For Emily, going to camp, the summer before college starts, means leaving her feuding parents alone for the next eight weeks, and coming back to divorce papers is a risk she can’t take.
But no matter how many meddling phone calls, questionable hair decisions, and possibly illegal hookups she plans, her parents still march her off to Camp Champ totally against her will.
No matter. A few broken rules, and Em will be home free. That is, until she learns Tyler Ford, her baseball coach father’s star player and her drunken party hookup, is at camp, too.
For Tyler, summer is the onramp to the biggest decision of his life: med school or major leagues. Mega hot, possibly underage Emily? A complication he does not need.
But as the summer heats up with strikeouts and stolen bases will Tyler and Emily hit a home run and get what they’re after? Or will they both be thrown a curveball…in the game of love?
Tyler’s question catches me off guard, since getting in trouble on purpose is all I’ve been trying to do since I arrived at camp, but right now, that’s not why I’m here. Unless giving Tyler hell can get me in trouble.
“Well?” Tyler asks. His breath, minty and cool, rushes over my face, reminding me just how close we are. “If you’re not here to see Todd, then what are you doing here?” His jaw is tense and flexes as he stares at me.
I bite my lip, unsure how to answer now that I’m here and we’re standing so close I can feel the soft fabric of his Henley brush against my slightly sunburned skin.
Tired of all the games we’re playing, I drop my eyes to the ground and fidget with the frayed hem of my jean shorts. “I…I came to see you,” I admit, trying to keep an edge of anger in my voice, but it comes out sounding exactly the way I feel. Vulnerable.
“Why?” he whispers, angling his head so our foreheads almost touch, the space between us so small I worry he can hear my heart thudding in my chest.
I swallow hard. Why am I here?
My mind races with the excuses I used to justify stomping over here—but with his body so close, and his eyes so intense—flirting with Jenny right in front of my face, or teasing me on the dock, or his antics on the field when I could have sworn he was about to kiss me, all seem irrelevant. The truth is—I wanted to see him.
“I came to…uh…wait—” I know why I stomped over here to see him, mad, and jealous, and determined to stop this game we keep playing, but why is he so mad? Because I’m breaking the rules? Or is it because of something else?
Putting a hand on my hip, I pull away so I can see his face, hoping I’ll find an answer there. “Why do you care if I was here to see Todd or not?”
Tyler blinks like the question has thrown him off guard. He steps backwards and rakes his hands through his hair, taking with him the heat from his body, and sending a chill up my arm in its absence. “You should go, Emily.” The intensity in his stare at war with his words.
“Why?” I take a step towards him, wanting to feel his body close to mine again, wishing he’d tell me to stay.
“Emily.” It’s a plea.
I press again. “Tell me? Why would you care if I was here to see Todd?”
Tyler drops his hands to his sides, sucks in a deep breath, and then lets it out in one quick push of air. “Because the idea of him kissing you, or touching you, or even being near you infuriates me,” he says so deep, and quiet, it comes out more like a growl.
My breath catches as I stare into his eyes—and unlike today on the field—this time he doesn’t hesitate.
Marta Brown grew up in the Pacific Northwest and was a teenager when Doc Martens, Pearl Jam and flannel were the norm and Dylan loved Kelly forever. (Beverly Hills 90210 shout out)
She still lives just outside Seattle, now with her husband and cat, and loves the rain.
When she’s not writing about cute boys, first kisses and the magic and wonder of being seventeen, she’s watching The CW. And she sleeps in. Late.