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At the Water's Edge - Deluxe Edition (HARDCOVER)

At the Water's Edge - Deluxe Edition (HARDCOVER)

When Ella returns to her hometown to recover from a trauma, she makes a connection with Kay, the lovely owner of a lake resort.

Ella thought she didn’t have time for love, but this extraordinary woman may just prove her wrong.

This Deluxe Edition includes At the Water's Edge and its sequel novella It Takes Two!

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Book specifications

Pages :
ISBN : 9789464339000
Weight : 448g
Dimensions : 229 x 21 x 152 mm

Full description

Sometimes you need to go back to where you came from.

When Ella returns to her hometown to recover from trauma, she makes a connection with Kay, the owner of the local lake resort.

Ella thought she didn’t have time for love, but this extraordinary woman may just prove her wrong.

A deeply emotional read by best-selling lesbian romance author Harper Bliss.

Themes and tropes

  • Recovering from trauma
  • Friends to lovers
  • Family relationships

Chapter One Look Inside

Chapter 1

Driving past the yellow sign for West Waters instantly takes me back to a time when I was happy. It’s not so much a single concrete memory as a tangled-up rush of them flooding my brain. My sister and I running barefoot in the grass around our cabin, dipping that first toe into the water on a carefree Saturday morning, bright-colored candy from the improvised shop by reception, the intoxicating smell of suntan lotion, Dad wearing the same pair of faded beige shorts for the entire weekend.

I pull into the parking lot and find a space close to the entrance. Even though the middle of August should be the peak of the vacation season, I count only two other cars in the lot. Everything looks satisfyingly familiar: the grassy curb, more neatly trimmed than I remember, the cabin roofs dotted against the mass of green surrounding the lake, a strip of water flickering under the midday sun in the distance. Yet as if belonging to another lifetime.

When I deposit my city-girl case on the uneven concrete, I realize I’ll look like a fool if I try to roll it down the rickety path to reception. I grab the handle and lift the case, which is not very heavy. I only brought a few sets of clothes. Some books and a laptop—not for work, only for self-improvement. And only one blazer.

There’s something about the air in this place. It takes me back to a simpler time, a time when it was a given that air was clean and pure, a time when I didn’t worry so much. It’s only a short walk to the wooden shack where I need to pick up the key. Through my parents, I know that both Mr. and Mrs. Brody are no longer with us, and that Kay is running things now.

I see her before she realizes I’m there. Crouched down, studying something on the ground, poking her finger into the soil. I clear my throat to announce my arrival.

I watch Kay shoot up, rubbing her hands on her shorts. “Hey.” Her eyes light up when she recognizes me. “Well, I’ll be damned. Little Ella Goodman.” 

Growing up, I was always shorter than the other kids my age. Now, I stand just as tall as Kay, whose build is stocky and muscular.

“Mom should have notified you that our cabin will be occupied—” I stop mid-sentence. Unable to shake the sensation that, somehow, she knows. That the reason I came here is plastered across my face.

Kay tilts her head, regarding me with some sort of glint of expectation in her eyes. Of course, she doesn’t know. Hardly anyone does.

“Yep. Dee warned me.” Her voice is matter-of-fact, with the delivery of someone who never questions her self-confidence. “Let’s go in.”

I follow her inside the shack—or ‘the shop’ as my family called it when I came here as a child. From the outside, I hadn’t noticed the extension to the side.

“I spruced it up a bit.” Kay must have noticed the look of surprise on my face. “We even have a laundromat in the back these days.”

“Fancy.” I scan the neat aisles, all pleasantly lit and shiny, and what looks like a brand new fridge and freezer against the back wall.

“It isn’t the eighties anymore, Ella. We have Wi-Fi now.” Kay leans against a proper reception desk—laptop and all—and grins at me. “Let me get your key… card.” She taps a few times on the laptop’s keyboard, opens a drawer and produces a key card like in a hotel. “Have you liked our Facebook page?” she asks, a grin slipping across her face as she hands me the card.

“I will,” I stammer.

“Don’t worry, it’s not mandatory, but a check-in on Facebook is always appreciated.” She leans her elbows on the counter. “Unless you’re here on the down-low, of course.”

I don’t immediately know what to say, so unprepared am I by seeing Kay—whom I haven’t seen since I last visited West Waters many years ago—so quickly after arriving and the unexpected topic of conversation that’s making me feel uncomfortable.

“I’m just screwing with you.” She rests her almond-shaped eyes on me—again, that sensation that she is looking right through me and seeing all my scars. “Welcome to West Waters. I hope you enjoy your stay with us. It can get quite busy over the weekends, but you should be fine out there in the Goodman cabin. You should see what they’ve done to the place.”

I vaguely remember my mother mentioning remodeling the cabin a few years ago, but I was probably too busy to take in the details. Listening to her with one ear, while scheduling a lecture in New York and going over a research report.

“Can’t wait.” I flip the key card between my fingers a few times, desperate to make more small talk—not because I’m so eager but because it’s what expected in a situation like this. “Is it just you running the place?”

Kay shrugs. “Most cabins are privately owned, so not too much fuss for me.”

“What about the off season?” The next question comes easily because I’m genuinely interested in the answer.

“People come even when it rains. It’s only in the depths of winter that it goes really quiet. Then I take the time to think of ways of improving West Waters, usually over a few beers at The Attic.” Her chuckle comes from a deep place, like an old man’s laugh.

A bell that I hadn’t even noticed when I followed Kay in, goes off, as a man with wild white hair walks in. He tilts his chin when he spots me and, out of nowhere, winks at me.

“Uncle Pete,” Kay says in a loud, booming voice. “Here’s your reading material for today.”

As the man shuffles to the counter I make my way to the door. Kay presents him with The New York Times and The Northville Gazette.

“See you later, Ella,” she shouts.

I give her a quick wave and exit the shop. Once outside, I need to scan my surroundings to orientate myself. My family’s cabin is situated on the edge of the grounds, near the most western tip of the lake. I breathe in a large gulp of air, then another, enjoying the quiet, sun-drenched hum of a summer afternoon in Northville, Oregon.

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