Mist By The Lighthouse
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Can a sea witch be trusted? Morgan Seaver is about to find out!
There is an evil poison coming ashore on Pearl Island, more powerful than Cora, the sea witch. Drugs are being dropped offshore by the drug smugglers and they are damaging the precious coral reefs. And then there is a murder of an innocent diver.
Cora and Morgan agree to an uneasy truce, with conditions, to put a stop to this new menace. But that's not the end of Morgan's troubles. Someone on the island wants to change the peaceful way of life, starting with the elimination of the resident peacocks.
And if all this isn't enough, Cordelia comes to live with Dr. Wright and his wife. The child is fascinated with Morgan and the legends of Pearl Island and isn't shy about finding out more.
When things escalate, Cora makes an ultimate, and now Morgan must find a killer and stop the drug smugglers, before Cora's wrath strikes at the island.
Pick up your copy and find out more about the Legend of the Mermaids of Pearl Island with Morgan.
Release date: July 24, 2020
Print pages: 230
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Mist By The Lighthouse
Victoria LK Williams
The wind was strong, filled with the scent of salt from the crashing waves, and Morgan Seaver looked out at the beautiful ocean with a soul-gripping hunger. She knew her feet would always keep her on dry ground; her fear of being in the water anchored her to the ground like a tree’s roots. But she didn’t mind all that much. She had the family beach house, the gardens, and a beautiful beach to call her own.
A strong gust of wind blew, and Morgan reached up, continuing her fight with the wind to keep her hair out of her eyes. The aqua strands of hair that ran across the front of her face created an eye-catching contrast to her dark hair. She had added the color on a whim, and, like so many things in her life lately, the whim had gone wrong. The color had remained permanent, changing to a brighter color as time wore on, rather than getting duller. Even the hair at the roots was still growing in the same aqua color. She couldn't explain it, but she knew it had something to do with being back on Pearl Island and her heritage as a Seaver.
Morgan was standing on the third floor of the Seaver beach house, her family home. She stood in the middle of the widow's walk, which gave her a bird's-eye view of the surrounding island. To one side, Morgan could see the beautiful turquoise waters of the ocean and its beaches of white glistening sand dotted by the occasional outcroppings of large rocks. On the other side, she saw lush tropical foliage, brilliant flower colors, and her neighbors’ homes. If she listened hard, she could hear the cry of the peacocks in the garden, but today the sound of the surf muffled their cries.
"Surveying your kingdom?" an amused woman's voice asked.
Morgan smiled to herself and felt a wave of relief wash over her. It had been several weeks since she had heard the voice, and she had been secretly afraid she would never listen to it again. As she drew in a deep breath to answer her Aunt Meredith, Morgan swore she smelled the sweet scent of her aunt's favorite perfume mixed with the salty air.
Morgan turned to answer the shimmering form of Meredith Seaver, who sat on the bench behind her. "The island seems peaceful today. This is the way I remember starting my mornings when I was here visiting as a child."
"But you're not a visitor anymore, are you?"
"No, I'm here to stay. Pearl Island, and all its responsibilities, is now my home."
Meredith's shoulders rose and fell as she took a deep breath and relaxed. Morgan's reply answered the question that had been unspoken for weeks. Ever since Morgan had responded to her aunt's request and returned to her family home, they had both wondered if she would claim her heritage.
"I haven't seen you in a while. I was beginning to worry you had abandoned me," Morgan said to her shimmering aunt's form.
"I told you I would always be here when you needed me, but you haven't needed me. You've been doing exactly what I would have done: getting to know the island and making new friends. Those connections are good to have. And even if you haven't seen me, I've been here quietly watching,"
There was a demanding meow from the doorway of the widow’s walk, and Morgan turned to see what the fuss was about. Standing there, staring back at her, was Morgan's long-haired tabby. The kitten was a stray who had appeared at the beach house at the same time Morgan had. They had made an immediate connection and became housemates. They called the kitten Misty because she had appeared out of the mist that first night. Although now Morgan was sure 'Thief' was a more appropriate name. Misty had a bad habit of stealing shiny items that caught her eye, and Morgan had learned quickly not to leave things lying around.
"Misty knows I've been watching, don't you, sweet thing?" Meredith cooed at the kitten as she walked out to stand next to Morgan, her figure almost transparent.
Morgan smiled at the sing-song voice; it was not one she often heard from her aunt. Misty seemed to nod and then reached out to swat at the hem of Meredith's dress as it blew in the breeze. The extra toe on the kitten's paw was visible with the movement, giving her paw the appearance of having a thumb.
