Randi Raines looked around the rustic café and pouted. Already the long weekend wasn’t panning out to be all she’d hoped. Her boyfriend—if he could really be called that yet—had promised a “romantic getaway” up the coast.
She’d made special arrangements to take both Thursday and Friday off from her high-pressure job as an L.A. radio talk- show host, and she’d pictured someplace glamorous and sophisticated, expensive and well-manicured. For accommodations, she’d imagined a suite at the Ritz Carlton in Santa Barbara. Instead, they’d stayed the night at some two-bit motel in this dumb little town she’d never heard of called Milford-Haven.
For two and a half days, now, Will had talked about nothing but how “fantastic” the Central Coast was, and done nothing but drag her off to “explore.” First, it was a hike into a bunch of trees he’d called a forest. All she’d gotten there was a case of poison oak. Second, it was dinner at some hole-in-the-wall that claimed to be fancy. In a pig’s eye. In fact, she’d had the pork—refusing to allow them to cook it in the plum sauce they’d recommended—and found it nearly as dry as her date’s stories.
Now he’d convinced her they had to have lunch at this “magical garden” place. All she saw were redwood tables and benches where she’d probably get a splinter in her tush. Thank you very much. And across the garden, sat an artist poking at a piece of paper with a brush. How quaint.
Since the rest of their weekend stretched out ahead of her, all she had to look forward to was another boring meal followed two more days of the same. So she’d decided to drown her sorrows. That was one thing this area of California was known for—wine. She’d ordered a whole bottle of local Chardonnay, and now she was working her way to the bottom of her second glass. “You’d think a nice restaurant like this could afford to paint
their tables, right?” Randi giggled, enjoying how Will winced and looked around to see if anyone had heard her comment. So what if I’m talking loud? He doesn’t listen to me anyway!
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