Image of a creepy cove covered in a green smoke, with yellow lettering that reads "Forgotten Cove," which is the first book in the Hailing Cove Series.

Forgotten Cove: Chapters 1 – 3 (Coming Fall 2023)

Book 1 of the Hailing Cove Series

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Forgotten Cove: Chapter 2

Wait and see my … “ahh!” Elle yelped as she fell backwards off the third rung of the ladder and onto the soft grass. She’d been staying with Grandma Rose for a little over a week now, and she’d yet to be surprised.

Instead, she and her grandma had gotten into a comfortable, yet boring, routine. Every morning Grandma Rose would give Elle a mile-long list of chores, which usually involved working in the garden until early afternoon. Then the two of them would head into town to buy groceries for dinner. Elle enjoyed Hailing Cove’s tourist filled streets, but her grandma said she wouldn’t appreciate it so much if she were a local. Probably a lot like living near Vegas, Elle thought.

The market her grandma took her to was a few blocks from the bustling downtown. It was a cozy little shop, filled to the brim with produce and pantry staples. Every day, she’d wait patiently while her grandma would carefully pick fruits and vegetables out of the store’s green-painted bins, feeling the melons for firmness and sniffing the tomatoes. “What do you think of this one?” Grandma Rose would ask.

“Looks good to me, Grandma,” she’d respond.

And then her grandma would chastise her for not paying attention and remark about how Jerry’s market had the best produce in town. “It’s far superior to the junk you get on Main Street.”

Duly noted, Elle would think to herself, and then the two of them would head back home where Grandma Rose would teach her to cook her favorite recipes, which, in all fairness, Elle actually kind of enjoyed.

Last night they made a tofu stir fry with broccoli, red peppers, and fresh herbs from the garden. Elle thought it was fine, but she wasn’t sure about the texture of the tofu yet. “Have you always been a vegetarian, Grandma Rose?” she’d asked.

“Only when I’m trying to commune with nature.”

What? Elle thought wrinkling her nose. Her grandma was so weird. But she just nodded her head like she understood.

Over dinner, Grandma Rose would talk and talk. She’d tell stories about Grimalkin, or Grim for short—her American shorthair cat with a shiny black coat and emerald green eyes who rarely left her side. But she’d also tell Elle about her mom’s childhood in Hailing Cove, and she loved to talk about her garden and the weather, which had been surprisingly perfect since Elle arrived.

She was a tiny lady with a kind face. She wore her dark, grey hair in a bun at the nape of her neck. It was quite long for a woman her age, but Grandma Rose often said, “do what makes you happy, not what makes others happy.” Elle liked her heedless attitude. Her grandma sort of reminded her of an older, curmudgeonly version of Sadie.  

After dinner the pair would sit in the living room together quietly while Elle read or wrote in her journal. Grandma Rose read too, but her brand of fiction was a bit too sophisticated for Elle’s taste. Books by authors Elle had never heard of lined the built in shelves on the largest wall in her grandmother’s oblong living room—Chinua Achebe, Shirley Jackson, Ousmane Sembene, and George Eliot—who, her grandma explained, was actually a woman.

But she also had a penchant for the likes of Stephen King and John Grisham, and she had a weird array of books that could only be described as “esoteric” tucked away in a corner. Titles like The Green Witch and In Defense of Witches, along with older books that smelled of must and looked like they could fall apart if touched too carelessly filled that section of her vast home library.

One day while Elle was rummaging through her grandma’s arcane collection, she’d eternally scared herself by pulling out a book called Sacred Sex: The Magick and Path of the Devine Erotic. She’d thrust the book back onto the shelf—dusting off her hands with the fervor of someone who’d just touched the most disgusting bug—and made a personal vow to erase it from her memory. I shall never think of this again, she’d thought.

Her grandma’s interesting taste in books aside, Elle liked their evening ritual. Sometimes they’d stay up until one of them fell asleep on the couch, like an unspoken competition neither of them asked to play. Grandma Rose had woken Elle up more times than she cared to admit in the last week, stroking her hair and gently telling her to “go on up to bed, child.”  

Elle didn’t mind her chores too much either. Grandma Rose had an expansive garden, and Elle enjoyed spending time in it. She was slowly learning how to care for the various plants, but there were so many. Everyday she’d see something new, a tiny flowering plant tucked away in a corner or a green leafy bush that had been right in front of her face the entire time. She had huge Hydrangeas, the size of trees, and the bluest Cornflowers Elle had ever seen. But she liked her grandma’s Lilacs and Honeysuckles the best. They filled the air with a sweet, bucolic scent that Elle could only describe at “summer.” It was one of the few things she remembered about Hailing Cove, and it made her feel nostalgic for fireflies at twilight or watching a summer cloudburst from the safety of her grandmother’s wrap around porch, eagerly waiting for it to pass, so she could return to playing in the yard.

