A Beach Lane Novel
Ballantine Books (April 25, 2017)
A successful woman with a sweet life discovers even the best laid plans are no match for unexpected passion—as award-winning author Laura Moore kicks off a captivating new series set in New York’s hottest seaside paradise.
As the overly responsible daughter of an irresponsible socialite, Dakota Hale practically raised herself. Now she’s turned her talent for placating the whims of the rich and spoiled into a lucrative concierge business in the swanky Hamptons. Meticulous and determined, Dakota has her life mapped out with one goal uppermost in mind: never, ever be like her mother. Surfing the waves of the Atlantic keeps Dakota steady when the drama on land gets too outrageous. But when sexy mogul Max Carr hires her, it rocks her balance in a big way. When Max makes it clear that he’s interested in more than just her organizational skills, Dakota is flattered – and attracted - but she refuses to allow an avowed playboy to interfere with her life plans.
Max works hard, but he’s never had to put any effort into winning over a woman—until now. With her stunning beauty and keen intelligence, Dakota is worth the effort. But it’s plain she has no interest in a casual fling, and that’s all Max with his grief-stricken heart can offer.
An emotionally charged night changes everything, with consequences neither Dakota nor Max anticipated. Now they must navigate the rough waters of society gossip and devastating secrets that threaten their fragile relationship. If they can trust in the strength of their growing feelings, they’ll find the dreams they’ve been chasing are close enough to embrace . . . together.
Read the Reviews
"I absolutely loved this book! MAKING WAVES is a very beautiful story; sweet, heartwarming and emotional; flows smoothly and is richly descriptive, and completely drew me in. Everything from the evolution of the characters to the setting was a really enjoyable experience and a window into the inner workings of the moneyed set...
...One thing I enjoyed was the friends Max and Dakota surrounded themselves with, a reminder that some people are not amoral and consumed with status, in spite of their wealth. And I might have also enjoyed a heavy dose of schadenfreude at the expense of Dakota’s family and their reversal of fortune, but can you blame me?
All in all, this was a really great start to Ms. Moore’s new series and I’m excited to see where she takes us next."
The Sassy Bookster
"Making Waves is the first book in Laura Moore’s Beach Lane series. Dakota and Max are complex characters who have responded in very different ways to the blows life handed them while they were still very young. Both are driven to succeed, but Dakota has formed friendships that provide her with emotional connections while Max has isolated himself. Readers will find themselves invested in seeing Dakota bridge Max’s defenses and accept that he can give and receive love. The cast of secondary characters, some of whom readers will love and some of whom they will love to hate, are also interesting. I particularly liked Hendrick Daube, a gay professor of psychiatry, who gives Dakota her first job and becomes a father figure for her. I also loved seeing Gen Monaghan and Alex Miller years into their HEA (In Your Eyes, 2004).
If you like contemporary romance that offers compelling characters and a captivating plot played out against an uber-rich setting, I think you will like this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I will be keeping an eye out for the next book in the series."
The Romance Dish
"This is a very romantic, emotional story. The characters are honest and strong, and I liked Dakota Hale from the first page. Max took some getting used to. They both pulled me into this story and never let go.
I have enjoyed all Ms. Moore's books, this one has found a special place in my heart. Dakota is strong, loving and forgiving, even with a broken heart. She loves Max, but values her independence. Wonderful start to a new series, and I'm anxious for the next story."
The Book Queen
"I knew as soon as I saw there was a new Laura Moore book coming out that I’d be reading it. I read and enjoyed her Silver Creek series, so I’ve been on lookout for anything from her since the trilogy concluded. I’m happy to report that I found her newest offering, Making Waves, to be a compelling read with two mature leads, which is always a win for me. Dakota was born into an atrocious family. Every last one of them was so mean-spirited and delighted in making Dakota the butt of their jokes. And I will admit that while I loathed them, their dysfunctional interactions were very entertaining. And I feel like Dakota’s family gave this story a night-time soap opera feel, similar to J.R. Ward’s The Bourbon Kings, but not quite as dramatic. Dakota was a wonderful heroine. Like the blurb says, she was a self made woman with a very successful career and shouldered the responsibility of several employees who depended on her for their livelihood. Max took a while for me to warm up to, and after his initial moment of acting like the biggest jerk ever (if you read this book, you’ll know exactly which moment I’m referring to,) I respected every decision he made and why he made them. Max’s single-mindedness in business carried over to his relationships, and he became a protector of Dakota. He wasn’t overbearing; he knew she could fight her own battles and he stood back while she did, but Dakota didn’t have anyone in her immediate family who stood up for her, so I love that she had that in Max. And I love that he was so persistent in his pursuit of her. They were very similar in that they were both driven and athletic. And I love that one of the things they really bonded over was Dakota sharing her love of surfing with Max.
