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Authors: Julie Carobini

Sweet Waters

BOOK: Sweet Waters
11.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Sweet Waters
is like taking a beach vacation from the comfort of your own living room. Julie Carobini paints a beautiful story of fresh starts, painful secrets, and the depth of a family's love. The small town beach setting is as soothing as the sound of waves, and so well drawn I could almost smell the salt in the air. Engaging, fast paced, and romantic. Highly recommended.
—Kathryn Cushman, author of
A Promise to Remember
Waiting for Daybreak
As sure as the ocean ebbs and flows with the tide, so life changes take the characters from one adventure to another in Julie Carobini's latest release,
Sweet Waters.
Exhilarating, fresh and warm as the summer breeze, this book is fun from start to finish. Grab your tanning oil and beach towel, and immerse yourself in a great read that's sure to make a splash when it hits the store shelves!
—Diann Hunt, author of
For Better or For Worse
Copyright © 2009 by Julie Carobini
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Published by B&H Publishing Group
Nashville, Tennessee
Dewey Decimal Classification: F
Publisher's Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author's imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.
For my darling dad, Dan Navarro, and your First Corinthians 13 kind of love!
A BIG HUG AND hearty thanks to family, friends, and colleagues who inspired me throughout the writing of
Sweet Waters,
Dan and our kids—Matt, Angela, and Emma—along with my parents, Dan and Elaine Navarro, for your forever love and encouragement (and willingness to endure seemingly random brainstorming sessions).
Steve Laube, my agent, for your tremendous tenacity and wit.
Karen Ball, for your wisdom and friendship. After more than a dozen years of knowing each other, I'm thrilled that we finally get to work together!
Julie Gwinn, for your humor and passionate creativity.
David Webb, for finding the Otter Bay Novels a home at B&H.
The rest of the terrific team at B&H Publishing Group—thanks so much for welcoming me aboard!
Tami Anderson, Sherrill Waters, and my husband, Dan—for critiquing this manuscript. Your faithful and honest feedback incited changes to these pages.
Author Jeanette Hanscome for sharing your research and knowledge with me.
Firefighter and fellow writer, Shawn Grady, for all your help, and especially for your patience in the face of my many questions. Thanks also to Firefighter Stan Ziegler for allowing me to pepper you with last-minute clarifications.
The many friends of ACFW who shared their personal stories of heartbreak with me. I won't mention you by name here, but please know I am grateful for your transparency. You made this a better book.
My God, though I'm not worthy to receive You, You love me anyway. Thank You for allowing me to live this dream.
Chapter One
Digest 19, Episode 90
Eliza Carlton knew what she must do. As always. She strode across Sapphire slowly, deliberately, like a cat flaunting its superiority. Though Eliza noticed the sway of diners' chins moving in her direction, nothing in her face showed her satisfaction.
Maurice Von Otto rose to meet her, his smile appraising, but his eyes altogether something else. If Eliza had to describe them, she would choose muddled. His eyes always shifted when he was trying to manipulate her. “Eliza, darling, you captivate me this evening.”
Nicely done.
Eliza paused, allowing Maurice to hold out her chair and then wait patiently behind her, until she had settled herself. She nodded and admired the way he hurried back to his seat. She took in his features, noting his beauty, and for a moment, almost lost composure.
Maurice laid a napkin across his lap, cleared his throat, and leaned forward, as if in hiding. “There is something . . . something I've been hoping to discuss with you, my dear.”
And there's something I must discuss with you. Now, however, was not the time to reveal secrets. He wanted her alliance. As the boldest city councilwoman ever to grace the chambers of Quartz Point, Eliza knew her vote would be most crucial to the success of his proposed project.
“Another time, Maurice. Tonight”—she let a coy smile curl her painted lips—“is a night for lovers.”
Maurice opened his mouth, as if to protest, but instead tipped his glass flute of champagne in her direction. A fiery grin found its way to his face.
No matter that she was much too nauseous for any such nonsense tonight. At the moment, Maurice was exactly where she needed him. Some may call it manipulation, but Eliza maintained it was simply taking control . . .
THE DOOR SQUEALS OPEN, and I slap my laptop shut.
Tell me I didn't just crack the screen.
My sister Mel leans through the doorway of the quiet office I had borrowed, her mouth twisted into a grimace. “Tara, you're being paged.”
As usual. Mel darts off before I can answer. Cheerful voices drift in from the garden. Silverware rattles in the bustling kitchen. The pianist I hired warms up with a few bars of “The Wedding March,” and I deflate.
Eliza Carlton wouldn't let a broken heart rule her.
I'm tempted to take one more peek at the weekly digest of
Quartz Point,
the daytime drama of which Eliza is the star, but really, there's no time left. All I can do now is hope that everything Eliza's taught me over the years will, somehow, help me make it through this long and trying day.
Chapter Two
“She reminds me of you.”
I glance across the lawn to the bride in her tea-length dress, her eyes dancing, the laughter on her face uninhibited. Considering I just said good-bye to my hopes and dreams yesterday—all six-foot-three of him—the resemblance is lost on me.
Anne, my mother's best friend, taps my shoulder. “I meant the little girl over there.”
I turn to find a child of about six, blonde hair pulled up into a fountainhead, staring at the double-decker wedding cake, eyes hungry. Fat giggles escape from her child's body. “Excuse me a sec,” I say, and race toward the little girl, arriving just as she reaches a small hand toward the mountain of whipped cream icing piled high upon the cake. “Uh-uh-uh. Please don't touch the cake.” I pause, then add, “Sweetie.”
She jumps back, her dimpled hand hovering in midair. Round eyes glisten as they gape up at me. Strange how that look touches some dried-up part of me. With all the preparations for this wedding, and my tenuous relationship with Trent finally broken beyond repair, my mind surprises me by wandering into old territory.
My cousin Camille swoops in from behind the girl and gives her a hug, all the while pinning me with a mock glare. “Oh, Tara. You're such an old maid sometimes.” She reaches over the girl's petite shoulders and takes a big swipe of frosting with her finger. “Here, Katie. Let's show my cousin how to play.”
With that, my moment of reverie, wherever it came from, has vanished. Camille just turned twenty, but she still clings to her rollicking high school ways. In some ways, I envy her. She's my cousin by blood, but since Camille's lived with us since she was an infant, she'll always be more like my sister. My not-a-care-in-the-world, flirt-with-any-man-in-range younger sister. I love her.
BOOK: Sweet Waters
11.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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