Blake Weathering, the first in his family to attend public school, has developed a tough image. Unfortunately, it lands him in trouble. Now banned from his high school graduation ceremony, getting his diploma is dependent upon a community-service gig cleaning up fish crap. No diploma, no trust fund fortune—and no way to escape his overbearing father. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a mysterious girl with teal eyes who pulls at his heartstrings.
When Blake discovers Meena’s secret, they are both thrown into a desperate search for information about her past. Two worlds pull them in opposite directions, and they will have to fight to hold on to all that really matters.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I barely stopped in time to keep from bowling the guy over. I grabbed the handle of the shovel and yanked. He held on, his blue eyes raked over my body, and a sneer pulled at his mouth. Something in me screamed to hurt him, to make him leave, but instead I pulled with all my strength and wrestled the shovel away from him. I pulled so hard that I would have landed on my butt if Blake hadn’t caught my shoulder. Again, that warm feeling ran over my skin, but I didn’t have time to wonder about it.
“The stupid shit kept spitting water at me.” The worker leaned forward as if asking for trouble. I recognized him from the first day of orientation—Devin, I think.
“So you throw sand at it? And rocks? It’s a sea lion! Of course it spit water at you, you idiot!” I looked back at the animals to see them swimming happily in the lagoon water. “Why didn’t you just move out of their range?”
“It should have listened when I told it to stop.” Devin leaned back against the rope railing and crossed his arms over his chest. My entire body vibrated with disgust. There was this foul smell of something dead rotting in the sun and I could swear it was coming from him.
“It’s a sea lion. You were near its enclosure, doing something it didn’t understand.” My hands squeezed the handle so hard I could feel the wood digging into my skin. “Get out of here.”
“I can’t get out of here. The court says I have to stay.” Devin smirked. “You’re awfully upset about that stupid sea lion. Maybe if you spent time around real people, you wouldn’t care about animals so much. Or maybe you just prefer animals?” His eyebrows pulled up at his nasty innuendo.
“Go help the others lay pavers.” My jaw was clenched so tight I could barely get the words out. “Just get the hell out of my sight.”
“Sure, Meen-ah.” He drew my name out like it was an insult. “Whatever you say. Fish lover.” He mumbled the last word under his breath, but I heard it anyway.
“What’s wrong with you, man?” Blake stepped in front of me, the muscles in his back taut. “Stop being an ass and just do what you have to.”
“Watch yourself, Weathering.” Devin stood away from the fence, his chest puffed up. “I don’t take orders from you. You aren’t the only one with a rich daddy.”
“No. You take orders from her and her parents.” The amused look that had been on Blake’s face earlier had completely disappeared. Instead, he was wearing the aloof, irritated look I had seen the first day.
“And what? You’re going to be her enforcer?” Devin laughed. The sound was like razors along my skin. “You’re the safe guy. The one her daddy doesn’t care if she’s around. We heard him talking. You’re a joke.”
Blake moved before I could register that anything had happened. Devin stepped back, but Blake was right on him, sending the other guy to the ground with a hard shove. Devin fell back into the sand before scrambling to his feet.
Leaning close, Blake looked Devin in the eyes, his fists at his sides. “You’re here because you couldn’t get some girl to sleep with you, so you beat her up. I’m here because I put the captain of the soccer team in the hospital. Right now, you’re next on my list.” There was a low growl in his words that made my heartbeat pick up. “Get out of here before I decide to do more than throw rocks at your head.”
Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal, The Accidental Assassin, Flukes, The Dark Betrayal Trilogy, and several short stories.
Nichole lives in Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats. When not writing, you may find her reading, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5074162.Nichole_Chase
FLUKES Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21686601-flukes