I’m not going to go into detail about this story; I think you can figure out what the secret is from the blurb, but just in case, I don’t want to be the one who lets the cat out of the bag. And there are a few surprises along the way that I also don’t want to ruin. There was an old-fashioned bent to this modern love story that I really enjoyed, and just as Max let Dakota fight her own battles, I really like that Dakota, while she tried to get things out in the open between them, never goes behind Max’s back to try and patch things up the way it often goes in these stories. She was patient with him, doing her best to comfort him when she crossed lines she maybe shouldn’t have, and I love that she did that for him. His past was devastating, and just like Max was the only person who was there for her, she was the same for him, being his voice of reason. They both also had some really great friends who gave them sound advice, and I think the sort of people the characters surround themselves with tell you as much about them as anything that comes out of their mouths. I did feel like I should know Alex and Gen, as they were prominent characters in Making Waves. A bit of sleuthing reveals they do, in fact, have their own story, so I will be going back to check that out; I really liked their characters. I also really liked Lauren, and think we are being set up for a love story between her and one of her best friends turned Hollywood heartthrob. (Fingers crossed!)
Making Waves was a story I really enjoyed; I love this small community the author has created. I can’t wait for the next in the series!"
Books and Beauty Are My Bag
"Laura Moore excels at delving deeply into her characters. I've enjoyed her books ever since reading her first one, RIDE A DARK HORSE. MAKING WAVES kept me up into the wee hours to finish it. This time, however, she doesn't find her comfort in horses. For solace as well as fun, she takes her surfboard to the beach and rides the waves.
For an engrossing story with a large cast headed by two strong personalities, don't miss MAKING WAVES."
Romance Reviews Today
"Because I’ve been a bit disillusioned by a couple of my favorite authors lately, I thought it’s time to try someone new. So when the blurb for Making Waves intrigued me, I decided to give it a try. Laura Moore is now on my list of authors to read more of and to keep an eye on in the future.
Max and Dakota are perfect examples of those tortured characters I enjoy reading. Instead of wallowing in their years of heartache and rejection, though, they’ve made something of themselves, but they’ve taken very different paths to get where they are in life...
...As love grows between them and secrets are kept on both sides, you see slow but positive changes in them as they become more secure in the relationship. Max especially begins to view life and his outlook on issues differently. I really enjoyed that transformation in him when it comes to business. Dakota too has decisions to make, mostly in relation to her family, and though they make it easy for her, it’s still difficult. It’s not hard at all to dislike those related to her. Thank goodness for her family of friends, all of whom I like a lot.
This is a wonderful story with a fun and lovely romance guiding these characters along to their happily ever after. As lovely as it all is, of course there are rough patches. Both Max and Dakota have deep, heartrending secrets, but I like that they eventually talk to one another and allow some healing to begin. I will be looking into Laura Moore’s backlist while I anxiously await the next book in this series. I have a feeling she’s going to become a favorite very quickly."
The Good, the Bad and the Unread
"Dakota Hale was born and raised in the Hamptons in New York. Though she’s part of an upper crust family, she’s nothing like her family, making it on her own sans a trust fund. When her concierge service company is hired by Max Carr to service his new home, Dakota’s life takes a turn down a path she never predicted.
This story grabbed me after the first few pages and refused to let go until the end. Dakota is one of the more interesting characters I’ve read in some time. She’s a contradiction, skilled and adept in her professional life and anything but when in the midst of her highly toxic and self absorbed family. On the surface (and to some degree, in reality), Max is rather bloodless and singularly focused on his career as a partner in a private equity firm. Her genuine and warm manner disarms him as the normal world he exists in is shark filled and cutthroat. However, they somehow evoke the best out of each other.
