Jules Jarvis never asked to be a rags-to-riches cliché. Since moving from simple Sugarbush Island, Florida five years ago to elite Greenwich, Connecticut, she has done little but miss the life and the true friends she left behind, especially Adrian Ryker. With one touch of her knee against his, her then twelve-year-old heart was stolen and never returned.
Now seventeen and headed back to Sugarbush for the summer, Jules hopes to reconnect with her old life by working at the candy apple stand on the boardwalk and reuniting with the friends she left behind, particularly Adrian. The only problem is she ghosted them all five years ago when seeing their pictures and posts became unbearable. Now she’s back and ready to eat a big ole crow sandwich with an extra-large side of groveling. It’ll be worth it to follow the hope of discovering where that magical knee touch might lead.
But Heath Townsend, the irritating boy interning with her stepdad for the summer, won’t quit popping up at the exact wrong times, making it twice as hard to connect with Adrian. Jules is here to rebuild her life—not fall for a preppy, cocky, Yale-bound jerk, no matter how charming that quirky smile of his can be.
“Your mom’s really young, isn’t she?” Heath says.
“Yeah. She had me when she was sixteen.”
“She looks like she could be your sister.”
“Yep,” I say, that being exactly the eighteen hundredth time I’ve heard that.
I reach for my suitcase, but he lifts it and heads up the stairs. “I’ll take it up for you.”
I hesitate before following him. Craig would sooner gouge his eyes out than have something happen to me on his watch, so he must trust this guy implicitly. But that’s not to say I do.
Heath stops at the top of the stairs and scoots to the side. “Lead the way.” I poke my head into each of the rooms, Heath doing the same. “This one looks out on the pool and it’s got its own bathroom,” he says.
I had already pretty much settled on that one, so I shrug and head inside.
He points to the window on the far wall. “It’s got a view of my room too.”
I lift my eyebrows. “Excuse me?”
He hefts my suitcase onto a bed and then points again. “My family’s in that one.” He squints one eye. “My room’s right there. The blinds are pulled right now, but I’ll be sure and lift them, especially when I get out of the shower.”
I peer at him, starting to seriously question Craig’s judgment.
“I’m kidding. One of us had to break the ice. You’ve been looking at me like I’m a serial killer since before you got in the car. I don’t bite…unless you want me to.” He waggles his eyebrows and then picks up a decorative shell and inspects it.
I eye him. “Who are you?”
His lip quirks up in a smile, his gaze still focused on the shell. “Such disdain already. I must be doing something right.”
“You want me to dislike you?”
“Oh no. That’s impossible. I’m far too charming for that.”
I try to make out if he’s being irreverent or if he’s a cocky a-hole. I can’t tell yet. I plop down on the bed. “So, you’re starting the apprentice program, huh?”
“For the summer, yeah.”
I frown. “You mean you’re not doing the full five-year plan? The high school to college to real life program?”
“Nah. Just the summer. Just to occupy my time and keep me out of my parents’ house. What about you? What’s your gig this summer?”
“I’m working at the boardwalk. My uncle manages the place.”
He nods, picking up a turtle knick-knack from a bookshelf and then setting it back down. “Sounds fun,” he says with sort of a sigh, and again, I can’t tell if he’s being sarcastic or serious. “What’s there to do around here?” he asks peering out the window at the pool.
“Have you never been here before?”
“Nope. Just got here yesterday. Spent last night right out there.”
I rest my hands on my hips. “Why are you so familiar with this house? Don’t you live at the one next door?”
He shoots me a dry look. “My family’s over there.”
I nod, like I get it, but I really don’t. I’ve got a great family. I’ve got two of them actually. Craig and my mom are always including me in everything they do, and when my dad is in town, we do all kinds of stuff together. I guess I never went through that whole my family sucks phase. Because my family’s kind of awesome, even after what I’ve put them through the past five years.
He drops his hands down to his sides. “Well, it’s been stimulating.” He goes to head out of my room.
“Hey,” I say, at my limit with trying to figure this guy out. “Are you an asshole or are you just hard to read?”
He huffs a little laugh and then looks me up and down. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”
About the author:
Melissa Chambers writes contemporary novels for young, new, and actual adults. A Nashville native, she spends her days working in the music industry and her nights tapping away at her keyboard. While she’s slightly obsessed with alt rock, she leaves the guitar playing to her husband and kid. She never misses a chance to play a tennis match, listen to an audiobook, or eat a bowl of ice cream. (Rocky road, please!) She has served as president for the Music City Romance Writers and is the author of the Love Along Hwy 30A series, the Before Forever series (YA), and Courting Carlyn (YA).
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