Kauffman’s lovable new series, less sugar-fueled than her Cupcake Club books but just as sweet, portrays a small Maine community as surrogate family. A year after Alex McFarland saw her father fall to his death from a lighthouse, she takes over her family’s lighthouse restoration business and goes to assess a property at Pelican Point. There she learns that the person who contacted her was not actually the building’s owner, police chief Logan McCrae, but his matchmaking great-uncle Fergus. Logan takes some convincing to let a stranger into his private retreat, but eventually he offers to let Alex stay while she crafts a work proposal. Their connection deepens as Logan opens up about his fiancée’s death in a boating accident, and both Alex and Logan must find the bravery to trust their hearts despite their fear of loss. Gossip and passion make minor appearances, but the most prominent element is emotional warmth. (Nov.)
Blueberry Cove, Maine, is as small-town as small towns get. More than a little quirky, it has sheltered generations of families. But there’s always room for a new face…
Fixing things has always been Alex McFarland’s greatest gift and keenest pleasure. But with her own life thoroughly broken, she’s signed on to renovate the dilapidated Pelican Point lighthouse, hoping to reconnect with herself. The last thing she expects is to find herself falling in love—with the glorious coastline, with age-old secrets and welcome-home smiles…with rugged Logan McCrae, the man she just might be able to build new hopes on.
DIY is so much better with two...
Includes an easy do-it-yourself restoration project!
Renowned lighthouse expert Alex MacFarland has come to Blueberry Cove, Maine, to renovate and heal; sexy lighthouse owner Logan McCrae is resistant to change, but the interfering community may be what they both need to find peace--and each other. Alex, the last of a long line of lighthouse keepers and renovation experts, has left everything she's ever known behind in an attempt to restart her life after a traumatizing accident has her floundering personally and professionally. Driving across the country to take a job in Maine, she gets there only to discover that the man who owns the tower has no intention of hiring her--or anyone--for the job. As chief of police, Logan is used to taking care of other people in Blueberry Cove, and he's not comfortable asking anyone for help, be it his uncle, his community or a vulnerable lighthouse specialist. But there's no denying an electric attraction between the two of them, and as Alex falls under the spell of Blueberry Cove, Logan might have to recognize emotions he's kept locked away for much too long. Kauffman pens a touching romance that offers healing and redemption to two lonely hearts who fall into a love they don't even realize they're looking for. The first of a series, the book introduces a quirky community and secondary characters with enough personality to make readers want to come back. A light romance with a touch of heat, a pinch of intensity and a dash of mysterious small-town magic.
Read an Excerpt
Logan McCrae loved everything about his hometown of Blueberry Cove, Maine. From the rocky, isolated shores that fronted his generation-sold family home out on Pelican Point, to the quaint but comforting heart of the small town nestled around Half Moon Harbor and dotted with businesses that had been run by the same families for generations. Gentle rolling hills shifted to thick forests as they moved inland, providing the townsfolk with a variety of living choices, from tidy little houses that marched along the handful of streets branching off the main road around the central harbor, to the farm properties that took over as town turned to field, and the more isolated cabins as field turned to forest. Blueberry Cove was a place where neighbor helped neighbor and no one remained a stranger for long.
He enjoyed the steady pace of small-town living, even the predictability of it. There was something to be said for handling the day-to-day issues that arose, while knowing they weren't likely to be anything earth-shattering. He'd had enough of earth-shattering, thanks.
Not that being the police chief didn't come with moments of danger, worry, and, on rare occasions, tragedy, but that's why he'd taken the job. A fair share of that tragedy had been visited on him personally. So, he had a vested interest in keeping things going as smoothly as possible, for himself as much as for his fellow townsfolk. It was a bonus that being there when folks needed him had turned out to be so deeply gratifying. It was remarkably fulfilling, living a life surrounded by people who mattered to him; old friends, new acquaintances, family.
Well, most of the people, anyway. The downside to small-town living was that you couldn't escape the thorns that came along with every rose. But he handled that, too. He just didn't enjoy it as much.
