze in midair. Her sandwich was halfway to her mouth and her gaze flew to Matt. “There's a dead man on the island?”
“We're on Dead Man's Island,” Tyler replied around a chunk of his sandwich.
Matt glared at his nephew. “There are no dead men on the island, Sierra.”
She looked at Matt and it suddenly hit her. How well did she know Matt? Just because Lenny Holmes gave him a “thumbs up” and said Matt was “one of the good ones,” what did that mean? Come to think of it, how well did she know Lenny or anyone else in town?
Logic told her there probably weren't any corpses lying under the battered shrubs and she was overreacting. Austin and she were fine. “So how did the island get its name?” She took a calming breath and took a bite out of her sandwich.
“It's haunted too!” added Tyler.
She nearly choked on her lunch. Tears filled her eyes as she wondered if they were going to have to rename the island after her. Her gaze collided with Matt's as she gained her breath.
Matt reached into the cooler and pulled out a bottle of water. “Tyler, that's enough.” Matt smiled reassuringly at Austin, uncapped the bottle, and handed her the water. “Drink something, Sierra. This place isn't haunted.”
Tyler pouted.
She took a tentative sip of water and was thankful her throat was still working. “Want to explain how the island got its name?”
“In the mid-1700s someone came out here to explore the island. They found the bones of a man. He was staked out in the middle of the island, and there was still a cutlass through his rib cage. He obviously had been there for a while.”
“Pirates,” whispered Tyler to Austin.
Her son's eyes grew big and he wasn't eating. “It's okay, Austin. This happened hundreds of years ago,” she said in a reassuring tone. “There are no pirates now, and there most definitely isn't a body on the island. It's just a story.”
“The bones were taken back to the mainland and given a proper burial, Austin.” Matt reached over and ruffled the top of her son's head. “I've been on this island hundreds of times, and I've never seen a dead person or a pirate.”
“Tell them about the treasure, Uncle Matt.” Tyler took another bite of his sandwich.
“What treasure?” Now she was the one intrigued.
“Legend has it that pirates buried their treasure somewhere on this island. The captain and the poor soul who was killed here probably came to shore and buried their loot. To keep the location a secret, the captain probably killed the guy to keep him from talking.”
“How do you know he killed him?” She loved a good legend. Especially if it had a treasure.
“What? You think he tripped over his own cutlass and ended up with it through his rib cage?” Matt tried not to laugh.
She rolled her eyes. “Point taken.” She glanced around with interest. “So, you think there really is a treasure?”
“No.” Matt grinned. “My brothers and I spent most of our summer vacations out on this island searching and digging. Every boulder, rock, and pebble has probably been moved a dozen times in the past twenty years.”
“Hmmmm . . .” She glanced at the trees and scrub pines. If she were a pirate, where would she hide the treasure? “No luck?”
“Not even a gold coin. Everyone eat up, and then we can go check it out.” Matt shook his head and started in on his sandwich.
Half an hour later Matt stood next to Sierra and tried not to laugh. She looked so disappointed.
“Are you sure this is the spot?” Sierra walked around a pile of boulders and over tree roots. Most of the soil had been stripped away by the harsh weather. She shook her head.
“Positive. I warned you there wasn't anything here.” As far as being the pinnacle of the legend, it didn't look like much. Rocks, straggly looking trees, and some dirt marked the spot. One lone wildflower was resiliently pushing its way up between two rocks and blooming a bright yellow. The coast of Maine wasn't for the weak.
“Has anyone looked under these rocks?” Sierra frowned at the rock in front of her. It was the size of a desk. Not a student's desks, but one of those big old teacher's desks that looked so impressive to a second-grader.
“If it was only the captain and the dead pirate who buried the treasure, How would just the two of them move a rock that size?” he asked. Sierra's question had been reasonable. It was one his brothers and he had asked, and answered. “It took all three of my brothers, two of their friends, and me to move those boulders and dig.”
“What did you find?” Sierra looked impressed by the heroic feat.
“More boulders. Bigger boulders.” He didn't want to ruin her notion by telling her it had been harder than it looked. Teenage boys didn't give up easily once they had their mind set on finding a treasure and becoming millionaires. He could still remember what they had all wanted to buy first. His brother Ned wanted an entire mountain. Paul had wanted a big fishing boat. He was going to buy the old lighthouse. Hours of backbreaking work had been a small price to pay for those dreams.
That's all they had been: dreams. Young boys' dreams.
“Hey, Uncle Matt,” called Tyler, who was crawling around with Austin under some nearby trees. “Did you check under here?”
“Yes.” He didn't have the heart to tell his nephew those trees weren't old enough to have been on the island back in the early 1900s, let alone the 1700s. The landscape of Dead Man's Island had been reshaped many times over in the past couple hundred years. Tyler deserved a chance to dream.
Sierra chuckled softly as she sat on a rock and watched the boys. “They look like they are searching for Easter eggs, not a chest full of coins and jewels.”
