General Release Date: 25th May 2021
Word Count: 76,038
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
GENRES: CHICK LIT, CONTEMPORARY, ROMANCE, SWEET ROMANCE
Time heals some wounds.
The first time Lyla Savoie Kenney found love—boundless, passionate love—it wasn’t with a person but a place. She found deep-rooted endearment there, and in keeping with tradition, it caused her first real heartbreak too.
Lyla grew up on the beaches at Begoa’s Point, a campground she and her father visited each summer for seventeen years. She spent each non-summer month counting down the days until she could return, until going back was no longer an option. Begoa’s Point closed with no explanation.
Fifteen years later, now a widowed mother with a child of her own, Begoa’s Point is reopening its doors. Lyla is surprised when she is abruptly moved off the waiting list and given a reservation at the camp, but even more surprising is what she finds when she arrives.
Weston Accardi, the first boy Lyla ever gave her heart to, is the proud new owner of the Begoa’s property. He has changed—and not just because a prosthetic leg now exists where a natural limb once did. He is no longer the carefree rebel he used to be but has grown into a responsible businessman.
Their past, however, refuses to remain such, cycling back to smother the fire they’ve tried so hard to rebuild since her arrival to the reopened campground.
The campground was quiet. Not silent, but quiet. Silence on the grounds was a rarity. Birds chirped and critters snapped twigs and crunched leaves as they ran through the abundant foliage, sounding off their small, happy-to-be-out-of-hibernation squeaks. The fire Weston Accardi kept lit continuously, day and night, crackled and popped as it chewed into the pieces of wood he fed it.
Soon the soundtrack of the campground would transform from its current nature-inspired sounds to a blend of noises that belonged to the incoming camping families. Children would run and play, shrieking at decibels specific to summertime. Their laughter and yells would echo through the plush pine trees as parents unpacked the camping gear and essentials from the overloaded trucks to prepare the site that they would call home for the duration of their stay. Music—both played through Bluetooth speakers and strummed on old guitars—would travel from the dirt driveways beneath each RV and become one with cloudless blue sky above.
Each currently bare site would have a tent or RV secured on it, and every available rental trailer or cottage would have people occupying them. Every single one, Weston thought as he thumbed through countless pages of reservations. He’d requested the bookings be printed and delivered to the site he’d claimed as ‘The Owner’s Headquarters’ during the off-season renovations. The rest of the employees had WiFi access within the offices and laptops or tablets to view the information and spreadsheets, but Weston found nostalgic peace of mind by holding the printed reservations in his hand the exact way his father before him had done while sitting in the very same chair. A half-grin slid onto Weston’s cheeks. He was pleased with the turnout of reservations for the grand reopening of Begoa’s Point Family Campground. His father would have been too, had he been alive to see it.
Weston tucked the most recent reservation listings into the worn-out openings of the accordion-style folder and tossed it inside the door of his RV, which was situated in a wooded area well away from the hustle and bustle of the main grounds. When his parents had owned the campground more than fifteen years before, they had chosen a site at the center of the grounds directly within earshot of anything and everything going on within their property’s perimeter. They’d preferred it that way—involved, hands-on. In many ways, Weston liked that too, maintaining full control, but when the sun went down, he preferred a hushed space to retreat to in order to separate himself from his work and enjoy the serene nature that surrounded him.
“Achilles.” Weston followed the call with a quick, wet-lipped whistle and a pat of his palm against the thigh of his cargo shorts. He grabbed a leather leash from the picnic table with a clink as the metal clasp sounded against the tabletop. The dog’s ears perked up like antennas receiving a signal. His tail picked up speed, wagging in long, swift motions that swept the sand off the patio mat that covered the land just outside the RV. “Want to go on a run?”
The dog leaped from the shaded dirt area he could usually be found in—a spot he’d claimed to hide away in from Maine’s hot summer rays. He darted toward his owner and pushed his large head into Weston’s hips with a force that almost knocked him over.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” Weston used his palm to ruffle the fur between the German Shepherd’s ears. Achilles bounded around in circles with an impressive agility comparable to that of a show dog. With his energy and antics, no one would guess he was missing part of his hind leg. Then again, like pup, like owner. Most people hardly noticed that Weston was an amputee as well. He was a man who ran multiple miles per day, every day, with his dog stuck to his side. He walked all over the campground and was hardly ever seen in a golf cart unless there was an emergency that he needed to handle sooner rather than later. He maneuvered around using his left leg prosthetic as if it were his own natural limb.
