What happens when you fall for the perfect guy...twice...in one day?
Brenna Blixen spent her freshman year homeschooling in Denmark; now that she's back in the States, she's determined to make her sophomore year unforgettable. And by unforgettable, she imagined awesome classes, fun friendships, and maybe a little romance.
What she got was a whole lot of romance, and all at once.
The same day that dark, brooding Saxon Maclean charmed her with his killer good looks and whip-smart wit, Jake Kelly stole her breath away with his heart-wrenching smile and intelligent, thoughtful focus.
But Saxon is a proud player who makes it clear that he doesn't know why he can't get Brenna off of his mind and out of his system, and Jake's sweet and humble attitude hides a secret past life that might be darker and more complex than Brenna is willing to deal with.
Complicating the matter is the fact that Saxon and Jake were once best friends and are now arch-enemies...and the more Brenna finds out about their connection to each other, the more intrigued and worried she becomes.
Between keeping the peace with her lovingly over-protective parents, designing t-shirts for her high school's rising punk band, keeping up her grades in classes split between academic and technical high school, and running the track like a maniac, Brenna has enough to worry about without juggling two guys who make her heart thud and drive her crazy all at once.
She has to make a choice, but how is she supposed to do that when giving her heart to one of them might mean breaking the other's?
Recommended Age Group: Older YA
First Crush: How Loving Mike A. Made Me Want To Crimp My Hair, and Losing Him Made Me A Better Student
I recently wrote a YA contemporary romance, Double Clutch. When I wrote it, I thought back a lot on my past experiences with love, especially in high school. But I was a seasoned pro by the time high school rolled around! Because my issues with boys started when I was in kindergarten, and they rolled right along as I bridged the gap between elementary and middle school.
Jimmy V. had been my first romantic entanglement, way back in kindergarten. After an unfortunate incident that involved some laminated pink hearts with our names, a long trek to get milk, my attempt to save the milk and his injured arm, and the rash of cootie-related rumors that followed, I sealed my young heart to boys and romance. No more! I made it all the way through fourth grade being studious, having fun, and not even noticing boys in any hearts-and-giggles way. Until the end of fourth grade.
|I love milk, but it had complicated romantic overtures all through elementary school. Young love can be so weird!|
Mike A. had spikey blonde hair and the coolest hightops of anyone in our class. He was funny and charming, and was never, ever at a loss for girlish company. I was not remotely interested. Fourth grade was the year Mr. Lane let us write stories during free time on Fridays and read them out loud to the class. My buddy Becky B. and I were pretty consumed with our careers as blossoming fiction writers/orators. That all changed when we went to the Franklin Mines.
|It did have a pretty cool fluorescent rock room!|
There wasn't a ton about the creepy, shadowy mines and accompanying rock piles that inspired romance. But there was gift shop. In it was a card that had gilt edges and featured a woman in a huge straw hat drinking tea. It is a complete mystery to me what this had to do with the Franklin Mines or romance, but Mike A. was an enterprising young man when it came to matters of the heart. He saw potential for a love connection where most boys saw the biggest rock piles they'd ever laid eyes on.
He approached me at the picnic tables with the card and handed it over with all the practiced nonchalance of a true player.
"This made me think of you." He smiled and adjusted the laces on his hightops.
I didn't drink tea or wear huge straw hats, but my ten-year-old heart was all in a swoon over the card. And inside! Inside it said, "I like you, Elizabeth." Were sweeter words ever written on any cheesy museum gift-shop card anywhere?
|Like this! But even MORE romantic! If you can imagine...|
Our relationship blossomed slowly. Really slowly.
After the card, we didn't speak again. Summer passed and we entered fifth grade, when most boys caught up with Mike A. in the love department and romance blossomed. Fifth graders got to sit wherever they wanted to at lunch. There were no assigned tables in fifth grade! And we had lockers. It was a whole new world, and Mike A. was ready to take full advantage of all the romance it offered.
"How about I meet you at your locker before lunch, then we can sit together," he said, running a hand over his perfectly gelled blonde spikes.
I agreed happily. We met at my locker, and sat together at lunch. There may have been chirping birds and animated hearts. It's all fogged over with love in my memory. For three whole days we repeated this cycle, and Mike finally asked me to be his girlfriend. I agreed, happy to imagine day after day of sitting alongside each other at lunch and meeting at our lockers.
|Lockers! They unleashed our free spirits!|
I was so smitten, I put my hair in tiny, tight braids when it was damp and slept with it that way to achieve the ultimate eye-catching hair-do, sure to make Mike A. love me forever. The crimp worked! Alas, it worked too well.
Apparently I looked so good with my new puffy do, Mike A. wanted to step our relationship up a notch.
"I like your hair," he said. I beamed. "I want to hold hands during lunch."
I chewed my lip and looked around. No one else was holding hands. What would the teachers think? But there was an even bigger worry in my book. "I want to, Mike! I really do." I felt my voice drop. "But how can I hold your hand and eat my lunch?"
He swallowed hard and looked away. "Fine," he muttered.
He met me at my locker after the final bell. "Look," he said, not meeting my eyes. "I like you, but I don't think we're right for each other. Let's break up."
"Is it because I wouldn't hold your hand? I still don't get how you expected me to eat with one hand, Mike!" I protested.
"It's not just that." He raised his eyebrows. "I was thinking we should kiss, but if you won't even hold my hand..." He left it out there like a dare.
I was horrified. "You want to kiss me? I hardly know you! I'm not like that!"
He shrugged. "Yeah, I figured. Well, then I guess we're breaking up."
My little heart was breaking. "You know what? I'm just glad you said it first. I wanted to say it, but I was afraid I'd hurt your feelings." I shut my locker calmly and ran to the bus, where I burst into heart-wrenching sobs.
|The crimp was more powerful than I ever imagined!|
To this day, my mother still hates poor Mike A.! He grew up to be a super nice guy, and he claims to not remember dumping me over the hand-holding/kiss, but apologized anyway.
But I told him it was a blessing in disguise. If I had taken the plunge in fifth grade, I think my life would have panned out differently.
As it was, I refused to crimp my hair and buried my nose in books to ease my pain. Oh sweet books! Fifth grade was one of the best reading years of my life! I read everything, and started to see myself as a young scholar when so many other girls were focused on kissing.
It worked for me academically and romantically. Because I wound up getting the perfect first kiss from Aaron T. a few years later. If you'd like to read about that, please stop by http://awordsworth.blogspot.com/ on November 18th!
Thank you so much to Shilpa for letting me relive my young love on your blog!
Liz Reinhardt was born and raised in the idyllic beauty of northwest NJ. A move to the subtropics of coastal Georgia with her daughter and husband left her with a newly realized taste for the beach and a bloated sunscreen budget. Right alongside these new loves is her old, steadfast affection and longing for bagels and the fast-talking foul mouths of her youth.
She loves Raisinettes, even if they aren't really candy, the Oxford comma, movies that are hilarious or feature zombies, any and all books, but especially romance (the smarter and hotter, the better), the sound of her daughter's incessantly wise and entertaining chatter, and watching her husband work on cars in the driveway.
You can read her blog at www.elizabethreinhardt.blogspot.com, like her on Facebook, or email her at email@example.com.