That meant making yet another stop by Eula March's antique shop. Apparently another "helpful" citizen had decided to make shutting down the store a personal mission. Funny how those do-gooders were never actually from Blueberry Cove. Or they'd know better.
He climbed out of his town-issued SUV cruiser and walked under the canopy of the sparsely leafed oak, pausing a brief moment to admire the lingering colors of fall dotting the ancient branches before pulling open the heavy teak door by its Alice in Wonderland-themed brass handle.
Everything about Mossy Cup Antiques was whimsical, from the flamingo mallet–shaped door handle, to the beautifully restored range of antiques that began with an array of practical items like tables and chairs, and ran all the way to the decidedly impractical but far more interesting bits of unique statuary and home decor — what Logan's grandmother had called dust-catchers. He imagined there were few, if any, Blueberry Cove residents who didn't own and proudly display in their homes at least one piece from the shop. Many, including some in his own home, had gone on to become treasured family heirlooms, their Mossy Cup origin only the beginning of their story.
But nothing was more whimsical or fantastical than the giant oak tree that grew up right through the middle of the generations-old building ... much to the chagrin of the occasional activist-minded soul who discovered the store and became convinced the tree was a fire hazard and a home for any number of potential infestations.
The townsfolk all knew it had been there in some form or other for as long as there'd been recorded history in the coastal fishing village. And since it was one of his own McCrae forebears who'd help settle the little harbor town in Pelican Bay back in the early 1700s, that had actually been a substantial length of time.
As yet — though the shop built around it had seen a variety of changes over the years, with parts added and restored, and upgrades for things like central heating and plumbing and the like — the tree still stood, with nary a single incident in all those years. It had, however, spawned hundreds of well-told tales of lives changed and fortunes turned. Logan thought that part might have had more to do with the long line of eccentric March women who'd run the place since its first days. Most passers-through found the shop's history and unique construction to be charming rather than alarming, but there was no accounting for how some folks chose to expend their energy.
"Morning, Eula," he called out, doffing his uniform hat and wiping his feet on the beehive-shaped brush mat inside the door. "What's the complaint this time?"
"Same as it always is," came a scratchy, irritable voice from the back room. Eula March was tall and thin, rawboned and robust. She sported wire-gray hair of indeterminate length — it was always pinned up in a net-covered bun — and a manner that managed to be gruff and informatively helpful at the same time. When she wanted it to be, anyway.
After the first complaint under his watch as police chief some years back, Logan had tried to ask, as kindly as possible, if perhaps there was some other, underlying issue between Eula and the suddenly righteous-minded patron. She'd flatly and quite directly informed him that it was her shop and she'd treat those who crossed its threshold in the manner she felt they deserved. If they wanted to be disagreeable about it and run around filing complaints and such, that was their time to waste. She wasn't about to mollycoddle those who needed anything but mollycoddling.
Logan had made a fast note never to do that again. He was pretty sure he still had a permanent scar or two from the blisters on his ears.
Eula came out from the back. Her face and hands were wrinkled and age-spotted, her skin appearing perennially tanned, though he'd have called it weathered. Her tall frame was slightly stooped but balanced by squared shoulders and a stiff posture that made a man remember to watch his manners. Her age, however, remained indeterminate. She looked exactly the same to Logan as she had in all the years he'd known her, which would be all thirty-four of them.
Her standard uniform of a floral print smock-like dress was in shades of lavender, buttoned to the throat, the hem ending just above spindly calves, the entire outfit neatly pressed and made by her own hand. It was all but covered by one of her handmade, whimsically stitched shop aprons. It was a scene from Winnie the Pooh — the original, not the Disney version — that had Pooh, Piglet, and Christopher Robin frolicking across the front of her apron pockets.
Apron notwithstanding, Logan would have said he'd never met a less whimsical woman in his life. If you looked up "stern New Englander" in the dictionary, her photo could have easily run next to it. But he knew, as did everyone else in the Cove, about the other side of Eula March, and the real reason folks felt such a strong bond to her and her shop. Eula harbored a unique array of skills that went far beyond her unparalleled ability to master any antique restoration, bringing back to life pieces others would have sooner turned to kindling. As had, apparently, the March women before her, hence the longevity and renown of the shop. On its own that was enough to make her something of a local legend.