I loved this story which focused primarily on both Dakota and Max’s developing relationship and their individual transformations. It also provides insight into this tony community from the perspective of both ends of the socioeconomic spectrum. There’s a richness to the storytelling and the character development is outstanding, including the secondary ones.
I learned that this is a spinoff of the Miller/Sheppard series but I don’t seem to have missed anything by not having read it first other than knowing some of the secondary characters stories. It’s so very interesting and I was lured solely by the premise of the book. It certainly paid off and I’m definitely continuing the series.
The Book Nympho
"Making Waves by Laura Moore is a wonderful contemporary romance full of love and desire. My first time reading a Laura Moore novel and if another book comes around for her, it won’t be my last...
...Absolutely loved Making Waves. Dakota is a strong independent woman with a good head on her shoulders even though she was raised by a woman who is very selfish. To see a character fall in love to a wealthy man who can fall to a woman in return is so heartwarming and sincere. Definitely liked how Max took the reins when he found out about the pregnancy. Of course there was angst, but in the end love shown through. Ms. Moore’s writing was eloquent and smooth. Flowed nicely into each Dakota & Max’s POV."
Books & Boys
"Longtime fans of Moore will recognize several of the secondary characters in this new book as the protagonists from her terrific earlier novel In Your Eyes. As she does so very well, Moore develops a compelling and emotional story filled with complicated characters who must deal with past baggage if they are ever to build lasting relationships. Following along as these two damaged individuals struggle with the fallout from unexpected attraction makes for an outstanding reading experience.
Even though her last name is Hale, Dakota has always been the unwelcome family member. As far as the Hales are concerned, Dakota is an embarrassment and to be ignored when possible. These days she has built her own successful concierge business catering to the Hamptons’ wealthy elite. Max Carr is a self-made mogul who has bought the Hale family estate from Dakota’s uncle. Dakota’s mother and aunt are beside themselves over this, but when a mutual friend suggests that Dakota help Max renovate the estate, she agrees, partially because she knows it will drive her relatives nuts. A night of unexpected passion changes everything, and now Dakota and Max must decide if what they have is worth fighting for."
Jill M. Smith
4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick
RT Book Reviews
"Among New York’s Hampton’s wealthy elite, their luxurious summer houses are called cottages. One such is Windhaven, home of the Hale family for generations. Dakota Hale was never accepted by her grandparents and barely tolerated by her mother’s siblings. Her mother, Piper Hale, was—and still is—a flighty party girl who named her daughter after the New York City landmark apartments where she was conceived one night. Piper claims she never knew the name of the gentleman who fathered her daughter. She has always been too self-centered to be much of a mother, and Dakota was never treated kindly by her aunt or uncle.
Dakota has always known she must be strong and independent. She now runs a growing concierge business (Premier Service) catering to the country house clientele, who depend upon her and her employees to ready their Hampton houses for the season, cleaning the places, filling the cupboards and other such chores. She’s busy doing so when she gets a frantic call from her mother. Her Uncle Elliott—as the only male heir—owned Windhaven, but he suddenly sold the family home without even telling his sisters he planned to do so! Dakota must come at once and bring some vodka for her Aunt Mimi, who is as devastated as her mother. Dakota has no idea what she can do about it, but she can’t ignore her mother. Too bad she can’t ignore the nasty digs she gets from her Aunt Mimi.
It turns out that the buyer of the cottage is a local self-made millionaire who hires Dakota and company to redo Windhaven. Max Carr is as handsome as he is rich, with a past even more difficult than Dakota’s own. Incensed that Dakota is working for that man, Mimi gets busy informing the community that her gold-digging niece is after Max.
Laura Moore excels at delving deeply into her characters. I’ve enjoyed her books ever since reading her first one, RIDE A DARK HORSE. MAKING WAVES kept me up into the wee hours to finish it. This time, however, she doesn’t find her comfort in horses. For solace as well as fun, she takes her surfboard to the beach and rides the waves.
For an engrossing story with a large cast headed by two strong personalities, don’t miss MAKING WAVES."
