Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Buxton Peak by Julie L. Spencer - The (Almost) Perfect Honeymoon

After two nights in Detroit, the next stop was supposed to be the Northwoods Lodge near Petoskey on their way to the Upper Peninsula. What should have taken under four hours turned out to be a two-day trip with an overnight stay in Houghton Lake just because they couldn’t help stopping by the place where they met. They didn’t bother going over to see Aunt Pat & Uncle Denny, but did decide to book a room at the Beachfront Hotel even though the lodge where they had reservations was only an hour away.
“We should just stay here for a few weeks,” Ian whispered in the dark.
“I thought the idea was to keep moving so that no one would recognize us,” Megan answered him. She snuggled up closer to her new husband and understood exactly why he wanted to stay, and it wasn’t the beautiful view from the balcony. They’d be traveling through the U.P. never staying in one location for more than a day or two and always checking in under Megan’s name, then moving on to the next destination. There were no sightseeing or tourist stops, just one resort after another. They weren’t all that interested in leaving the warmth and comfort of their hotel rooms anyway.
“Maybe next summer we could come back,” Ian suggested, propping himself up on one arm to look down into her eyes.
“Sounds like a plan…for next summer,” she chuckled, then pulled him back down for another long kiss.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“I have never been, nor do I ever plan to go, river rafting in the middle of the winter,” Megan laughed, reading the promotional materials on the desk at the Northwoods Lodge.
“Snow shoeing it is then,” Ian looked over her shoulder.
“I don’t think so,” she looked up at him. “My parents didn’t go out of their way to find us the nicest honeymoon suite around so that we could freeze our toes off.”
“Just think of it,” he whispered, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her towards him. “The Jacuzzi tub will come in handy to warm up those frozen toes.”
“Let’s just skip the snow sports and go straight for the Jacuzzi,” she looked up at him.
“That sounds much warmer…”

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“I want to see Mackinaw Island!” Ian exclaimed as they crossed the bridge into the U.P. “I’ve always wanted to go there.”
“Not this time of year,” Megan tried to keep her eyes on the road and knuckles from becoming white as she braved the wind. A few knots stronger and they would have closed the bridge from traffic so as not to risk small cars being thrown into the frigid waters of Lake Huron. “They stop the ferries for the winter, and only a few people actually live on the island year round.”
“Can we make this trip again next summer, Love?” he turned to her with hope and expectation.
“If you come back to America,” she laughed over at him. “Do you know your tour dates for summer yet?”
“I have no idea,” he settled back down into the passenger seat. “That’s Jeremy’s job. My job is to stay in your arms as long as possible until they drag me back to Europe.”
“Well they’re going to have to drag you from my arms to get you back to Europe,” Megan threatened, grinning over at him. Taking her eyes off the road was a mistake because she swerved just slightly. “But not while I’m driving…”

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“Happy new year,” Megan whispered. The Cedarville Lodge was the perfect place for them to stay for the holiday because it wasn’t a party destination. Just a quiet, comfortable king-sized bed and each other.
“Best New Year’s Eve of my entire life,” Ian snuggled into his bride’s arms and fell asleep before the ball dropped in Time’s Square and the thousands of people waved to the cameras. Megan took the remote control from his hand and switched off the television with a contented smile.
“Best…ever…” her voice trailed off as she drifted away.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“Paradise sure lives up to its name,” Megan called to Ian. “Take a look at the view off this balcony. The lake is incredible!” He stood there with his arms around her for about a minute, then pulled her back inside.
“It’s freezing out there!” Ian pulled the sliding glass doors to close out the wind coming off the bay.
“Sorry the Magnuson didn’t have a king-sized bed available,” Megan apologized, tucking herself into his arms to warm up.
“Or a Jacuzzi tub,” he noted with a grin.
“What is it with you and Jacuzzi tubs?” she laughed at him. “I could care less whether or not we have a fancy tub.”
“Well, I could care less whether we have a king-sized bed,” he teased her. “I’m not planning on sleeping more than an inch or two away from you anyway!”
“Two whole inches?” she questioned.
“You’re right,” he apologized. “That is way too far away.”
“Way too far…” Megan whispered.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“Copper Harbor is one of the most unusual towns I’ve ever seen,” Ian looked around as they were passing through on the way to the Mariner Resort.
“What do you mean?” Megan questioned.
“I don’t know,” he admitted. “I just like it here.”
“Well, that’s good because we’re staying two nights.”
“Cool,” he affirmed.
“And,” she grinned. “The room has a Jacuzzi tub…”
“Now you’re speaking my language,” Ian leaned over and kissed her cheek. “Your mum sure planned us a nice honeymoon.”
“Not bad for pulling things together at the last minute like that,” Megan agreed.
“Not bad at all, my beautiful wife. This has been the best honeymoon I’ve ever had,” he teased.
“I’m pretty sure it’s the only honeymoon you’ve ever had!” she laughed at him.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

