In the sizzling new novel of Renita Pizzitola’s Crush series, Felicity knows that “Summer Boys” are only good for one thing. But what if hooking up with the right guy could lead to a fresh start?
Like most of the residents of her dead-end beach town, Felicity Daniels doesn’t know what she wants from her future. Instead of college, she’s waiting tables at the local grille where she’s more likely to run into the guy who was the love of her life—until one decision changed everything. Now as this year’s tourist season kicks in to high gear, Felicity realizes that whatever she wants isn’t going to be found here.
Mason Hayes is the quintessential Summer Boy: hot, impulsive, and born without strings attached. While in town helping with the family fishing charter, he plans to have a little fun—and hopefully get over a certain girl. He’s never had a long-term relationship, but when he meets Felicity, he wonders if he’s found the girl who could change that.
With her heart still in repair, Felicity’s happy to have a distraction like Mason, but her best friend thinks he could also be her ticket out of this town. What’s the harm in using him to escape more than just her boredom? After all, he is just a Summer Boy, and they never stick around. But after one kiss, Felicity wonders if only one summer with Mason will ever really be enough.
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The waves crashed against the shoreline beneath the boardwalk. Their melodic pounding drowned out the bells, rattles and cheers from the carnival behind me. There was just something about the ocean that helped calm my nerves, except today it seemed to torture me with its boundless sky and endless water, the epitome of freedom . . . yet my life was contained to this. This nothing that felt like everything. Small town; smaller life.
My sister Hope slipped up beside me, pressing her elbows against the railing, her rounded belly grazing the wooden slats. “Everything okay?” she asked.
I straightened, stretched my hands over my head then tugged my white work tank top back down. “Yeah. Just a little worn out from tonight’s shift. This summer has taken it out of me.”
Of course, it wasn’t really just this summer; it was every day. Every moment. Every single minute spent doing the same freaking thing: Wake up, pull a long shift at Eddie’s, crash, repeat. My skin itched for something new. Something better. I felt like the boats in the harbor, crashing with the waves, fighting to break free, but bound by a single freaking rope. Except my rope was my own fear, but that was all it took. One thing, one person, one commitment. Tied down.
“It’s been a hot one.” Hope rubbed her hand over her stomach. “In a few years, when you have kids, plan for a winter pregnancy.”
A few years? No way. I refused to let my life be headed in that direction. But this town . . . it sucked everything out of you. Well, not everything. I swear, every time I turned around someone else was pregnant. The fertility rate here must be astronomical.
“Felicity?” Hope turned toward me, her expression one of concern.
I forced a smile. “Sorry, I spaced out. I think I need something to eat. I skipped dinner.”
“Food sounds good.”
She licked her lips and I suppressed a laugh. “Yeah, I can grab us something. What are you in the mood for?”
“Um, a corn dog? But hot dogs are bad for you. Maybe some cotton candy? But that’s a lot of sugar.” She bit her lip. “An ice cream cone? That’s good. It’s dairy, right? And protein.”
“Sure. And the cone’s a grain, and if you get strawberry you can add in the fruit.”
Her eyes brightened, then her expression sank. “You’re screwing with me, aren’t you?”
“Of course not.” I grinned. “Okay, I’ll be right back with your corn dog, cotton candy and ice cream.”
“Can you also maybe get a drink? To wash it down.”
I chuckled. “No problem.”
“You’re the best. Love you.”
With a shake of my head, I headed to a nearby food trailer to blow a decent chunk of that night’s tips. Thankfully the line wasn’t too bad, and it didn’t take long to load up and head back to Hope. Juggling way too much food, I navigated through the carnival crowd, careful not to drop anything.
“Hungry?” A guy’s voice called out.
I turned and smiled when I saw my friend Colby walking up. “Hey. It’s not all for me.”
“I was kind of wondering when you started eating non-green food.”
I rolled my eyes then lifted the hand holding sweet potato fries and cotton candy. “These are orange, and I may even eat a bite of pink.”
“Wow. Really branching out.”
I grinned. “So what are you doing here? Past your bedtime, isn’t it?”
“Pretty much.” He took his baseball cap off, scratched his head, then readjusted it, centering the John’s Charter Boats logo perfectly. “Dad had shoulder surgery this week, so I got a few days off. But we’re heading back out come Sunday.”
“That explains why it’s been so quiet these past few mornings.”
He shrugged in a halfhearted apology. “Sorry, but when the sun comes up, we hit the water.”
“You and your fishing.” I smiled. “Okay, well, I’ll see you around. Tell your brothers hi for me.”
Just as I turned to leave, another voice called out, “Hey, T, no love for me?”
Colby’s younger brother, Owen, was the only person to ever call me T, and also happened to be my favorite out of all the Callahan boys.
I turned back around with a little grin. “I’ve got nothing but love for you.” My gaze flicked to the guy walking up alongside him. He fell behind Owen as they maneuvered around the bumper car line then came back into full view.
Whoa. Tall. Blond. And all sorts of hot.
Who was he? Definitely not a local, which got my hopes up that he might be a Summer Boy. And I loved me some Summer Boys. They rolled in for peak season and packed their bags before the days grew shorter. They were perfect for girls who refused to get tied down to this crappy town. Girls like me.
“Then what’s the rush?” Owen, who’d finally made his way to his brother’s side, stared at my full hands then grabbed his chest with a pained look. “Don’t tell me there’s someone else?”
I laughed and shook my head. “It’s for Hope and if I drop it, she’ll have a conniption.”
His shoulders sagged in feigned disappointment but then he quickly rebounded and, with a tilt of his chin, said, “That’s cool. You can make it up to me later.”
Colby groaned, clearly knowing where this conversation was headed . . . the pretend-flirting Owen and I loved, and he hated.
“Leave your window open, and I will,” I said with a wink.
Colby rolled his eyes, while the other guy glanced between us, looking confused or amazed or maybe both.
With a chuckle, Owen said, “My window, my room, my bed . . . they’re all open to you.”
Colby smacked his kid brother upside the head.
Owen winced and rubbed the side of his head. “What the hell? T started it.”
I bit my lip to stop a laugh then offered my most suggestive smile. “But Owen plans to finish it.”
“Seriously, this isn’t funny,” Colby huffed. He shifted his weight, like he always did when he got uncomfortable. And though it might seem like his discomfort resided in the fact I was pretend-flirting with his seventeen-year-old brother, the real source was the fact that he still saw me as his best friend’s girlfriend. But that was long over. And something he seriously needed to move past.
Renita Pizzitola is the author of New Adult contemporary romance and Young Adult fantasy. When not writing, she can be found feeding her caramel macchiato addiction and reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two children.
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