The South Winds
by Allison Mullinax
Fiery Seas Everlasting
August 7, 2018
Cassie Ray, manager of her family’s successful oyster house, has never asked for much out of life. The sun, surf, and sand are her companions. The regulars and tourists that flock to The Slippery Oyster are her livelihood. But when the Atlantic kicks up a hurricane, sending waves of black water threatening the coast, Cassie quickly learns that the south winds have blown in a lot more than debris and saltwater.
Dean Alexander left Turquoise Isle eight years ago and never looked back. With his sister’s wedding approaching, and a hurricane churning in the Gulf, Dean returns home, where he’s welcomed with a riptide of memories determined to pull him under.
Will Cassie and Dean make it through the crashing waves of the past? Will they get a second chance before it’s too late or will the storm ahead be too much for them to handle?
EXCERPT #4 – CHAPTER SIX
“Was that Dean Dean?” Jonah asks, still standing in the same spot since he walked into the house, staring at me wide-eyed.
“The one and only.” Wiping my sweaty palms over my black pants, I grimace at the tight muscles grinding in my forearm, protesting any sort of movement from my fingers. “This night sucks.” I blow a stray strand of hair out of my face. The smell of fish grease clings to my locks for dear life.
“I pictured him taller, less… clean cut,” Jonah says over his shoulder, walking into the kitchen. He stomps through the house, the hardwood floor shaking under his boots. “Where’s the good stuff?” He shuffles through a bottle of ketchup, cartons of leftovers, and an expired jar of mayonnaise as his backside sticks out of the refrigerator.
“He didn’t used to be. He’s different. There’s nothing in there. Try up there.” I point to the cabinet above his head as he swings around. A slice of lunch meat hangs from between his lips momentarily before he sucks it into his mouth.
“You need to go to the grocery store. I could have sworn I saw a bottle of wine hiding back there last week.” Towering over the refrigerator, Jonah stands on his tiptoes to reach the back of my liquor cabinet, from which he produces a three-year-old bottle of vodka. Pointing to it, he shrugs, waiting for my approval.
“Yeah, that’ll do.”
“Sit.” Jonah nods toward the table and walks across the kitchen. He pulls two red plastic cups out of the cabinet and snatches a bag of Cheetos. He places his pay load on the table.
“I just can’t believe he came to the restaurant.” Walking over to my kitchen nook, I plop down on top of the dining table, my legs dangling over the edge.
“Wait, woman!” Jonah waves his hand frantically in the air before pulling a finger to his lips, shushing me. “Don’t tell me all the gory details yet. I want the vodka version, not the bitter-Betty version.”
“I’m not bitter.”
“Playa, please, I’ve never seen you wound this tight. I could bounce a quarter off the vein popping out the side of your neck. Gimme.” Jonah holds his hand out for a cup, twisting the lid of the vodka off with his teeth. The clear liquid splashes against the bottom as he spits the top out onto the table. I watch it spin against the grainy wood, making its way toward the edge. Harold eyes the lid curiously from the floor, waiting for it to drop into his paws.
“Drink.” Jonah keeps his eyes on mine as we both tilt our heads back, letting the shots burn down our throats. He pulls a fist to his lips, his eyes watering over. “This is terrible.”
“I know, give me another.” I cough, then slam my cup down onto the table.
“One more. I gotta drive home.” Jonah pours a single shot into each of the cups, and we
toss the fire into our bellies one last time. “We need to update your liquor choices, Cass.” He shoves his hand into the Cheeto bag, plucking out several, and leaving cheesy powder coating his knuckles.
“I may never drink vodka again after this.” I hold my tongue out, waiting for the burn to disappear.
Jonah tosses the cups into the trash along with the half-empty liquor bottle, giving a slight shudder as it smacks against the bottom of the garbage can. “All right, spill it.”
Fiery Seas Pub Bookstore: https://www.fieryseaspublishing.com/product-page/the-south-winds
About the Author:
North Alabama native, Allison Mullinax, grew up in the small lake town of Guntersville, AL. She discovered the escapism and addiction of writing at an early age. Today she remains a lover of reading, all things outdoors, and spending time with her husband and three daughters.