Good Girl Gone Plaid:The McLaughlins, Book 1(2)

By: Shelli Stevens

Kenzie pulled back, her eyes shiny with tears. “How are we almost thirty? You have so few pictures on Facebook, but you look exactly the same as you did back then. Wait, no, you’re even hotter than you were in high school.”

“Am I?” Sarah laughed and shrugged. “I’m a single mom now, so I suppose I need to try harder to impress the opposite sex if I ever want to meet someone.”

“Oh hell, I hear you on that.” Kenzie scowled. “Not the single mom bit, but the trying to impress guys bit.”

“Seriously? How are you still single?” Sarah pulled away and ran a glance over her friend.

“Well, it’s like my family says. I must have high standards.”

And Kenzie always had. Her friend hadn’t changed much over the years either. Still skinny enough to make other women jealous, and with the same set of boobs that had never failed to trip up the football players when the girls had been cheerleading at a game.

Add to that, she was a McLaughlin. The entire family was legend on the island and had been hugely popular since they’d moved to the States from Scotland fifteen or so years ago.

Kenzie, the youngest and only girl out of the four kids, had been in America so long she’d lost most of her accent. But any guy she met had always seemed to seek her attention. Just like the females on the island had all been starry-eyed for her three brothers.

Just thinking back to those days when she and Kenzie had been a little wild—and a lot naive—had Sarah’s heart squeezing so hard she could barely draw in a breath.

“Okay, let’s put your suitcase in the trunk and we’ll head out.” Kenzie grabbed Sarah’s suitcase, ignoring her protests that she could put it in the trunk herself.

Minutes later they were settled into the Ford Escort and driving up the hill that led them into the heart of the island.

Sarah drank in every sight, noting the changes in businesses since the last time she’d been here. Some shops had been replaced. Some were out of business. And there were now some more commercial restaurants and stuff.

It was different, but it was still familiar. It was the island she’d spent eight years of her life on.

“So where is Emily? You didn’t want to bring her?” Kenzie cast her an accusing glance. “I still have no idea what she looks like. You’ve never posted pics of her on Facebook.”

“I’m not a fan of putting her picture online,” Sarah admitted, keeping her gaze focused out the passenger window. “I’m all right being online, but I don’t want my kid to be. I’ll show you a picture of her later.”

“Deal. Damn, I’m so glad you’re back.” Kenzie sighed. “Though the circumstances that brought you here aren’t all that great. I was sorry to hear about your grandmother’s passing.”

“Thank you.” Again she was stabbed by guilt, but this time she knew she deserved it.

Her grandma, who’d been recently widowed, had moved to Whidbey to be closer to Sarah’s mom when the family had been stationed in Oak Harbor.

Only Grandma had stayed when Sarah’s dad had gotten stationed in Japan and moved the entire family. Gran had fallen in love with the island and had decided it would be a nice place to retire.

And you never tried to visit her until it was too late. The sudden stroke that had taken her grandmother’s life had been a shock to everyone. Sarah had kept telling herself she had time to visit some day when she was ready. But now that day had come, and unfortunately Gran was gone.

“You’ll have to give me directions on where to turn. She lived in Coupeville, right?”

“Right.” Sarah stared at the blur of green from all the trees whizzing by.

“Cool, that’s just over a half hour or so.”

“I forgot how long this island is.”

It was pretty big—something like the fourth longest island in the contiguous United States, if she remembered correctly.

She and her parents hadn’t lived in Coupeville, though, but on the north end of the island up in Oak Harbor near the navy base.

“It’s pretty big,” Kenzie agreed. “Which makes it a bitch when you need to drive from Oak Harbor to catch the ferry. But then—what the…crap.”

“What?” But even as Sarah asked, she realized what had happened.

The car began to slow in jerky spurts, and the thud, thud, thud came from what sounded like a flat tire.

Kenzie maneuvered the car to the side of the road and put it in park. She glanced over at Sarah and winced.


“Flat tire? I’ve got this.” Sarah reached for her seatbelt. “My dad made sure I knew how to change one before I even got my license.”

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