"Silly cat." Morgan laughed at the expression on Misty's face as her paw moved through the hem, catching only open air. Meredith wasn't there in a physical form. She couldn't be; she was dead. It was her spirit that shared the widow’s walk with Morgan and her cat.
Morgan's attention darted from Misty and her tricks to a shout from down below. Leaning over the railing, she waved at the young man looking up at her. In one hand, he held a violin, and with the other hand he held up a brown bag. Even though there was some distance between them, Morgan knew what that brown bag contained. Gabe had been to the mainland, picking up some of her favorite bagels from a shop they both enjoyed. Although the pastry shop here on the island was fantastic, they just didn't do bagels as this other store did.
"I see you two have the same taste for bagels as Gabe's Uncle Dylan and I did," Meredith said. She had moved to stand next to the railing, looking over at Gabe. Her form wasn't substantial enough for him to see from a distance; to Gabe, it would just look like a trick of the light.
"He's adjusted well to the loss of Dylan. I think Gabe sometimes wonders why Dylan doesn't appear to him as you do to me, but I told him what you said: that his mission in life was accomplished, while yours isn't. That seemed to help.”
Morgan's smile faded as she thought of the tragic death of Gabe's Uncle Dylan. He had died trying to save her, and the guilt still haunted her.
As if she could read her mind, Meredith shook her head, reprimanding her niece. "You can't change what has happened. Morgan, you can only go forward and follow the steps where your destiny will take you. You took the first step by making the island your home. And you have faced Cora and not backed down."
At the mention of Cora, Morgan involuntarily shivered. Twice she had confronted her, and she knew there was more to come. The legends of Pearl Island and her ancestors demanded it.
"Is that why you're back? Is Cora up to something?" Morgan asked as she suddenly put the two things together.
Meredith slowly shook her head and looked out to sea.
"There is a disturbance in the sea, but I don't think Cora is the cause. I feel you might need some guidance, but I'm not sure about what. We must wait and see." Turning her back to the sea, the shimmering woman spread her arms wide and smiled. "But until then, it's a beautiful day, and you have someone waiting for you. Go, have fun. Things will happen when the time is right."
As she spoke her last words, Meredith disappeared, leaving Misty swatting at the air where she had stood.
By the time Morgan made it down the stairs, Gabe was letting himself in the front door. It was an old habit that he'd had when Meredith was alive, and Morgan had done nothing to dissuade it. There was a feeling of comfort, knowing he was such a reliable friend that he didn't have to knock. He was always respectful of her privacy, making sure she knew he was here before he entered.
"Good morning. Are those what I think they are?" Morgan asked as she eagerly reached for the bag.
Teasingly, Gabe held the bag up over her head so she couldn't reach it, chuckling at her antics. "I don't know if I should share these with you. Didn't you say something about a diet last week?"
"Ha! Like I would let that stop me from indulging? Come on; I have a pot of coffee set up in the courtyard." Morgan started to lead the way, almost tripping over Misty, who had arrived to find out who was visiting. "Watch out for Misty. I swear it's a game to her to try and trip me," she warned.
Gabe just smiled and wished the cat a good morning as he followed Morgan down the hallway to the large French doors that opened into the courtyard. On either side of these doors were Meredith's office and Morgan's workroom. Each room had its entrance out into the courtyard. Morgan's workroom was a converted bedroom where she now worked on restoring old manuscripts and books to their previous glory. Meredith’s office was still as it had been when Meredith was alive. Books and fine nautical antiques filled the room. Morgan hadn't had the heart to go through the office. Although the house was now hers, it still felt like Meredith lived here, and she was determined to respect her aunt's favorite rooms: her bedroom and her office.
"If I didn't know better, I would say you were expecting me," Gabe said as he pointed to the two cups sitting next to the steaming coffee pot.
“Well, I didn’t know that it would be you, but somebody always shows up for coffee; it never fails. Now open that bag and share those bagels.” Morgan laughed, and she lowered herself into a chair and picked up the coffee pot, filling the two cups when she was finished teasing Gabe.
They sat in comfortable silence, drinking their coffee and enjoying the bagels. Suddenly a large cry disturbed the quiet and they both turned to watch one of the peacocks from the resident flock enter the courtyard, announcing his arrival. Misty looked up from her perch on the back of Morgan's chair and yawned, unimpressed with the beautiful bird. A few moments later, two other peacocks joined the leader, and they strolled around the courtyard as if they owned it. The large birds made no aggressive moves towards Morgan and Gabe as they came closer; they were used to the company of humans. Yet if a stranger were to be in the courtyard, they would go on high alert, ready to protect the mistress of the house.
