(Shore House, #1)
Publication date: June 21st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Nora Hargrove’s post-grad life includes a horrific entry-level job, a cave of an apartment, and a strict avoidance of all interpersonal relationships. She knows only one thing about herself—she wants to be left alone.
Avoiding her mother’s forced family time, she seeks solitude on her own terms. In a poorly ventilated, overcrowded Dewey Beach rental, she discovers there’s no place to hide. Not from yourself, not from your life, and not from love. This is the story of Nora Hargrove’s full share.
I learned the healing power of a good bloody Mary and a dip in the Atlantic. I kayaked in the dead of night and witnessed the only shooting star I’ve ever seen. I fell in love on a bed made of pallets. I lived.
Life is deep. Dive in.
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My eyes didn’t open again until the moon was high in the sky. The breeze blew the sheet I’d wrapped over my shoulders off me. I stayed still for a few seconds, trying to recollect where I was and how I’d gotten there. I was too groggy to be scared. I just was. But I wasn’t sure who I was, or where I was. The first memory that came back was of him. My head rested atop his chest, and his arm was around my back.
“I’m right here. I was just about to wake you up.” He pulled me closer to him and I closed my eyes again, feeling safe in his arms. “We fell asleep.”
That little moan escaped my lips. The sound you made when you were asleep just inside the gates of heaven and nothing would drag you out. Jack squeezed my shoulders and ran his lips across my temple. The touch of his lips pulled me from sleep and delivered me right to him.
“What time is it?” I asked.
“I don’t know, but I think it’s late. We should go back.”
“But it’s perfect here.”
Jack ran his hand through my hair. He pushed it back off my shoulders with a light touch. “It is.” He pulled me on top of him, and suddenly, I was awake.
I lifted my head and faced him. I let my legs fall to his sides and sat up, straddling him. I could do this tonight. I could do Jack. I stared into his eyes and thought he was thinking the same thing, but the possibility of Mila sleeping in his bed tomorrow stopped me. I leaned over to climb off him, and he grabbed me and pulled me back.
“Nothing.” I smiled to hide everything I was thinking and moved next to him. “I think we should go back, too.”
“What happened?” Jack sat up next to me. His glare dove into me, opening me up and searching for the answers I’d never give him. “What changed in the last ten seconds?”
“Nothing. I swear. I just woke up.” I stood and found my flip-flops. “Let’s go back to the house.” My heart pounded against my bathing suit top. The throbbing crept up my neck and lodged in my throat. He was confusing me, and I hated him for it. “I need to go back.” Suddenly, the situation seemed urgent. He asked too many questions. He actually listened to the answers. He refused to let me hide and he was right here with me. I swallowed hard.
“Nora?” The moonlight shone on him. His beautiful chest was a stark contrast to the bewildered expression on his face.
“What? What do you want from me?”
“I want you.”
“Why? Because you can’t have me?”
“Is that what you think?” Jack stood and violently rolled the sheet into a ball. “You think you’re some acquisition?”
“Aren’t I? We’re at the beach. Isn’t everyone?”
“I don’t know.” He stood waiting for me to say something, but I had nothing to share. “Yeah. I guess. But that’s not why I want you.”
“You don’t even know me.”
“Whose fault is that?”
“Can we just go?” I pleaded with my eyes and the tone of my voice and the look of pure torture I knew was covering my face.
Jack stretched out his hand toward the dune, beckoning me to lead the way. He let out a frustrated sigh. “After you.”
I walked forward through the soft sand, taking deep breaths with every stride. By the time we reached our porch, I regretted every word that had come out of my mouth, including the initial acceptance of his offer to go to the beach. He was my roommate. I wasn’t going to have sex with him or anyone else in this house. I dropped my shells in the pile at the end of my bed with all the broken ones I’d found before.
I locked myself in the bathroom and tried to sort through my feelings. It wasn’t as easy as usual. They were layered on top of each other, and their uneven edges couldn’t be piled together perfectly. The people here were driving me crazy.
About the author: Eliza Freed graduated from Rutgers University and returned to her hometown in rural South Jersey. Her mother encouraged her to take some time and find herself. After three months of searching, she began to bounce checks and her neighbors began to talk; her mother told her to find a job.
She settled into Corporate America, learning systems and practices and the bureaucracy that slows them. Eliza quickly discovered her creativity and gift for story telling as a corporate trainer and spent years perfecting her presentation skills and studying diversity.
She currently lives in New Jersey with her family and a misbehaving beagle named Odin. An avid swimmer, if Eliza is not with her family and friends, she’d rather be underwater. While she enjoys many genres, she has always been a sucker for a love story…the more screwed up the better.
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