Page 27 of Suited for Love

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The voice on the other end isn’t Margo's. It's Coop's.

And something isverywrong.

"Slow down, Coop. What are you saying?" I've never heard the chief's voice sound so frantic. Not even the time there was a nasty shark bite on the beach. He wears a Hawaiian-print shirt while on duty, for goodness' sake. This isn't like him.

He takes a deep breath and starts again. "Tuck, a kayak washed up on shore. Without a rider. It's one of yours."

Oh, no."Are you sure?"

"Positive. It says 'Tuck's Kayaks' right on the side."

Panic wells up in my belly. "Where's Jared? He sometimes takes a kayak…" But Jared's an experienced kayaker, and he knows the water around here better than anyone—maybe even better than me. It's hard to believe he could ever get in trouble on the water.

"I was at the mayor's place when the call came in. Hazel says Jared went to a movie tonight with the Aronson girl, but that he worked at The Bait Bucket today. Could he have rented the kayak to someone?"

"I'm on the roof. It'll take me a minute to get to the front of the store. I'll call you right back."

Despite my relief that Jared’s okay, I fly down the stairs three at a time, panic threatening to consume me.Where is Margo? Please, please don't let it be Margo…

There's a post-it note stuck to the counter, with a note in Jared's sloppy handwriting scribbled across it. For a second, my heart stops. Then it hammers in my chest double-time.

I punch Coop's number into my cell phone as I set off in a dead run to my mother's house. He answers on the first ring.

"It's Margo, Coop. I'm going to get the jet ski from the boathouse." I've never run the block to my mother's house faster, not even when I was playing QB on the high school football team. When I get there, Coop's already got the jet ski loaded on the trailer.

My mother's wringing her hands. "I tried calling, but she's not answering her phone. I'll keep trying. She wouldn't have gone anywhere without her phone, would she?"

I nod, but we all know if her phone worked, she'd have called for help. And if her phone is lost, maybe she's…

The blood is rushing in my ears. I'm having trouble thinking. "Jared, we have to find Jared. You have to get him out of that movie. He always asks where the kayaker is planning to go. He'll have answers."

Hazel runs out of the house waving her car keys. "I'm headed to the theater now."

But the theater isn't on the island. It's a forty-minute drive.

"It'll take too long." My voice sounds like it belongs to someone else. I don't recognize it. "It's getting dark, Coop. We have to find her now."

"I've called the Coast Guard," Coop says. "We'll find her."

A lightning bolt streaks across the sky, followed by a rumble of thunder. I growl with frustration. The situation is growing direr by the second.

"Just a pop-up storm," my mother says. But there's no conviction in her voice. Even pop-ups can cause dangerous conditions. I run to the truck, check that the jet ski trailer is secure, then hop into the driver's seat. But where should I go?

Think, Tuck, think. Where?"The old lighthouse," I yell to Coop. "That's where I'll be."

He hands me a radio. "Channel three. Let me know if you find her."

"Whenyou find her," my mother corrects.

Hang on, Margo. I'm coming for you. And I'll never, ever let you go.

Chapter 16


Theoldlighthousecreaksand groans with each blast of wind. It's a stretch to call it a lighthouse. It hasn't been lit in more than one hundred years, after all, when the top of the structure fell victim to hurricane-force winds in the early twentieth century.

At least, that’s what the historical placard next to the lighthouse says.