EVERNIGHT TEEN is celebrating their anniversary this month with a 3rd Birthday Blog Hop. It’s EVERNIGHT TEEN’s birthday but we're giving out the presents with a Grand Prize of a $100 Amazon gift certificate!
EVERNIGHT TEEN books feature fresh teen fiction that is raw, gritty and real. Whether paranormal, contemporary, sci-fi or suspense, our books are about real issues and pack a strong emotional punch. You’ll find cutting edge fiction that today’s young adults can relate to and will keep you turning the pages long into the night.
I’m proud to be an EVERNIGHT TEEN author. Enjoy this tease from my book, “Boarderline Love” in Evernight’s SUMMER CRUSH anthology.
EXCERPT FROM “BOARDERLINE LOVE”
I’m out of the cottage and sprinting for the beach like a lightning strike. Yes, the beach is usually a short car ride from my house, and yes, my family chose to go on vacation about a half hour from home. I don’t care. This is the first time I’ve been out without supervision for a month, and I’m not losing my chance to have fun.
I find a spot, kick off my flip flops, and lay out my towel. My blue cover-up comes off, revealing my purple and pink floral bikini. I tuck my hair behind my ears and let out a breath. The day couldn’t be any more perfect. The sun beats down, warming me from the inside out. There isn’t a cloud overhead, and the sky meets the ocean in a mesh of blue. Up and down the beach, kids laugh and shout. Families perch under umbrellas and tents. A deep breath brings salt air into my nose—home. Missing all of the beach days with my friends over the last month has killed me a little, but I’m here now. Boogie board over my shoulder, I start toward the surf.
I reach the water as a wave crashes. The white foam swirls around my toes, sending little shocks through my body. Despite the warm weather, the ocean in New England never really gets warm. To a seasoned beach-goer like me, though, this isn’t a problem.
“You shouldn’t go out there,” a male voice says. It’s probably some dad telling his kids to be careful.
The water recedes, and I follow it out. I’m so glad I’m old enough to go by myself. I don’t want anything but the ocean, the sun, and me.
“Miss.” The voice comes from beside me now, and someone grabs my shoulder. What is this, look-out-for-someone-who-isn’t-your-kid day? Just my luck. I start to thank him for his concern, but the words don’t make it past my lips. This isn’t someone’s dad. This is a guy, a guy who isn’t much older than me. His blond hair shines in the sunlight, and his abs are flat enough to do a handstand on. My mouth goes dry, and my gaze drops to his navel. A tuft of blonde hair disappears beneath the low-slung waist of his shorts.
Well, hello. Here’s another type of summer fun I could get into. And my idiot brother isn’t here to stop me this time. How tragic. I puff out my chest and lower my eyebrows. “Were you talking to me?”
The guy gestures to the ocean. “I was. There’s a yellow flag up today.”
Uh. Except I apparently don’t need my brother to shut this down. What kind of guy responds that way to a girl in a bathing suit? Besides that, the yellow flag is the warning for somewhat dangerous tides, but the water is calm, almost perfectly calm. What is this guy playing at? “Umm, thanks. But it doesn’t look too bad.”
“Looks can be deceiving.” Mr. Safety Instructor meets my gaze. Vibrant green eyes bore into mine, and their intensity takes my breath away. There’s more than simple concern in their depths. There’s a desire, no, a need to protect.
I shake my head. No, there isn’t. That’s ridiculous. He doesn’t even know me. I pull away. “Thanks, but I’m all set. Bye.” I put distance between us before he can respond. I don’t need some over-protective guy telling me what to do. My brother gives me enough of that.
The farther out I go, the faster my body adjusts to the temperature. When the water’s up to my chest, I lay stomach-down on the board, making sure the wrist thing is in place around my arm. The current rolls by. I let it take me, the waves rocking me back and forth. The breeze is cooler out here, and I close my eyes. Yellow flag—right. That guy probably made that up because he wanted a closer look at a hot girl in a bathing suit. Not that I blame him. This suit looks awesome on me.
Another wave goes by. This one is bigger and a little rougher, but it’s still nowhere near yellow flag strength. I ride it like the pro I am. This is what summer’s supposed to be. A group of seagulls cry somewhere above me. Don’t pee on my head—thanks. Little kids shriek from the shallow water. The undertow passes, and I shiver a little. The shrieks start again. Someone shouts something that might be a warning, and before I can tune it out, water, like a billion tons of it, slams into me.
What the hell? The board slips away, and I go under. Where did that wave come from? Okay, no problem. Find the bottom and stand. I stretch my legs, find the sand, and scrape my foot against something sharp. Pain lances through my ankle. I gasp. Water invades my mouth, and the ocean takes that moment to withdraw and drag me out with it. My head breaks the surface. I cough and reach for my board. It’s there, like an old friend. I haul it toward me, but a second wave, bigger than the first, crashes. The board flips away, and the string attaching it to my wrist snaps.
Shit. I lunge, but the wave takes me away. More water fills my nose, and the surface disappears. I flail, but there’s nothing. My lungs burn. My eyes sting. Directions reverse. I can’t find up. I can’t even find light. It’s dark, dark and quiet.
A soft bed rises up beneath me. I lie down and let it take my weight. It must be time for sleep. The night is thick but comfortable, and the silence is definite. All I need is a blanket, and I can sleep, a nice deep sleep. My eyes close. So comfy …
Something moves. Shark? Does it want to eat me? No, it can’t. Nothing bad happens in dreams. I nestle into the covers, and whatever it is grabs me. Hey, let go, I say. Or I try to. I’m too tired to talk or fight, so it can drag me off to its lair or whatever. As long as it doesn’t make me wake up, I don’t care. Light comes from somewhere. I try to shield my eyes, but my arms won’t move. My captor takes me through a curtain, and the pressure around my head disappears.
“I’ve got you,” a deep voice says by my ear. “It’s okay, Jen.”
Jen? Who’s Jen? Is she in my dream? But I can’t ask. My chest is too heavy. It holds my voice down by my belly. Not that it matters. I’ll find out in a minute. This is my dream, after all. The pressure lessens. Soon I’m sitting, and then kneeling. Then the weight and wetness is gone, and I’m on my stomach with someone pounding on my back. After a few seconds of this, salt water pours out of my mouth. My head spins as the reality of the last few moments hits me, and I shudder. I almost drowned. I almost died. I was under water, and I almost gave in.
A warm breeze tickles my face. Tears gather in my eyes. That breeze is the best thing I’ve felt all day. I’m alive. There’s air, and I’m breathing. To prove it, I take a deep breath. Sand finds its way into my mouth, which sets off a different type of cough.
My rescuer stops his demented techno beat. “Are you okay?” His voice shakes, and it’s familiar somehow.
Never mind that. Am I okay? I inhale and cough. My throat burns, but no water comes up. “Yeah.”
“Good.” He grips my arms with warm, strong hands, and little fires ignite on my skin. He helps me sit up, my head resting against his chest. It takes everything I have to move away. My brain feels like it’s been on a hamster wheel. Even more, this guy, whoever he is, saved my life. He risked his life to save mine. It’s something out of a chick flick, and my insides turn to mush. Wow, I’m pathetic. I almost drown, and all I can think is that the guy who saved me is hot. How about actually thanking him? I rub the water out of my eyes and open them.
Then I wish I could sink into the sand. My rescuer is the guy who told me about the yellow flag.
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-Pair of Dice Lost (a Lydia and Scott Valentine’s story)