“Any more complaints from a certain neighbor about the noise our feathered friends make?” Gabe asked.
Morgan made a face before she answered. "Yvette Grant does nothing but complain about the island. If it's not my peacocks, then it's how run-down she thinks the civic center is, or the lack of parking. Or whatever else she feels like complaining about on any given day. For a newcomer to the island, she certainly has opinions about how Pearl Island should be run, and she's not afraid to express them."
"I still can't figure why she wanted the island house as part of her divorce settlement; she's never liked it here," Gabe mused.
Morgan gave him a knowing look and took a bite of her bagel. As she finished her mouthful, she answered. "I don’t think it’s that hard to figure out. Stephen and his family have had a home here for years, and they genuinely love it. Yvette took the house out of spite and meanness. "
"Why would she want a house she didn't like?" Gabe asked.
Before Morgan answered, she watched as he comprehended her words and gave a nod of agreement.
"You know what?” she said. “It's too beautiful of a day to talk about Yvette Grant and her complaints. Why don't we head down to the public beach? Today's the first day of summer vacation, and I promised Kathy I would help with some kids’ activity she has planned."
"That's perfect,” Gabe said. “I have students I'm giving lessons to down there, as well. Let me carry the tray for you, and we’ll clean this mess up and head down to the beach."
"Great, we'll have to take the golf cart. I already have beach towels, toys, and games piled in bins on the cart."
It wasn’t long before Morgan and Gabe were driving her golf cart down the main road towards the beach frequented by both the tourists and the high school kids. Younger children were playing in the company of their parents. The beach was a beautiful cove with white sand and a natural bathing location created by the curve of the island and the reef that was offshore. Between the reef and the beach was a lagoon that, at the deepest point, was only 3.5 feet. The youngest could play at the edge, wading into the water safely for a reasonable distance. The older kids loved to bring rafts and inner tubes to float at the deeper end. There was no lifeguard; everyone looked out for each other, and the two-person police force made the rounds regularly to keep an eye on things.
“Hi, Morgan, over here!”
A pretty woman with long, curly, dark hair called over to the two of them as they parked the golf cart next to the others in the small parking lot. Because the island was only 4.5 miles long, and about .5 miles wide, cars were rarely used. Residence got around by bicycles or golf carts. The bridge onto the island at this end was one lane. At the other end of the island, residence came and went to the mainland by ferryboat. Morgan glanced at the carts she parked next to and grinned.
“Looks like everyone is getting in summer mode around here.” She pointed to the surfboard attached to the back of one cart, and the coolers piled in another. Gabe nodded in agreement.
“Come on, you two! The natives are getting restless; I need those supplies.”
Morgan could hear both laughter and a hint of desperation in the woman's voice as she called across the sand. Looking in her direction, she had a hard time not bursting out loud in a hearty laugh. “Hang on, Kathy, rescue’s on the way,” she yelled back.
Kathy didn’t answer. She had her hands full with kids, ages 4 and 5, circling her, asking questions and making demands. Gabe helped Morgan tote the beach toys and supplies over to where Kathy had already placed her cooler and beach blanket. Picking up the biggest beach ball he could find, Gabe called the kids to join him for a game of dodge ball. In no time, Kathy was forgotten as they followed Gabe to an open area in the sand.
“Day one of summer vacation, and I’m already tearing my hair out,” Kathy groaned as she started pulling the games from the supplies Morgan had brought.
“Every year, I tell myself I’m not doing this again. But here I am.” Although she was complaining, the young woman looked perfectly happy, and Morgan grinned back at her.
“You love every minute of it, admit it. Besides, it’s only a couple of hours a week. And think how grateful all the parents are. You get to teach and exhaust the kiddos all at once.”
Kathy playfully tossed a towel at Morgan and had to agree with her friend. The two of them quickly got to work setting up the obstacle course Kathy had planned. As they worked, she explained to Morgan the object of the course.
“The kids will have to work together to get to the end, and as they go from one spot to the other, they will work out a piece of the puzzle. By the time they get to the end, they will know the most common sea animals found inside the lagoon. And tomorrow, I have the older kids at the Maritime Museum.”
“Who has the older ones today?” Morgan asked, knowing Kathy meant the 7-8-year-olds.
“Gabe is teaching them music today. There are only a few kids in that age group.”
