Title: DENALI SUMMER
Genre: Contemporary YA
Word Count: 71,000
My MC & MP are dressed as:
My MC & MP are dressed as:
Mama always made us girls coordinate for Halloween. Let my brothers do what they wanted—of course she did. But from my very first Halloween, three-month-old me is stuffed into an ETBU cheerleader onesie that matched the two-piece versions donned by the twins and Darlene. Mama, after six babies, wasn’t about to wear the same get-up, but she did sport an ETBU track suit and carried a megaphone to act like our coach. Not a stretch for Mama. Not one bit.
Accepting a promise ring doesn’t feel like freedom.
But there it is, in front of her face on the eve of high school graduation. While Dawn freaks out on the inside, she goes through the motions on the outside. She and Chris have been together almost three years. Her family–Mama, Daddy and all five of her brothers and sisters–expect them to be together forever, and Dawn’s never gone against expectations.
Mama picked her college, and her boyfriend’s picking her life, so Dawn concocts a plan to pick her own summer—dumping Texas for a hotel job near Denali National Park. But Alaska is more than she bargained for. On her first solo hike she’s cornered by an imposing moose. One co-worker, a bellboy, pushes her too far during their night sharing a tent. Meanwhile there’s a sexy cook from Dallas who friend-zones her even though she’s conflicted about wanting more.
Mama and Daddy arrive late-summer with her boyfriend and siblings in tow, pushing for Dawn to come on home, claiming she’s needed to help with her oldest brother’s shotgun wedding. But the wild beauty of Alaska has stolen her heart and she’s not letting go of her chance to make her own choices. Dawn has to find the courage to stand up to her family and boyfriend and finish out her Denali summer or risk going back to small-town Texas, following everyone else’s plan for her life.
If I burp pizza stink in Chris’s face when he tries to kiss me goodnight that’s what he gets. Graduation Eve was meant to be girls only—catch-up time with my sisters who are all spending the night at home before my big day. But Chris wanted to give me my graduation present and no, it couldn’t wait, and fine. Except he’s been at my house through two movies and four boxes of pizza, and he’s still working up the nerve to give me whatever-it-is. Obviously it’s a bigger deal than the Keurig I said I wanted for my dorm. Almost three years together, and he’s first-date shy. It’s not like him, and I’m part loving it and part wishing he’d hurry the hell up.
When we step onto the front porch, he doesn’t run to his car for a big ‘ol box but scoots his hand into his jeans pocket and pulls out a ring. He pinches it between thumb and pointer finger, holding it up between our faces. How, when I’d said “coffee maker,” had he heard “gold ring”?
Chris grins like a puppy about to pounce on his favorite toy. I inch back a step.
“I couldn’t do this before with everybody around, but I’ve been itching to get this ring on your finger all night.” Chris pulls my left hand toward his chest. “You know I see us together forever—”
And it hits me. This isn’t just a ring. This is a promise ring.