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14 Love Letter Lane (Celebrating Love Trilogy)

 

Three friends who have known each other since grade school work at Revive, a local coffee shop just off the boardwalk in the seaside town of Lexington. Andrea, Darcy and Ginny are more than ready to meet the men of their dreams. The trouble is, they can?t seem to find them.

 

Andrea receives a love letter from a secret admirer. Ginny meets a man who just moved to town and sweeps her off her feet. Darcy has the dress and the red leather boots ready and waiting for a fabulous Valentine?s Day, if she can only find a date!

 

Join these three caring friends as they travel the oftentimes choppy waters of love. As always, a happy ending is guaranteed.

Available NOW!
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 Also available at Amazon UK.

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Chapter One

Andrea reached into her seashell covered mailbox and pulled out a stack of mail. Bill, advertisement, special offer, letter. She stopped rifling and checked the return address on the envelope that housed the letter. Nothing. Turning the envelope over, she scanned the triangular section on the flap. Her eyes met an embossed pink rose.

?Curious.?

She made her way along the front walk as pansies greeted her with cheery faces colored in brilliant yellow, deep purple and sparkling white.

The two-story house she inherited from her parents three years ago welcomed her home once again. Its cobalt blue exterior and happy white shutters were the perfect complement to the seashore that served as her backyard.

As Andrea climbed the four steps that led to the wraparound porch, she remembered her parents? words: We?d rather give you the house now than wait until we?re dead. We want to see you enjoy it. You?ve always loved the beach and now you can walk along the sea?s edge every day.

Childhood memories filled her thoughts as she entered her home. She could never bring herself to paint over the height marks she, her brother and her sister made on the thin dividing wall between the kitchen and dining room.

As she passed by the area, her fingers touched the pencil markings and she smiled.

?You can?t have grown two inches in a week,? Carena had said when her brother, Steven, carefully placed a ruler on top her head and let the edge rest against the wall.

?Maybe I had a growth spurt,? Andrea replied.

?No way!? Carena eyed Andrea suspiciously, then said, ?Shenanigans! You?re on tiptoe!?

Andrea had been caught cheating. She lowered her heels and Steven re-measured her height. Sure enough, she hadn?t grown even a quarter of an inch.

Steven was the oldest. One year older than Carena. He had been their self-appointed protector, giving them vital information on how to survive their first days of middle school, junior high and high school.

Andrea glanced at the waves falling on the warm sand as she headed for the library, her favorite room in the house. The walls had built-in shelving from floor to ceiling. It had been Andrea?s great joy to fill them with her favorite authors? books. Even with the popularity of e-books, she still loved the feel of a paperback book in her hands.

The fireplace held special memories of Christmas with stockings hung from the mantel.

She crossed over to the two windows and opened them, then unlocked the sliding glass door. The sea breeze filled the house with its calming aroma and soothing sounds.

Andrea kicked off her shoes and sat in the tan overstuffed chair, placing the stack of mail beside her.

She opened the envelope and pulled out a soft lavender piece of paper. Andrea unfolded it to reveal a masculine hand had written the words. Andrea began to read.

Dear Andrea,

I have wanted to write this letter for some time now, but I couldn?t seem to find the words I wanted to say. Even now, I am not sure this letter will convey my feelings adequately, but here goes.

I am in love with you.

You may be asking yourself what it is about you that makes me say that. There are so many things.

When I see you walking along the ocean?s edge, kicking the water playfully with your feet, I want to join you and ask what you are thinking. You always have a curious smile on your lips and a look of peace seems to fall upon your features.

When Mrs. Charleston?s dog, Peaches, digs under the fence and finds her way onto your porch, and your favorite wicker chair with the cream-colored cushion, you never chastise her. You give her hugs and kisses and lift her into your lap and allow her to stay in comfort until Mrs. Charleston comes looking for her.

The first of every month, you leave cookies in your mailbox for your mail carrier. You don?t see her face when she opens your mailbox and finds the sweet treats, but she smiles widely and always eats one cookie right then and there.

Late at night, I notice you walking along the second floor balcony as you look out to sea with a dreamy look on your face. Sometimes I imagine you are wishing for a man to find you and sweep you off your feet. Then I pretend I should be so lucky as to be that man.

I don?t want you to think I?m stalking you. I?m not. It?s just that you are warm and caring and touch everyone?s life with your gentle nature.

I have probably said too much, but I could not let another day pass without letting you know there is someone who notices your kindness and appreciates it beyond measure.

As I say, I am not sure these are the right words, but here they are laid out before you nonetheless.

