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Authors: Grace Greene

Beach Winds

BOOK: Beach Winds
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Beach Winds


Grace Greene



Barefoot Books


Copyright © 2013, Grace Greene

Beach Winds

Media > Books > Fiction > Romance Novels

: romance, contemporary, beach, inspiration, Christian, barefoot


Digital ISBN: 978-1-62237-216-4

Digital release: November, 2013


Editing by
Jacquie Daher

Design by Grace Greene

Photo by
Grace Greene


All rights reserved. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work, in whole or part, by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, is illegal and forbidden.


This is a work of fiction. Characters, settings, names, and occurrences are a product of the author’s imagination and bear no resemblance to any actual person, living or dead, places or settings, and/or occurrences. Any incidences of resemblance are purely coincidental.


This edition is published by agreement with Turquoise Morning Press, a division of Turquoise Morning, LLC, PO Box 43958, Louisville, KY 40253-0958.




Beach Winds
is dedicated to those who struggle through disability and illness and to the ones who support and care for them. This book is dedicated to those who recover well enough to make it back home, and to those who don’t.

My great-uncle W.E. Ellen was career navy. He served on the USS
North Carolina
. Many years ago, in retirement, he suffered a serious stroke, but his dignity and courage, despite the disability he struggled with, inspired all who knew him. In the present, my aunt and uncle persevere together through that same adversity. This past year, our dear friends who were married in the same year that we were are now dealing with the challenge of a stroke—and I know they are equal to the job.

Beach Winds
confirms the power of love. Love is not a matter of blood or genetics. Love is a blessing wherever you find it and should be tended as if it were the most delicate seedling, yet shared as freely as the most common plant. Like the dune grass that helps the dunes withstand the ocean and weather, so are we to those we love.

W.E., Jane and Billy, and John and Sue
—this is for you.




Chapter One

r Two

Chapter Thr

er Four

Chapter Fiv

er Six

Chapter Seve

Chapter Eigh

Chapter N

Chapter T

Chapter Elev

Chapter Twel

Chapter Th

Chapter Fourt

Chapter Fift

Chapter Six

Chapter Sevente

Chapter Eig

Chapter Ninetee

Chapter Twe

Chapter Twenty-O

Chapter Twenty-

Chapter Twen

Chapter Twenty-F

Chapter Twenty-Fi

Chapter Twenty-S

Chapter Twenty-Se

Chapter Twenty-Eig

Chapter Twenty-Ni

Chapter Th


Dear Reader…






Off-season at Emerald Isle ~ In-season for secrets of the heart


Frannie Denman has been waiting for her life to begin. After several false starts, and a couple of broken hearts, she ends up back with her mother, with whom she doesn’t get along, until her
elderly uncle gets sick and Frannie goes to Emerald Isle to help manage his affairs while he’s recovering.

Her uncle
’s oceanfront home,
Captain’s Walk
, is small and unpretentious, and even though Frannie isn’t a ‘beach person,’ she decides
Captain’s Walk
in winter is a great place to hide from her troubles. But Frannie doesn’t realize that winter is short in Emerald Isle and the beauty of the ocean and seashore can help heal anyone’s heart, especially when her uncle’s handyman is the handsome Brian Donovan.

Brian has troubles of his own. He sees himself and Frannie as two damaged people who aren
’t likely to equal a happy ‘whole’ but he’s intrigued by this woman of contradictions.

’s mother wants her back home and Brian wants to meet the real Frannie, but Frannie wants to move forward with her life. To do that she needs questions answered. With the right information there’s a good chance Frannie will be able to affect not only a change in her life, but also a change of heart.





apter One



Frannie Denman stood at the sliding doors and stared beyond the
glass, the porch and the dunes. She didn’t belong here—not at the beach and not in this dreary February world.

Angry crests foamed out of the churning, steel gray Atlantic
and rode the waves to a cold shore swept by a frigid wind, the same wind that whipped up the sand and tossed the tall weedy dune grasses. An occasional super gust shook the house. She touched the glass as it shuddered.

A lone man moved along the wooden walkway that crossed over the dunes. With slow, determined steps, he hunched forward as he fought the wind. His jacket and hooded sweatshirt were inadequate, plastered against him by nature. She watched him, wondering if he
’d end up at this door, but then he descended the steps and disappeared between the houses. It was where he should’ve been all along, using the houses as a buffer, instead of taking the wind on headfirst.

This was a
n inhospitable place and it matched her dark mood.

Why was this house, and
Will Denman’s life, her responsibility? She couldn’t manage her own. How was she supposed to help anyone else?

She turned away from the window to face Mrs. Blair.
sorry about this.”

