Read for free online. Bookmark this page to read later, and follow my Amazon Author Page for updates!
Book 1 of the Hailing Cove Series
Forgotten Cove: Chapter 1
When Elle’s mom broke the news that she’d be sending Elle to Hailing Cove for the entire summer, she wanted to scream “I hate you.” But she knew that wasn’t true. She didn’t hate her mom. So instead, in a voice that was far whinier than she intended, Elle said, “but I don’t want to spend the summer with Grandma Rose and Johnny Booger Nose!”
Johnny booger nose, or Johnny for short, was her grandmother’s next-door neighbor and the grossest little boy Elle had ever met. He threw mud bombs across the yard at her and was always playing with bugs or doing other disgusting little boy things. She shuddered at the thought of spending an entire summer next door to that whiny brat.
“Honey, you haven’t seen Johnny Foster since you were nine. I’m sure he’s grown up and cleaned his nose since then,” her mother snickered.
“It’s not funny mom, and that’s my point exactly. It’s the summer before my sophomore year of high school. I want to spend it with my friends, with Sadie. How can you do this to me?” Elle fell back on her bed defeated, her dark curly hair piled comically around her face as she tried to disappear into her pink, fluffy comforter. Maybe if she just stayed like this for a while, completely still, her mom would forget about her and let her spend her summer in Henderson, where she belonged, instead of moving her across the country to Hailing Cove, which was literally the most boring place in the U.S.
“Don’t you think you’re being a little dramatic?” her mom said, standing over her bed and looking down at Elle, not a strand of her dark brown hair out of place on her perfectly coifed pixie cut. Claire Wildes—A.K.A. her mom—joined the ranks of Halle Barry and Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby in pulling off that hairstyle. Of course she could though, Elle thought. Her mom was nothing short of stunning. Her high cheek bones and distinctive, yet feminine, chin contrasted with Elle’s round face and less prominent features.
Elle shook her head almost imperceptibly before remembering her plan to stay still and blend into her comforter.
Her mom put her hand on her hip—unintentionally showing off her slender arms, the very same ones that made her look like she spent hours in the gym everyday—and glared down at her, cocking her head to the side.
“Oh no,” Elle said, deciding to abandon her plan to disappear, instead, sliding off the bed and onto the carpeted floor beneath her. “She’s affected the power pose. She means business now.” Despite her joke, Elle felt the energy draining out of her. She knew she’d lost the argument before it even began. That’s what being a teenager was like, having others make decisions for you.
“Okay. Come on, get up,” her mom said, helping her off the floor and taking a seat next to her on the bed, before putting her arm around her. “I’m sorry. I want you here this summer too, but I’ll be traveling non-stop for work. I can’t leave you all alone.”
“But I’m almost sixteen.” Elle looked hopefully into her mom’s brown eyes, but gave up when she saw the look on her face. She was technically only fifteen and one quarter anyway. “I know… I know,” she said, stuffing her head into the crook of her mother’s arm trying to hide her tears.
Ever since Elle’s dad had unexpectedly died last year, her mom worked more than ever, picking up extra shifts, and now she was expected to travel all summer. She should just get a new job, Elle thought unrealistically, but she secretly worried about what would happen when the school year started up again next fall. Elle decided not to question it, though. Her mom had enough on her plate. And even though she put on a happy face, Elle knew she was still grieving the loss of her husband, Elle’s father.
Elle didn’t want to be away from her mom for an entire summer, and she felt sick about the idea of spending that time in Hailing Cove, the place where her mom had grown up and where her awful grandma and that disgusting little boy lived. She had few memories from the sleepy little town, but she knew she didn’t like it.
Elle sniffled, “I just want to be here with you and my friends and not with stinky Grandma Rose.”
Elle’s mom failed to stifle her laugh, “I can promise you that Grandma Rose doesn’t smell. And besides, now that you are getting a little older, I think it’s time you got to know your grandmother better. She might surprise you.”