She didn’t know how anyone could keep track of all those plants. But Grandma Rose would just smile and say, “they are my babies,” another comment that caused Elle to wrinkle her nose and think about how odd her grandma was.

Last Saturday they’d taken a trip to the nursery to buy some new plants to replace the few her grandma had lost over the winter. She’d let Elle pick out some pale-yellow popcorn roses to border the front of one of her many perennial beds. It was a nice trip to break up the monotony of their daily routine, and that was the day Elle realized she was starting to like Grandma Rose. Her mom had been right, she certainly wasn’t stinky. She was warm and happy, but she really wasn’t surprising. She was just an old lady.

Today Elle was up on the ladder pruning the new growth off Grandma Rose’s Crabapple Trees when she lost her balance. Now she found herself laying on her back in the soft grass.

Elle heard a guy’s voice coming from the yard next door. “Woah,” he said, as he ran over, extending his hand to help her up.

She squinted her eyes against the sun to find herself staring into a handsome, tanned face, framed by a mop of dusty blonde hair. She must have hit her head or something because she’d never seen anyone so hot. His dark blue eyes were unreal, the color of the sky at midnight. And he had to be at least six feet tall, sporting a loose-fitting sleeveless tee which accentuated his athletic build.

“Johnny Booger Nose?” she muttered under her breath, bewildered, as she took his hand to stand.

“Wow,” he chuckled, brushing his thick hair out of his face. “No one’s called me that in a while. It’s, uh, actually just John now… John Booger Nose.” He nodded matter-of-factly.

Elle laughed. More like John B. from the Outer Banks, she thought, but grimaced when she realized she’d accidentally said it aloud.

“What was that?” he asked, with an amused smile that suggested he might have actually heard what she’d said.

Oh my god, why am I so awkward? She though, managing to keep that one to herself. “I said, your look like Kurt Russell from The Thing,” she blurted out, saying the first, yet most benign, thing that came to her mind. Sure, Kurt Russell was a total heart throb, but that was in the 80s, so it didn’t count. Besides, she doubted he even knew what she was talking about.

“I love The Thing!” he said, suddenly excited.

“You do?”

“Yeah. Don’t you remember, your Grandma Rose let us watch it when I turned eight?”

Elle was perplexed. “I don’t know what’s weirder. The fact that I don’t remember that at all or that Grandma Rose let us watch The Thing when we were eight.”

Partial image of Forgotten Cove Book Cover surrounded by white background with black lettering that reads: Forgotten Cove. Start reading free online now. Coming Fall 2023. Join Elle as she uncomvers the mystery of her forgotten memories in the eerie town of Hailing Cove. Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy. Image available to Pin for later.

“Well, technically you were only like seven and a half, but anyway, I can’t believe you don’t remember. You were terrified,” he said. “You know Child’s was totally The Thing, right?”

“No way. I’ve seen that movie like a hundred times. It was Kurt Russell’s character, MacReady. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Why else would he give up at the end when he was so dead set on getting rid of The Thing for the entire movie?”

John shook his head. “We’ll have to agree to disagree here. It was 100% Childs.” He paused for a minute before reaching over her head, untangling a leaf from her hair and presenting it to her with a chuckle. “Here,” he said.

Elle laughed, dusting herself off and running her fingers through her dark curly hair, checking for any other stray leaves or dirt. She felt suddenly self-conscious. Johnny… John had grown up. He was tall, confident, and almost painfully good looking. He wasn’t the snot nosed kid she remembered.

 “Are you okay, by the way? That was a pretty mean fall.”

“Really?” she said.

“No. You fell like two feet,” he laughed. “But are you alright?”

Elle laughed, too, surprised by how well this was going. John seemed really great.

“Yeah … yeah,” Elle began, looking down at her legs, and once again, feeling self-conscious. Her fall had earned her a grass stain near the hem of her shorts and a few red marks on both her legs. “Nothing is hurt but my pride,” she answered as she continued excessively dusting herself off, suddenly not sure what to do with her hands.

I am an absolute mess, she thought, wanting to crawl into a hole. I just called one of the hottest guys I’ve ever seen “Johnny Booger Nose” and then “John B.” and then “Kurt Russell” while I’m standing here covered in stains and red splotches.