So you said before.” The woman gathered up her purse and a bulky tote bag brimming with cleaning supplies.

I’ll get the door for you. Let me help you with that bag.”

Mrs. Blair stood taller and scowled.
“No, thank you. I’ve been finding my way in and out of your uncle’s house for fifteen years. I can manage one last time.”

Yes. Again, I’m sorry.” She clasped her hands together. “What about the broken lattice? You said you had the name of Uncle Will’s handyman?”

Mrs. Blair
stared with accusing eyes. “On the fridge. Name’s Brian.”

Frannie followed her out.
At the top of the stairs, she clutched the rail. With her free hand, she held her sweater closed at her throat. Cold, salty wind blew her hair across her face and stung her nose and cheeks. She wished it could also blow the self-doubt from her brain.

If Uncle Will ever returned
home, what would he say about Mrs. Blair being fired? She was a cleaning lady, yes, but one with a fifteen-year history. If he did come home, it wouldn’t be soon. More likely, never.

Back inside, she dialed the thermostat down
, leaving just enough heat to keep the pipes from freezing. Had she left anything undone?

No. There wasn
’t much to the place.

Her uncle
’s furniture had no particular style or age. Strictly thrift shop. There was no elegance, no shine, not even the customary beachy wicker or white rattan.

It was a retired sailor
’s home.
Captain’s Walk
, he’d named it. This house was small, only a ranch style, but here it was oceanfront and thus, had a grand name. This house, inside and out, was unremarkable except for the observation deck. The deck was unusual, perched halfway up the roof near the end of the house, but this time of year… Well, with a veritable gale blowing, the idea of sunning herself wasn’t appealing.

’s just a house. No interest in dolling it up
, Uncle Will had told her a year ago. They’d met for the first time—one meeting out of a lifetime of opportunities—and only then because he’d called and asked her to come see him.

’d visited him again after that and had meant to return sooner, but she hadn’t, and now he wasn’t here.

Magnets secured bits of scribbled paper to the front of the refrigerator.
One magnet listed local emergency numbers. A smaller green magnet had a bank name and number. Another advertised a pizza delivery place.

There it was. Brian Donovan.
His name and phone number were written in large block letters on a neatly torn square of paper.

She disliked
talking to strangers, even over the phone, but she got lucky this time because the voicemail answered.

Mr. Donovan? I’m Will Denman’s niece. Grandniece, that is. My uncle is ill and I’m…I mean, he asked me to take care of his house. I understand you do handyman work for him? Would you please take a look at the lattice on the west side of the house? Send the bill to Mr. Denman’s post office box.” She gave the number and finished with, “I’ll see you get paid.”


The lights were off. She gave a last tug on the sliding door to make sure it was locked. Now she could be on her way. It was winter in Raleigh, too, of course, and not exactly balmy, but without the deadly cold ocean and its bitter winds.

She slipped on her coat, wrapped the scarf around her neck twice, and picked up her

The parking area was below and behind the house on the street side. Her car and her uncle
’s old green van were the only vehicles.

It was
freezing inside the car, but the leather seat would warm up quickly. She backed out onto a deserted Emerald Drive. She’d just hit cruising speed when the dashboard lit up and rang.

Laurel Denman
, it displayed.

Frannie let it ring,
determined to ignore it, half-expecting her mother to emerge from the caller ID screen like some half-formed specter of guilt and frustration.

There should
be tender feelings between mother and daughter, shouldn’t there? Like mother, like daughter—maybe their capacity to care about each other had died with her father.

Almost three hours later, and after two more calls from her mother, Frannie drove up the long, curving, blackened asphalt driveway. The tall, straight pines, the bare, sculptured branches of the crepe myrtles growing in the perfectly landscaped yard
, always welcomed her, but after these last few years she’d realized that was all it was—an empty offer. She braked to a stop in front of the house. Now, coming home was more a reminder of personal failure.

She opened the front door with as much stealth as she could. It wasn
’t enough.


Her m
other stood in the wide opening between the living and dining rooms. Her honey blond hair was precisely groomed. Petite and curvy, she was the opposite of her slender, brown-haired daughter.

’s best feature was her dark blue eyes, like her dad’s. Dad had called them ‘the Denman eyes.’ When she fastened those eyes upon Laurel, she knew it made her mother uncomfortable.

Laurel stared back.
The firm set of her lips, and her hands held artfully in front of her waist, showed her anger. Unhappy words were imminent.

Don’t do this right now.” Frannie shook her head and tucked a lock of her fine, flyaway hair behind her ear.

BOOK: Beach Winds
12.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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