Beyond the Breakwater
Sheriff Reese Conlon and Doctor Tory King face the challenges of personal change as they define their lives and future together. Tory’s pregnancy forces her to examine her personal needs and goals while Reese struggles with her escalating anxieties over conditions she cannot control. Twenty-year-old Brianna Parker makes a sacrifice for love that threatens not just her happiness, but her life, when she returns home as the newest member of the Sheriff’s department. A life-threatening accident, a suspicious fire, and the appearance of more than one woman vying for Bri’s attentions makes one Provincetown summer a time of transformation as each woman learns the true meaning of love, friendship, and family.
September, Provincetown, Ma
Doctor Victoria King tilted her face to the sun and let the swift ocean current carry her to shore. She rested her paddle across the front of the seventeen-foot long, twenty-one inch wide red kayak and squinted in the early morning haze toward the beach at Herring Cove. Men and women perched on the undulating curve of sand marking the border between earth and water, casting baited lines to tempt the sea bass to their last meal. In the black ribbon of parking lot sandwiched between the dunes and the shore, vacationers were just beginning to stir, opening the windows and doors of their mechanical homes, airing out their sea dampened linens and clothes. Tory was so used to seeing the idyllic tableau, she barely took note as her craft glided the last few feet and touched bottom in the frothing water at the ocean’s edge.
As she unzipped her life vest and tossed the PFD into her boat, the sound of a car door thudding closed penetrated the roar of the waves, and she stopped what she was doing to watch Reese Conlon walk down across the shell-littered sand, a blazing grin on her handsome face.
“Good morning, Sheriff,” Tory said softly, her eyes roaming the trim body in the immaculately pressed and polished uniform, moving slowly from the broad shoulders over the faint swell of breasts to the narrow hips and long, muscular thighs. God, you’re gorgeous.
“Good morning, Doctor,” Reese replied easily, stopping a few feet away, shoulders squared in that unconscious military posture that was second nature to her. She knew Tory was watching her, looking at her, and she liked it. Her skin tingled under the stiff cotton of her khakis everywhere Tory’s glance fell, the visual caress as tangible as a touch. The two feet of air between them shimmered like the currents above blacktop on a hot summer’s day. “Nice out there today?”
“Mmm. Yeah, it was.”
Reese smiled. Tory’s clear, lightly tanned skin was flushed from the wind off the water and the exertion of her recent paddle. The T-shirt she had worn under her PFD was damp with sweat and spray, the thin material subtly outlining her firm, high breasts. Her mid-thigh length shorts hugged slender, toned thighs. Even the scarred and damaged calf held a trace of valiant beauty.
“Give you a hand?” Reese finally said, her voice husky. You are so very lovely.
“Anytime,” the doctor replied, her own throat suddenly dry.
Tory caught up to Reese by the side of her Jeep and opened the back. Tossing the items she carried inside, she turned and reached for the rear of the kayak. “Ready?”
“Any time you say, love.”
Together they lifted it to the roof rack and secured it. As they stood facing one another by the side of the vehicle, their eyes met and they moved close enough so that their hands touched.
“Busy day today?” Reese asked, brushing the auburn collar-length hair back from Tory’s face with her fingertips, letting her hand linger against her lover’s cheek.
“Uh huh,” Tory murmured, resting one palm on the taller woman’s chest. “You?”
“Routine,” the sheriff replied, watching the green eyes deepen to the color of the ocean in August. “I won’t be late. Can we have dinner?”
“Mmm, okay.” Tory ran a finger down the buttons on Reese’s shirt, thinking about the hard muscles and soft smooth skin underneath. Thinking about waking with her that morning and how much she had wanted her right then and knowing that there wasn’t time. Knowing that she would want her all day. Knowing that that evening there would be time. “I love you.”
Reese lowered her head and brushed her lips over Tory’s, her hand beneath Tory’s hair caressing the back of her neck. “Me, too,” she whispered against her lover’s ear.
“Go to work,” Tory ordered as she stepped away. Reese had a dangerous glint in her deep blue eyes, the kind of spark that promised flames. She was afraid if they touched again they’d kiss for real, and then she wouldn’t be able to concentrate all day.
“When?” Reese persisted, but she didn’t move. She didn’t dare. You always do this to me, make me so hot I can’t think.
