“Good afternoon and welcome to the Field House Grille. May I start you two off with drinks or an appetizer today?” The waiter’s voice startles me out of my conspiracy theories, and I resume perusing my menu.
“Yes, I’ll have a long island ice tea and a white wine spritzer for the lady.” Gregory orders with confidence. He’s only a year shy of the legal drinking age so he may pass as old enough to get served, but it’s obvious I’m not old enough to drink yet. “And then we’ll have an order of the calamari to start and for our entrees she’ll have the sea bass, and I’ll have the filet.” He shuts his menu and hands it back to the waiter with bravado.
“I’ll actually have a bottle of San Pellegrino please,” I say, staring at my menu, trying to avoid the embarrassment of being carded and then denied, or worse, my parents finding out I tried to order an alcoholic drink, at the club no less. “And what salad would you recommend?” I start to ask, but the words get caught in my throat when I finally look up and see the waiter.
He. Is. Gorgeous.
“Well…our house mixed salad is very popular. It’s locally grown organic and is fresh picked daily. It comes with a light raspberry vinaigrette dressing that can be tossed on or left on the side,” he says, holding my gaze.
“Oh. Yes. That sounds… yummy.” The words come out all breathy, and I’m immediately humiliated at the way I must have sounded.
Yummy. Breathy. Seriously, Ashley?
“Then on the side, miss?” the waiter asks, a faint smile playing on his lips.
“Yes, thank you,” I say, feeling my face flush with warmth.
Apparently Gregory Chase isn’t the only boy in town who can make a girl blush, and by the daggers Gregory’s shooting the poor guy with his eyes, he knows it too.
Gregory clears his throat and pulls the attention of the waiter back on him. “Fine. We’ll have one house salad with dressing on the side and an order of calamari to start.” Then with a dismissive flick of his hand, “Now, go fetch our drinks.”
Go fetch our drinks? Is he serious? How can he think it’s okay to speak to someone that way? But before I can say anything the cute waiter lets out an amused laugh that surprises me.
“I’m sorry sir, but I’m gonna have to see an ID first.” The waiter looks not at all sorry to ask, which makes me have to hide a smile.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Gregory starts. “I left it in the men’s locker room,” he explains, but his confidence is shaken. No one ever challenges Gregory.
“I’m sorry sir, but without a valid ID I’m not gonna be able to serve you, but I’ll be happy to wait here while you go and get it.” The waiter gives Greg a fake smile and then me a real one. He clearly is enjoying himself.
It’s evident Greg’s not going to get his way, so he finally concedes, but without an ounce of grace. “How about you take your eyes off my date, and go do your job.” He levels the waiter with his eyes. “And just bring me a damn coke while you’re at it.”
“Will do, sir,” the waiter says with artificial politeness, giving Gregory an almost imperceptible bow before turning around and leaving.
This time, I’m the one who gets caught watching one of the waitstaff walk away.
“Dude, I just busted some richie-rich for trying to order drinks underage, and he had the nerve to yell at me for looking at his date. Too bad for him, she was looking right back,” I say with a cocky laugh before giving Mario a high five. “Man, it’s the jerks like that, that always get everything in life—the money, the power, the girl. Probably has some big fat trust fund to pay for college too.”
“Sorry, man, but try not to let him get under your skin, amigo.”
I know Mario’s right, I should just let it go, but I’m sick and tired of Stays treating us locals like we’re nothing. And who the hell tells someone to ‘go fetch’? What am I? A dog? What an ass.
I drum my fingers against the metal counter at the pass until Mario rings the service bell with a grin and hands me their starters.
“Here, orders up and good luck.”
I give him a nod then try to shove my jealousy and anger down when I enter the dining room again, but I feel it hovering right on the surface. I take a deep breath before setting the calamari in the center of the table and the salad in front of the girl.
“Is there anything else I can get you right now?” I ask, and it’s hard to keep my eyes off of her long dark hair, her light green eyes and her legs that go on for miles. Maybe that douche had a point.
