[Crushed Caramel tagged me for a Tell The Story challenge and gave me this photo.]
Lexi grinned as she pedaled down the street. She’d done it–she’d gotten a job in Otter Village! Now she could truly leave her past behind, a full 500 miles behind. No one knew her here in this beautiful little town by the sea. From the moment she’d arrived a month ago, Lexi had been using her nickname along with her maiden name. These precautions, along with her slight makeover, had ensured that no one recognized her from the news. And now, thankfully, other stories had pushed that awfulness from the headlines.
She was free! A cute suite with a view in a friendly rooming house, a job at the Otter Emporium, and a basket of fresh food for dinner. Life was good. Lexi couldn’t wait to call her sister with the great–
Her bike hit a curb and, unbalanced by the groceries, tipped over. “Oh crap!” Lexi gasped as she found herself on the ground, apples rolling on the street beside her.
As she reached to grab one, two things happened. First, she realized she was a bit banged up from the fall and several parts of her hurt. Second, someone had stopped to help.
She looked up to see muscular male legs encased in tan shorts and a hand outstretched to help her up. “Are you okay?” he asked.
“I think so, thank you.” Lexi gratefully accepted his hand, feeling slightly unstable. Luckily, nothing seemed to be broken, including the bike. The apples probably weren’t going to fare too well however.
“These streets are a bit bumpy,” the man said, picking up her groceries. “I think I’ve got everything, but the fruit may be bruised.”
Lexi smiled. “Me too unfortunately. Thanks again. I’m Lexi, new in town.”
“Kevin.” He shook her hand. “Would it help if I walked your bike with you?”
“That would be so kind,” she said. “It’s not far, just over to Seaview Place.”
“I’d be happy to.” As they began walking, Kevin continued, “I’m new as well. I’ve only been here three months, managing the hotel. Love it, you?”
She nodded. “I do! I’m so happy I found a job so I can stay. This is like a fresh start, a whole new life!”
Kevin looked at her curiously. “Really. How interesting.”
She flushed. Just like her to start babbling as soon as her guard was down. “I mean, um, it’s just great to follow my dream of living by the sea and start writing a novel.”
“I see,” he grinned. “Yes, there seem to be a lot of writers here. Artists too. You’ll fit right in, Lexi.”
She nodded, satisfied she’d diverted his attention from her silly outburst. “What hobbies do you have?” she asked as they turned the corner onto Seaview.
“I’m pretty boring.” Kevin laughed. “Tennis, golf, sports on the tube. Kind of a news junkie, I guess. I like movies too.”
“Here’s my place,” she said, and they stopped in front of the weathered old house. “Thanks for your help.”
“You’re welcome.” He gazed at her. “You remind me of someone, but I can’t put my finger on it.”
Her pulse began to race as she grasped the bike’s handlebars. “Haha, I get that a lot. I have one of those generic looks. Brown hair, brown eyes…”
Kevin frowned. “Well, your hair is actually red.”
Geez, she had forgotten she’d put a rinse on it! “Right, the sunlight picks up the red tones.”
Kevin touched her shoulder. “Take care, Lexi. Stop by the hotel sometime and let me know how you’re doing.”
“Sure!” She waved as she walked her bike around back, vowing to stay as far away from the Otter Village Hotel as possible.
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