Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1Madeline Chester retrieved her nine-month-old son Thomas from his crib and checked her watch. She was due at the hotel for the morning housekeeping shift in fifteen minutes. After a diaper change, she handed Thomas his bottle, grateful that he could now hold it himself.
He let out a squeal of delight that drew a smile from Maddie.
“You like that, huh, buddy?”
His pudgy legs bounced about on either side of her hips, and she tightened her hold on him while attempting to tame his soft blond hair. She grabbed the diaper bag, the tote she took to work, retrieved her lunch from the refrigerator and headed out the door. Across the yard, she entered her sister’s house through the screen door on the back deck.
“Morning,” she called out.
“In here,” Tiffany said from the living room where she sat amid three babies and a variety of toys. One of the babies was her daughter, Ashleigh, born just a month before Thomas. The other two Tiffany cared for as part of her in-home daycare business.
Maddie kissed Thomas, whispered that she loved him and plopped him down on the mat with the others. “I’m running late as usual.”
“Go ahead. We’re fine.”
“I’ll be back by three.”
“See you then.”
Tiffany watched Thomas for free during the day in exchange for Maddie taking over the daycare from three to six while Tiffany taught dance classes in her studio under the apartment Maddie rented from Tiff and her husband Jim. The delicate balancing act left Maddie worn out at the end of every long day.
She jumped on her bulky old bike and set off for McCarthy’s Gansett Inn on the other side of the island. Checking her watch one more time, she groaned when she saw how close she was cutting it.
From his vantage point in the ferry’s wheelhouse, Mac McCarthy watched the bluffs on the island’s north coast come into view and felt the vise around his chest tighten. Just the sight of the island where he grew up made Mac feel confined.
“Never gets old, does it?” Mac’s childhood best friend, Captain Joe Cantrell, owned and operated Gansett’s thriving ferry business.
“What’s that?” Mac asked.
“The first view of the island. Always gives me a thrill to see it appear out of the fog.”
“Even after all the times you’ve seen it?”
“I still love it.”
Mac studied his old friend. Time had worn some lines into the corners of Joe’s hazel eyes, and his sandy hair was now shot through with streaks of gray that hadn’t been there on Mac’s last trip home.