Romance Reviews Today
"Dakota Hale, expert surfer, bastard daughter of one of the Hamptons’ oldest families, and owner of an up-and-coming concierge business, is dead set on making her business a success. When financial guru Max Carr buys her family’s ancestral home and then hires her to provide concierge service, all bets are off as she wars with her family, her career goals, and her unwanted attraction to the sexy Max. Scintillating description, conflicted characters, brilliant if crazy family dynamics, and a superb sense of place will leave fans anticipating the next book in the series. VERDICT Spicy, tender, and vivid with posh Hamptons ambience, this compelling story hooks readers from the start and never lets go; thoroughly charming. Moore (Once Touched) lives in Rhode Island."
Library Journal - Starred Review
"Moore’s charming contemporary, which launches the Beach Lane series, follows two unlikely lovers along the road from ambition and lust to romance and marriage amid a whirl of wealth and luxury. Dakota Hale makes up for her awful mother’s chaotic, privileged life by being the excessively responsible and dependable owner of Premier Service, a concierge service for wealthy New Yorkers with Long Island beach houses. Dakota has everything under control—until she’s swept into an affair with her newest client, handsome businessman Max Carr. They split up after a couple of months, but when Dakota discovers she’s pregnant, the odd couple reconnect and decide to marry. Their unexpected decision is greeted with malicious gossip and family and business awkwardness, and they also have to sort out their own feelings. The posh setting is vivid and the pace is deliberate. This plot-driven story of independent lovers determined to resist drama and societal expectations will resonate with romance readers, especially those who are also fans of reality television."
“Laura Moore never fails to create a story that’s complex, emotionally compelling, and beautifully written. Making Waves had me from page one and stayed with me long after I finished.”
New York Times Best-selling author Kristan Higgins
“Maniac” blared from the front pocket of Dakota Hale’s zipped hoodie. She ignored it. Whoever had invented designated ringtones was a veritable genius.
“That’s call number four,” Rae observed, exchanging a sponge for a micro-duster. Rae was doing the Friday shift with Dakota, a marathon of house preps, errands, and inspections before the owners arrived for the long weekend.
It was the fifth time Piper had called, and that wasn’t including the quick conversation they’d had earlier this morning, but who was counting?
Dakota replied with a noncommittal hmm and continued stocking the Ellsworths’ kitchen from the grocery bags that were next to her sock-clad feet. Ron and Myrna and their three kids had a weakness for Doritos and huge bottles of Diet Coke. She hoped their diet was healthier in New York City than when they came out to their East Hampton country home.
“You suppose it’s an emergency?”
Rae Diaz, the oldest of six children, had a heart of gold.
“Of course it is.” Dakota opened the cupboard next to the refrigerator and placed two boxes of spaghetti—never linguini, because Ron had a thing about only eating spaghetti—next to a bag of white rice. “Everything’s an emergency with Piper. She can’t find her new sunglasses. It’s an emergency. She’s forgotten her password to her favorite shopping site. A major crisis. Her favorite dress isn’t hanging where it should be. Time to call the cops.” She kept her tone light and amused as she rattled off a carefully edited list of items that Piper routinely treated as an SOS.
“You’d think she’d figure out that Fridays are our busiest days.”
Dakota shrugged. “The concept of work doesn’t register with her.” She placed a bag of Italian-roast coffee beans front and center on the shelf, where it would be easily spotted. “If it’s really urgent, she’ll leave a message.” She shut the cabinet door firmly. “I’m teaching her the concept of boundaries.”
“Good luck with that, girlfriend. We have three more houses to go. She may set a personal record just to show you what she thinks of boundaries.”
As if on cue, “Maniac” began again.
With an I-told-you-so lift of her brows, Rae shimmied her hips, twirled her dust cloth in the air, and pranced across the ceramic-tile floor in a fairly decent imitation of Jennifer Beals to give the gleaming glass doors of the double wall oven a final swipe. Rae had been dancing a lot today.
