The Cottage Next Door
The Beach House # 3.5
By: Georgia Bockoven
Releasing July 14, 2015
What should have been the best day in Diana Wagnor’s twenty-nine years easily turns into the worst when her job is downsized, she discovers her fiancé in bed with her best friend, and watches her cherished grandmother’s house burn to the ground.
Clearly it’s time to start over and get out of Topeka, Kansas, where she’s spent her whole life. But what should she do? And how does she ever trust herself in another relationship when her one indisputable skill seems to be picking the wrong man?
Diana finds her answers at the cottage next door to the beach house with the help of a tall, sculptured, soft-spoken Californian, and a heart-shaped piece of sea glass.
Georgia Bockoven is an award-winning author who began writing fiction after a successful career as a freelance journalist and photographer. Her books have sold more than three million copies worldwide. The mother of two, she resides in northern California with her husband, John.
There was no way to know the tiny heart-shaped fragment of translucent green beach glass that washed up on the shore seventy-five years ago brought a touch of magic with it. The young woman who found it had gone to the beach that morning to decide whether her life was worth living alone. She’d lost the only man she’d ever loved in a nameless battle, on a nameless island, three days before the war in the Pacific officially ended.
She didn’t feel the magic right away, just a comforting sense of peace that grew to acceptance, and finally hope. The sea glass resided in the pocket of whatever pants or jackets she wore while she stayed at the cottage, a talisman she clasped when her loss threatened to return and overwhelm her. When the principal at the school where she taught fifth grade called to gently remind her that there was an upcoming mandatory staff meeting to get ready for the first day of school, she reluctantly started packing.
Distracted, she didn’t notice when the sea glass slipped from her pocket, nor did she feel it under her foot when she moved her suitcases out of the bedroom and into the enclosed back porch. She might have noticed a flash of color reflected in the sunlight when she made one more quick pass through the cottage—if only she hadn’t stepped on the tiny heart again, this time tilting it on edge and forcing it between two six-inch wide pieces of rustic flooring.
She left the cottage through the back porch, stopping to look out the wall of windows that gave an unimpeded view of the cove. Something had drawn her to this room for a last good-bye, settling a sense of contentment over her as gently as one of her grandmother’s silk knit shawls.
The taxi appeared ten minutes early, the driver giving two quick honks to announce his arrival. She led him to the back porch, standing to the side while he picked up three of her four suitcases. As she reached for the last bag the sun cut through the morning fog, and for an instant, out of the corner of her eye, she saw a burst of blue light. It was gone as quickly as it had appeared. Had it not been her final day, had she not been in a hurry to get to the bus depot, had the taxi driver arrived on time rather than early, she would have investigated.
Instead she forgot all about the strange blue light until she was on the Greyhound bus to Arizona, and thought to look for the glass heart in her pocket. It wasn’t there. She checked her other pockets, desperately hoping she’d absentmindedly put it in one of them. But even as she looked, a voice whispered in her ear—It’s gone, leave it be.