Welcome to the Summer For Love Blog Hop put on by The Romance Troupe!
I wanted to share a fun summer scene from my first novel, The Forgotten Ones. Read through and tell me in the comments what your favorite summer memory to win an ecopy of The Forgotten Ones, Book 1 in The Danaan Trilogy. Make sure to leave your email address so I can let you know if you win!
I inhaled the salty ocean air, and the lingering scent of suntan lotion filled my nose. The sun was searing my legs, and it was time for a break in the shade. My skin burned easily and although I had sunscreen on, I was already looking a little pink. I put my bookmark between the pages and attempted to brush some of the sand off of my legs as I stood. Lifting my arms, I stretched before retreating to the chair under my umbrella.
Down at the water, I could see Rachel with her arms wrapped around her middle, the wind whipping strands of dark hair into her face. She kept jumping and shrieking when Sean or Ethan stumbled on their boogie boards and splashed her. Ethan caught my gaze and motioned for me to come join them. I laughed as a wave collapsed on top of him and shook my head.
Settling into my spot, I took off my sunglasses and closed my eyes, listening to the sound of the gulls. I sighed contentedly. This wasn’t so bad.
A loud cawing interrupted my tranquil moment. I pried open an eye and looked at the kids building a sand castle next to our spot. There was a crow standing a few feet away, facing my direction. Weird. I’d never seen a crow at the beach before. Maybe there was a beached seal nearby.
I started to open my book up, but the hairs along the back of my neck stood up, and a funny feeling came over me, like I was being watched. I glanced around, and this time, the crow locked eyes with me. Something about its beady eyes made me shudder, and I turned away quickly.
On my other side, Nicole was just about done burying Jeff in the sand. All that was visible was his spiky brown hair and his Red Sox visor.
“Just stay still for one more second, Jeff. I’ve got to get a picture,” Nicole begged as she grabbed her camera from her towel. She clicked a few times before the sand started to crack and crumble around him.
“That’s it, let me out of here!” Jeff shouted. The sand broke apart around him, and he climbed out. Nicole yelped in surprise as he took off chasing her down to the water.
“Come swim with us, Al!” Nicole yelled over her shoulder as she ran.
I shook my head with a smile. “I’m good,” I called out before reopening my book.
A few minutes later, I heard a quiet thud as Ethan dropped down to his knees on the blanket by my feet. He dug around the cooler and pulled out a soda.
“Aren’t you having fun?” he asked breathlessly between gulps.
“As a matter of fact, I am,” I replied, gesturing to the umbrella and my book.
“Yeah? Whatcha reading?”
I felt a blush rise on my cheeks as I held the book out for him to see. I was reading Gone With The Wind. Again.
Ethan started laughing, nearly choking on his soda. “I imagined you up here reading The Guide to Modern Physics. I would’ve never guessed you were reading a romance novel!” He stretched himself out on the blanket and closed his eyes to the sun, his lips curved up in that mocking little smile. His dark hair was slicked back with water, and he was perfectly tanned. I couldn’t help noticing that his lashes were a thick, dark fringe. I forced myself to look away.
When I glanced back at him—I couldn’t help it—Rachel had snuck onto the blanket and gestured to me with her finger to her lips. She flopped down onto her stomach and began running a piece of ice that had fallen out of the cooler along Ethan’s chest, causing him to shout in surprise.
“You’re going down!” he yelled before hauling Rachel up over his shoulder and running down to toss her, squealing, into the ocean.
I looked down to the water, wondering how Sean felt about Rachel’s not-so-subtle display. They had one of those on-again-off-again relationships. They were all friends, but her flirting with Ethan must have bothered him. If I wanted to be honest, it even bothered me.
I pushed all of Nicole’s friends out of my thoughts and tried to enjoy the rest of the day. When it was time to leave, I walked up the old wooden steps to the parking lot with my arms full of beach gear. The others were lagging behind, but I could still hear the sounds of their laughter and teasing.
“If you’re going with Jeff, I am too,” I heard Rachel say to Nicole in her whiny voice.
“Sweet! Shotgun in Al’s car,” Ethan yelled. A smile crept onto my face—Rachel would be disappointed that she wouldn’t get to cozy up next to him in the backseat. Good thing no one could see my face.
“Damn, man, I was just going to say that!” Sean said, a thump following. I could only imagine from Ethan’s grunt that Sean had whacked him upside the head. I laughed to myself that both guys were so desperate to stay away from Rachel.
I opened the hatch and started loading it when Ethan gently pushed me aside. “I got this,” he said, winking at me as he hefted the cooler in.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t want to break a nail,” I muttered, placing my bag in the back.
Ethan just laughed and shook his head.
“Meet us at Nic’s!” Jeff shouted out his window before tearing out of the parking lot.
I started the car as Ethan and Sean piled in. As usual, Sean reached up front and ruffled my hair before settling in his seat. He grew up in the house on the other side of Nicole’s, and he’d always been nice to me, even if his sometimes-girlfriend was a jerk.
“You coming over tonight?” Ethan asked as he flipped through the CD’s in my case.
“Me?” I tried to swallow down the butterflies. “Are you kidding? My bed is already calling my name,” I replied, trying to keep an aloof tone.
Ethan shook his head and smirked, no doubt trying not to laugh at me. “We’re just going to be watching a movie.”
“Didn’t your mother teach you not to beg, dude?” Sean asked, teasing. “You probably have a hot date, right Allie-O?” He shook my shoulder lightly. I smiled at the old nickname from the days when we used to play hide-and-seek in our neighborhood.
“Yeah, a hot date with Rhett Butler,” Ethan said. I kept my eyes on the road, but I couldn’t help the smile that played on my lips.
“Poor Ethan,” Sean said. “I think Rachel wants to snuggle with you tonight, pal.” He was laughing, but there was an edge to his voice. The idea of Rachel and Ethan together made my chest squeeze, too.
Ethan chuckled. “No, thanks. Rachel is all yours. She’s not my type.”
“Since when do you have a type?” Sean asked, the tension lifting.
“I’m twenty-three years old, man. Time to start thinking of the future.”
I nearly snorted soda out of my nose…until he slung his arm around the back of my chair. Then it was all I could do to keep the car on the road.
He had to know the way he affected me, how he got under my skin. Four years ago, in one of my weaker moments, I’d fallen for his charm. I couldn’t let that happen again. But the memory of that kiss still left me breathless.
(6) $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Cards
Comment with your name and email to be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. Comments without name and email will not be counted. Commenting on each and every stop will increase your chances of winning.
Winners for the (6) Grand Prizes will be drawn and announced on THE ROMANCE TROUPE blog by .