When you factored in that ... thing, that mystery in her clear gray eyes, if one chose to look past the disapproving set to her mouth and really notice, there was a certain sparkle, a kind of ... knowing ... as if she could see straight through any and all artifice and look right into your very soul. Most of the townsfolk were fairly certain she could indeed do just that.
"Nothing more than a nuisance," she said in her clipped tone, looking faintly annoyed as always. She wiped her hands on a shop towel tucked into her apron pocket, indicating she'd been in the workshop at the back of the store where she did her restoration work. Or some of it, anyway.
The backroom area was tiny, whereas some of the pieces on display were of a size that would have been impossible to have been restored in such a narrow space. Yet, she lived in rooms over the rear workshop and accessed them by a winding set of interior stairs. As far as anyone knew, she didn't lease, own, or rent any other space. Hence the whispered questions about the true origins of some of her beautiful pieces, and how folks couldn't recall seeing them delivered to the back door, in any condition.
Logan dismissed that chatter as the kind of fanciful gossip that went hand in hand with a shop as old and storied as hers, the same way old buildings always seemed to have a ghost or two, whose stories were continually embellished as the years went on.
He met her halfway through the shop beside an English walnut keyhole desk that acted as a countertop for the shop's beautifully restored and fully functional antique sales register.
"I told you not to worry about it," she informed him. "It will amount to nothing, just as the others have. Don't waste Tom's time making him come over and run tests on the damn tree, again. It's not good for the tree and surely your fire chief has better things to do with his time. If it was going to infest the town with parasites or burn us all to death in our beds, surely it would have done so by now."
"You're absolutely right. But we still have a process —"
"The process is a waste of time. And mine is too valuable to be spent filling out ridiculous paperwork every time some tree-hugging nitwit gets his we're-all-going-to-die-if-we-don't-respect-the-environment knickers in a twist. It's not like I'm keeping the tree captive. And here's a newsflash for you. We're all dying. From the moment we come out squealing, we're counting down the days to the end. Mother Earth, on the other hand, will outlive us all, each and every one. I see no purpose in making what days we're blessed to spend with her any more of a challenge than they already are by lecturing folks on how she should be treated."
Logan barely blinked at the diatribe. Nor did he even consider any discussion that had the words global or warming in it. They were both just going through the motions, each knowing their part in the routine by heart, having played the scene too many times to count.
"Well, Eula, I can see your side in this, and I know these complaints are an occasional thorn in your side." Mine, too, he wanted to add. If you wouldn't antagonize some of your customers, no matter how well deserving, maybe they wouldn't become so hell-bent on sticking it back to you. But he said, calmly and deliberately, "If you'd complete the paperwork filing your own formal complaint, I'll process it and have a chat with — what did you say his name was?"
"Elmer Alvin Swinson. Can you believe that? Even his mama knew he was going to be an annoying whiner."
Logan hid a chuckle behind a sudden, short cough. "Be that as it may, I still need to question Elmer — er, Mr. Swinson — and get this over and done. Just make your nuisance complaint official and I can get started."
Eula grumbled the entire time she filled out the forms, her shaky, spidery scrawl at odds with the intricate restoration work Logan knew she performed with those very same hands. She pushed the finished papers at him in a dismissive gesture. "Now, I've got work to do. Good day, Chief."
"Good day to you as well, Miss Eula." He turned to go, thinking not for the first time that both of their lives would be made a lot easier if she'd hire some sweet-natured local teen to run the register out front while she stayed in the back doing the work she clearly loved most. But since he rather liked his ears still attached to his head, he kept that suggestion to himself.
"Logan Matthew McCrae."
He stopped and turned back to Eula, eyebrows arched in curiosity at her use of his full given name. She used to call him Logan, or the more old-fashioned Master McCrae, right up until the day he'd become a sworn member of the local police department. Then he'd been Officer McCrae, and eventually, Chief. Never his given name. He'd taken it as a sign of respect. He had no idea what, if anything, this sudden reversion meant. He wasn't sure he wanted to find out. "Ma'am?"