Elle’s mom patted her on the back. “Wait and see, honey. Wait and see.”
* * *
“I’m going to Hailing Cove for the summer.” Elle shot off a text to her best friend Sadie. She’d known Sadie since they were ten, and she dreaded the idea of being away from her for so long. No one else understood her like Sadie. The two of them liked all the same things—except for that one weird summer when Sadie got really into the healing properties of crystals and psychedelic harem pants. She spent the entire summer burning incense and only listening to the Beatles’ “most experimental jams.”
But other than that, they were totally in sync, sharing a love for writing, old horror movies, and reading. But whereas Elle preferred to get lost in a good novel, favoring the make believe, Sadie only read nonfiction, which made sense since she was a precocious child who’d grown into a teenager wise beyond her years and the product of her academic parents. Her dad taught some sort of highfalutin college course called the Archeology of Rituals and Magic—which, Sadie, the eternal skeptic, said she still wasn’t convinced was a real class—and Meron, her self-absorbed stepmom, was a faculty member at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. When she was awarded tenure, Sadie had described it as “failing upwards.”
“What the hell is Hailing Cove?” she responded.
“It’s the place my mom grew up, where my Grandma Rose lives. Remember?”
“Oh yeah. That dump.”
Elle laughed. She pictured Sadie incessantly twirling her dark blond hair around her finger and blowing a massive cotton candy flavored bubble from her stash of Bubble Yum. Her two worst habits, Elle thought, but that was about the only thing she could fault her for—neurotically twisting her own hair into a frayed, matted knot and having a serious addiction to bubble gum. Aside from that, she was pretty much perfect.
“Lol. That’s the one,” she wrote back. “I’m doomed to spend the entire summer with my grandma and her gross neighbor instead of driving to the lake in Liam’s convertible.”
“He’s a player anyway. It’s gross if you think about it.”
Elle knew her friend was right, but anything was better than Hailing Cove. And she couldn’t forget that kiss or the way he smelled, clean and smokey, but not in a ‘he doused himself in cologne’ type of way. It was a light smell, like ‘he took frequent showers and used expensive soap’ sort of scent. Sadie had dismissed it as a product of America’s obsession with cleanliness and purity culture. “Our acceptance of the patriarchy coming to roost,” she’d said. But Elle just thought he smelled nice, and when he kissed her, she seriously saw fireworks. She sat there for a moment, lost in her thoughts, daydreaming for the 864th time about that one, single kiss. But her phone dinged, interrupting her reverie.
“And don’t even start going on about your kiss with Liam. Sure, it’s great until he wants more. Seriously, Elle. He’s a chauvinist. He’s not a good guy.”
Elle scrunched her face, brushing her dark curly hair to one side. That was Sadie for you, the consummate cynic, but she was totally right. Elle had no intention of going past first base with Liam, and he wasn’t the kind of guy to wait around. He’d ditch Elle the minute he realized it was never going to happen.
She sighed, typing back, “you’re 100% right, but the decision is out of my hands anyway because I’ll be spending my summer in hell.”
“I don’t relish the idea of spending the summer without you, but it can’t possibly be as bad as hell.”
She rolled her eyes at the word “relish.” Sadie always sounded like a 90-year-old. Her vocabulary was insane, but her best friend’s pretentious-sounding diction was one the of the things she loved about her.
“I’d seriously rather watch Claire Wildes sweat it out to Maroon 5 music videos while thirsting over Adam Levine and whatever other mom rock star is her flavor of the month than visit Hailing Cove this summer.”
“She’s gotta maintain those guns somehow. But who knows. It might not be that bad. Maybe you can introduce Grandma Rose to Dawn of the Dead.”
Elle laughed out loud at the thought of watching horror movies with her grandma. “We’ll see. My mom told me to ‘wait and see.’ She thinks my grandma is going to surprise me.”
“Lol” was all Sadie had to say about that. Elle laid her phone on the bed and got up to start packing.