Summer has finally arrived, along with a boy who will forever change the life of fourteen-year-old Callie. After growing up hearing stories about Tristan Trevosier and his famous family, Callie finally meets him when he spends the summer on Martha’s Vineyard. Seventeen-year-old Tristan is a hurricane of destruction and rebellion, and he quickly blows a hole right into Callie’s sheltered life. Callie sees a side of Tristan that he doesn’t show anyone else. She’s determined to make everyone see what she sees in him.
Callie defies her parents by leaving the island with Tristan. But when his ugly habits rear their head, Callie realizes maybe she’s the one who’s wrong about him. He’s beyond her help. But it’s too late for her to walk away. This summer, she learns that love can be stronger than reason.
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“Meet me in my aunt’s driveway tonight,” Tristan whispered into my ear just before we left work for the day. His warm breath tickled my skin.
“Later on. Like midnight.” He raised his eyebrows at the suggestion.
I stared at him open mouthed, not sure I understood what he said. “How is that going to work?”
“You’re a smart girl, you’ll figure it out.” Tristan squeezed my hand before he walked away.
I had a hard time concentrating on my routine for the rest of the afternoon and evening. How was I going to pull this off? Was I going to be able to sneak out when I shared a room with someone? I toyed with the idea of telling Keisha about Tristan’s proposal, but I decided against it.
Since I was useless anyway, I went to bed early. Or so everyone thought. I laid awake, watching the clock. It was so hard not to drift off to sleep. I couldn’t set my alarm, I’d wake Keisha. At 11:30, when I was satisfied Keisha was down for the count, I quietly slipped out of bed, washed the sleep from my face, got dressed, and began my journey.
Every floorboard creaked as I crossed the living room. At first I took slow deliberate steps, but I felt like that only amplified the noise, so I changed my pace to a quick tip toe. The kitchen door caught in the jam, swollen with humidity. I pulled as hard as I could to free it, jerking back with its force when it opened. I had to close it just as hard. In my nervousness, the forgotten screen door slammed door behind me on the porch. I squeezed my eyes shut, knowing I must be caught for sure. I was relieved to find that my actions seemed to have gone unnoticed. I tip toed gingerly down the stairs of the deck and sprinted towards Tristan’s house. I slowed up my pace when the driveway came into sight. Running the whole way would have been nothing short of pathetic.
Tristan sat on the rear bumper of his jeep, throwing his keys up in the air and catching them. I don’t think he heard me approach. I sat down next to him and he jumped. Finally, I caught him off guard. I laughed as he fumbled on the dark ground for his keys.
“You made it. I wasn’t sure if you’d do it or not.”
“You thought I’d chicken out?” He wasn’t the only one.
“You were wrong.” My eyes were adjusting to the light, and I met his in challenge. All this defiance made me brave.
“Let’s go for a walk,” he suggested.
“I don’t know. You’re the one who lives here.”
“Well I usually don’t wander around in the middle of the night. But I guess we can go down by the beach.”
He took my hand and we set down the rocky road that led to the ocean without saying much of anything until we reached the sand. The only sound was the waves lapping against the shore. And my heart thundering in my chest.
“You can see so many of the stars out here.” Tristan declared, looking skyward in appreciation.
“How is that different than usual?”
“The city lights are too bright, they don’t stand out as much. It’s just so peaceful to look up at them all. See, there’s the Big Dipper.” He pointed skyward.
I nodded. “Can you see Orion’s Belt in it?”
Tristan sat down on one of the rocks that formed a breakwater. I climbed up next to him. I felt small next to him, with my legs dangling off the giant rock and the sky so huge above us.
“I’m having a really good time here this summer.” His arm made its way loosely around my waist.
“I am, too.”
“I’m going to hate going back to California.”
My heart twinged in my chest. I knew all along the day was coming soon when the twins would leave the island and normal life would resume, but not thinking about it made it less real.
“Maybe you don’t have to go,” I offered, softly.
He pulled me in closer to him and sighed. “I do. What am I going to do here?”
He was right, but I hated it. I hated myself for thinking I’d be enough to make him stay. It wasn’t like he was even my boyfriend. “You’re right.”
“What do you want to do, Callie?”
“What do you mean?” I pulled away from him nervously, heart pounding even harder.
“About everything. What do you want your life to be like?”
I knotted my fingers in my lap as I thought about his question. “I don’t know. This is my life.”
“There’s a whole world out there, you know. But it is nice here. It’s simple. No drama. “
I tried not to feel simple myself. “What’s California like?”
Tristan leaned back on his hands and looked up at the sky. “Right now it’s a hot mess. My parents hate each other. They’re trying to work things out, but I know they’re going to split. That’s why we got shipped here.”
“Don’t be. Honestly, it’s probably better. They’re always fighting, and using me and Taryn to get back at each other.”
