Jade spent the last day of her week-long stay-cation at her favorite spot in a secluded beach area of the Marina Dunes Preserve. It was just a hop, skip and a jump from her house in the nearby trailer park. As the sun started to slide beyond the horizon, she sighed wishing she didn’t have to return to the real world and her job on Monday.
As she stood to gather her things, she glanced at the nearby ridge-line. When she spotted a horseman at the edge of the cliffs also seeming to be watching the sunset, she furrowed her brow, wondering who that could be. Reaching down to retrieve her sunglasses, she glanced back up to see he was gone.
Monday morning dawned bright as she drove her Jeep into Sand City and parked outside of Mi Casa Su Casa Realtors. She was greeted inside by their receptionist, Jenni who waved her on through to Jeremy Owens office, “Great to see you! Hurry in to Jeremy. He has fabulous news and he made me promise not to tell you.”
Jade paused, smiling, “Not even a hint?”
Jenni laughed, “No, now go before my husband comes out here to drag you in there himself!” Jade laughed and grabbed a donut from the table before knocking on Jeremy’s door. When she heard him calling her to come in, she slipped inside.
“Now that was mean no allowing your own wife tell me a secret!” Jade teased.
Jeremy looked up grinning and handed her a file. Jade looked down and realized it was the Steckman property. She had been trying for two years to sell it after the old man died leaving no heirs. Her eyes widened when she saw the stamp. “We sold it?!” She squealed.
Jeremy grinned, “Lock, stock and barrel!”
Jade was ecstatic, “Who bought it?”
Jeremy pointed to the form, “Some cowboy from Texas named Tanner Lively!”
“Well, that must have been the rider I saw on the ridge.” Jade remembered.
“He’s coming on Wednesday to sign the final paperwork. You can meet him then. ” Jeremy nodded.
“In fact,” Jenni had obviously been eavesdropping, “We are all going to meet at Steinley’s Pub to sign the paperwork and have some lunch at twelve to celebrate.” She grinned.
Jade groaned, “PLEASE tell me this is not another set up!”
“Oh, Jade!” Jenni rolled her eyes, “You wouldn’t like him. He’s totally not your type.” She looked at Jeremy who nodded, “Meanwhile, why don’t we meet at Sandstorm on the boardwalk at 12:30 for lunch today?”
“Sure, ” Jade glanced at her watch. I have a few clients to meet but I should have plenty of time to make that.”
Jade stepped over to her office and grabbed a few files, “See you guys later!” Jenni waved as Jade hopped into her Jeep.
It was a few hours later when Jade made her way to the chosen restaurant on the boardwalk. She checked her phone, discovering a message from Jenni saying they were running a little late but should be there shortly. Jade settled down on a bench to watch the waves rolling in to the beach. There were a few swimmers in the water but the water was more populated with surfboards as a class seemed to be going in to teach a group to surf. There was a guy in the class who caught her attention. She figured him to be thirtyish and he obviously was new to this. No matter how often he tried, he couldn’t seem to stay on the board and he seemed embarrassed that the young children in the class picked it up almost right away. He wasn’t much of a surfer, she realized. At one point he finally managed to stand on the board when he was hit by a wave toppling him overboard. The wave spit him up on shore where he lay there for awhile catching his breath. A young boy ran over and patted his arm trying to comfort him. Jade had to stifle a giggle. Suddenly a dog appeared out of the waves aiming straight for the man. He suddenly was all over him licking his face. “Banner! No!” The man sat up coughing. Just like that the dog started to shake catapulting sea water and sand all over him causing Jade to chuckle. As if he heard her, the man looked up at her grinning sheepishly. She smiled back and then turned suddenly to a voice behind her, “There you are, Jade! I am so sorry we’re so late!”
Jade followed Jeremy and a chattering Jenni inside but not before pausing to look at the man who was now playing with his dog.
Jade rearranged the files in her briefcase as she, Jeremy and Jenni waited for Tanner Lively to arrive to sign the papers. Jeremy and Jenni were discussing their twins and Jade was happy to find something else to train her thoughts. Not that she was envious of them…. well, she was, but Mr. Right was nowhere in sight for her and she had long given up on ever meeting him.
“Hey, Tanner!” She heard Jenni say as she and Jeremy both stood up. Startled Jade stood as well and turned to face the surfer wannabe from the beach.
“Oh, hello! Nice to meet you! I’m Jade Sinclair.” She offered her right hand.
“Tanner Lively!” He introduced himself, “I believe you were the one stalking me from the boardwalk the other day.”
“Ohhh?” Jenni jumped right in, “When did this happen?”
Jade giggled, “The other day I was waiting for you outside of the Sandstorm and Mr. Lively was trying to learn to surf.”
“I believe you gave up when the dog did a better job than you,” Jade teased.
Tanner pretended indignation and then winked at her. Jade could feel the heat rising in her cheeks and she lowered her eyes to her menu as she could distinctly hear Jenni trying to stifle a laugh.
All through the meal, Jenni and Jeremy would communicate with their eyes every time Jade and Tanner connected in some sort of conversation but Jade didn’t care. She enjoyed Tanner’s company so much she forgot what she had even ordered. Shortly after Jenni returned from the rest room, she got a mysterious phone call from her babysitter saying the kids needed her. Jade narrowed her eyes at an apologizing Jeremy and Jenni trying to look apologetic and not quite succeeding. Suddenly Jade and Tanner were alone in an uncomfortable silence.
Finally Tanner cleared his throat, “Awkward!”
Jade started to laugh.
Tanner stood up, “Well, I really do have some meetings to get to but I would really love to continue this conversation tonight over dinner. 6:00 okay?”
Jade smiled, “That would be great!” She wrote her address on a napkin and handed it to him. “By the way, what do you plan to call your new ranch?”
Tanner turned, amused, “Rancho Dios Provee….. God Provides.”
That evening Jade enjoyed a wonderful evening with Tanner and, when he suggested a stroll on the beach, she was quick to agree. Conversation just came so easily and she was already developing feelings toward him so when he pulled her in for a kiss as the sun was setting over the horizon, she was quick to accept.
And, with that kiss, Jade was looking forward to forever with Tanner Lively.