Morgan nodded as she looked around, seeing a few of the teenagers come in from the water to help Gabe entertain the little ones. She loved how they all looked after each other, and silently thanked her Aunt Meredith for summoning her back to Pearl Island. As her eyes swept the area, she noticed two women she didn’t recognize. They were both college-age, and beautiful, dressed in daring bathing suits, talking to a couple of teenage boys. Morgan couldn’t help the frown that furrowed her brow. Kathy looked to see what was upsetting her and lost her smile.
“Those two have been here on and off for the last couple of days,” she said, answering Morgan’s unspoken question. “They have been sticking close to the oldest of the beach-goers, upsetting some of the wives and mothers.”
“I take it they aren’t from the island?”
“No, they come in from a boat anchored off the lagoon. Swimming in and making a grand entrance like they are part of a James Bond movie. I’m not sure what they want, but I bet it’s trouble. A couple of people have already complained about the way they act around the kids. Jenny and Nate are supposed to be on their way to talk to them.”
Kathy was referring to the island’s police officers. Kathy always had the inside information and would know what was going on; Jenny Colbright was her sister, the senior officer. Nate Hastings was her partner, and someone Kathy was very interested in. As if on cue, the two officers rode up on their bikes, and walked over to a woman who was waving her hands to them. Morgan watched as the woman made her complaint, pointing in the direction of the two strangers and then gesturing in the direction of the older kids.
“Looks like Jenny and Nate are getting an earful,” she mumbled.
Kathy nodded, and then they watched the officers walk over to the young women. Jenny said something, and they laughed at her. Then Nate said something, and it was as if a switch was turned on. Both women turned their attention to him, and even from a distance, Morgan could see they were trying to charm him with seduction.
Kathy seethed as her hands formed tight fists. “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
As Morgan looked around, she saw other women on the beach sending glares in the same direction Kathy was. The situation was turning ugly fast. Without thinking, Morgan grasped the Frisbee in her hands tighter and flipped it in Nate's direction. The man’s reaction was swift and automatic. He caught the flying plastic disc before it could hit him in the head and looked around to see who had thrown it. The action broke the spell, and she heard Jenny tell the women to move along, or at least act appropriately around the teenagers.
“Quick thinking, Morgan.”
Morgan looked over at Gabe, who had joined her and Kathy, with the youngsters in tow, ready to begin their game. In seconds Kathy and Morgan were busy directing the kids, and Gabe was motioning to a few of the kids to join him. As Morgan handed a toy shovel to one tot, she glanced over in Jenny’s direction and couldn’t help but wonder what was going on.
The morning along the beach had worn Morgan out. Who knew a group of four and five-year-olds could have so much energy, or get into so much mischief? Kathy and Morgan had worked hard at reining in the children's energy and directing them to the educational fun Kathy had carefully planned for them. The kids were enthusiastic about discovering what animals lived in the lagoon, and the clever game had also taught them to work together. Even though Kathy had complained, she also loved the ritual of celebrating the first week of summer break with the island children. After that, they were the parents’ responsibility. The tradition had started years ago, and each generation of islanders carried it on. Morgan was fascinated to find out that her mother, Aunt Meredith, and Kathy’s grandmother had also taken their turns as well. Both as teachers and students. Morgan knew she had also joined the fun during her young childhood on the island, but she couldn’t remember, no matter how hard she tried.
“I bet if we look, we’ll find pictures of you in my grandmother’s scrapbooks,” Kathy had reassured her when she saw the expression on Morgan's face as she admitted she had no memories of the beach time fun.
Morgan had smiled in gratitude and then continued to help Kathy gather the toys and beach gear. After they piled everything onto the two golf carts, Kathy looked at her watch and gasped at the time.
“I’m supposed to meet Nate at the dock. Something is coming in on the ferry, and he wants my help. Do you mind if I take off? I mean, you’re welcome to come if you want…”
Morgan didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that the last thing Kathy wanted was for her to tag along. It was clear she was excited to be meeting up with Nate, so Morgan waved her off. Promising to stop by in the morning and pick up the supplies on Morgan’s cart, Kathy didn’t wait around to see if Morgan would change her mind. Smiling to herself, Morgan watched her friend drive away, as fast as the cart would go, her long curls blowing in the wind behind her.
Morgan looked around her, making sure they had left nothing behind. The beach was almost empty now. Tired kids had gone home for naps, and the older kids had vanished when the cleanup had started, as they often will. A few senior citizens were sitting under umbrellas, reading books or napping, and the seagulls were patrolling the shore, looking to see if any crumbs had been left behind from the children's snacks. Shielding her eyes from the sun’s glare, Morgan turned her attention to the water beyond the reef. A couple of speedboats caught her eye, their sleek lines cutting across the waves as they raced each other, bouncing in the wakes of each other's engines.
