Chapter One It was the longest day of the year. The full moon was rising out of the sea. The old dog lay on the grass beside Caroline, his chin resting on folded paws. Caroline, her mother, and her sisters sat in white wicker chairs. The gathering had an edge; family ghosts were circling around. Caroline Renwick felt like a matriarch, but she was just the oldest sister. She loved her family. They were strong yet vulnerable, ordinary women who happened to be exceptional. Sometimes she felt she spent too much time with them, shepherding them along like a flock of eccentric sheep. Whenever that happened, she would jump on a plane, go on a business trip. It didn't matter where, as long as it was far enough away to give her mind a rest. But for right now, she was home. As the moon rose, it grew smaller and colder, lost its pinkness and became silver. Stirred and panting, Homer raised his head from his paws ... to watch. "Oh, girls," Augusta Renwick said, looking at her three daughters once it was entirely up. "Isn't it incredible?" Augusta asked, staring out at Long Island Sound. "A full moon on the longest day of the year," said Caroline. "That has to be a good omen." "You're always looking for signs," Clea teased. "A full moon, shooting stars..." "The North Star," Skye said. "Caroline taught me how to find it the last night I was ever really happy." "The last what?" Augusta asked, smiling. "Mom ..." Caroline warned. "My last happy night," Skye said sadly. She stumbled slightly on the words, making Caroline wonder how much she had already had to drink. "You're happy now, darling," Augusta said. "Don't be ridiculous. How can you say something like that?" "Easily," Skye said softly, staring at the old dog Homer. "Mom..." Caroline started again, racking her brain for something light and conversational. "Oh, Skye. Stop now," Augusta said, looking wounded. "We're celebrating the summer solstice! Let's get back to talking about stars...." "The North Star..." Clea said, laughing. "I don't need it anymore. If I want to go somewhere, I'll call my travel agent. No more hiking, no more hunting for this girl." "Don't need any stars," Skye said. "We all need stars," Augusta said. Then she said it again, as if it were very important:"We all need stars." "We need cocktails," Skye said. "Isn't it time? The sun's down, the moon's up. There: I've got signs too. It's the cocktail hour. Right, Homer?" The ancient golden retriever thumped his tail. "Well, it is," Augusta agreed, checking her small gold watch for added confirmation. She glanced at Caroline and Clea as if she expected them to interfere. Watching her mother, Caroline was reminded of a teenage girl on the brink of doing something her parents would disapprove of, daring them to stop her. Hearing no objections, Augusta walked into the house. "Cocktails," Skye said to Homer. "Drinking's not the answer," Caroline said. Instead of acting offended, Skye blew her a kiss. After all this time, their roles in life were clear: Skye misbehaved, and Caroline cleaned up. Caroline shifted in her chair. She felt an unease deep down, worry mixed with fear. Lately she had been restless, cranky, dissatisfied with her bountiful life. She looked at Skye and saw a person she loved throwing herself away. She had to fight to keep from saying something sharp. For all these years, Caroline had been the glue holding her youngest sister together, and she felt as if Skye might finally be coming undone. "Simon's not back, is he?" Clea asked, referring to Skye's scounRice, Luanne is the author of 'Firefly Beach' with ISBN 9780553573206 and ISBN 0553573209.