When Stars Collide (Second Chance Romance #2) - Sara Furlong-Burr
“It’s hot as balls out here,” I lamented, peeling away the last strands of my hair plastered to the beads of sweat that hugged the back of my neck, reluctantly gathering them up into a ponytail.
Steps behind me, a chuckle emanated from my boyfriend, Peter, who despite having a solid eight inches worth of leg on me, was struggling to keep up with my pace. “Waxing eloquently as always, are we?” He widened his stride, soon matching mine step for step.
I scanned the shoreline of Smith Mountain Lake, searching for our friends, Elle and Luke. Situated in a valley nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the man-made body of water sparkled in the afternoon sun, its hue reflecting the sapphire sky. Although I’d gone to college in Roanoke, just a short distance away, I’d never made my way here before, instead opting to focus on my studies and getting the hell out of Virginia.
“Son of a mother loving— Ah!” Peter sucked in a pained breath as he hurriedly lifted his flip-flop-adorned feet across the sand, once again falling behind me in our trek across the beach. His legs spread farther and farther apart with each step, reminding me of how someone would probably walk after participating in a day-long bicycle trip without stopping for breaks.
“That’s pure poetry,” I goaded, watching him awkwardly struggling to win a losing battle with the sand. “Seriously, you could give Elle a run for her money.”
Peter spoke from between clenched teeth. “This is exactly what walking through the blistering plains of Satan’s playground must feel like.”
I nodded. “Except with more bitching.” I led us down to the water, where the wet sand would provide him with a welcome reprieve.
“I’m glad you find the fact that I may never walk again so amusing.” He ambled a few steps farther, until he reached the point where the water hugged the sand, just barely enough to lap over his feet, and let out a sigh. “You know that feeling when you finally get to relieve yourself after a lifetime of having to pee and having no choice but to hold it in because there’s no bathroom in sight and it wouldn’t be socially acceptable to just drop trou where you’re at? This is way better than that.”
“If you would have put on tennis shoes instead of those foot thongs, you could have relieved yourself a long time ago.”
A couple passing by stopped mid-conversation, their heads whipping around to peer at Peter in disgust.
“Don’t worry,” I assured them, “the only thing he’s relieving over there are his feet.”
Despite not being able to see Peter’s face, the reddened skin around his ears told me he was blushing something fierce.
“So,” I began, surveying the crowds of people gathered underneath the communities of beach umbrellas scattered up and down the shoreline, “are you sure Luke said to meet him here?”
“Positive.” Peter scanned the landscape before turning back to me again. “Let’s walk a little farther that way.” He nodded to the south, where the crowds of people appeared to be thinning out. “I think Luke said that he and Elle were staying at the hotel right across the street over there.” He gestured toward a quaint Victorian structure, the fa?ade of which rivaled the color of the sand underneath our feet. “They’re probably not too far from there.”
“Are you going to tell me what’s up with this covert secret squirrel operation you and Luke are orchestrating?”
“I’m not sure what you mean. Can’t my best friend and your best friend just meet us for a fun day at the beach?”
“Sure, but can you blame a girl for having a few questions after she’s whisked away from the airport to urgently meet said friends for plans that she—and, presumably, Elle—knew nothing about before she landed?” His silence told me everything I needed to know, but irritated me, nonetheless. “Did Luke swear you to secrecy?” I pressed.
“And there’s no possible way I can make you talk, is there?”
“Not a chance.”
“What if I promised to do that thing you like?” I raised my eyebrow seductively … or so I hoped.
Puzzled, he tried to match my expression, appearing just as ridiculous as I was sure I had looked. “And exactly what would that be?”
“I don’t know. I was hoping you could tell me.”
He laughed, his blue eyes mirroring the splendor of the lake beside us. “As tempting as that sounds, Luke bought my silence with our twenty-year friendship. Although, I will say that the thought of you