But John chimed in to save her from her self-deprecating inner monologue, “How long are you in Hailing Cove?”

“The whole summer,” she nodded, drawing out the word “whole” to express her displeasure.

“Come on. It’s not that bad,” he smiled confidently. “Maybe Grandma Rose will let you watch The Thing while you’re here.

Hot and funny, she thought. “I still can’t get over that.”

John looked at his watch. “Hey, I gotta go, but what are you doing tonight?”

Elle shrugged.

“There’s a bonfire tonight at the beach. Me and some of my friends and my girlfriend are going down. You should come.”

Girlfriend? Of course. Just when I was thinking this summer might be okay.

“Eh. I don’t kno—”

John cut her off, “Come on Elle. What are you going to do? Read all night? Still a book worm?” His words were said with nothing but kindness and a little friendly teasing.

“I am in fact. Yep. Very proud of that.” Elle laughed, joining in on the jest. “Wait. You remembered that about me?”

“Of course I did. I remember you Elle Wildes.”

Elle blushed despite herself. “Okay. Twist my arm?”

“Great. I’ll pick you up at 8:00.”

“Can’t wait,” Elle said uncertainly. Watching him walk back towards his yard, before turning and beginning to berate herself internally. Why had she just agreed to that? What, was she going to do, third wheel it with John and his girlfriend all night?

Elle fished her phone out of her back pocket as she walked back toward her grandma’s house. She shot off a quick text to Sadie. “Update. My grandma’s disgusting neighbor—totally hot. Like the hottest guy I’ve ever seen in real life. But he has a girlfriend, and I just agreed to third wheel it with them at a bonfire tonight. I’m cancelling.”

“Don’t!” Sadie responded quickly. “You are going to this bonfire. You don’t want to the spend the summer like some sort of octogenarian, hanging out with your grandma. You’ve got to meet people.”

Elle wasn’t sure what octogenarian meant, but she just rolled her eyes and sighed reluctantly. “I know you’re right, but this is going to seriously suck,” she responded, before tucking her phone into her pocket.

As she approached the back porch, she noticed Grandma Rose sitting there, tucked into the corner of a rustic wooden bench that was covered in overstuffed cushions. Grim’s head peeked out of the pillow and lazily onto her lap. He was an indoor cat, but he was always by her side and never missed an opportunity to sit outside with her, though he didn’t leave the confines of the porch. They both looked like they were about to be swallowed up by the oversized pillows. It was kind of cute.

“Well, I see you ran into John.” Grandma Rose said as Elle stepped onto the porch.

“I sure did, Grandma Rose.”

“Come.” She motioned her over. “Sit with me for a minute. I just made this pitcher of lemonade, and I need someone to help me drink it.”

Elle laughed politely, taking a seat next to her on the wooden bench and reaching over to accept the glass of lemonade her grandma just poured.

“So tell me, what did you two talk about?”

“He invited me to a bonfire with him and his friends, but I think I’m going to cancel,” she said as she wiped away the cool water that was already sweating off her glass and dripping onto her leg. It was another beautiful day in Hailing Cove. The late spring air was flushed with humidity, but the shade of her grandmother’s porch offered a respite from the heat of the afternoon sun, and a slow breeze carried the scent of her grandma’s Lilacs and fresh cut grass.

“Why on earth would you do that, dear? You should get out there and meet some kids your own age.”

“You sound just like my best friend, Sadie.” Elle considered her grandma’s words for a moment, before continuing, “would it be okay if I went?”

“Of course, honey. Just be home before the witching hour.”

“What?” Elle said, looking at her grandma quizzically.

“Midnight, dear.”

Grandma Rose, you are so weird, she thought before responding, “no problem.”
Then a thought occurred to her as she watched a black bird systematically peck at the water in her grandmother’s stone bird bath. “Hey, Grandma?”

“Hmmm?” Her grandma nodded, looking toward the garden with a content smile on her face. Elle followed her gaze. It sure was beautiful. The fragrant Viburnums were coming into bloom, and flecks of purple and blue from the climbing clematis broke up the various shades of green and white sprinkled throughout the garden.

“How do you keep up your garden so well when I’m not here?”

“Now, now, Elle. An old woman never tells her secrets.” Grandma Rose smiled with a twinkle in her eye. “Now get upstairs and get ready for your date.”

Elle rose and kissed her grandma on the cheek. This summer might not be so bad after all. “It’s not a date, Grandma,” she called over her shoulder.