They seem to be moving pretty fast, being that close to the reef, she thought to herself, holding her breath to see if they could clip the beautiful reef just under the surface. As she watched, the drivers swerved at the last minute and headed out to the open sea, and Morgan wondered if they knew how close they had come.
A movement caught her eye from the dunes, and she turned to see what it was. But she was too late to get a good look. Morgan could barely make out the figure in a dark flowing robe disappear over the dune. Turning back to the sea, she could no longer see the boats either. She wondered if the figure had also been watching the boats.
Morgan smiled and waved to two older men walking past her on their way to join the other seniors. Grabbing a stray plastic shovel left behind, Morgan turned and headed to the golf cart. Driving at a leisurely pace, she returned home, enjoying the soft breeze coming off the ocean. After arriving at the beach house, Morgan parked the cart in the shed and, not bothering to unload any more than her tote bag, she headed up the porch steps to the front door. Before she could reach for the doorknob, the flap of the cat door she had installed for Misty pushed outwards from inside the house. Somehow Misty always knew when she returned and was there to greet her. Opening the door, Morgan threw her bag inside and then scooped up the kitten and returned to the porch to sit on one of the wicker gliders that lined the porch. Using one foot, she moved the glider back and forth while she gave the kitten attention. It wasn’t long before her hand came to a standstill, and her head nodded back against the cushions. Apparently, the toddlers weren’t the only ones who needed a nap. Misty curled up in Morgan's lap, watching for the slightest movement in front of the porch. But there was none, and soon the kitten was gently snoring in time to Morgan’s sleepy breathing.
Morgan woke to the soft tap of Misty’s paw against her face. Glancing at her watch, she was embarrassed to find she’d taken a two-hour nap. The rumbling in her stomach was reminding her she’d slept through the lunch hour.
“I bet you’re hungry, too,” she said to the kitten as she got to her feet. Misty responded with a loud meow, and Morgan laughed out loud. “Alright, let’s get you dinner and see what I can find for myself.”
After Morgan fed the cat, it didn’t take her long to decide there was nothing in the house to eat. Oh, there was plenty of food, but nothing appealed to her. Making a quick decision, she closed the fridge and headed to the stairs. Fifteen minutes later, she had showered and thrown on fresh clothes. Running her fingers through her hair, she decided to let it air dry. She grabbed a book and her wallet, and headed out the door, her stomach rumbling again in anticipation of her destination. Morgan needed an excellent Italian dinner, and Mario’s Pizzeria would provide her with one. Rather than heading towards the main road running along the shore, she turned and walked to the backyard. Shooing the peacocks out of her way, Morgan opened the gate from her courtyard into the peacock’s sanctuary. From there, she cut across the garden to a second gate that opened into the public gardens. Following the well-tended path, she made her way to the business section of the island. Not that there was much of a business section. No, there was Mario’s who served the best food, from lunch until late in the evening. Next to his place was the Pastry Shop. They specialized in gourmet coffee and exotic teas, along with pastries that melted in your mouth. Breakfast and lunch was served until they closed around 1:30 in the afternoon.
The rest of the business section consisted of a building that housed both the post office and the police headquarters, the old civic building, and a bit set off from the rest, the Maritime Museum. Just past the museum was a small park that housed the island's lighthouse, constructed mainly to warn ships passing through that there was a large reef along the shore.
“Take any seat you want, Morgan. No one joining you today?”
The deep voice of the owner greeted Morgan as she walked through the entrance. She smiled in greeting at the short man with gray hair circling a large bald spot, noting the smudge of flour on his forehead. Joe Mario not only owned Mario's, but he did much of the cooking himself, turning it over to his staff when the place got busy so he could work the dining area and make sure his patrons were kept happy.
“Nope, it’s just me and my book. I’m not too early for dinner, am I?” Morgan asked as she walked over to a small round table in front of the window. The savory smells of spices and dough were hard to ignore, and she knew her order was going to be worth the wait if Joe told her he wasn’t serving yet.
“Nope, my first batch of baked ziti just came out of the oven.” Joe was right behind her, bringing her usual order of iced tea. “Do you want to see the menu?”
Morgan shook her head as he placed the glass in front of her. “Are you kidding? The smell of that pasta is making my mouth water. It’s the special for me tonight.”
