Authors: Nyrae Dawn
Copyright © 2013 by
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without prior written permission of the author except where permitted by law.
Published by Nyrae Dawn
Cover Design by Allie Brennan, B Design
Interior Design by Angela McLaurin, Fictional Formats
Images license from Deposit Photos with the following names:
© Andrea Maisenbacher
© Елена Вишневская
© Yuri Arcurs
© Tomas Del Amo | Dreamstime.com
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Other Books by Nyrae Dawn:
WHAT A BOY WANTS
WHAT A BOY NEEDS
To Kelley York.
You’re the type of friend who always comes through.
So glad we met all those years ago.
Thanks for having my back,
and taking this wild writing journey with me.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw Nathaniel Chase. I was fifteen-years-old and leaving cabin 3B with my best friend Alec, who up until that moment, I’d always figured was the boy for me. It wasn’t that Alec and I were in love with each other, but we still knew that was our future. Without ever talking about it, we accepted it. Everything changed when Nathaniel pulled up to our lake cabins for the summer. Now, I had another boy in my life. Another best friend, but this one only part-time. This one, I loved.
My legs hang over the dock, feet dancing in the water as they do every summer. It’s early June, but already sticky hot. Any time I can, I sneak away from Dad before he finds more work for me to do. The water is the only way to stay cool on days like this.
I make circles with my toes, watching tiny waves ripple out until they disappear and I wonder how long I’ll be able to avoid Dad. He seems to be immune to the heat. He’s spent all day every summer working outside at our lake cabins since he was a kid and Mom’s parents gave him a job. My grandparents are long gone now and the place belongs to him and Mom. I get the joy of working alongside him.
“Hey, Charlie Rae. I’ve been looking for you.” Glancing up, I shield the sun from my eyes to see my best friend Alec standing next to me in a pair of cut-off denim shorts and a red, sleeveless shirt showcasing the firm muscles that haven’t always been there, running the length of his arms. He smiles, showing me the little chip in his tooth he got when he fell off the tire swing when we were eight. Alec pushes a hand through his sun-bleached hair.
“Let me guess, my dad’s looking for me?” I groan.
“How do you know it’s not me who wanted to find you, huh?” He winks.
I shake my head. Alec is such a flirt. He playfully does it with all the girls, but he’s the only one who does it to me. Which, embarrassingly, makes my cheeks warm up a little bit. I know it doesn’t mean anything. Alec is just nice like that, but when he’s the only boy who’s nice to
like that, it makes it hard not to get girly. Even though he’s only my best friend and I know that’s all he’ll ever emotionally be.
When I go to stand, he holds out his hand, and I let him pull me up.
“So…your dad’s looking for you,” he says, making me roll my eyes.
“See! I told you, Captain Liar. Where is he?” Crossing my arms, I try not to pout. I’m not sure why I feel like it. Maybe because of his stupid teasing. Maybe because I’m annoyed that Mom and my sister, Sadie Ann, are sitting in our air-conditioned store right now and I’m the one who has to work outside with Dad. Not that I wouldn’t rather be with him than them. Dad and I have more in common, but it’s still not fair.
“Captain Liar?” Alec laughs. “You’re such a dork. I mean, a cool dork, but a dork all the same.” My face feels hot again, but for a different reason this time. Shoving past Alec I try to walk away, but he runs after me. “I’m kidding, Charlie. Wait up! Hey, what’s the problem?”
Actually, I don’t know what my problem is. Or maybe I do. I’m tired of being the “dork”. Tired of being teased and just plain old Charlie Rae. Never Charlotte. Charlie. “Just grumpy. And hot. Where’s Dad?” I pull my hair tie out before putting my long, dark hair into another ponytail. According to Sadie Ann, ponytails are “so out” but it works for me.
“He’s busy getting some boat rentals ready. He wanted me to tell you he needs you to make sure cabin 3B is ready. Got a family coming in. They’ll be here the whole summer.”
I don’t try to stifle my groan. Why would people choose to come here for a whole summer? They think it’s such a great place to spend time, when really it’s just because they don’t live here. I do. I know how much it sucks. Luckily, the people who come the rest of the year never stay very long. “What do we know about them?”
“Some rich family. Parents and two sons. They’re probably too afraid of getting dirty to end up in our way much, though.” We’ve seen it enough to know. Usually, we don’t pay much attention to the people our age who come here, and they’re the same to us.
“I hope so,” I say. “Okay, thanks for telling me. I’m going to go grab the key and get the cabin ready.” I wave at Alec, but he keeps going.
“I guess they’re going to be here earlier than your dad thought, so we gotta hurry. I’ll help you.”
I smile. What a sweetheart. These are the things Alec does that make him my best friend. He’s the only boy in Lakeland Village, Virginia that I can stand.
Really, there isn't much to do in the cabin anyway. It’s already been cleaned, but we like to freshen the cabins up before people get here so they aren’t so musty from being closed up.
Our store’s a little white building with blue trim. It matches our house, which is off to the side and behind it. When people say, “one-stop shopping” this is what they mean. The building houses the limited products for purchase, the rentals, and the office.
Taking the back door, I run inside the office to grab the customer key so I don’t have to run into Mom or Sadie Ann out front. My blue baseball hat is sitting on the counter so I grab it to help keep the sun out of my eyes while I’m working today. After putting it on and pulling my ponytail through the hole, Alec and I are on our way to cabin 3B.
The cabins? They’re much cuter than our house or the office, each one decorated in a theme or color. They're actual cozy log cabins. I can see why people would want to come here. It’s the living here year ‘round I’m still a little lost on. But what can I say? I know this place is going to be my future.
The area of land isn’t huge. There’s a small pond off to one side. We have ten cabins, some on the lake and some a little farther out. 3B is one of the nicest.
“You don’t have to help, Alec. I’m sure you want to go home and enjoy your summer or whatever.”
Just because I have to be stuck here doesn’t mean he should have to be, but because he’s a nice guy, Alec says, “Nope. Plus, I need the money. Your dad’s letting me help out this year.”