Huntley Fitzpatrick What I Thought Was True

ISBN 13: 9780142423950

What I Thought Was True

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9780142423950: What I Thought Was True

The eagerly anticipated follow-up to My Life Next Door is a magnetic, push-me-pull-me summer romance for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.
17-year-old Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners to her island's summer population. Gwen dreams of getting off the island, and a summer job working for one of the elderly residents might just be her ticket to the good life. But what will it mean for Gwen's now life? Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to come to terms with what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—and figure out what really is.

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About the Author:

Huntley Fitzpatrick has always wanted to be writer, ever since growing up in a small, coastal, Connecticut town much like the Stony Bay of her novels. After college she worked in many fields, including academic publishing and as an editor at Harlequin, so she knows from romance. Huntley is currently a full time writer, wife, and mom to six children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Cass broke the kiss. His eyes were bright sea blue, pupils wide and black. I stared at him, stunned, consciousness slowly returning, which he must have seen in my face because he pulled back.

He cleared his throat. “Stop?”

Shaking my head emphatically was wrong. A mistake. Certainly, so was me flipping up the arm rest and moving closer. Which resulted in Cass pulling me right into his lap.

I took my hands out of his hair (warm at the roots, frost cold at the tips) and reached down. What was I doing? I was doing exactly what Cass was, and my fingers folded on his as he pulled the lever to recline the seat and BOOM I was lying on him and his hands were all over my back, then swirling my hair aside so he could put his open mouth on my neck.

Oh my God. Cass Somers had lightning-fast reflexes and some magic potion coming out of every pore that dissolved self-control, caution, rational thought.

It was all gone and the only thing I could think was that it was the best trade I ever made.

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Nothing like a carful of boys to completely change my mood.

There’s a muffled expletive from inside Castle’s Ice Cream, so I know Dad’s spotted them too. A gang of high school boys tops his list of Least Favorite Customers—they eat a ton, they want it now, and they never tip. Or so he claims.

At first, I barely pay attention. I’m carrying a tray of wobbly root beer floats, foil-wrapped burgers, and a greasy Everest’s worth of fried scallops toward table four out front. In a few weeks, I’ll be in the rhythm of work. Balancing all this and more will be no big deal. But school got out three days ago, Castle’s reopened full-time last week, the sun is dazzling, the early summer air is sticky with salt, and I have only a few more minutes left in my shift. My mind is already at the beach. So I don’t look up to see who just drove in until I hear a couple of whistles. And my name.

I glance back. A convertible is parked, slanted, taking up two spaces. Sure enough, Spence Channing, who was driving, shakes his hair from his eyes and grins at me. Trevor Sharpe and Jimmy Pieretti are piling out, laughing. I whip off my Castle’s hat, with its spiky gold crown, and push it into the pocket of my apron.

“Got a special for us, Gwen?” Spence calls.

“Take a number,” I call back. There’s a predictable chorus of ooo’s from some of the boys. I set the tray down at table four, add soda cans and napkins from my front pockets, give them a speedy, practiced smile, then pause by the table where my brother is waiting for me, dreamily dragging French fries through ketchup.

But then I hear, “Hey, Cass, look who’s here! Ready to serve.” And the last boy in the car, who had been concealed behind Jimmy’s wide torso, climbs out.

His eyes snag on mine.

The seconds unwind, thin, taut, transparent as a fishing line cast far, far, far out.

I jolt up, grab my brother’s hand. “Let’s get home, Em.”

Emory pulls away. “Not done,” he says firmly. “Not done.” I can see his leg muscles tighten into his “I am a rock, I am an island” stance. His hands flick back and forth, wiping my urgency away.

This is my cue to take a breath, step back. Hurrying Em, pushing him, tends to end in disaster. Instead, I’m grabbing his ketchup-wilted paper plate, untying my apron, calling to Dad, “Gotta get home, can we do this take-out?”

“Not done,” Emory repeats, yanking his hand from mine. “Gwennie, no.”

“Gettin’ slammed,” Dad calls out the service window, over the sizzle of the grill. “Wrap it yourself, pal.” He tosses a few pieces of foil through the window, adding several packets of ketchup, Emory’s favorite.

“Still eating.” Emory sits firmly back down at the picnic table.

“We’ll watch a movie,” I tell him, wrapping his food. “Ice cream.”

Dad glances sharply out the take-out window. He may be brusque with Em from time to time, but he doesn’t like it when I am.

“Ice cream here.” My brother points at the large painting of a double-decker cone adorning one of the fake turrets. Yes, Castle’s is built to look like a castle.

I pull him to the truck anyway and don’t look back, not even when I hear a voice call, “Hey, Gwen. Have a sec?”

I turn the key in Mom’s battered Bronco, pressing hard on the gas. The engine revs deafeningly. But not loud enough to drown out another voice, laughing, “She has lots of secs! As we know.”

Dad, thank God, has ducked away from the service window and is bent over the grill. Maybe he didn’t hear any of that.

