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Book 1 in the Serenity Cove Series
Kaleidoscope Summer
Rita Garcia

 *Note: Samantha is deaf, and Goldie is her hearing dog.



       For almost thirty years, I perceived my emotional house as secure as a home built with brick. Sadly, not unlike the story of The Three Little Pigs, when the wolf showed up at my door and huffed and puffed, my emotional house came tumbling down—the bricks nothing more than mere straw. ~ Journal entry

       My world had turned chaotic a few months before my accident. Nothing in my experiences prepared me for this upheaval in my life. Prayers for guidance met with only silence. Insecurity raged, leaving my emotions shredded, similar to climbing a steep mountain without a rope and ending up gripping rock with bare hands.

       Goldie brushed her paw against my knee—her way of alerting me someone had entered the room. The physician’s assistant strode through the door. A scent of efficiency followed her.

       “Good morning. Glad to see you’re up and sitting in a chair.” Evelyn flipped open my chart and removed a pen from the pocket of her lab coat, her legs bare down to her stylish high heel shoes. My toes clenched at the thought of how her feet must throb by the end of the day. 

       “Incredible view.” I nodded toward the window. A peaceful location for a hospital room? Watching the waves tease the shore earlier, I had faded into my thoughts. Logan had invaded those musings. I resisted the inclination to fantasize. There wasn’t room in my life for a man until I found me. Besides, I was in Serenity Cove to wrap up my birth mother’s estate. 

       I tossed my reflections aside as Evelyn secured the blood pressure cuff around my arm. “The hospital has a great patio. It’s a pretty spot for lunch or to relax with a good book. There’s usually staff or other patients to keep you company. Although I see you have an adorable companion.” She pulled a treat from her pocket and offered it to Goldie. “Compliments of Thelma.”

       She smiled and took my temperature with an ear thermometer. I thought back to when I was a teenager—I’d hoped and prayed the device held some kind of magical healing properties.

       “Temperature’s normal—good. Any dizziness or nausea?”

       “None. Other than pain in my ribs, I feel great.” 

       “Doc wants to monitor your concussion for a few days. You don’t want to be alone and have a problem.” She stopped making notations on the chart and glanced toward the door. I followed her gaze to a woman, the hem of her soft, paisley sundress swirling about her ankles. I watched, waiting for her to speak. Did she have the wrong room?

       “Good morning.” Her lips stretched as she punctuated morning with an open smile—a cheerful greeting must have chimed through the air. Her copper-colored curls bounced as she waltzed on into the room. She reached between the handles of the bag she carried and plopped the contents on the bed. “I hope these are the right size. I asked Logan, but he’s clueless about such things.” She rolled her eyes.

       She greeted Evelyn with a quick hug and moved closer to my chair. The gilded specks in her intensely green eyes lit with a sparkle. “I’m Maggie Delatorre, Logan’s sister. He says…place…few days.”

       I accepted her outstretched hand, returning her smile. “I’m Samantha Forrester—my friends call me Sam.” I adored her flamboyant personality. “I’m deaf, but if you speak a little slower, I can lip-read.”   

       “Will do.” She made eye contact. “According to Logan, you need a place to stay for a few days.” 

       Evelyn finished making notations on my chart and flipped it closed. “I’ll be back in a few. If you need anything, let me know.”

       It took a minute after Evelyn left the room before I could string together words in response to Maggie’s suggestion. I hadn’t made the connection when Logan told me his name, but my birth mom had mentioned Maggie in several of her emails. My head felt swimmy—from the concussion or confusion. I wasn’t sure.

       Anne had mentioned in her emails that Maggie’s family was a part of the town’s history, with ancestors who played a role in Serenity Cove becoming what it is today. How would they react when they learned I was Anne’s daughter? By a force of will, I focused my attention back to Maggie to quiet the words churning in my head. “I don’t want to impose. I’m fine right here.”

       “No imposition. We’ll be great friends. You’re as sweet as my brother said.” She unfolded the garments. “I’ll go chat with Thelma while you get dressed.” I nodded, and she left as quickly as she had arrived. 

       So, Logan thought I was pretty and sweet. Strange I felt God’s peace—sure hoped it was His peace and not a free pass to go direct to disaster.

       The checkout process went faster than I expected. I love these small towns. Soon after, we cruised along a stretch of coastal road, although the sign read Shoreview Drive. Maggie suddenly pulled onto the shoulder of the road and pushed a button, allowing the canvas top on her red convertible to disappear into the trunk. With the top down, the scenery was even more serene and inviting.

       I checked on Goldie in the back seat, though she would never jump from an open car. By the look on her little canine face, she was enjoying the wind whipping through the car. The bright sun sparkling on the crystal-capped waves caught my attention. I whispered a silent thankfulness, though apprehension still nagged my insides. How would the next few hours unfold?

       Maggie touched my arm, gesturing to a house facing the sea. The wind blew her coppery curls forward, making it difficult to catch her words. She tucked her hair behind her ear. “There’s home. See the Victorian lady?” She pointed. “She’s graced that hill for many years. Christened Lady in White by my great-grandmother.”

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