And Dakota had been gritting her teeth and refusing to press the answer button on her phone. The obvious solution would have been to turn it off, except then she’d have been unavailable to the people who did need to reach her—her employees and clients. Premier Service, the concierge business Dakota had started four years ago, was founded on the premise of being available to clients and providing exceptional service. If they wanted something, Premier Service was there to provide it. For Dakota, solving any problems her staff might encounter on the job was equally important. Impossible to do if she couldn’t answer their calls.
Repeating the word “boundaries” to herself, she opened the refrigerator door and scanned its contents, double-checking that in addition to the Diet Coke there were two bottles of champagne chilling to accompany the appetizers she’d picked up at Loaves & Fishes, a gourmet food shop in Sagaponack, which sold everything from flaky croissants to boeuf bourguignon to assorted salads and sides for the beach crowd.
Next she inspected the freezer and made sure the pints of cookie dough and chocolate ice cream for the kids were fresh—no freezer-burned contents to gross out the young Ellsworths—and aligned neatly on the top shelf.
She’d brought up two bottles of a Bordeaux from the temperature-controlled wine cellar in the basement—Ron’s pride and joy—to go with the entrée and the dessert of chocolate mousse—Myrna’s favorite.
All good with the food and booze.
Turning around, she adjusted one of the daisies in the vase she’d placed in the middle of the counter, then surveyed the rest of the kitchen. Everything was in its place and spotless, as with the other rooms in the sprawling home.
“Our work is done here. On to the Morrisseys’,” she told Rae.
While Rae stored the dust cloth and cleaning products in the utility closet, Dakota scooped up the empty canvas shopping totes and from her leather hobo bag fished out the bundle of keys for the day’s visits. Together they walked to the front door, where Dakota stepped into her Uggs and Rae her clogs. Then Dakota punched in the security code she knew by heart; the Ellsworths were long-standing clients. The alarm system on, Rae opened the front door, and she and Dakota stepped out of the house, whose design always made Dakota think of children’s building blocks stacked haphazardly and then held together with clear packing tape. It was not an uncommon architectural style for the Hamptons. After all, fabulous wealth didn’t mean good taste. But at least the Ellsworths’ home was hidden by trees and not sitting exposed, smack dab in what used to be a potato field, like so many other Hamptons properties.
“Maniac” sounded again.
“Will she never quit? You know, I used to love that song.” Rae’s tone was mournful.
“I’ll find another tune for her,” Dakota promised.
“Don’t bother. Piper and ‘Maniac’ are forever linked. Besides, switching ringtones will only ruin another great tune.”
It was one thing to ignore people who couldn’t control their speed-dial impulse. Annoying her smart, dependable employees was not good business practice, and Rae was her very best.
With an inward sigh, Dakota resigned herself to her fate. She’d simply have to stay calm and refuse to get swept up in whatever drama Piper was currently starring in.
Wise words, but often difficult to put into practice.
“Right. You drive to the Morrisseys’, I’ll call Piper.”
She tossed Rae the keys to her old Toyota Land Cruiser. Rae caught them and climbed in behind the steering wheel while Dakota settled herself in the passenger seat.
“I can only imagine what it’s like, dealing with her,” Rae said. “But she does have her good points. She can be funny as hell.”
“I know she can.” Maybe she’d luck out and catch Piper in a humorous mood. One that wasn’t cringe-worthy.
“But,” Rae continued, “if she’s calling because she wants to wheedle another free cleaning out of Premier, you hand that cell over to me, stat. I’ll set her straight. Because that is just wrong.”
Dakota pretended to laugh along with her.
Since Piper often spent the day with a phone attached to her ear, she answered immediately. “Hello?”
“It’s me. I saw you called.”
“Dakota, I’ve been trying you for ages!”
“I know, I’m sorry. I’m at work.”
“Your clients, they take up so much of your time.”
“Yeah, they can be funny like that.” Dakota stared out the window as the car sped past oak scrub with the occasional spindly pine breaking through the brown canopy. Every few thousand feet a driveway cut into the woods, a pebbled or sandy drive marked by a small white wooden sign with black lettering—hands down the Hamptons’ favorite style—and the house number. Rae was driving east. Soon she cut across Route 27 to the coveted area known as “south of the highway,” where tall elms stood and, closer to the ocean, the narrow roads were bordered by potato and corn fields and privet hedges screened the multimillion-dollar houses within. Whether north or south of the highway, every house she and Rae passed represented potential customers. Dakota was determined to add as many of them as she possibly could and expand the business she’d built.