I gun the car again; jerk forward, only to find the wheels spinning, caught in the deeper sand of the parking lot. At last the truck lurches, kicks into a fast reverse. I squeal out onto the blazing blacktop of Ocean Lane, grateful the road is empty.

Two miles down, I pull over to the side, fold my arms to the top of the steering wheel, rest my forehead on them, take deep breaths. Emory ducks his head to peep at me, brown eyes searching, then resignedly opens the foil and continues eating his limp, ketchup-soggy fries.

In another year, I’ll graduate. I can go someplace else. I can leave those boys—this whole past year—far behind in the rearview mirror.

I pull in another deep breath.

We’re close to the water now, and the breeze spills over me soft and briny, secure and familiar. This is why everyone comes here. For the air, for the beaches, for the peace.

Somehow I’ve wedged the car right in front of the big white-and-green painted sign that marks the official separation between town and island, where the bridge from Stony Bay stops and Seashell Island begins. The sign’s been here as long as I can remember and the paint has flaked off its loopy cursive writing in most places, but the promises are grooved deep.

Heaven by the water.

Best-kept little secret in New England.

Tiny hidden jewel cradled by the rocky Connecticut coast.

Seashell Island, where I’ve lived all my life, is called all those things and more.

And all I want to do is leave it behind.

“Kryptite the only thing,” Emory tells me, very seriously, the next afternoon. He shakes his dark hair—arrow straight like Dad’s—out of his eyes. “The only, only thing can stop him.”

“Kryptonite,” I say. “That’s right. Yup, otherwise, he’s unstoppable.”

“Not much Kryptite here,” he assures me. “So all okay.”

He resumes drawing, bearing down hard on his red Magic Marker. He’s sprawled on his stomach on the floor, comic book laid out next to his pad. The summer light slants through our kitchen/living room window, brightening the paper as he scribbles color onto his hero’s cape. I’m lying on the couch in a drowsy haze after taking Em into White Bay for speech class earlier.

“Good job,” I say, gesturing to his pad. “I like the shooting stars in the background.”

Emory tilts his chin at me, forehead crinkling, so I suspect they aren’t stars. But he doesn’t correct me, just keeps on drawing.

An entire day after running into the boys at Castle’s, I’m still wanting a do-over. Why did I let them get to me this time? I should have laughed; flipped them off. Not very classy, but I’m not supposed to be the classy one here. I should have said, “Well, Spence, we all know that with you, it wouldn’t take more than a sec.”

But I couldn’t have said that. Not with Cassidy Somers there. The other boys don’t matter much. But Cass . . .

Kryptonite.

An hour or so later, our rattly screen door snaps open and in comes Mom, her dark curly hair frizzing from the heat the way mine always does. She’s followed wearily by Fabio, our ancient, half-blind Labrador mix. He immediately keels over on his side, tongue lolling out. Mom hurries to push his bowl of water closer to him with one foot while reaching into our refrigerator for a Diet Coke.

“Did you think about it some more, honey?” she asks me, after taking a long swallow. Caffeinated diet soda, not blood, must run through her veins.

I spring up, and the old orange-and-burgundy plaid sofa lets out an agonized groan. Right, I should be making decisions about what to do this summer, not obsessing about the ones I made yesterday—or in March.

“Careful!” Mom calls, waving her free hand at the couch. “Respect the Myrtle.”

Emory, now scribbling in Superman’s dark hair, heavy-handed on the black marker, offers his throaty giggle at the face I make.

“Mom. We got Myrtle from Bert and Earl's Bargain Basement. Myrtle has three legs and no working springs. Getting off Myrtle makes me feel like I need a forklift. Respect. Really?”

“Everything deserves respect,” Mom says mildly, plopping onto Myrtle with a sigh. After a second, she crinkles her nose and reaches under the cushion, extracting one of my cousin Nic’s ratty, nasty sweatshirts. A banana peel. One of her own battered romance novels. “Myrtle has lived a long, hard life in a short time.” She swats me with the gross sweatshirt, smiling. “So? What do you think—about Mrs. Ellington?”

Helping Mrs. Ellington. The possible summer job Mom heard about this morning, meaning I wouldn’t have to keep working at Dad’s again. Which I’ve faithfully done every year since I was twelve. Illegal for anyone else, but allowed for Nic and me, since we’re family. After five years, for sure, I could use a change from scooping sherbet, frying clams, and slapping together grilled cheese sandwiches. More than that . . . if I’m not handling Dad’s at night, I can help Vivien on catering gigs.

“Is it for the whole summer?” I plop down, stretch back gingerly. If you hit her the wrong way, Myrtle lists like the Titanic before its final dive.

Mom unlaces the shabby sneakers she wears to work, kicks one off, stretching out her toes with a groan. She has daisies delicately painted on her big-toenails, no doubt the work of Vivien, the Picasso of pedicures. On cue, Emory leaves the room in search of her slippers. He would have gotten her the Coke if she hadn’t beaten him to it.

