With a yawn, Matt started for the kitchen and then stopped in the doorway. Right. He
hadn’t gone grocery shopping yesterday. If there was anything Uncle Dan had left in
the kitchen it probably wasn’t edible anymore. Odds were, Anne had whipped up an
amazing breakfast at Libby’s this morning. His stomach grumbled just thinking about
it, and he wondered if he could convince her to come by and make breakfast for him
sometime. Probably not.
He was going to have to be self-sufficient; head back across the ferry and load the
truck up with supplies. And more than food, most likely. There was probably a load of
things he was going to need. He ought to start a list so he wouldn’t forget—
A knock came from the front door.
Must be John Turner.
Matt abandoned his thoughts of breakfast and supply lists and opened the front door.
The blond guy on porch smiled as he gestured to Matt’s gray USMC shirt. “You were a Marine, huh?”
Were? Once a Marine, always a Marine.
“Libby didn’t mention that,” he continued before Matt could reply. “What division?”
“4th.” He opened the door wider for the guy to come in. “I was in the 25th Regiment.”
“The Cold Steel Warriors, huh?” Turner asked as Matt shut the door behind him.
They were the Cold Steel Warriors. “Were you in the Corps?”
Turner shook his head. “Nah. I was a SEAL up until I met Heather and she made me retire.”
A lot of guys wouldn’t admit to something like that. Turner looked like he was easily ten years older than Matt, maybe fifteen. He’d probably come to terms with leaving the Navy behind him a long time ago. “Well, come on in.” Matt pointed to the living room to the right. “Libby said you’ve got some ideas about tourism. I’ve got to tell you, I’m not seeing whatever it is.”
Turner’s eyes opened wide like he was offended, which wasn’t Matt’s intention.
“I mean, Maine’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong.” Matt shrugged. “But what’s the draw for here versus anywhere else in the state, you know?”
That seemed to appease the former SEAL who dropped into Uncle Dan’s old recliner. “Well, Heather and I’ve been doing well with deep-sea fishing and harbor tours, but—” He leaned forward in the chair like he had a secret and rested his elbows on his thighs. “Well, my wife’s a historian before anything else, and she’s convinced that if we offer something with a historical angle, it’ll pay off. For us, the community, everybody.”
“A historical angle?” Matt echoed as he took a seat on the old worn out couch. History had never been his best subject.
Turner nodded. “You know there was a Revolutionary battle on Chadwick Island, right?”
Matt did not know that and he shook his head.
“Well, there was.” The former SEAL leaned back in his chair and looked a little smug. “More of a skirmish really. But it happened here and it could be that draw you’re talking about. You’ve seen the graveyard, haven’t you?”
“Yeah.” The graveyard he had seen, there were a number of Chadwicks buried there; but he hadn’t known there’d been a Revolutionary battle on the island. Turner was right. That might be just the thing to bring tourism to the area, if it was played right. “Your wife, the historian, she has all the details about the battle?” How would they go about publicizing something like that?
Turner nodded. “That’s what she does. A skirmish on the island and there was a naval battle as well.” He grinned, probably a Navy thing. “And we’re thinking that diving tours off the east side of Chadwick Island could bring a whole crop of SCUBA divers to the area.”
“SCUBA divers?” The last thing Matt would have ever thought about were SCUBA tours off Chadwick Island. That seemed more like a Caribbean thing than coastal Maine thing. “Is there anything to see down there?”
“Yep.” Turner’s grin only widened. “If you know what to look for, and I do.”
* * *
The recipe called for candied orange rind but finding that ingredient in Penobscot Bay would be as likely as stumbling across a chest of buried treasure on her way home from Hatton’s Family Grocery. What else did she need? She already had milk, but she needed more cornstarch, which was on the other side of the aisle. Just as she turned around, she caught a familiar sight at the end of the row, and her breath caught in her throat.
Matt was even hotter now than he had been eight years ago, especially in those jeans and that heather gray USMC t-shirt. He nodded toward her, a faint smile on his lips. Those clear blue eyes that Anne had remembered long after he’d left Maine were now focused solely on her. “Shopping?” he asked.
Anne lifted her basket higher in the air. “Yep. You too, huh?”
He started toward her and Anne’s stomach twisted into an old familiar knot. “Cupboards are bone dry at Uncle D…at my place.”
“Strange, thinking of it as your place?”
He smiled again. “Strange to be there without him. Strange to think the whole island’s mine.”
“Well, it’s not that big of an island,” she teased.
“Big enough. And overgrown.” Matt shook his head. “Talked to John Turner this morning.”
“How’d that go?” Anne wondered aloud. Mr. Turner was nice enough and a good father, but a little on the controlling side.
Matt blew out a breath. “SCUBA tours off the island, history tours on the island. Stuff I wouldn’t have even thought about a few months ago.”
And he didn’t know what he was doing yet, with the island. Anne could see it on his face. She could hear it in his voice, the uncertainty. “I’m sure you’ll do what’s best.”
“Yeah, we’ll see.” He tapped her basket with his finger. “So what are you making?”
“Not what I thought I was making when I walked in. My choices are a bit limited here now that I’ve shopped them to the point of extinction.”
“Have you come up with a new plan? Libby can’t be that hard to please.”
Anne laughed. “Grams has a very sophisticated palate these days.”
“It’s your fault,” he said with a grin. “Cooking for her, spoiling her.”
Not even close to being true. “I’m sorry about last night. Sometimes she can be a lot to handle.” And more than embarrassing on more than one occasion.
“She’s just like I remember. Still the same feisty lady.”
“What about you?” she asked before she thought the better of it. “Are you still the same too?”