Welcome to Naples, Florida! Where the beaches are perfect and every day is a vacation. But in this small town paradise that serves as a playground for the rich and elite, not everything is as beautiful as it first appears on the surface.
Offering an irreverent, and often sarcastic, glimpse into all the sexy scandals that go on behind closed doors, Paradise Coast, delves into the shadows of another way of life and proves that money doesn’t always buy happiness. Following five couples as they navigate their way through love, expectations and revenge, this story explores how different personalities react when faced with unsavory realizations about their current states of affairs.
Authors Note: This is not a romance. There are no alpha heroes who swoop in to save the day, or brooding bad boys who are easily converted into marriage material. If that’s what you’re searching for, then keep looking. Inside these pages is an unparalleled drama with many happy endings, but not so many happily-ever-afters. At least, not in the traditional sense… It’s a story about quick-witted women who find creative ways of empowering themselves and rising above their conflicting situations.
Paradise Coast (Paradise #1)
Kate opened her mouth to retort the subtle jab, but a loud knock at the door followed by the insistent ringing of the doorbell distracted her.
All three girls looked toward the front of the large house, then turned back toward each other with various levels of perplexity etched across their faces. “Are you expecting someone else?” Kate shook her head that she wasn’t, and all three got up from their seats and marched together in a tight little pack.
“Kate.” The muffled sound of a woman’s rough voice pierced through the barrier of the front door. “It’s Allie. I need to talk to you, open up.”
“Shit.” Kate cursed under her breath, and she looked at her friends helplessly for advice. They could only shrug silently though. Allie was an officer, they would have to let her in.
“I can see you through the glass in the door, Kate.” She sounded exhausted, and certainly less than thrilled to be standing outside. “I know you’re in there. Don’t make this harder than it has to be.”
Drawing a deep sigh, Kate reached with trembling fingers for the latch and drew back the door just enough that she could peek her head out. Allie, with her stocky build and rough exterior, offered an uncertain smile to Kate. Acquaintances since high school, the two girls had gone in very different directions with their life after graduation. Kate had pursued college and continued dating Matt, and together they’d become a prominent and respected couple in the upper social circles of Naples. Allie, on the other hand, had used her sporty personality to her benefit and had pursued the police academy after floundering for a couple of years. She’d worked her way up the ranks, and as Kate had heard through the Naples gossip chains, she had her sights set on becoming a Detective.
Which made since why she was standing there now, Kate thought to herself. She’d just wished the somewhat friendly face and official uniform could greet her under all together different circumstances.
“You know why I’m here, right Kate?”
“No.” Her voice was as small as the answer it squeaked out.
But Allie only rolled her eyes. “Okay.” She sighed. “Mind if I come in then?”
“What’s this about?” Berlin’s head popped up, and Allie smirked a little.
“Surprise, surprise.” She clucked to herself. “I should’ve known you’d be involved in this too.”
“I’m not involved in anything.” She put her hands up in defense. “But do you have a warrant?”
“Ha! You haven’t changed at all.” Allie was shaking her head, then turned all her focus back to Kate. “I’m not searching for anything, so I really don’t need one. Can we all just talk like civilized people?”
Kate opened her mouth to answer, but Berlin interjected on her behalf. “Depends on what you want to talk to her about.”
“You gonna let her talk for herself?” Allie’s eyebrows arched high with the question and it was becoming clear her patience was coming to an end.
“Kate is very rattled right now.” Berlin sounded more like her mother than herself as she explained. “I’m trying to give her moral support.”
“Well, now I can explain that if you want. But do you really want me to do that out here where all the neighbors could overhear?” She motioned around at the quiet neighborhood, but Kate knew Naples could be tricky. It might not look like anyone was around, but it was still early in the day and the sun was bright. Sure enough as soon as Allie started talking, someone would walk by and overhear them. Then the gossip would spread like wildfire and it wouldn’t be long before the entire town knew. If they didn’t know already, that is…
Finally relenting, Kate opened the door enough for Allie to cross through, then looked around to make sure no one had seen her enter before closing it and locking it again.
Allie and Shauna nodded heads in greeting as Kate ushered them into the dining room where they all took a seat around the modern setting. “Where’s Matt?” She continued to inquire, looking around a bit as though he might pop out from behind one of the large pieces of art that hung on the walls.
“Out.” Kate shrugged, her dejection still evident.
“Drinking with his friends, I would imagine.” She sighed.
“Okay good.” She spun around, crossed her arms over her chest, and glared down her nose toward Kate. “You want to tell me what happened today?”
Kate made eye contact with Shauna and Berlin, but they had nothing to offer this time. “I don’t know what you mean?” It was hardly a convincing performance of ignorance.
“Come on now. The girl’s pressing charges on you.” Though Allie’s voice was firm, it was softened by sincere concern. “This isn’t like you, Kate. You’ve never once had a run in like this before. You’ve got to give me something. Tell me what happened.”
“Pressing charges?” The incredulous question forced Kate’s voice to rise more than one octave. “That bitch is pressing charges on me?”
Allie nodded calmly.
“Well, by all means let me tell you what happened then.” Flustered by the new idea, she began pacing and throwing her hands around as she related the story. “I went to the Matt’s office to surprise my boyfriend with lunch from his favorite restaurant. I wore the dress that he likes most, did my hair and makeup the way he likes it. I even wore his favorite damn perfume. So after I get all dolled up, just to please him, I show up to find out that he’s already having lunch. On top of a naked person!” Realizing her voice was growing louder than it should have, she took a second to bring it back down again. “So then I politely ushered her from the building and had a little conversation with Matt.”
“You politely ushered her out?” Allie’s skepticism was obvious.
But Kate simply nodded, affirming her version of the story. “What would you have done Allie, if your boyfriend had been eating sushi off a naked stranger and didn’t bother telling you about it? And what does one do with a naked sushi girl once the sushi has been eaten? Huh?” She allowed a lengthy pause for dramatic effect, then squinted her eyes daringly. “Think about it.”
Allie remained quiet, looking from face to face as she seemed to contemplate this. “I’ll tell her it’s in her best interest to drop the charges.”
“You do that.” A satisfied smile spread across Kate’s face as she ushered the officer out the door again.
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About the Author
Renee’ Novelle is Preceded by a long line of published family members, including Pulitzer Prize nominated author and Poet Laureate of Kentucky Jesse Stuart.
As a child, Novelle was already gaining recognition for several of her works, and in her formative years, she continued this trend by earning local awards for her short stories and poems.
Inspired to cultivate her talent, Novelle pursued freelance journalism and has found placement of 75 of her pieces in both online and print publications since 2008. Additionally, she has written multiple screenplays, and contributed her savvy, effective writing style to many non-profit and for profit organizations. She launched several blogs over the years, which garnered international attention.
In 2013, Novelle returned to her first love – fiction. She writes psychological and paranormal thrillers, as well as contemporary fiction and new adult fiction. For a complete schedule of upcoming releases, please visit www.RSNovelle.com
Though she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Communication, Summa Cum Laude, she considers herself a constant student of the written word. She’s an avid reader, an enthusiastic quote poster, and rarely takes “no” as a final answer. She has an unhealthy obsession for theater, dance, music and art, and strongly believes that wine is simultaneously the beginning of, and resolution to, all of life’s problems. She believes in following dreams, and that in the end, you always end up where you’re meant to be.