7// Tori & Derek

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I was going stir crazy in that beach house! I'm not used to not doing anything, I've worked my whole life, through high school, college, and nursing school in coffee shops and restaurants and then in hospitals.

So being in a small island town, with nothing to do and no people I call friends around to talk to, I'm at a loss on what I should do with myself.

I've been here a week now; I've cleaned the house from top to bottom. I've gone through all of Nan's old things and sorted them out into different boxes, what I think mom and Uncle Benny might want and what stuff is going to goodwill, and what is going in the trash, but even that was only a day job.

Nan took most of her belongings with her when she moved back to live near my parents.

So now I am back to square one with nothing to do, which is how I find myself exploring River-Cove, I mean it has been years since I was last here, and the island has changed in ways since then.

I mean there are more café's, more gift shops, more food places. It's become a real tourist resort; some things are the same though. Like Ray's beach pit.

That place is amazing, every summer I was here that was my first stop. They have the best burgers and milkshakes you will ever eat and drink. Ray and his wife Tess own it and they were the nicest people I've ever met.

Pulling out of my thoughts as I head into Ray's beach pit, with a smile on my face as I walk in. I love this place, letting my eyes gaze around the place. I can't believe how much it looks the same, and it's been years since I was here.

"Tori Winters is that you?" I hear someone say my name, throwing my eyes to the voice just as they land on Tess walking directly to me with a massive smile on her face.

"Oh my gosh! Mrs. T, I've missed you" I cried happily, just as she reaches me and pulls me in her arms for a hug. This woman was like an aunt to me and Mia, every time we came here for the summer.

Tess releases me and pulls me towards an empty booth, the grin never leaving her face.

"I can't believe how grown-up you are, and so beautiful" She exclaims happily, feeling my face blush a little and my heart fills.

"Thank you and you haven't aged a day Mrs. T" I reply with my own smile. Tess lets out a chuckle.

"Your too sweet girl, I was sorry to hear about your Nan sweetheart. Roseline was an unforgettable soul, she will be deeply missed" Nodding my head towards her and sighed.

"Thank you-;" I whispered just as she nudges me with her shoulder gently and smiled at me before changing the subject away for the sadness of missing Nan.

"Well how about we get some milkshakes, and you can tell me all about your life, I bet it's wonderful,"

now it was my turn to let out a bitter laugh. My life sucks, it's far from wonderful and she doesn't even know it yet.

"Sure, do you want to hear about my she-devil boss, or the end of my disastrous engagement because my ex-fiancé preferred having sex with my cousin" I announced with so much hate and bitterness in my tone, I can't control the anger I feel when I think of Mia.

Tess's eyes shoot to mine, as I mention Mia because she knows her as well as she knows me.

"I think maybe you should start from the beginning on that one, sweetie" She replies to me, nodding my head and sighed before telling her my whole story from when I started college to last week, and how the hell I ended up back in River-Cove after eight years.


Tori...that name and the image of her has been on my mind since the day I met her. Even more so since the little conversation, we had in my house. I don't know what it is about that woman, but she has my thoughts all jumbled up.

She's different, she's a mystery and I find myself wanting to know more about her. This is crazy because no woman has made me this crazy since Daisy's mom Tilly, and that didn't turn out so well our relationship was on and off since high school.

The only good thing that came from it was our daughter.
And I vowed to never get involved with a woman that way again, but my cute neighbor is not helping with that or my one rule, I have about no relationships.

Pulling out of my thoughts as my partner Jack Hayes comes into view with a grim look on his face.

Jack is a few years older than me and has been my partner since I moved to River-Cove. Other than Deacon he's probably the only other person I trust.

"We've got a missing person case Derek" Jack announces, snapping my eyes to his, just as he throws several files down on his desk.

"You think it's the same suspect from before?" I ask him, thinking to the seven other missing person cases files, that he has always had in the drawer of his desk. Probably the files he threw towards me now. 

Apparently, Jack has been trying to find this suspect since the first girl went missing, back when he was just a rookie on the force.

"It has to be. Same MO, a young girl between eighteen and early twenties, a tourist passing through in the summer, and all the victims are similar in looks" He forces out in anger, which I understand I've only been here a few months.

But River-Cove doesn't get that much crime, a few shoplifters, a few violent complaints but very rarely any violent crimes that involve murder or missing people. Half the time we're assisting the local North Carolina PD an hour away.

Expect for these cases that have been hunting Jack for seven years. Seven different girls missing and never found, all with long golden hair and bright blue eyes.

From what I've read of the case files, they've all disappeared sometimes before august 19th, but yet some in different areas and states.

One young girl, every summer for the last seven years, and these newest cases just made eight.

"Who's the victim?" I ask Jack, he looks at me and opens his black notebook.

"Maya Clark, eighteen years old. She was on a road trip with her best friend Louisa Marks. They stopped in River-Cove two days ago, apparently according to her friend, they went out for dinner around eight o'clock last night. She stepped aside to take a call from her boyfriend just after eleven, and when she turned back around after ending the call, Maya was just gone" He explained recapping me on the report.

"Does she fit the description of the other missing girls?"

He nods his head at me. Cases like this make me think of Daisy and what kind of world that she is growing up in.

"Yeah she does-;" Jack said and then broke off and sighed, before looking from the police report in his hands, to me and he meets my stare.

"We need to find this prick Derek and end this terror once and for all and figure out what the damn motive is" He adds sadly, nodding my head at him and grabbed some of the old case files.

"Let's re-go over every little thing. Each case one by one and see if anything stands out. And then take it from there"

Jack looks at me and nods before grabbing the rest of the files.

I might not have been in River-Cove when the first missing persons started, but I'm here now and I'm going to do everything in power as police to detective, and as a father to find out what happened to these girls, and bring the person responsible to justice.

Loving Derek (River-Cove Series: Book 1) ✓Where stories live. Discover now