“No, I’m fine. Thank you,” she says politely, and I wonder why she’s on a date with such an ass-hat. Either way, girls like her don’t date boys like me. Unless they’re trying to piss off their parents, which is fine by me, but she doesn’t look like the rebellious type.
I turn to face him, lifting my eyebrows. “And you?” I ask because it’s my job.
“Yes, there is something you can do for me, how about you explain why my silverware is off of the floor.” He holds up his dinner fork, but I don’t understand what he’s talking about. Off the floor?
“Excuse me?” I reach for the fork to examine it. I personally set this table less than an hour ago, and the silverware hadn’t touched the ground. Why would it? But right before I’m able to take the fork from him for a closer look he opens his thumb and pointer finger letting the fork fall to the hardwood floor with a loud ping that echoes through the dining room.
“See.” He looks me right in the eyes, a smirk plastered across his smug face, challenging me.
You have got to be kidding me. This guy picked the wrong day.
I calmly pick the fork up off the ground, bring it to my mouth and spit on the tongs before lifting my apron and polishing it until it’s dry and shining. So much for not letting him get under my skin.
“My apologies, sir.” I place the fork back on the table in front of him like I’d accidentally brought out the wrong appetizer instead of spitting all over the dude’s silverware. “If there’s anything else I can do for you please let me know, otherwise your entrees will be out shortly.”
I watch his eyes go wide with shock before walking away looking cool, calm, and collected, even though on the inside I’m totally freaking out. This is not going to end well.
by Marta Brown
Release Date: 05/28/13
Summary from Goodreads:
On the picturesque island of Martha's Vineyard, there are two kinds of residents. Locals and Stays.
Local boy, Lane McCarthy, plans on spending his summer working at the country club to save money for college in the fall, while summer stay, Ashley Whitmore, and her elite group of friends are only there to play.
As the summer heat goes up on the island, so does the ante, when both Lane and Ashley must decide what they’re willing to wager in order to follow their dreams… and their hearts.
With stakes as high as the surf, and hopes as high as the midday sun, will they risk everything and go all in?
Barnes And Nobles:
His head is down as he crosses the private section of the beach, staying close to the water’s edge but avoiding the moving tide.
“Lane,” I call out over the noise of the party and the waves, but he doesn’t seem to hear me, so I call his name again, this time louder. “Hey, Lane.” He glances up and scans the party, squinting before finally seeing me. A smile flashes across his face. I smile back as I approach him, my flip flops kicking up sand behind me.
“Hi,” I say. My drink, mostly untouched, sloshes and spills over the lip of the cup when I stop in front of him.
“Looks like you’re having fun.” He nods at my drink and then up at the party.
“I actually just got here. I’m glad you came.” I feel my cheeks heat up, and I’m relieved it’s dark enough that he can’t see. “I think Andrew’s around here somewhere.” I look over my shoulder to point Lane in the right direction.
“Ah, no thanks. I think I’ll steer clear of your kind of parties,” he says, shoving his hands in the pockets of his cargo shorts.
“What do you mean my kind of parties?”
“Nothing, never mind.” He kicks at the sand and looks uncomfortable.
“Oh no.” I cover my mouth with my hand. “Did you get in trouble last night when the cops showed up?”
“Yeah, thanks to your boyfriend,” he says with a sneer that makes me take a step back.
“I’m not sure what his deal is, but he’s a serious dick.” Lane’s jaw is tight, and there’s not a hint of joking in his tone.
“Gregory?” I ask wide eyed. Why would he think Gregory is my boyfriend? I have a flash of Greg and I at lunch together looking very much like a couple and then again at the bluffs when he gave me his coat, something a boyfriend would do. Oh.
“He is definitely not my boyfriend,” I say seriously. “He’s my ex, if you can even call it that. We dated for like a second, but it was never very serious.” Why am I telling him all this? Stop rambling, Ashley. I dig my toes into the sand. “But you’re right about one thing. He is a dick.” I give Lane a playful grin and watch the light from the bonfire bounce off his features as his jaw loosens and a tentative smile spreads across his face.
