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Underneath The Surface

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Surf instructor Mel Taylor knows better than anyone how dangerous the sea can be. She has experienced first-hand how quickly a calm morning surf can change your life forever. Lifeguard Jake Martins has dedicated his adult life to keeping the beaches of Cornwall safe. He’s made more saves than he can count and prides himself on being able to handle anything that is thrown at him. That is until he meets the feisty surf school instructor at his new post. This firey red-head beach babe may just be the one challenge that pushes the chilled-out Jake over the edge. From the moment they meet, Mel and Jake don’t get along. Each of them making it their mission to push the other’s buttons. All those around them can hope they don’t get caught in the cross-fire. But Jake soon realises there is more to the sassy princess than a fiery temper. There is pain and loss beneath the frosty exterior she hides behind. There’s a woman he would like to get to know better. Can Jake help Mel come to terms with her past and allow herself to move on from her loss? Or will Jake’s job put him in peril before he gets the chance to prove to Mel that there is such a thing as a second chance of love?

Chapter 1 – Mel

A crisp sea breeze greets me as I open my front door. Inhaling deeply, I step out into the chilly morning. Sipping my coffee I start the short walk from my house to the beach where I work. I pull my jacket closed and fasten it quickly. It might be mid-May, but I still need my work hoodie and jacket in the morning to protect me from the morning chill.  

As I head for the small bridge between mine and the beach, I notice a car approaching. I step to the side and let it pass, the driver waving as he passes. I smile and wave back, recognising that it’s Ben, the lead lifeguard of our bay. I look at my watch to double-check the time; it’s only six-thirty, it’s unlike him to be here before seven.

As I turn to cross the road and head down the side entrance to the beach, I hear a horn blast, and a car flies past, narrowly missing me.

“F*ck*ng idiot!” I scream as they screech to a stop.

“Are you trying to get yourself killed?” The guy bellows as he leans out of the driver’s side window.

“Me? You’re the one driving around like they own the goddamn roads!” I flash two fingers at him before I spin on the spot and march across the road and down to the beach. I hear his car start back up before he drives off, revving the engine as he goes. Prick!

F*ck*ng tourists; or emits as us Cornish call them. They always drive around like they own the place, especially when it’s quiet. I’m sure he’ll be down here soon enough with his brand-new surfboard, which he purchased off Amazon. “All the gear and no idea.” My dad used to say. It’s people like that who would put Ben and the other lifeguards' lives at risk when they have to paddle out in all weathers to save them. Remembering Ben, I glance over and spot him at the lifeguard hut, opening the door.

“You’re early this morning, Ben,” I call as I unlock the shutters to my shop, situated a little way from the lifeguard hut. Ben sticks his head out of the door of the hut. His mop of grey hair is only just visible under his wool hat.

“Alright, Mel. I’ve got the new guy starting today, so I told him to meet me here early; he’s due any minute.”

A guy in lifeguard shorts and hoodie jogs into view as if on cue. His blonde curly hair hangs down to his jawline, a red beanie keeping it from blowing in the breeze.

“Sorry I’m late; some daft b*tch stepped in front of my car,” he calls as he comes to a stop in front of Ben.

“Who the hell are you calling a b*tch? Arseholes like you shouldn’t be allowed on the road.”

The guy turns, obviously having not realised I was there. Ben stands at the hut door with his arms crossed, a smirk plastered on his face.

“Jake, this is Mel. Melissa, this is Jake, my new second.”

“I don’t give a sh*t who he is,” I reply, not taking my eyes off the new guy.

“Play nice, Mel. I need this one to stick around,” Ben calls down to me. I flip Ben off, who laughs as the new guy arches an eyebrow at me.

“It’s not my fault you keep hiring bellends. This one seems a bigger one than the last; we’ll see how long he survives.” I look up at Ben and wink before walking into my shop. I stick my head out of the door and see the two of them talking.“Kettle’s on Ben. If the bellend wants one, he’ll have to apologise.”

The guy, Jake, turns around, smirking.“Sorry to disappoint, princess, but you’ll be waiting a while. I’m not apologising for you stepping in front of my car.”

I open my mouth to argue but stop, as Ben clears his throat and gives me a warning look.

“Melissa, if you haven’t got anything nice to say, I suggest you walk away, now,” Ben warns.

“Whatever,” I mumble, heading into my shop, silently cursing the two of them.

Chapter 2 – Jake

“Either somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or they’re always an absolute pleasure to be around,” I sigh as I watch the feisty little redhead strut out of sight. Ben laughs as we head into the hut.

“You’ll get used to Mel. She’s not always a bitch. But, trust me, you want her on your side. She makes a mean enemy,” Ben warns, smiling.

“You sound like you have experience.”

Ben laughs again as he walks around, turning on monitors and lights in the tiny hut.

“Mel’s a special kind of bitch. She has this way of getting under your skin, like an itch that never leaves. So you just deal with it. You learn when to scratch and when to leave it be.”

I look out the window and see her putting out notice boards and marking them with the daily information.

“How long has she worked here?” I ask, unable to take my eyes off her as she pulls out a rack of wetsuits. Ben walks over and watches her too.

“Her dad set up the surf school and shops around

Heroes

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