Property of Pops by Jessa Kane
It’s my first vacation. Ever.
I’ve always wondered if the television depictions of a family vacation were real—and they are. I push up on my elbow and lower my sunglasses to scan the beach. It’s exactly as I pictured it. Teens playing volleyball and frolicking in the surf. Mothers slathering sunscreen all over their children’s faces, hushing their protests. A couple walking hand in hand along the shoreline. Springsteen pumps from a stereo somewhere close by. A plane drones overhead with an advertisement trailing behind it on a big red, white and blue banner.
My best friend, Wanda, rolls over onto her stomach beside me, humming along to the music, totally oblivious to the fact that my mind is being blown by our surroundings. She’s the reason I’m in the Hamptons for the week. Her uber-wealthy family is having a reunion and she asked me to come along—all expenses paid. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I gave her a resounding yes. May have nearly squeezed her to death, too.
Now I’m here.
I’m on a beach vacation. I can’t believe it.
There have been many times over the last twenty-one years I didn’t think I would ever experience something as incredible as this. The sun on my face, food in my belly, a reason to laugh and smile. It has been a tough mountain to climb, but I made it over the crest.
“Oh my gosh,” Wanda murmurs, her shades slipping to the end of her nose. She’s looking at something over my shoulder and blinking in surprise. “My grandfather is here? I haven’t seen him in, like, a million years. He never comes to this shit.”
Wanda sits up, reaching for her Diet Coke that’s wedged into the cooler full of ice. “Get this. He’s a four-star army general. He lives, eats and breathes military strategy. My dad likes to say he’s a bad motherfucker.” She chuckles, takes a gulp of her drink. “I can’t believe that man is sixty-three. He’s in better shape than half the men on this beach.”
Curious, I turn to get a look at the man in question and I’m immediately short of breath. I hate to disagree with Wanda—but he’s not in better shape than half the men on the beach. He’s in better shape than all of them. He’s above average in height—at least six two. Intimidating. His arms are crossed over an impressive chest, his expression is made of stone. His legs are braced apart, as though ready for a fight at a moment’s notice. His hair is a mixture of black and gray and it’s cut ruthlessly close to his scalp. His face is clean shaven.
And he’s looking directly at me.
I must be mistaken. He’s wearing sunglasses, so there’s no way I can be sure which direction he’s looking. It’s just a feeling. One that’s causing my toes to twist in the sand, my pulse to tick loudly in my ears. What is happening here? Do I find Wanda’s grandfather attractive? That’s crazy. He’s triple my age.
Still. I can’t seem to tear my eyes away.
“You told me you have these reunions every other year,” I say, distressed to hear the breathlessness in my tone. “He never comes?”
“Nope. He’s always been needed at the Pentagon,” Wanda replies. “But he retired last year. Finally. Dad says he’s going crazy without a battle to plan. My money says he’ll probably only last another few months before he’s back in action.”
“Yeah…” I wonder what he smells like. “He doesn’t look like someone who would be happy to play golf in a gated community for the rest of his life.”
“Hell no.” Wanda laughs. “A girlfriend is what he needs. Someone to keep him occupied.” I turn back to find my friend looking thoughtful, her lips pursed. “I should totally set him up with Mrs. Linden.”
I do a double take. “Our sociology professor?”
“The very one. She’s about the same age. Dresses cute. Super smart.”
“Yeah,” I whisper, noncommittal. For some reason, I really don’t like thinking about this man canoodling with my sociology professor. Or…anyone, really. Am I jealous over someone with whom I’ve never had a conversation? Preposterous. I’ve never been in a serious relationship, only casual dates, but I never imagined myself as someone who could be bitten by the green-eyed monster of envy. The opposite sex has always been last on my list of important worries, well below shelter, money and my education.
“He’s been divorced from my grandmother like…longer than we’ve been alive. He could definitely benefit from having a woman in his life.”
“What happened between them?”
“His career happened. It has always been number one.”
I hum in understanding and finally find the willpower to stop staring at the general. “Well, it’s nice that you’ll finally get to spend time with him this weekend.”
“Spend time with him?” Wanda sputters. “Dude scares the hell out of me. After I give him the obligatory hello and kiss on the cheek, my obligation is fulfilled.” Her mouth transforms with a cheeky grin. “Besides, someone has to charm the single Hamptons boys. Are you finally going to join me in hooking up? You can’t pretend to be studying when we’re on vacation, Coco.”
I find myself throwing a sidelong glance at the general. Is he looking at me? My nipples pebble inside the triangles of my white bikini top at the possibility that he’s singled me out. At the possibility that he’s been watching me for so long. “I’ll have to get back to you on that one.”
Wanda groans and flops back into the sand. “I can’t believe I’m best friends with a virgin who isn’t even interested in de-virgining herself. The universe has a sick sense of humor.”
“You love me,” I say, elbowing her in the ribs.
“Yeah, yeah. Whatever.” She blows out a breath. “Well, I guess I’ve put it off long enough. I better go greet my grandfather.” She climbs to her feet, dusting off patches of sand from her backside. “Come on. I’ll introduce you. And use you as a shield when he inevitably makes me want to pee myself.”
“He can’t be that bad.”
“He gave me a field survival book for my fifth birthday.”
“It’s a practical gift!”
“That’s what he said.” Wanda regards me oddly for a moment, then grabs my wrist and tugs me forward. Toward him. My heart is already galloping in response to being face to face with this powerhouse of a man. It’s such an extreme reaction that I stumble a little in the sand. “Come on, virgin,” Wanda says out of the corner of her mouth. “Prepare to meet your doom.”
|Download Ebook||Read Now||File Type||Upload Date|
|Epub, PDF||August 9, 2022|
Do you like this book? Please share with your friends, let's read it !! :)