From a distance, I hear Gregory’s voice, and when I glance over my shoulder, he’s stumbling our direction, obviously drunk and completely uninvited.
“Speak of the devil.” I roll my eyes and that makes Lane smile bigger.
“The rest of the staff is over there,” Gregory slurs, pointing to the tent where the cater waiters are busy putting out more hors d'oeuvres. Lane ignores his snide remark, never taking his eyes off of me.
“It was nice seeing you again, but I gotta go,” Lane says, and I’m immediately disappointed that he’s leaving.
“Are you sure?” I look down at my feet and try to garner enough nerve to ask him not to go. “Stay,” I say so softly it comes out as more of a whisper when I look back up at him.
He peers over his shoulder across the small peninsula to the lighthouse then back at me. “I’m sorry, I can’t…I…I have to work.” He looks genuinely disappointed, and I wonder if he knows I am too. “But hopefully I’ll see you around, okay?” He gives me a smile that makes my knees go weak before taking off down the beach. In the faint light coming off of the fire, I see him glance back at me before he cuts across the sandy peninsula and disappears into the shadows of tall sea grass.
He’s not her boyfriend.
I shake my head to clear my mind before I steal one last glance over my shoulder at her as I walk away, but it’s on a loop, and it’s all I can think. He’s not her boyfriend.
I shake my head again, this time to snap myself out of it. There’s no way a girl like that would go for a guy like me anyway. Would she? I shut my eyes and replay the way she looked at me through her long dark lashes, softly asking me to stay, causing my stomach to knot.
“He’s not her boyfriend,” I say out loud at the door of the lighthouse. I pull my keys from my pocket as the sounds of the party float through the otherwise quiet night, and I feel a stupid grin spread across my face despite the rude remarks I just got from that ass-hat Gregory. Seriously, when will the ‘help’ jokes get old?
“Let go. You’re hurting me,” a girl yelps from down the beach. I spin around and from the light coming off the bonfire I can see Gregory’s hand is wrapped around Ashley’s arm, and she’s wincing in pain.
Without a thought, I drop my keys to the ground and take off running, reaching them in seconds. “Let her go,” I yell. My fists ball tight, ready to make him if I have to.
“Mind your own business, loser,” Gregory snarls back as he jerks Ashley by the arm eliciting another cry.
“Lane,” Ashley says, struggling against his grip, fear on her face.
I lunge forward and grab Gregory’s arm, yanking him away from her with a force that surprises even me. “I said Let. Her. Go.”
Ashley falls to the ground when Gregory releases his hold, rubbing her arm in pain. I kneel down and brush the hair from her face, searching for any other signs of injury as adrenaline pounds in my veins.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. I promise,” she says, our eyes locked with one another. “Thank you.”
“Come to save the damsel in distress,” Gregory says in a patronizing tone, looking down his nose at me. Convinced Ashley’s alright; I jump up and face him. He’s poised and ready for a fight, and that makes two of us. “You do know the peasant doesn’t get the girl, right? The prince does.”
I can’t stop the laugh that comes out of me. “Are you serious right now?” Who does this guy think he is? “Dude, when a girl’s screaming to be let go, it’s a pretty good indicator that she doesn’t want you, prince or not.”
I hear a light snickering from behind me before I see that a small crowd has gathered around and is watching us intently. I’m surprised they haven’t all started chanting ‘fight’ by the way they look on like we’re simply the entertainment for the evening.
“You know what? She can slum it all she wants with you. She’s nothing but an uptight frigid tease anyway. Good luck getting into her pants,” Gregory says, wearing an arrogant smirk, his arms crossed leisurely across his chest like he’s just landed a fatal blow.
My vision goes red. He’s about to find out exactly how a real blow feels. To the face.
About the Author:
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.
1 signed copy of All In (open US only) and 10 e-books copies of All In (open internationally)