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Excerpt from Chapter 5. "Trust Me". Rowena has just encountered the mysterious Patrick Carroll in the park, and he has offered to take her to the beach... Hallie is Ro's best friend back home in America.


I followed Patrick down the twisty path. “How’s the Roach Hotel?” I asked. I lengthened my stride so I could walk beside him, and almost ran into a big old shrub that was almost blocking the trail. I couldn’t avoid it without bumping Patrick, and chicks that bump guys are, like, so obvious.  I pushed my way through the springy branches.


I smelled a sweet, peppery scent from the yellow flowers on the shrub, and then I smelled the clean, salt breath of the ocean.


There was loose sand under my feet. It sifted into my flip-flops, and I heard the schuff-schuff sound of it as I walked.

                        “What do you think?” asked Patrick.

He was standing a little way off. There was a strong breeze molding the white tee shirt against his body, and the racing cloud shadows were playing peekaboo across his face.


Hunk alert, said Hallie’s voice in my head.


Don’t be dumb, I said back. Hunks don’t wear plain white tees.


So? Why are you grabbing an eyeful?


I peeled my eyes off of Patrick. Then I noticed something.


“You jerk! You did it to me again!” If he’d been closer I would have popped him one on the chin.


“Did what, Rowena?”  Patrick gave me double-barreled baby-blues, but I didn’t buy that puppy-dog look this time. I know about puppy dogs. Puppy dogs chew your Nikes and spit out the eyelets.


“As if you didn’t know! You’ve brought me to—to—” I frowned. “Somewhere else,” I said. It sounded lame, but what else was I going to say?


“I said we were going to the beach,” said Patrick.


 “This is not Bondi!”


“Forty miles of white sand to ourselves. How’s that a bad thing, Rowena?”




But--You don’t find gorgeous beaches like this with no one on them!


But—You don’t find places like this a few steps from the city!


But—This isn’t happening! It can’t be true!


My heart stopped trying to climb out my mouth and settled where it belonged. I knew this wasn’t possible.


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