"Let me help, sir," one of the men said, and only then did Cody realize he was doing the job of the entire crew—something he'd likely have to answer for later.
He didn't care. Maybe he had something to prove. Maybe it was this
ocean and this
island that needed to be reminded that it couldn't beat him anymore.
, he counted in his head as he administered rescue breaths. No response.
Not a great way to start out his sentence on Nantucket. Back after all these years only to lose one his first day out? That couldn't happen.
He closed his mouth over hers again. One-two-three
"We were too late," one of the seamen said.
Cody shook his head, and just then the woman's eyes opened, she coughed up a bucket of water, and he turned her over.
Another rescue boat pulled alongside theirs, and Cody's entire body sighed in relief. Thank you, God
The woman coughed again, then tried to sit up. She wasn't small or frail—she was muscular and athletic, the kind of person who made activity a part of her daily life. Would she be ticked off to find out she'd required saving? Lots of women were these days.
But as she shifted and brought her intense blue eyes to his, it wasn't anger or irritation he found there. It was recognition.
He leaned back on his heels and studied her face—freckles that trailed across the bridge of her nose, hair darkened by the sea, and familiar eyes as bright as the sky.
"Louisa?" Her name escaped his lips, almost a whisper.
"You two know each other?" Jessup knelt beside him.
She hadn't looked away since she'd said his name.
Was their entire history flashing through her mind too? Was she wondering where he'd been? Whom he'd loved? Why he was back? Why he never called? Did she want to know how he and his family had survived after they left the island? Or maybe, just maybe, she was thinking of that stupid pact they'd made all those years ago. Back when things were simple and it seemed like there would never be a day they wouldn't be in each other's lives.
Of course, it was possible she was thinking none of those things. Maybe she was simply thinking that he was a jerk for saying the things he did.
She'd be right.
But there was a whole world she didn't understand, and he wasn't about to explain it to her. He stood.
Her eyes followed.
He didn't like it. He didn't like being watched. Being seen. Not by Louisa Chambers, anyway.
The crew of the other boat boarded their vessel and got to work. Soon Louisa would be headed for the hospital.
Once she was gone, Cody might be able to breathe again.
This excerpt is from the paperback edition.
Monday we begin the book Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn.