PIECES of LOVE
Heart of Denver Romance Writer’s Aspen Gold Contest Finalist!
Sixteen year-old Alexis Hartman wants nothing more than to smoke pot and play guitar. Getting high and escaping into her music seems the perfect solution when her world is shattered by her sister’s death. But when she’s arrested for possession a second time, life couldn’t get any more complicated. Her mother’s breakdown is the final straw that forces Lexi to spend the summer on the West Coast with her grandmother, Maddie. When Lexi steps over the line one too many times, she’s certain her life is over and that she’s destined for juvenile detention—until Maddie decides that desperate measures are called for. A three week Mediterranean cruise—for seniors.
Eighteen year-old Ethan Kaswell, the poster child for good sons, is stranded on the cruise when his father, a famous heart surgeon, is called away. With his own life perfectly mapped out, Ethan finds Lexi’s unpredictability irresistible. Although he’s smart enough to see that there is no future in falling for a “vacation crush,” Lexi’s edgy dark side draws him like an anchor to the bottom of the sea. As the two embark on the journey of a lifetime, will Lexi mess this up too? Or will she finally learn to love someone—even when she has to let them go?
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Here’s an Excerpt
Six hours, three barf-bags, and a lay-over in Denver later, I stumbled off the plane and retrieved my suitcase from the baggage claim carousel. From the odd looks I was getting, my face must have been a pasty shade of green. If it meant hitchhiking all the way home, I would do it, but I never wanted to get on another plane again. I called my grandmother who told me to meet her out front in ten minutes. Following the signs to the drop-off and pick-up zone I plunked down onto a nearby bench and half-heartedly browsed through the Architectural Digest I’d confiscated from the plane.
The air was warm with a nice breeze, and palm trees swayed in a line across the road. People passed by, ignoring me and rushing off to their next destination. A lady with too much perfume sat beside me. My stomach rolled. Since breakfast had left me hours ago and the food on the plane had sent me running for the stinky closet they called a bathroom, my stomach growled from hunger. The strong floral fragrance assaulted my nose, and I knew from experience dry heaves were next. I got up and moved away, clearly doomed no matter what I did.
Pacing, I waited until a dark blue Mercedes pulled up to the curb and my grandmother stepped out, a broad smile on her face. I recognized the red hair and jewelry as her trademark style, but I’d forgotten how much she looked like the pictures I had of my father. She had his sharp nose and bright blue eyes. Even the shape of her lips as she smiled reminded me of him. She rounded the front of the car and threw her arms around me. “There’s my little Ali Cat.” She drew back. “My goodness how you’ve grown.”
“It’s just Ali, now.” I turned away, recalling our last visit and shuddering at her use of the nickname Ali Cat, a name only my father and Amanda had used. I threw my bags in the back seat and climbed into the front of the swank luxury sports car, the tan leather cool from the air conditioning. Not for the first time, I wished I had been able to bring my guitar. I felt totally lost without it.
“Of course. You’ve probably outgrown that silly name, haven’t you? We’ll have to come up with a new one. Ali is so plain.” Snapping her seatbelt into place, she had a revelation. “I know. I’ll call you Lexi. That’s much more suitable for a young woman.” She fixed her hair in the mirror and pulled into traffic. The tires squealed.
I sighed, tightening the seatbelt across my shoulder. This was going to be a long summer.
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