Wearing anger management issues like a second skin won’t help Autumn win her dad’s approval for the big trip she’s been planning—or meet his condition that she successfully complete a summer internship for college.
Autumn’s cool unravels when her sister lectures against disappointing the family again. And when a young, bearded guy steps through the crowd to settle the growing argument between siblings, Autumn lashes out, dubbing him a “Duck Dynasty wannabe.”
At Nineteen, Caden Behr is clueless as to why his man parts are threatened by the fearsome girl before him. He'd only come to find an intern for his recreational equipment company, not break up a girl-fight between two sisters.
Unfortunately, the only candidate left is the girl who just told him off. Without her, he’ll never prove to his CEO mother that he’s ready for more responsibility.
Autumn and Caden agree that if they can keep from killing one another, they can use one another to get what they want and then never have to see each other again. Which is what they want.
Until it isn’t.
Because despite her best efforts to scare him off, and his fading desire to push her into the lake, they’re beginning to enjoy the time they spend together. But pride is a hard habit to break. And if neither will admit their changing feelings, they could lose a whole lot more than one summer.
The doorbell rings. Pushing against a pillow, I raise up on both elbows. Sydney’s arm and leg are sprawled across my back, weighting me down. Neither of us felt like being alone last night, but peaceful sleep next to my squirmy sister has its challenges. Rain beats the roof so loudly, I’m not sure I heard anything at all until another round of chimes go off.
Sydney groans as I roll her off of me. “What time is it?”
I squint at the blue letters on her alarm clock. “Ten after seven.” Dad left for work a half hour ago. My head hangs forward and I wait, hoping any deliveryman will leave their package. Then I remember water could damage something important. Craptastic.
A third bell has me stumbling down the hall. My hair is everywhere and my eyes feel golf-ball-sized puffy from stress. I didn’t think about my shorty-shorts and a tank for door answering, but it’s too late now.
Ding. “Keep your pants on, I’m coming!”
I wrench the door wide, expecting to sign a clipboard, or tell a pesky sales person to bugger off. Instead, a half-drowned Caden stands on my front stoop with Gus grinning at his side. They stare. I stare. Seconds pass. Finally, I close my mouth.
“Autumn … ” Caden starts, but I hold up a finger stopping him. It’s too early for this drama.
Leaning forward, I snatch Gus’s leash from his owner’s waterlogged hand. The dog bounds inside like a champ, and I shut the door in my guest’s shocked face, locking it afterward.
“Autumn?” There’s pounding on the door followed by a long pause. “This isn’t funny. Let me in.” He bangs again. “I drove all night to talk to you.”
“I have a phone.”
“The one you aren’t answering?”
This is insane. I’m sure he’s here to see if I’m coming back. He’s got a bet to win, or maybe a conscious to clear, but Gus won’t pay for it by drowning with him. The dog drips water all over my father’s oriental rug. That won’t win the mutt points with Daddy-o if he and his owner are, in fact, staying a while. I disappear down the hall and return with an armload of fluffy towels.
“You know it’s pouring out here, right?” I hear against the door.
“That’s a shame. Maybe Piper can hold your umbrella while you kiss her again.” My words make me small and petty, and a sore loser. I wish I’d shut up.
“What are you talking about?” The handle rattles. “You’re being ridiculous.”
I kneel, rubbing Gus’s ears dry with a towel. “I’m not ridiculous, am I, Guster? And you’re not a player like your low-life master, are you, buddy?”
“I can hear you, Aud.”
“Not a liar, or a boy who strings two girls along at once … ”
“I didn’t—” He sneezes. There’s a thud on the other side of the door that I fear is his forehead hitting wood. “You’re killing me, Cricket.”
My heart gives, and do what I couldn’t before. I reach over, unlock the door, and let him in.
As a child, Julie’s summers were about horseback riding and fishing, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all. She struggled with multiple learning disabilities, and spent much of her time gazing out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) she fought dyslexia for her right to read and won.
Afterward, she invented stories where powerful heroines kicked bad-guy butt to win the hearts charismatic heroes. And then she wrote one down…
Writing ever since, Julie weaves southern gothic, contemporary, fantasy, and young adult romances. She enjoys sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. Her writing is proof a dream and some hard work can overcome any obstacle.
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