The Seaside Café by Rochelle Alers (The Book Club #1)
English | 2020 | Romance | ePUB | 3.1 MB
Set on breathtaking Coates Island, off the coast of North Carolina, bestselling author Rochelle Alers’ new series debut brings together three book-loving women whose summer will offer a chance to rewrite their own stories . . .
For three decades, the Seaside Café has served delicious meals to locals and island tourists alike. Kayana Johnson has moved home to help her brother run the café-and to nurse her wounds following a deep betrayal. Between cooking favorite recipes-creole chicken with buttermilk waffles, her grandmother’s famous mac and cheese-and spending time reading, Kayana is trying to embrace a life free of entanglements, while staying open to new connections . . .
After striking up conversation with two customers, Kayana suggests a summer book club. Each week, they’ll meet on the patio to talk about their favorite novels. But there are plot twists awaiting them in real life too. For schoolteacher Leah, this two-month sojourn is the first taste of freedom she’s had in her unhappy marriage. Cherie, filled with regret about her long-term affair with a married politician, discovers a powerful new passion. And Kayana finds a kindred spirit in a reclusive visitor who’s ready to make his true identity known, and fill this summer with new possibilities . . .
Kayana Johnson groaned when she heard her cellphone’s alarm go off at 4:00 a.m. It was the beginning of the tourist season, and she’d slept restlessly throughout the night. Once again, she had been plagued with the dream where she’d grabbed a large kitchen knife and stabbed her husband until he lay with lifeless, unseeing eyes staring up at the ceiling. It was only when she realized he was no longer breathing that she’d calmly walked over to the sink and washed the blood off her hands before calling the police. Afterward, she had sat down at the table and waited for them to come and arrest her. Kayana quickly sat up, as if jerked by a wire attached to the top of her head. It wasn’t a dream but a nightmare, one she’d had over and over since her divorce. As a counselor, she knew she had to let go of the demons that had plagued her relentlessly; however, forgiveness was slow, much too slow in coming for her emotional healing. Sweeping back the sheet and lightweight blanket, Kayana swung her legs over the side of the bed and walked to the minuscule bathroom in the two-bedroom apartment above the restaurant that had been in her family for more than three decades. The Seaside Café had become her sanctuary, a place where she now felt most at home. As a young girl, after classes were over, on weekends, and during the summer months, she’d watched her mother and grandmother concoct the dishes that had made the restaurant a popular dining spot with locals and vacationers alike. Located on Coates Island, North Carolina, several miles south of Wrightsville Beach, the Café, as the locals called it, offered panoramic views of the dunes, the beach, and the Atlantic Ocean whether one was seated inside or on the screened-in patio. The island boasted a population of a little more than four hundred permanent residents, but that number swelled to more than a thousand during the spring and summer, when bungalows, boardinghouses, and several bed-and-breakfasts were filled with singles, couples, and families who returned year after year. A decade ago, a developer had purchased several tracts to build twenty one-bedroom condos. After ongoing protests from residents, he was approved to construct ten two-bedroom units. Vacationers were given bumper stickers to park personal vehicles in designated lots, because from late May to Labor Day, their cars were not permitted on any road on the two-mile island. Tourists were able to get around by walking or on bicycles or local jitneys, unlike locals, whose bumpers were stamped with a large red R and their license plate number. Local deliveries were exempt from the vehicular restrictions. Her Grandma Cassie was gone, and her mother had relocated to Florida, to help take care of her grandchildren. Kayana’s brother-in-law had had an epiphany after ten years of marriage and suddenly decided he’d wanted to be single again. Kayana didn’t know what it was about the Johnson sisters, but their marriages had imploded within three months of the other, and she wondered if the brothers-in-law had been engaged in a conspiracy to rid themselves of their wives.