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My car’s headlights cut through the darkness, illuminating the driving rain. The windshield wipers swished back and forth in a rapid rhythm as I carefully navigated my way along the deserted streets of wildwood cove. Normally I preferred to walk to work each morning, trekking along the beach so I could listen to the crashing waves and smell the salty air. Lately, however, I’d been making more use of my blue hatchback. Over the past several days the weather had been less than inviting, drizzling with rain if not outright pouring, and chilly enough that the occasional glob of slush splattered against my windshield along with the pelting raindrops.

When I turned into the small parking lot behind the flip side pancake house, I pulled up next to the only other car in the lot—a baby-blue classic volkswagen bug belonging to the flip side’s chef, ivan kaminski.


He arrived even earlier than I did each morning, as did his assistant, tommy park. It was barely six o’clock, but I knew the two of them would have been working for a good while already.

Despite having spent mere seconds exposed to the elements, I had damp hair and droplets of water running down my face. Stylish mens tattoos I wiped them away with my sleeve and jiggled my ring of keys until I found the right one. As I put the key into the door, I caught sight of something white from the corner of my eye. A flyer lay plastered against the pavement, waterlogged and with a muddy footprint stamped across it.

When I took in the bold black words printed across the saturated paper, my former good mood did a nosedive. I’d seen the flyer before. I’d seen several them, in fact, plastered all over town on utility poles, signposts, and community notice boards. I’d also received one in the mail. That one had gone straight into the recycling bin. This one I crumpled up in my hand as I unlocked the door, the words wally’s waffle kingdom disappearing from sight as the paper scrunched up into a soggy ball.

Once inside, I unlocked the door to my office and tossed the scrunched flyer into the wastepaper basket. Awesome wrist tattoos for guys if I never saw another one, I’d be happy, although I knew the advertisement wasn’t the real problem. That was the waffle kingdom itself. The flip side had become a fixture in the small seaside town of wildwood cove, with many faithful customers who returned again and again to enjoy ivan’s scrumptious breakfast creations. There were other restaurants and cafés around town, but none of them specialized in breakfast foods like the flip side did.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I’d never really worried about competition. Then wally fowler had moved to town—moved back to town actually, since he’d grown up here—and my mind had remained unsettled ever since. I wasn’t about to roll over and give up on the pancake house just because of some competition, but I couldn’t keep my niggling concern at bay.

If the waffle kingdom’s fare was as good as the flyer proclaimed ( the best waffles EVER! ) it wasn’t unrealistic to think that the flip side would lose some of its business to the new establishment. In the summertime, when tourists flocked to the small town, that might not be such a problem. Awesome foot tattoos for guys there would probably be enough business for both restaurants during those weeks. But during the rest of the year? That could be a definite issue.

I’d been hoping to give each of my three full-time employees a raise in the near future. Awesome heart tattoos now I was keeping that plan to myself, unsure if I’d be able to follow through. I’d have to wait and see what happened once the waffle house opened. As wally and his flyers had been announcing to the whole town for several days, the grand opening of the waffle kingdom would take place next week.

With the wet flyer in the trash and my jacket hung on the coat stand, I ran a hand through my damp curls and made my way into the dining area. I flipped on the lights, and immediately some of the tension that had crept into my shoulders fizzled away. There was something so comforting about the cozy pancake house. Like the beach and the charming town, the flip side had easily worked its way into my heart, becoming a second home away from my blue-and-white beachfront victorian.

He returned to the kitchen and ivan followed after him, his scowl as dark as ever. Was he more worried about the new waffle house than he was letting on? With his bulging muscles, numerous tattoos, and dark, intense eyes, ivan wasn’t one to be easily fazed. But something in his face led me to believe he was taking the potential problem posed by wally and his waffle house very seriously.