“Later. Now go.” Tory slid into the Jeep, pulled the door closed, and started the ignition with shaking hands. She had expected the passion to lessen, the fires to cool, but they hadn’t. She glanced into the rearview mirror as she drove away. Watching Reese stride to her patrol car, she knew that they never would.
Later turned out to be eleven o’clock that night. Tory’s patient schedule had been disrupted while she sutured a series of nasty lacerations on the forehead of a cyclist who had blown a tire coming down Route six from Truro and had catapulted into the guard rail. By the time she got home her leg ached, and she was exhausted.
“Did you ever get dinner?” Reese asked as she met her lover on the rear deck of the house they shared overlooking Provincetown Harbor.
“No,” Tory sighed as she flopped into a deck chair, absently petting the huge brindle mastiff who lumbered to her side. “Hey, Jed,” she whispered faintly.
Reese leaned to kiss her, then said, “I’ll be right back.”
Tory closed her eyes and when she jerked awake a few moments later, there was a tray table beside her with a glass of wine and a sandwich. Suddenly she was ravenous. “Thanks.”
“Better?” Reese asked when Tory set her glass down with a satisfied groan.
Reese raised an eyebrow. “Something else?”
“Uh huh.”Tory held out a hand, and Reese moved to take it. Tory tugged her down onto the lounge chair beside her, turning so that they rested face to face. Threading her arms around Reese’s waist, she pressed close, pushing one thigh between Reese’s. “This.”
It began with a kiss…a kiss to say welcome home, a kiss to say I missed you, a kiss to say I love you. It became something more urgent as flesh met flesh and passion stirred. Tory worked her hand between them and pulled the T-shirt from Reese’s jeans, resting her palm on the curve of rib as it arched above Reese’s taut stomach. Reese kissed her way from Tory’s mouth along the line of her jaw to the smooth skin of her neck, biting lightly until she drew soft cries from her lover’s throat. Their hearts pounded, beating a rhythm that echoed in each other’s blood as they explored one another with mouths and lips and demanding hands.
“Tory,” Reese gasped as she felt her lover’s finger slip down the front of her jeans. She didn’t remember opening her fly, but one of them must have. “Careful.”
“Why?” Tory murmured thickly, pushing lower as she leaned up on the other arm so she could see Reese’s face. Her fingers found the hardness she was seeking, and as she pressed the length of her, Reese moaned. “You’re always good for more than one.”
Reese grew still under her hands…body arched slightly, head tilted back, pupils wide and dark. Tory knew how to touch her to keep her on the edge…knew the telltale flutter of her lids, the stutter of breath in her chest, the faint cry barely uttered…she knew and she held her there, moving her fingers slowly, carefully, one gentle stroke after another.
“Tory…love,” Reese whispered as the pleasure escaped the confines of the places Tory touched and cascaded outward to burn through her blood and roll down her legs, muscles clenching with the force of nerves and vessels turning to fire. She pressed her forehead to Tory’s shoulder and shuddered, lost and forever found.
As many times as she had watched Reese come, Tory was never prepared for the beauty of it. Awestruck, humbled beyond words, she bit her lip to keep from falling with her, wanting to remember each precious second of the moment. But she couldn’t keep from thrusting against Reese’s thigh, her body having long since moved beyond her control. Trying desperately to ignore the pressure building between her legs, she clung to her lover, gasping.
Dimly Reese heard Tory’s ragged breathing against her ear, and even as she continued to shiver with the last ripples of release, she reached for her. “I want to be inside you.”
Tory lifted her hips, helping Reese push her slacks down. “Yes. Yes.”
It was quick, because she was so close. One second, Reese was there…gliding over her, opening her…and then she was inside her, owning her. Tory cried out once, sharply, and then she was coming. Over and over and over she closed around Reese’s fingers, each spasm knifing through her with a terrible wonder. When she could make sound, she could find no words. She simply turned her sweat-damp face to Reese’s chest and hung on.
They must have slept because it was the chill that woke her. The sky was very dark above them, and the wind from the water was sharp and crisp. In the distance, the foghorn echoed plaintively. Tory stirred, running her fingers over Reese’s chest. “Hey, Sheriff.”
“Okay,” Reese said, but when she moved to get up, Tory suddenly held her tighter. She stilled, surprised by the force of her lover’s grip. “What’s wrong, Tor?”