After a traumatic breakup, Callie Harris returns to the tiny island where she grew up, to reopen the family bookstore, and hopefully, to make a living. The sparsely populated island is owned by a beloved but eccentric old woman, eighty-nine year old spinster, Tulip Prendergast, who lives alone in a ramshackle Victorian mansion built by her father more than a hundred years ago. Callie is dismayed to find that the charming old bookshop where she needs to work and live has been condemned - by order of a vengeful enemy from the past, who's now the mayor. There's a handsome new police chief in the village named Rob McCaffrey, and the attraction between he and Callie is immediate. The blossoming romance hits a snag, though, when Callie learns that it was Rob who signed the order of eviction on her shop.
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Gwen is an aspiring artist, living on a beautiful California beach, on the glittering periphery of glamorous Hollywood. Fabulous, right? Well, not so much. For one thing, she works for her dingbat landlady, a pothead ex-hippie who moonlights as a junk dealer, and has hired Gwen to paint non- existent lighthouses on toilet seats. The home they…
Disheartened and broke, and too proud to ask her friend Tulip for help, a frustrated Callie lashes out in anger, and wreaks havoc on the Mayor's office. The tantrum earns her a blistering tongue lashing from Tulip, and a highly memorable spanking from the exasperated Chief of Police.
Behind the scenes, Rob has been trying to get the eviction order lifted, and with Tulip's help, he finally succeeds. When his aging houseboat home sinks, he rents Callie's back room, and the romance is rekindled. With her romance going beautifully, and her shop reopening, Callie's chaotic life finally seems to be back on track - kept there, sometimes, with a cautionary paddling from Rob McCaffrey.
And then, just when things are looking up, Callie stumbles over a body on the beach.
As the mystery of the victim's identity unravels, and the evidence seems to point to Tulip, Callie begins to be troubled by disturbing memories from her childhood. Memories of dark tunnels, and cries in the night. Half-remembered legends of a ghostly figure, dancing on a moonlit beach. And stories about a stolen child, who disappeared, and never returned.