“What happened to my hair?” Ian laughed after having removed his baseball cap and running his hand through the mop that had grown out in the past three weeks since his tour had ended. “Our stylist normally trims it up every couple of days. I look awful.”
“You look amazing to me,” Megan complimented him, then wrapped her arms around him, pulling him away from the large window in the truck stop where he’d been looking at his reflection.
“You’re biased,” he whispered down to her, then pulled her into his arms for a rare public show of affection. Normally he rushed into the gas station or rest area, hat down, quickly used the restroom and rushed back out to the sleek, black sedan with the tinted windows, got into the passenger seat and hoped no one had noticed him. So far, no one had.
But this time, someone did. A young girl had been stocking a shelf nearby and heard the entire conversation. The British accent would have caught the attention of anyone in the U.P. but the strange topic of discussion caused her to look over at the couple kissing near the restroom doors. When they pulled away from each other, the young girl gasped just slightly, staring into the face of the boy who was on the poster in her bedroom. Panic trapped Ian in place for just a moment before he shoved his hat on his head and grabbed the keys out of Megan’s hand. “I’ll go start the car. You pay for the gas.”
Megan and the girl stared each other down, both with their eyes narrowed at one another, daring the other to move first. Megan looked away and casually walked over to the counter with the Diet Coke she had in her hand and placed it where the girl could scan it along with the gasoline that had just filled up the black car at pump three. Megan wished she had $45 worth of cash in her purse, but instead pulled out her debit card and looked up at the cashier. The young girl smiled just slightly and reached for the card. Megan swiped it quickly on the pin pad and punched in her four-digit pin number. She panicked again when she realized that the receipt that printed would say her full name on it. Sure enough, the clerk grabbed the receipt and looked down at it, confirming what she already knew.
“Thank you for coming in today…Megan,” the girl stated in her most professional sounding voice. Megan grabbed the receipt from the girl and quickly turned to walk away. As she did, she heard the cashier mumble. “Luckiest girl in the world.”
Megan didn’t turn around as she pushed the door open and listened as the hanging bells chimed to announce a customer coming or going. She almost ran out to the car and climbed in.
“Crap!” Megan exclaimed to her new husband as they pulled out of the parking lot.
“We need to get out of northern Michigan immediately,” Ian said, pulling his cell phone out of his pocket and dialing his agent’s number. “Jeremy, I need you to find me the nearest airport and charter us a jet, now!”
The young girl pulled her cell phone out of her pocket as well, but used it to pull up the internet where she found the website of none other than Stacy Smith. She scrolled to the bottom to find contact information for the blogger and typed in a quick message.
I have information you’d be interested in, she typed. Please call me, typed her phone number and hit send.

Excited to read more? What's your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

Want to read part of Ian's proposal? Click here: Buxton Peak by Julie L. Spencer - Wanna Marry Me?

Want to read a draft of the back cover to Buxton Peak? Click here: Buxton Peak by Julie L. Spencer - Back Cover

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