Tides of Hope

Tides of Hope by Irene Hannon Read Free Book Online

Book: Tides of Hope by Irene Hannon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Irene Hannon
touch of defiance crept in.
    He swung toward her, his features etched with surprise. And some other emotion she couldn’t identify.
    â€œThat wasn’t on my agenda.”
    â€œFollowing up on the one already done, then.”
    â€œYes. I was in town anyway and thought I’d drop by.”
    â€œI got the flares.” She edged passed him on the finger pier, juggling the bag as she prepared to board.
    â€œLet me hold that for you.” He took the sack from her before she could protest, glancing at the package of spark plugs on top. “Engine problems?”
    Rather than give him a direct answer, she swung into the boat and reached for the bag. “I’m always prepared.”
    â€œYou do your own maintenance?”
    â€œMost of it. My neighbor helps me on the trickier things. And speaking of being prepared, let me show you the new flares.” She ducked into the cabin, retrieved the flares and rejoined him thirty seconds later on the wharf. “As you’ll see, I’m covered for the new season.” She handed them over, annoyed once again at the defensive note that had crept into her voice. For the life of her she couldn’t manage a pleasant tone with this man.
    The lieutenant took the flares in silence, scanned the expiration dates and handed them back. “Everything seems to be in order.”
    Tipping his head, he folded his arms across his chest. His powerful, well-developed chest, Kate couldn’t help noticing, her gaze dropping in the direction of the name tag on his shirt pocket.
    â€œSo what happens next?” She forced her chin back up,toward eyes as blue as the ocean on a sunny Nantucket summer day. Tensing, she braced for bad news.
    He reached into the pocket of his slacks and withdrew the original citation, which had been folded into neat, precise squares. Watching her, he tore it into small pieces, disposing of them in a trash can a few steps away.
    Her eyes widened. “Does that mean…are you going to expunge it from my record?”
    â€œYour request was reasonable. Even if you weren’t.” He gave her an assessing look, a touch of amusement sparking in his irises. “Do you always overreact when you’re angry?”
    It was a fair, but incendiary, question, and she stiffened. “I’ve been told I don’t suffer fools gladly.”
    He cocked one eyebrow but remained silent.
    You idiot! Kate chided herself, hot color stealing onto her cheeks. The man has just done you a huge favor, and you insult him instead of thanking him? How ungracious is that?
    Swallowing past her embarrassment, Kate shoved her hands into the front pockets of her jeans. “Look, can we start over?”
    â€œThat might not be a bad idea.”
    â€œOkay. Good. The thing is, I appreciate your consideration. I’m sure you noticed the Lucy Sue is an older model. It’s not as jazzy as most of the other charter boats, nor does it have all the bells and whistles. A clean safety record is a selling point I can use in my advertising to help me compete. Without it…” She shook her head and shrugged.
    â€œMy executive petty officer tells me you’ve been at this a while, Ms. MacDonald.”
    The wind whipped a lock of hair across her cheek, and she tucked it behind her ear. “Yes. My father-in-law started the business. He retired and passed it on to me and my husband when we married. But I’ve been fishing my whole life.” Shemoistened her lips as she considered whether to extend an olive branch, then decided it couldn’t hurt. “By the way, my friends call me Kate.”
    She noted the flicker of surprise in his eyes, as well as the twitch that tugged at the corner of his mouth. “As in Kiss Me, Kate? ”
    At the mention of the Cole Porter musical based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew , Kate grimaced. “I suppose that’s a fair question in light of

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