Weston stretched out his back and his existing leg before clipping the dog’s leash around his waist. The dog usually ran free, but the leash stayed on Weston’s person in case the need arose for him to use it. Weston took off down the winding dirt path into a long trail of cookie-cutter cottages—empty now but soon to be filled with families ready to embark on their summer camping adventures. There would be some newcomers, but most of the reservation list was composed of returning families from his parents’ time of owning and operating the same campground prior to its untimely closure.
He and Achilles ran uphill, turning a corner to jog past the recently updated tennis and basketball courts, as well as a newly renovated shower and bath house. A custodial worker waved as Weston came around the bend of the road and jogged past.
“Good morning, Larry!” Weston called. Larry tipped his hat in Weston’s direction. Weston had made it a point to learn the name of every employee—a rule of his father’s that he’d inherited and valued. He continued his journey down the pathway toward the beachfront bar and restaurant, stopping where Mark Jenson was readying the place for the upcoming grand reopening. The outdoor bar itself was a new addition, built while the cabins and sites were being remodeled, but Mark was an original employee. A longtime friend of Weston’s father, Mark had run the bar and restaurant during Begoa’s Point’s first run and had agreed to come back to manage the new facility.
“Morning, boss.” Mark moved large boxes of glasses from the ground to the bar top as the sun beat down on the tiki-themed hut while he worked. He wiped his brow on his forearm. His sweat-soaked shirt clung to his skin at his chest and back. “What are we having today?”
“The usual will be fine.” Weston slowed and came to a full stop. Achilles followed suit, coming to a halt, then lying down in the small bit of shade the bar provided.
Mark grabbed a silver bowl from a below-bar cabinet and filled it with water before stepping out from the service area and coming around the bar to serve it to Begoa’s Point’s most prominent VIP. Mark stayed on one knee for a moment, scratching below the dog’s chin. Achilles stood and started lapping water from the bowl, leaving more water on the ground in a messy puddle than he’d swallowed.
Mark returned to his position behind the counter, filled a cup with ice and water and slid it across the bar into Weston’s hand.
“Where are you headed to today?” Mark leaned into the bar.
“All over the grounds, I think. The usual path.” Weston paused to take a sip of the ice-cold water. “At least as far as the marina. I just want to make sure everything is ready to go for the opening.”
“That’s what you said yesterday.” Mark raised an eyebrow. “Then again, it’s what you will probably say tomorrow and the day after that too.”
“I like to be prepared.” Weston sent his now-empty plastic cup back across the bar.
“You will be. You are your father’s son, after all. I wouldn’t expect anything less.”
Weston looked at Mark, analyzing the new lines that sank into his skin, but other than a few signs of aging, Mark looked almost the same as he had when Weston’s parents had owned the campground before its closure, leaving Mark and many others without a job.
“Thank you for coming back, Mark. This place wouldn’t be the same without you, even after all these years. I’m sorry we ever put you out of a job in the first place.” Weston turned his eyes downward in sadness.
“It’s not your fault, Weston—”
“It is, actually,” Weston interrupted, adjusting his ballcap, with his gaze still glued to the floor. He watched the dog, if for no other reason than to avoid Mark’s eyes. “You know it and so do I.”
“It’s not. You knock that off right now.” Mark’s voice teetered on scolding, and he wagged one aging finger in Weston’s direction. “You know that your dad used to come down to the old bar every night for last call. Every night. He sat on the same barstool each time, and you know what he told me?”
Weston shook his head. He had been only seventeen when his parent’s ownership had come to an end, so he’d not reached the legal drinking age where he could spend those waning nighttime hours with his dad, occupying Mark’s bar stools. His ‘no’ wasn’t an entirely honest answer to Mark’s question, however. He knew what Mark was going to say—what his dad had used to say—but he wanted to hear it. If he couldn’t hear it from his own father, Mark’s affirmation was the next best thing.
“He said it was his dream to see you run this place. So maybe it didn’t happen as he’d expected, but it’s happening, and you should be proud of that. You’re not a kid anymore, Weston. You’ve grown and should be so proud of who you’ve become. Your father would be.”
“I remember that. He used to come down here every night but never had a sip of alcohol.” Weston smiled at the seemingly small memories of his father, but they were anything but insignificant. They were everything.
“I remember watching you run around these grounds, from learning to walk all the way to chasing after the girls on the beach in your teenage years.” Mark continued to speak, but Weston’s mind was elsewhere, time-traveling down a winding path to his childhood.
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About the Author
When it comes to romance, L A doesn’t have a type. Sometimes it’s dark and devastating, sometimes it’s soft and simple – truly, it just depends what her imaginary friends are doing at the time she starts writing about them.
L A has moved to various parts of the country over the last ten years but her heart has never left Boston.
And no, the “A” does not stand for Anne.
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