“Through August,” she confirms, after another long draw of soda. “She fell off a ladder last week, twisted her ankle, got a concussion. It’s not a nursing job,” she assures me hastily. “They’ve got someone coming in nights for that. Henry. . . . the family . . . just wants to make sure someone’s looking out for her—that she’s getting exercise, eating—not wandering off to the beach by herself. She’s nearly ninety.” Mom shakes her head as if she can’t believe it.

Me neither. Mrs. Ellington always seemed timeless to me, like a character from one of those old books Grandpa brings home from yard sales, with her crisp New England accent, straight back, strong opinions. I remember her snapping back to some summer person who asked “What’s wrong with him?” about Em: “Not as much as is wrong with you.” When Nic and I used to go along with Mom on jobs, back when we were little, Mrs. E. gave us frosted sugar cookies and homemade lemonade, and let us sway in the hammock on her porch while Mom marched around the house with her vacuum cleaner and mop.

But . . . it would be an island job. A working-for-the-summer-people job. And I’ve promised myself I won’t do that.

Rubbing her eyes with thumb and forefinger, Mom polishes off her soda and plunks the can down with a tinny clink. More tendrils of hair snake out of her ponytail, clinging in little coils to her damp, flushed cheeks.

“What would the hours be, again?” I ask.

“That’s the best part! Nine to four. You’d get her breakfast, fix lunch—she naps in the afternoon, so you’d have time free. Her son wants someone to start on Monday. It’s three times what your dad can pay. For a lot less work. A good deal, Gwen.”

She lays out this trump card cautiously, sliding the “you need to do this” carefully underneath the “you want to do this.” Whatever Nic and I can pull in during the summer helps during the Seashell dead zone, the long, slow months when most of the houses close up for the season—when Mom has fewer regulars, Dad shuts down Castle’s and does odd jobs until spring, and Em’s bills keep coming.

“What about her own family?” I ask.

Mom hitches a shoulder, up, down, casual. “According to Henry, they won’t be there. He does something on Wall Street, is super-busy. The boys are grown now—Henry says they don’t want to spend their whole summer on a sleepy island with their grandma the way they did when they were younger.”

I make a face. I may have my own thoughts about how small and quiet Seashell can be, but I live here. I’m allowed. “Not even to help their own grandmother?”

“Who knows what goes on in families, hon. Other people’s stories.”

Are their own.

I know this by heart.

Emory bounces back into the room with Mom’s fuzzy slippers—a matted furry green one and a red, both for the left foot. Reaching out for Mom’s leg, he pulls off the remaining sneaker, rubs her instep.

“Thanks, bunny rabbit,” Mom says as he carefully positions one slipper, repeating the routine on the other foot. “What do you say, Gwen?” Mom leans into me, nudging my knee with hers.

“I’d have afternoons and nights free—every night?” I ask, as though this is some key point. As if I have a hoppin’ social life and a devoted boyfriend.

“Every night,” Mom assures me, kindly not asking “What’s it matter, Gwen?”

Every night free. Guaranteed. Working for Dad, I usually wind up covering the shifts no one else wants—Fridays and Saturdays till closing. With all that time open, I can have a real summer, do the beach bonfires and the cookouts. Hang out with Vivie and Nic, swim down at the creek as the sun sets, the most beautiful time there. No school, no tutoring to do, no waking up at 4:30 to time for the swim team, none of those boys . . . Running into them yesterday at Castle’s was . . . yuck. Out at Mrs. E.’s, the farthest house on Seashell, I’d never have to see them.

I can practically smell my freedom—salty breezes, green sun-warm sea-grass, hot fresh breezes blowing over the wet rocks, waves splashing, white foam against the dark curl of water.

“I’ll do it.”

It’s an island job. But only for one summer. For one family. It’s not what Mom did, starting to clean houses with my Vovó, her mother, the year she turned fifteen to make money for college, still cleaning them (no college) all this time later. It’s not what Dad did either, taking over the family business at eighteen because his father had a heart attack at the grill.

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Huntley Fitzpatrick
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ISBN 10: 0142423955 ISBN 13: 9780142423950
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Descrizione libro Penguin Books Australia, Australia, 2015. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Gwen Castle s Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her idyllic island this summer. He s a rich kid from across the bay, and she s from a long line of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island s summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate, too, but just when it looks like she ll never escape her past - or the island - Gwen s dad makes a surprising recommendation. Sparks fly and secret histories unravel as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to come to terms with what she thought was true-about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself. Codice libro della libreria AA99780142423950

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Descrizione libro Penguin Books Australia, Australia, 2015. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Gwen Castle s Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her idyllic island this summer. He s a rich kid from across the bay, and she s from a long line of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island s summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate, too, but just when it looks like she ll never escape her past - or the island - Gwen s dad makes a surprising recommendation. Sparks fly and secret histories unravel as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to come to terms with what she thought was true-about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself. Codice libro della libreria AA99780142423950

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