Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Valerie Fraser Luesse | Exclusive Excerpt: THE KEY TO EVERYTHING
Author Guest / June 5, 2020

The cottage appeared to be abandoned, but something about it took hold of Peyton. The tall flight of steps leading up into the trees was worn but solid, taking him onto a deep porch that encircled it, framed with gingerbread bannisters. Between the water and the edge of the yard, if you could call it that, was a stand of mangroves so thick and tall that they would likely block the water view eventually, but for now they just made the house feel protected. He could hear Finn advising him: If there ain’t no other shelter, why, head for the mangroves. They’ll hold back the tide. Walking the circumference of the cottage, Peyton could see that it was more porch than house. On the porch ceiling, he spotted two sturdy hooks about five feet apart. They likely had held a swing or a hammock at one time—long gone now. The whole structure from floor to ceiling was built of cypress. Its tall windows were all shuttered. Peyton unfastened the shutters covering one of them and peered inside. The place looked empty. He tried the front door, which immediately creaked open into a large room with a little kitchen built into…