If you ever feel lonely or small and think, even for a moment, that no one cares, please remember what I have said in this letter.

Your spirit brings hope to me. Maybe one day our paths will cross and I can share all these feelings in person. If not, please tuck them away in a safe place and remember how much I love you.

You are in my thoughts always,

Your Secret Love

Andrea read the letter three times, the words surprising her anew each time.

?I don?t know whether to be delighted or alarmed.?

She placed the letter back in its envelope, checking the postmark. It had been mailed from Lexington one day ago. It was someone local.

It could be any number of people she saw every day. Her mind played out the normal events of her day and the many people she encountered. No one in particular stood out.

She would be sure to pay attention tomorrow. Everyone was a suspect in her love letter mystery.

Andrea put the letter aside and opened the rest of her mail, tossing the advertisements in the wicker basket by her chair and putting the bills in order by due date and placing them in a file with a soft blue label titled To Be Paid.

She retrieved a bottle of water from the kitchen and headed out the sliding glass door toward the beach.

The Donaldson kids, Amy and Mark, were building a sandcastle. Their Dachshund, Tucker, kept stepping on parts of it in his excitement to play with them. They scolded him time and again, but it made no difference.

Andrea waved to them and they waved back with big smiles on their faces. Tucker ran over for a pat on the head and an exuberant kiss, then returned to his family.

As far as her eye could see, there was water. Diamonds of light shimmered off the quiet ocean, even the waves seemed to have paused to rest for a moment. An entire world lived beneath the surface.

Andrea remembered camping out on the beach with her friends and making up stories about mermaids and magic. Whenever things got tough, she thought about living under the deep blue waters.

She learned to use a snorkel and fins when she was seven, always with adult supervision, of course. If she had her way, she would stay in the water until she was one big giant prune. Many were the times she wondered if her wrinkled and shriveled skin would become a permanent fixture. Her mother assured her it would not.

As she continued walking along the ocean?s edge, she picked up shells of all kinds and placed them in her pockets. She had hundreds of glass containers holding shells around her home, but never tired of searching for more.

The idea that a shell may have traveled from clear across the world to land at her feet always mesmerized her.

She wondered if her secret love was watching her. She glanced over her shoulder, but saw no one except the kids. How long had he been watching her? Days, months, years? He knew people?s names and very specific details about her life. It simply had to be someone she saw on a daily basis.

?That could be anyone,? Andrea mumbled. Owning a coffee shop meant she encountered many people throughout the day; some regulars, others occasional visitors, and still others who came in once and never returned.

The wind picked up a bit and blew her hair loose from its barely knotted burgundy scarf. She tried to push it back, but the breeze was powerful. She turned her face into the wind and felt her scarf falling down her back. She reached for it, but the wind had other ideas.

As she chased the scarf across the sand down the beach toward old man Johnson?s home, her hair marred her vision again and again. Finally, she caught up to the see-through fabric and snatched it up quickly.

Andrea turned her face to the breeze once again and gathered her hair together so she could tie the scarf securely around it once more, then headed back toward her home.

Tucker saw her coming and ran to greet her again, escorting her as he carefully avoided the waves as they caressed the shore.

?Nice castle.?

?Thanks. Tucker keeps stepping on it and we have to keep rebuilding it,? Amy said.

?I noticed that. I think he wants to join in the fun.?

As if on cue, Tucker ran straight through the middle of the castle, his feet and low belly destroying the moat, wall and turrets the kids had so carefully crafted.

?Tucker!? Mark hollered.

?Mom! Call Tucker,? Amy requested.

?Tucker! Get in here. Come on, Tucker!? Mrs. Donaldson yelled from the kitchen window.

Tucker ran to the back porch, up the boarded ramp they had made especially for his short legs and into the doggy door.

?Looks like you?ll have to start rebuilding,? Andrea said.

?We need to build a moat around us next time,? Mark said.

?To keep our castle safe from Tucker,? Amy said.

?Good idea,? Andrea agreed. ?I?ll see you guys later.?

?Bye, Andrea.?

?See you later, Andrea.?

Andrea made her way to her home and heated up leftover spaghetti in the microwave, then checked her e-mail and Facebook.

?I wonder if my secret love could be one of my Facebook friends?? She thought back to what she had posted as her status for the last several months. She had mentioned several events, just in passing, not thinking that anyone was actually paying attention to what she wrote. ?Guess I should be a bit more careful about what I post on the internet.?

Andrea prepared for bed. Just before she closed her eyes to go to sleep, she wondered if her secret love was thinking of her right then.


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