“Whatever. The peace and quiet is nice.” He pulled me back in. “And I like hanging out with you. It’s nice to hang out with a girl who doesn’t want anything from me.”
“What do you mean?” I wasn’t offended, just genuinely confused.
“I’m sick of all these chicks, sorry, girls, who just want me to buy them things, or want to be with me because of who my parents are. But you aren’t like that.”
“No.” Who knew I was getting it right?
“It’s a nice change.”
“So what do you want to do?” I asked.
“About what?” His eyes burned into mine, only visible by the light of the moon reflecting off the ocean.
My breath caught in my throat. “Same thing. Everything.”
He sighed. “Honestly, I don’t have a clue. I could probably act, but I don’t want to do it just because my father does it. I’d love to have a band.”
“Why don’t you?”
“I don’t know. I never thought I was any good, but being here, my head’s been so clear. I’ve even worked on some songs.” He said the last part quietly. The way he said it, I was pretty sure I was the only one who knew anything about this.
“I’d love to hear them sometime.”
“I don’t know. They’re probably crap.”
“You always tell me not to be down on myself, and here you are, doing the same thing.”
“I know,” He leaned in, so his face was very close to mine. “I know what I want to do right now.”
“What?” I could barely speak.
“Kiss you.” He leaned in closer, his lips grazing mine.
I panicked and pulled away.
“What’s the matter?” Tristan seemed alarmed.
“I don’t know what to do.”
I couldn’t see it, but I could feel his smile. He ran his thumb softly along my jaw line, his fingers snaking into my hair. “You’re doing just fine. Just relax.”
That seemed impossible. “Okay.”
His lips parted mine gently. I simply followed Tristan’s lead, mimicking his actions as I curled my fingers around his arms. He slowly nipped my upper and lower lip, almost teasing me, before unwinding his fingers from my hair, sliding his hands down to my waist, and pulling me up into his lap, against his chest. I could feel his heart thundering in unison with mine. I moved my hands up into his hair, pulling him close to me as he placed his lips over mine.
I don’t know how long we stayed there, locked together like that. One of us would pull away, just enough to breathe, and then be drawn right back in.
Finally, Tristan slid me down off of his lap. I could feel the chill immediately being separated from his body. If I looked at him at that moment, we’d be right back where we started, so I looked up at the stars. They were even more beautiful than I ever remembered them being.
Everything was so right, with just us sitting out here, no noise but the lapping of the waves and the beating of my heart.
“I have to get you back,” Tristan’s voice was husky.
The sky had brightened. I prayed it was just lights from the town and not sunrise. No one in my house waited for the sun to be up to get out of bed. I needed to be safely back in bed before anyone’s feet hit the floorboards for the day.
We started to make our way through the sand, and back to the rocky road that led back to Beach Plum Lane. We held hands, not leaving enough space for one another.
I wasn’t ready to part ways when we reached my porch. I don’t think Tristan was either, he took my hands and pulled me close to him.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
He shook his head against my forehead. “No,” he said, just as softly. “Thank you. For everything, Callie. I mean it.”
I looked up at him, puzzled, but didn’t say anything. I wasn’t sure what to say.
“Will you be my date at the President’s party?”
He squeezed my hands and leaned in for one last kiss. I could feel his smile against my lips. “Sweet dreams, Callie.”
Ebook of Seasons in the Sun
Ebook of Because the Night
When we were teenagers, my friends and I thought we were invincible. Everyone thought we were pretty good kids. We made good grades and didn’t get into trouble. Which meant we were just smart enough not to get caught. I had a few friends who had really strict parents, and I would circumvent their rules by inviting them for sleepovers at my house.
Once I could drive, we frequently headed to an all ages rock club about forty minutes away from my house. This was a bar that they let children in. Our hands were marked with big black Us and then we were free to mingle with the grownups. Whoever thought it was a good idea to mix teenage girls dressed like rock video extras, barely legal man, and alcohol was a lunatic in retrospect, but god bless them.
We might have made good grades, but man did we make dumb decisions. We’d take off to parties with people we didn’t know at all hours. Often we marvel how we didn’t wind up dead. Looking back, I know we made it through unscathed because we were all really good friends to one another. No one ever let anything sketchy happen to someone else. Everyone should be blessed with the girlfriends that I had growing up. The world would be a better place.
Callie’s experience in Seasons in the Sun is much different than my teenage experience. She’s kept on a short leash by her mother. She meets Tristan when he stays next door one summer. Tristan’s rules are even looser than mine were. Callie can’t help but be curious about this world that she has yet to explore. Even though she knows better, it causes her to make some bad decisions.
Bad decisions aren’t always wrong. Even though it’s the path you didn’t expect to take, they can lead you to places you didn’t know existed. They make you stronger. And in the case of Callie, they can make you want more than what your current life has to offer.
Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. Kristen is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Foreword Literary.