Hurricane Kisses

By: Krista Lakes

“You should get going. Tyler's probably worn a hole down to China with his pacing.” She stopped looking at the evil photograph and went to the window, peering out at the ocean view like she might see Tyler out there. “I really, really appreciate you taking him jet-skiing. And for bringing him on this trip. He's been having a rough time, and he still hasn't made any friends-”

“Maddy,” I interrupted, standing up and putting a hand on her shoulder, “I know. I'm really glad he could come with us. He's actually smiling and talking today.”

“Isn't it great?” she turned, hope in her eyes. The past year had been hard on her and Tyler. Things had gone downhill with her ex-husband, and she and Tyler had been forced to move. Things at Tyler's new school weren't going well. He was a shy, geeky eleven-year-old middle schooler in a new school system. I hadn't seen him smile like this in months.

“We're going to have a blast,” I told Maddy. “This whole week, we're going to have a good time. Maybe with a little bit of sun and fun, he'll go back happier and be able to make some friends.”

“I hope so. He’s just lost all his confidence, you know?” Maddy peered out the window again, eyes going past the ocean and back to her problems at home. “I just worry about him. I can't believe his father did this to us. To him.”

“It's not your fault, and Tyler knows that.” I turned her to face me, giving her a version of the speech I gave her at home whenever she felt guilty about the divorce and her son. “Tyler's whole world just crumbled around him. With his dad running off, the divorce, moving, and then just the fact that he's eleven and in a new school, life is going to be rough. But he's going to be okay. This trip-and getting to hang out with people who love him even when his voice cracks-is going to be good for him.”

“I just feel like a bad mom,” Maddy said quietly, not meeting my gaze. My heart squeezed in my chest for my best friend.

“You are anything but a bad mom, Maddy.” I hugged her close. “You love your son. You are doing everything you can to help him with this. He's a good kid. He'll make it through. Middle school is rough for just about everybody.”

Maddy hugged me back. I could feel her pulling strength into herself again. She never let Tyler see this side of her. Only me. She wanted to be strong for Tyler, and I, in turn, was strong for her. She let me go and made sure I had the waiver in my hand. “I feel better. Do you?”

“Yes. And now that you've managed to effectively distract me from my rage toward Logan Hayes, I'm going to go meet your son,” I said as she gave me a cheesy grin. She had known I would comfort her and forget my anger. She was such a mom. I shook my head at her and smiled. “Go get that massage. My treat.”

“Thanks, boss. You two have fun. And don't let him show off too much,” she warned, walking me to the door.

“He's a junior high school boy. I don't think that's going to be possible,” I responded, trying to keep a straight face as we stepped out into the hallway. “If there's a cute girl on the beach, I'm completely doomed.” Maddy's laugh echoed down the hall as I headed off toward the dock to meet Tyler.

Chapter 4

I walked quickly up the path to the dock where Tyler was supposed to meet me. He was standing patiently next to the storage shed, petting a dog and talking to a man whose back was to me. I admired the back of the attractive male form for a moment, taking in the broad shoulders and muscled frame under a skintight rash guard shirt. His board shorts were low slung and accentuated a perfect ass. I hoped that this delightful male specimen would be joining us and that his front was as attractive as his back. I could use a little vacation romance.

“Hey, Tyler,” I called out as I approached. “You ready?”

Tyler raised his hand and grinned at me. The man he was talking to turned around and I nearly ate asphalt as I momentarily forgot how to walk. His front was as handsome as his back, all right. But that was because he was also Logan Hayes.

“Olivia Statler,” he greeted me with a smile. “It's a pleasure to see you again.”

“What the hell are you doing here?” I sputtered, trying to keep my temper in check and mostly failing as I pretended I hadn't just tripped. I hoped neither of them noticed the bright red blush I could feel spreading across my cheeks. I smiled and smoothly joined the two of them next to the shed. Despite my dislike and history with Logan, I could be somewhat diplomatic. Hopefully.

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