By Leslie DeVooght
The sea breeze ruffled the worn pages of Cammie’s copy of Pride and Prejudice—ripples of joy skidded up her arms. Would the thrill of Mr. Darcy’s confession ever fail to transform her into a jellyfish?
Cammie sighed and closed the book. She trudged to her mother’s idea of a great way to spend the summer—helping her grandparents give tours on St. Simons Island.
Her nana waved from the wooden trolley. “Like I always say, time and tide wait for no one.”
She collapsed onto the front seat for another boring tour with typical tourists.
Nana tapped on the microphone. “Good afternoon. I’m Ginger Monroe, and we’re so happy you’ve joined us. Y’all are in for a treat. My brilliant granddaughter Mary Camille, who is in the University of Georgia’s honors program, will be telling you about our Island.”
Cammie tossed a half-hearted wave over the seat.
“Mary Camille will be happy to answer any questions, so let’s be on our way. Like I always say, time and tide wait for no one.” Nana leaned over Cammie. “Smile dear—it increases your face value, and by the way, there’s a charming young man in seat two.” Her words echoed from the speakers. Giggles filled the trolley.
Cammie cringed, grabbing the microphone. “Let’s go—time and tide and all that.”
Nana chuckled as she jerked the trolley into drive.
Cammie stumbled forward, but a pair of strong arms caught her. She glanced up and melted into a pair of deep brown eyes.
Waves of nausea tossed her breakfast around her stomach. She stood, grasping the metal pole. It was like that morning on spring break. She swallowed. It couldn’t be him.
Nana elbowed Cammie.
“Sorry. I got distracted by th-the view.” She pointed at the ocean. Her stomach churned.
As they traveled from the pier, Cammie recited the Island’s history. She was being ridiculous. It couldn’t be Spence. She peeked to seat two.
He grinned, holding her gaze—definitely Spence.
Nana nudged her. Cammie shot her gaze out of the window. “And this is the lighthouse.” She rattled off the history and the lore.
What was she going to do? If anyone on this island found out about that night, her reputation would be ruined. The last thing she remembered was snuggling against him near the dunes. Her cheeks heated—the kiss. But how had she ended up in her bed? What else had happened? Why had she let her friends talk her into fishbowl margaritas? They knew she never drank.
“Mary Camille, the questions.”
What kind of guy vanishes? She pursed her lips. “Yes, sir. Thanks for sticking around for the tour, but if you disappear on the walking portion, we’ll leave you.”
A sharp elbow plunged into her leg.
“I wouldn’t intentionally abandon th-the tour. I want to learn more about … the Island.”
What was that supposed to mean? She studied him. “So, what’s your question?”
“I heard that during World War Two, German U-boats were off the coast, but it was a secret.” He raised his brows.
“It was kept very quiet.” What else happened that night? She locked her focus on his eyes. “But you probably know more than I do … about the war.” She winced.
A smile filled his face. Seemed he was speaking her language.
As the memories crashed over her, a current of warmth flowed through her. They’d spent the day talking and laughing. It was part dream, part nightmare. Her friends insisted a Spring Break fling was fantastic, but she’d never lost control.
Nana patted Cammie’s leg. “Stick to the facts, and how ’bout some southern charm?”
Cammie returned the script, pointing out the sights.
Finally, they parked at Christ Church Frederica. “Nana, can you do the walking tour? I need some water.”
“Fine, but don’t dawdle.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Cammie jogged down the stairs, while Nana strolled across Frederica road with the woman who’d been sitting with Spencer.
As Spencer’s feet touched the ground, Cammie grabbed his arm. He slid his hand around hers as she led him behind an oak tree.
“Cammie, I’m sorr—”
She put her finger over his lips, leaning around the trunk. The tour group filed into the church.
She faced him. “What are you doing here?”
“My grandmother invited me. Good to see you, too.”
“I didn’t expect to see you again. Last time I saw you I was not myself. I never drink or go on walks with strange guys.”
“Didn’t realize I was strange or you had to be under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol to endure my presence.” He snatched his hand from hers and rubbed the back of his neck.
“That’s not what I meant. I liked the time we spent together, but you disappeared, so I thought …” She wrung her hands.
“I was a jerk.” He wrapped his hands around hers. “But, I only wanted to protect you. You could barely walk, so I helped you to your room.”
“My room?” She pinched her eyes closed. “What else happened?”
He chuckled. “Relax, nothing else happened. You wouldn’t let me in the door. I was worried about you, but you were adamant.”
She exhaled, opening her eyes.
He squeezed her hand. “I wanted to find you in the morning, but my ride to Charleston was leaving. I only knew your first name and that you went to UGA.”
“You wanted to find me?”
“Of course.” He brushed his fingers over her cheek.
The blast of the trolley horn blew them apart.
“Wait.” He pulled her to him.
“I-we have to go. Nana won’t find this amusing.”
The corner of his lip twitched up. “I kinda doubt that.”
“I’m not about to kiss you.”
“Maybe not now.” He winked. “But seriously, we had fun together, so how ’bout we try a real date?”
“Cammie, this isn’t complicated.” He smirked. “Nana already gave me your number.”
When Leslie isn’t writing, she serves as Director of Women’s Ministries at her church, cheers on her three children, and enjoys date nights with her husband, who loves that she researches kissing. Leslie is represented by Bob Hostetler of the Steve Laube Agency.