She pointed a bony finger at him. "Change is coming."
He smiled at that. "To Blueberry Cove? Well, unless you're referring to the weather, nothing much changes here. It's —"
"To you," she said, more specifically. "Be open to it."
He frowned then, and fought the urge to rub away the little tingle that ran across the back of his neck. "I like to think I'm open-minded."
"Change hasn't generally been a harbinger of good for you." Her stern expression relaxed slightly. "It's the reason you love it here, as I believe you were about to say. The reason you stayed on, even after your sisters grew up and moved away. They wanted change, needed it. Not so with you. You made your life here — where nothing changes. Nothing to worry about. Nothing to fear."
Her comment about his past had caught him off guard. Who knew what she might have seen flash through his eyes? He didn't bother trying to bluff. Everyone in town knew all the details, so there was no point. "Eula, I appreciate the concern. I do. But I'm fine. It was all a very long time ago. I'm not hiding. I'm here because I want to be here. I belong here."
"Not all changes are bad, Logan."
"I never thought they were."
Her lips curved in what, on anyone else, might have been a hint of a smile. Whatever it was on her, it made him feel distinctly uncomfortable, and, well ... exposed in some way. Vulnerable.
"Just because it's difficult, or challenging, doesn't mean it isn't a good thing. Sometimes the best changes need to be both."
"Good. Keep that in mind. Good day now." With that, she turned and headed back to her workroom.
Late in the afternoon, Logan was more than ready to head home. After spending an hour and a half dealing with Ted Weathersby's pompous posturing and general obnoxiousness at the latest council meeting, he'd ended up having to mediate a scene between Becky and Walt Danneker in the middle of the Cove's one and only intersection that had involved single-handedly keeping Becky in her vehicle while convincing Walt that if Becky's temperature was where the doctor said it needed to be and Walt not only wanted children, but wanted to keep Becky from doing something that would permanently prevent him from ever being able to have them, maybe he should reconsider his afternoon meeting and go home with his wife.
Privately, Logan wished him luck in the performance department because Becky was, well, let's just say, not at her most enticing at that moment.
He had been hoping to use the remaining daylight hours to tackle the stacked stone wall he was uncovering, but Fergus had asked him to stop by the Rusty Puffin. From his overly cheerful tone Logan knew something was up. The lunch crowd had departed and the evening crowd had yet to start making their way in. His great-uncle Fergus, who owned the place — and was actually his grandfather's cousin some number of times removed — was nowhere to be seen.
A clang came from the kitchen, followed by a strident string of rather blue language that would have made the local fishermen proud.
"Fergus," he called out. "What's the trouble?"
There were a few more clangs, a lot more swearing, followed by a short bellow and what sounded like a wrench being thrown against — well, he didn't really want to know — then Fergus pushed through the swinging door, wiping grease-covered hands on the bottom edge of his apron. He was a short, broad-shouldered man with a thick neck and a stout frame, like an old-school pugilist. At seventy-three, he still had a full head of dark hair, though there were threads of gray and white in it. His thick thatch of beard had turned faster and was mostly steel gray and white, as were the matching bushy eyebrows. His eyes were a bright sky blue with the sparkle of a much younger man, and he was quick to flash a wide grin.
"Confounded contraption. We'd be better off with a bloody pellet stove and a stack of peat than that piece of —"
"Why don't you let me have a look at it?" Logan set his uniform hat on the bar and unzipped his jacket.
Fergus waved him off. After scrubbing his hands clean at the small sink, he set two short glasses on the bar instead, smacking the bottoms on the varnished teak surface. "We'd be better off warming ourselves with a sip than swearing at that auld heap. I'll put a call in to young Broderick. Boy's a wonder with a wrench, or so I hear."
"Broderick. You mean Brodie Monaghan?"
"One and the same. Have you spent any time with the lad since his arrival? He's about your age."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Pelican Point"
Copyright © 2013 Donna Kauffman.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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