Joe nodded his approval at her order and noticed the title on her book. He grinned back at her. “I can see you have good company tonight. I just finished that book. Patterson did another great job. Bet you read it straight through.”
“I haven’t started it yet, but now, with that recommendation, I can’t wait to.”
“Then I’ll leave you to it. Your dinner will be out shortly. I’ll have Teresa bring your salad and rolls right out.” The older man motioned to someone in the kitchen and then, still praising the book, walked away to the bar area.
Morgan flipped the book over and read the back cover, eager to see what it was about. It was one she had randomly grabbed from the stack of new releases her aunt had piled by her favorite chair in the library, and Morgan had barely glanced at it. As she finished reading the cover and information about the author, a pretty college-age girl with prominent Italian bloodlines was standing at her side. She held a fresh salad in one hand, and garlic rolls slathered in butter still hot enough from the oven that steam rose from the plate in her other hand. She waited for Morgan to move her book before placing the food in front of her with a smile.
“How’s it going, Teresa?” Morgan asked, returning the smile.
“It’s the first day of summer vacation, so it’s been a little slow. Everyone wants to be at the beach.” Teresa looked mournfully out the window, a sure sign that she wanted to be out there with her friends. Then she turned her attention back to Morgan and asked her how her day had gone. They talked for a few moments, and then Teresa left Morgan to her meal. Teresa had worked in her father’s restaurant whenever he needed her, and she knew the habits of most of the diners. Someone alone with a book did not want to be disturbed with idle chitchat, and she told Morgan to take her time, she’d bring out her dinner when Morgan signaled.
“Thanks, Teresa. I’m not in any hurry. After a day with those kids, I’m happy to relax for a bit. As long as you’re not busy, I’m going to take my time.” They shared an understanding smile, and then Morgan opened the book and was soon caught up in the author's adventure.
Teresa kept an eye on her customer, smirking as Morgan ate, not even noticing when she had finished her salad and worked her way through half the rolls on the plate. Morgan was so involved in the book that she forgot to signal for her pasta and barely noticed when Teresa wisely brought it out and switched it with the empty bowl from her salad.
“That’s hot,” she warned, but Morgan barely heard her. With the knowledge of experience, Teresa moved the iced tea close to Morgan’s grasp before she walked away. Sure enough, Morgan hadn’t been paying attention, and bit into the cheesy hot food and gasped, reaching quickly for the drink to cool down the burn in her mouth. Finally, looking up from the book, she found Teresa watching her.
“Sorry, I should have listened to you. Thanks.”
“No problem. You need anything else?”
Morgan shook her head and closed the book to concentrate on the food in front of her. Blowing on the next bite, she almost groaned out loud with pleasure as the blends of spices, cheese, and Joe’s special sauce hit her taste buds. Joe was watching from the bar and nodded at her contented expression. As Morgan ate, the pizzeria began to fill up. Teresa was busy taking orders over the phone for takeout, and Joe was seating those that wanted to eat in. Morgan watched the comings and goings through the window, amazed at the activity. Finally, there was a break, and Morgan motioned for her check. Before Teresa could bring it, Jenny Colbright entered the pizzeria. She looked around and seeing Morgan, made her way to Morgan’s table, greeting the other patrons as she did.
“Hey there, can I join you?” she asked.
Before Morgan could answer, Teresa had arrived with another cup of iced tea and a bag with a takeout meal inside.
“Relax and take your time, ladies. Jenny, there are some of Dad’s cookies in there for you, too. Our treat.”
“Thanks, Teresa,” Jenny answered after sneaking a peek in the bag. “You working here full time for the summer?”
“Only when Dad needs me. I’m taking some online summer classes. But the first week of summer break, he’s always shorthanded with his normal crew wanting time off to celebrate the end of the school year.”
Before Morgan or Jenny could answer her, the door opened again and an elderly couple came in, calling out hellos to the other patrons. Dr. Wright was a well-loved member of the committee and a vital part of the wellbeing of the islanders. Mrs. Wright was just as loved, and she had her thumb on the pulse of the island, knowing a bit about everyone. They made an odd picture. He was tall and thin, always looking like he needed a hearty meal. She was as wide as he was tall and looked like she had enjoyed his last hearty meal.
But Morgan's attention was fixed on the figure who followed them, looking around the room, as if taking in the details of every person present. When she noticed Morgan, she pushed past the older couple and rushed over to stand in front of Morgan and Jenny.
“I know who you are,” she stated, looking directly at Morgan.
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