A young woman makes enemies when she attempts to save her family’s marina from financial ruin. But when she enlists the help of a mysterious new dockhand, the trouble he brings threatens both her legacy -- and her heart.
“A clam?” Marissa Charnelton sat on the edge of Bayside Bank’s softly worn, brown leather chair and stared open-mouthed at the vice president of business lending. “My loan is being denied because of a clam?”
She shifted, keeping the rays of California sunlight that streamed through the window from exposing the irregular coloration of her second-hand suit. Banks made loans to people who already had money, not people who needed it.
The move let Marissa escape the revelatory light, but not Paula Duncan’s firm, professionally compassionate denial. The woman knew how to break bad news. She probably headed an entire division devoted to it.
“Was my business plan …”
Paula raised a slim hand. The manicure had to have cost more than Marissa’s own shoes. “Everyone knows you have a handle on the industry,” she said, and Marissa didn’t miss the pity in her voice. “But your entire proposal depends on dredging new deep-water berths.”
And now that some rare form of mercenaria mercenaria had taken up breeding in the one area she wanted to develop, it would be the clam that survived, not her family’s legacy.
Marissa swore, and not under her breath.
Part of her had been prepared for the bank to turn her down. Yes, she knew the business. Yes, she’d done nearly every job at the marina for as many of her twenty-three years as she could remember. But she’d also dropped out of college — no, had let herself be forced out, damn it— before getting to her business classes.