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Falling for the Innkeeper

By Meghann Whistler

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Jonathan Masters pulled up in front of The Sea Glass Inn, turned off his GPS and sighed. How had he gotten himself into this? He really didn’t want to intrude on a single mother and her young daughter right at dinnertime.

A sixth-year associate at Meyers, Suben & Roe, the top corporate law firm in Boston, Jonathan had left work early to drive to the sleepy Cape Cod town of Wychmere Bay to take care of some new business. This little inn wasn’t the new business, of course, but if he could ensure that Carberry Hotels acquired this prime piece of beachfront property, there was a good shot that the luxury hotel chain would hire Jonathan’s firm for all its legal needs.

And if Jonathan wanted to make partner, as his mentor, Mike Roe, had told him just a few nights ago, he needed to prove he was a closer.

“You’re smart, Masters,” Mike had said, “and a hard worker, but frankly, if that’s all you’ve got, you’re a dime a dozen.”

Although Jonathan generally took criticism well, that had hurt. In his experience, hard work always paid off. It’s what had earned him a scholarship to college and what had gotten him into Harvard Law. The idea that it might not be enough to get him a partnership was simply…unacceptable.

So, if Mike wanted him to bring in new business, Jonathan would bring in new business. Maybe he wasn’t particularly slick or practiced at glad-handing, but if that’s what it would take to earn a partnership, he’d learn. He had to.

He stepped out of the car and looked at the little inn. It was two stories high with gray cedar shingles, black window shutters and a hand-painted sign with its name—The Sea Glass Inn—hanging from a wooden post out front. In other words, quintessential Cape Cod.

The inn’s location couldn’t be better. It sat at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, nestled behind the dunes of a sweeping, white-sand beach on Nantucket Sound. Rosebushes grew haphazardly around the split rail cedar fence that surrounded the property. In the distance, a flash of green light shone from the lighthouse at the mouth of the nearby harbor. The sound of the surf crashing against the sand was soothing. Aside from a few walks around Boston Harbor in his rare free time, Jonathan had never spent much time by the sea.

He adjusted his tie and cuff links, the expensive ones he wore when he wanted to impress. Not that he expected a single mother to even notice his wardrobe. But it was like his battle armor. Look the part, play the part. Get. It. Done.

There were lights on inside the inn, which was a good sign. He left his suitcase in the car, took a deep breath, walked up the brick-lined path to the front door and knocked.

Almost immediately, the door swung open onto a deserted sitting room with a unique sea glass chandelier, and Jonathan was baffled for a split second until he glanced down and saw a dark-haired slip of a girl with a mischievous smile and gigantic green eyes. She was wearing white tights with purple stars, a pink tutu and—of all things—an itty-bitty Red Sox jersey. Plus, she was holding a couple of crumpled twenty-dollar bills in her hand.

Her big eyes went bigger as she focused on his face. “You’re not the pizza man,” she said, her words betraying just a tiny hint of a lisp.

“Nope.” He grinned and crouched down so he was eye level with her. “Not the pizza man.” He peered into the room behind her. “Is your mom around?”

“Emma, honey!” a woman called out, pushing her way through a set of swinging doors into the room. “I told you not to—” She stopped abruptly when she caught sight of Jonathan.

Although he was certain they’d never met—he’d have remembered a face like hers—the sense of familiarity he felt upon looking into her soft green eyes was jarring. Her clear, heart-shaped face was framed by thick dark hair that tumbled over her shoulders and down her back in waves. She was slender and dressed casually in jeans and a Red Sox sweatshirt. Although she had hardly a lick of makeup on her face, he was still almost dazzled by how beautiful she was.

He gave his head a small shake—don’t be an idiot!—straightened up and offered his hand. “Hi, I’m Jonathan Masters with Meyers, Suben & Roe. I spoke with your mother, Eleanor, earlier about staying here for a few days while we work out the terms of the deal.”

“You spoke with my mother…about a deal…?” The green-eyed beauty made no move to come closer and shake his hand.

Oh, man, Jonathan thought ruefully. He’d gotten the sense during his meeting with Eleanor Lessoway, this woman’s mother, that Eleanor might be a little flaky—rich, but flaky—but this was taking flakiness to new heights. He wasn’t just intruding on this woman and her daughter; he was ambushing them. And he didn’t like it one bit.

“Mommy, he’s wearing clothes like Daddy’s!” The little girl’s voice was filled with excitement.

“Emma, shh.” The woman stepped forward and put a hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “Why don’t you go in the dining room with Aunt Chloe?”

“But he looks just like Daddy!” The girl peered up at Jonathan. “Do you know my dad?”

He shook his head. “I’m sorry. I don’t think so, kiddo.”

She pushed her lower lip out in a clear pout. It was adorable, and he had to fight to keep a straight face.

“Go in the dining room with Aunt Chloe,” her mom ordered, giving her a gentle push in the right direction. After one last piteous look at Jonathan, the girl scampered off.

The woman shot Jonathan an apologetic look. “I’m sorry. Her father wears suits. She only sees him a couple times a year on video chat.”

“Don’t worry about it.” He smiled at her, hoping to put her at ease. “I didn’t catch your name.”


“Laura,” he repeated. “It’s nice to meet you, Laura.” This time, when he held out his hand, she shook it, her soft hand warm and delicate in his. He was struck again by how beautiful she was.

“So, you spoke with my mother? About some kind of deal?”

“Just a small legal matter,” he said, once again trying to ease her mind.

“A legal matter?” Laura repeated. “Is this about the will?”

Jonathan knew that Eleanor and her daughter had just inherited The Sea Glass Inn from Eleanor’s recently deceased mother, but he hadn’t actually seen a copy of the will. He and Eleanor had simply talked about what kind of offer Carberry Hotels might be prepared to make on the property. “Nothing like that. I have a client—a potential client—who’s interested in buying this place.”

“You’re a real estate agent?” She sounded skeptical.

He gave her a lopsided grin. “Worse. A lawyer.”

Her gaze frosted over. “This inn’s not for sale.”

“Your mother led me to believe otherwise. She invited me to stay for a few days while we work out the terms of the deal.”

Laura threw her hands in the air. “She’s not even here! She’s still in Boston!”

A second woman, a short, sloe-eyed blonde in ripped jeans and a polka-dot blouse, poked her head into the room. “What’s going on out here?”

“Nothing,” Laura said. “Mr. Masters was just leaving.”

“What? No, I—”

But Laura’s hands were on his shoulders, and she literally pushed him out the door. “Sorry we can’t help you,” she said, not sounding sorry at all. “Goodbye.”

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