Bayside HeatBy: Melissa Foster
SERENA MALLERY FIDGETED nervously as she walked from the parking lot of Bayside Resort, where she worked, toward Summer House Inn to meet her friends for breakfast. She embraced the sounds of their laughter and of Cosmos, her friend Desiree’s scruffy little dog, barking from his perch on the dune overlooking Cape Cod Bay. She spotted the objects of the pup’s attention. Her bosses, Rick and Drake Savage and Dean Masters—the owners of the resort—were sprinting up the path toward the inn after their morning run. This was how she’d greeted most days for the past several years, surrounded by her best friends, whom she loved like family. This time next week she’d be living in Boston, greeting the days alone but starting her dream job.
Her nerves flared as she stepped into the fenced-in area beside the inn, as excited as she was nervous to deliver her news.
“Hey, Serena.” Mira stood by Emery at the far end of the yard. At six months pregnant, Mira looked radiant in a cute maternity dress. Her skin really did glow. Even her dark hair looked fuller. “Des and Vi will be out in a sec. Is that the shirt you bought in P-town last week? It looks really cute.”
Mira was Drake and Rick’s younger sister. She and Serena had been best friends forever. Emery had moved to the Cape last summer. She taught yoga at the inn, and she was still dressed in her yoga pants and sports bra from an early class.
Serena looked down at her flowing white top, with cut-out shoulders and lace edging around the neckline and sleeves. It had quickly become one of her favorites. “Thanks. We have excellent taste.”
Emery glanced over as she pulled the elastic from her hair, sending her golden-brown hair tumbling past her shoulders. “I think it looks hot.” She shifted her gaze back to Dean, whose eyes were locked on her as the guys approached.
“Stalking your fiancé?” Serena asked.
Emery’s eyes lit up. “Look at all that yumminess. Do you blame me?”
She knew Emery was talking about her bearded, heavily muscled fiancé, but Serena had grown up with Dean, Drake, and Rick. There was no doubt they were all good-looking, and as water sports fanatics and hard workers, they kept in prime shape. But the only one Serena had ever crushed on was Drake. She watched him stalking across the dune. His powerful body was covered in a slick sheen of sweat. His thick, wavy dark hair blew in the wind. He always looked like he was in need of a trim, and he never seemed to care, which made him even hotter.
“Morning, Serena,” Desiree said as she stepped outside, pulling Serena away from her fruitless infatuation. “I’ve got cherry-cheese croissants, your favorites.” She set a plate of croissants on the table.
Serena’s mouth watered. “They smell delicious.”
Desiree cooked for them nearly every morning, and it was no secret that the quality of her elaborate breakfasts was tied to the quality of her sex life. Mornings when there was only cereal available, everyone grumbled at Rick. Not that Serena felt bad for him. He and Desiree were blissfully happy, they had incredible careers, and they had each other.
At least I’m on my way to the career I’ve always wanted. Finding my soul mate will just have to wait.
“You should have heard the headboard banging this morning.” Violet set a pot of coffee on the table. In biker boots, cutoffs, and a black tank top, with her colorful arm and thigh tattoos on display, she looked every bit the artist she was—the complete opposite of demure Desiree in her floral sundress. “Sounded like a train was taking down the inn.”
“Geez, Violet!” Desiree chided. They might be half sisters, but they were as different as oil and water.
“I see Vi’s jealous again,” Rick said as he sat down beside Desiree and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “How’s my gorgeous fiancée?”
Dean hauled Emery into his arms. “Hey, babe. How was yoga this morning?”
Serena loved living on the Cape, but it was also small and transient, which made for few opportunities to meet guys who weren’t just looking for a quick hookup. At thirty-one, after watching most of her friends fall head over heels in love, she wanted a chance at that happiness, too. As a teenager, she dreamed of marrying smart, musically inclined, sexy-as-sin Drake. Even though he had blown her off years ago, making it perfectly clear that she’d been friend-zoned for life, she’d thought again about the possibilities when she’d started working for him at the resort. But he’d never made a move, and four years was long enough for her to accept reality. It was time to move on.