The Best is Yet to Come: A Little Creek Love Story
by J.E. Benoit
Publication Date: June 23, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Adaline Reynolds has very little time or desire to worry over her non-existent love life, regardless of what her best friend thinks. Perky Jo’s, the café she inherited from her beloved aunt, has demanded all her time and energy since returning to Little Creek. But that all changes the day a damaged photograph mysteriously shows up at her feet.
When she’s suddenly swept away to find the man in the photo waiting to show her some fun, Adaline’s convinced that she’s finally lost her mind. With no logical explanation for these meetings, she soon finds herself giving in to this charming stranger and feeling more and more like her old, happier self.
As she draws closer to the truth about the man in the photo, will she find who she’s been looking for? Or will she discover that the best is yet to come?
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Now that I’m close enough to get a good look at the man coming toward me I can clearly see that it’s the man from the picture. I have no idea how my mind conjured this up. This can’t possibly be real.
I want to turn to get the hell out of here, but my feet are rooted to the spot.
“Hi,” the man reaches out to touch my arm but quickly pulls his arm back as if sensing my rising panic. His voice goes soft as he says, “Hey, I didn’t mean to scare you. You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“What… How… Who?” I stammer, my brain clearly not able to catch up to the scene unfolding in front of me.
He must be amused by my inability to form a coherent sentence because his eyes light up and he smiles that gorgeous, full-faced smile that I was so drawn to in the picture and sticks his hand out for me to shake, “I’m Ben.”
“Adaline Reynolds, well most people just call me Addy,” I murmur as I hesitantly reach my hand out to shake his, not sure why I just gave him my full name.
I take this moment to study his face as we are locked in what will surely go down as the most awkward handshake in the history of handshakes. I can’t make sense of what’s happening right now, but there’s no denying how attractive Ben is. He’s several inches taller than my modest five foot five-inch height, I’d guess he’s about six feet, and I have to look up to meet his gaze. His eyes are even bluer in person than they were in the photo and his smile, which features perfectly straight, bright white teeth, lights up his entire face and exudes a certain boyish charm. There is a smattering of stubble adorning his square, strong jaw and his dark brown hair, that looks a few weeks past needing a cut, falls over his forehead in a purposefully messy way. He’s dressed simply, in a fitted black t-shirt, faded blue jeans and black Chucks.
I feel a blush creep up my cheeks as I realize that I’ve been staring at him for longer than is probably socially acceptable.
It makes no sense but the longer I am in his presence, the calmer I become. The same friendliness that was there in the picture is even more apparent in person and I feel my body start to relax even if my mind logically can’t figure out what’s happening.
“Well, hi there Adaline. It’s very nice to meet you.”
“You… you too,” I say finally dropping his hand. “I’m sorry, I’m not normally this much of a scatterbrain. It’s just that… well never mind, it’s not important.”
I almost tell Ben about the picture, but even though I have my own doubts about my mental state right about now, there’s no need to go broadcasting it to a perfect stranger. Which reminds me of what Ben said when he first spotted me.
“When you first saw me, you said ‘hey stranger’, like you had been waiting for me,” I absently note, looking up to meet his eyes again.
A wistful expression crosses his face but is replaced by a smile before I can think too much of it.
“In a way, I guess I sort of have been,” he says with a shrug, stuffing his hands in his pockets and rocking back on his heels, not quite able to make eye contact with me.
Okay, that’s not at all cryptic. What the heck does that even mean?