But it was October. Already the Hamptons had an abandoned feel to them. While she loved the uncongested roads and quieter tempo of the off-season, the businesswoman in her worried about making payroll.
Her mind on the upcoming slow months, she went on, “There’s nothing wrong with being busy when you run a business, Piper. It’s much better than the alternative.”
Piper made a sound that conveyed her complete disinterest in the topic of Dakota’s work—successful or not. “Have you tried that eye cream I told you about?”
Piper’s new favorite serum made Iranian beluga caviar look cheap. “No, not yet.”
“I’m sure it would help. You look so—”
Since she really didn’t want to hear how tired she looked, Dakota quickly asked, “Was there a reason you called?”
“Oh God, yes! It’s the worst, Dakota. I can’t believe it. What will everyone say?”
Dakota pressed the acupressure points below her brows. “And we’re talking about . . . ?”
“Elliott, of course. He sold the house without even telling us. Mimi’s fit to be tied. How could he do this? What was he thinking?”
Elliott was Piper and Mimi’s older brother. Upon their mother’s death, he’d inherited the family manse, Windhaven, a six-bedroom shingled “cottage” near the end of West End Road in East Hampton that came with a guest house, pool, manicured lawns and mature plantings. The property was further graced with sweeping views of the ocean on one side and the tranquility of Georgica Pond on the other. In the hotbed of the Hamptons real estate world, Windhaven would command top dollar.
“Well, he did say maintaining Windhaven was becoming too time-consuming.“ Which was Elliott-speak for the house being too great a financial burden. Admitting that something was no longer affordable wasn’t in the family’s vocabulary.
“Yes, but I didn’t believe he’d actually go and sell our family home! Surely he could have come up with an alternative.”
Not if he needed a large infusion of cash. The stock market had taken some serious hits recently, and that might have shaken the investors in the Templar Group, the hedge fund Elliott managed. If they’d grown nervous and decamped, he might have been left scrambling. But mentioning the topic of Elliott’s finances, his unlucky investment strategies, or anything that hinted at the waning of her family’s fortunes would only ramp up Piper’s agitation. Better to stick to the immediate mini-crisis at hand.
“I’m sorry. Really I am,” she said, opting for a palliative response. “I know you liked the house.”
“I loved it. There’s no place like Windhaven on the East End. Or anywhere. An enduring symbol of my family’s history is gone, gone forever.” Piper was obviously in a Scarlett O’Hara kind of mood. “Mimi’s beside herself, absolutely furious.”
“Yes. You mentioned that. Do you know who bought it?”
“Elliott may have told me. Some nouveau riche type.”
Dakota’s sympathy dipped toward the empty mark. “Well, again, that’s too bad about the house. I’ll call tomorrow—”
“You have to come over today. Mimi’s driving out. You know what she’s like. After five minutes I’ll be exhausted, and I have a dinner with Duncan tonight. I want to be at my best for him.” Duncan Harding was Piper’s latest lover. They’d met at the Southampton Social Club, a trendy restaurant and dance club.
Dakota’s surfboard was strapped to the Land Cruiser’s roof. A gear bag holding her wetsuit and neoprene booties sat in the trunk. She’d been hoping to head out to Montauk after work and catch some waves.
“Pretty please, Dakota? I need you,” Piper said with a sweetness that never failed to exasperate, since it was only employed for one purpose.
And yet she gave in. Again. Irritated with herself as much as Piper, she asked in a clipped tone, “What time?”
“I’ll try to make it.”
“Oh, good. I knew I could count on you. I love you, sweets.”
Even though it was expected and tacitly demanded, Dakota’s reply was nonetheless sincere. “Love you, too, Piper.”
“Oh, one more thing. Can you pick up a bottle of vodka? Mimi will be wanting her martinis.”
“Sure.” As Piper’s requests went, this one was easy.
Disconnecting, Dakota stared at the blank screen and wondered how long she would have to hear about the latest family tragedy.
Rae’s voice jolted her out of her abstraction. “So, how was Mommie Dearest?”