He sat down beside her. “Give them a couple years and they'll be planning ways to get a backhoe out onto the island to find their fortune.”
“Is that what you did?”
“We tried.” He chuckled at the memories. “A couple of the locals had metal detectors out here searching.”
“Did they find anything?” Sierra kept an eye on the boys as they scrambled from one spot to another.
“Mostly change that other searchers had dropped.” He watched the way the breeze lightly played with Sierra's long blond hair. Today she had pulled it back into a ponytail and wore a baseball cap with a puffin and the word MAINE sewn onto it. Tiny denim shorts highlighted her long, lean legs and a pink tank top bared her arms to the sun.
Sierra would have looked like any other tourist who flocked to the Maine coast during the summer months, except for one thing. Sierra was gorgeous. There was no other way to describe her. She was five feet ten inches of willowy perfection. She also was a heartbreak waiting to happen.
He knew to avoid summer affairs of the heart. When the cool breezes started to blow into Misty Harbor, the sightseers and vacationers packed their bags and headed out of town. The locals had officially christened August “Heartbreak Month.” The name said it all.
“Mom, come here,” called Austin. “Look at this!”
Sierra hurried to her son's side. Austin was holding a large shell in his hand, one that obviously had been tossed onto the island by a major storm, or left there by a person. Seashells didn't sprout from rocks or trees. Matt smiled as Sierra held the shell to her son's ear.
There was something special about Sierra. He couldn't quite put his finger onto it yet, but he was getting closer. She was gorgeous but wasn't vain about it. A vain woman wouldn't leave the house without her makeup on. Today he couldn't detect any makeup except maybe lip gloss or whatever they called it. Something made her full lips look shiny. Sierra's lips had a just-kissed look. Since he hadn't done any kissing, they were driving him nuts.
Sierra had a laugh that was sexy as hell. But what really turned him on was the true love and affection she showed her son. It was plain to see that nothing was more important to Sierra than her son.
“Can we take it home with us, Mom?” Austin was cradling the shell.
“I can't see why not.” Sierra looked around them. “I think we should try to find something for Tyler to remember this day by.”
He knew Tyler wasn't interested in shells. His nephew would probably want some sea creature washed up into one of the tide pools. His sister-in-law Kay would kill him if he allowed Tyler to bring home another animal. He needed Kay's cooperation to keep stealing her son, and he needed Tyler to keep Austin happy, which allowed him to keep seeing Sierra. Animals were definitely out. He stood up and joined the trio. “How about a cool piece of driftwood, Tyler?”
Tyler frowned. “A piece of wood?”
“Driftwood—there's a difference.” He started heading down the barely distinguishable path toward the water's edge. The boys immediately started to follow him. Sierra brought up the rear. “Sometimes if you're real lucky, a piece of an old pirate ship can wash ashore.”
“Really?” Tyler didn't look convinced.
“Sure thing.” He winked at Sierra to let her in on the game. “I once heard of a guy finding an entire helm washed up on Deer Isle.”
Austin tugged at his mom's hand. “What's a helm?”
“It's the wheel that pirates used to steer their ship,” he answered for Sierra.
“Come on, Austin, I'll beat you to the shore.” Tyler took off in a flash.
Austin carefully handed his mother the shell and then ran after his new friend, calling, “Wait for me.”
Sierra's laugh sent a bolt of heat straight into Matt's gut as she hurried past him on the path. “Come on, slowpoke, before we lose sight of them.”
He watched as Sierra nearly sprinted after the boys. Her long tanned legs ate up the distance. Visions of what else those long legs would be good for teased his mind. He particularly liked the one where she wrapped them around his waist. If he wasn't careful, he would need a dip into the cold ocean to cool off.
The boys and Sierra disappeared from sight, but he could still hear them. He wasn't worried about Sierra getting into trouble, but his nephew was a different story. Tyler was like Velcro. Wherever trouble was, it stuck to him. He hurried after them.
He caught up to Sierra on the rocky shore. She was slowly following the boys as they scampered over rocks and the occasional fallen tree. “Did they find anything yet?”
“Just a couple branches.” Sierra gave him a beautiful smile that made her eyes dance. “You and your brothers must have been a handful. Your poor parents.”
“They survived.” He loved the way her eyes turned greener when she laughed.
“Did that guy really find a helm?”
“He sure did.” He helped her up onto a big boulder. The boys were a couple yards away. “Only it wasn't from a pirate ship. It was made of plastic and about ten years old.” He chuckled as Austin picked up a piece of wood covered in dried seaweed. “Bet you that smells.”
Sierra shook her head. “Great. I'm never going to get him clean.”
Austin dropped the stinking wood and went on to the next discovery. His second choice didn't appear any better than the first.
“He's a boy.”
“Are you saying girls can't get dirty?” Sierra looked insulted.
BOOK: A Misty Harbor Wedding
11.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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