When 22-year-old Summer Stafford’s parents split halfway through her senior year at college, Summer’s world is rocked. Everything she thought she knew—heck, everything she thought she wanted for her own life—feels like a lie. The truth is love is a risk. And the true kind, the kind that lasts, might even be a fairy tale.
Reeling from the divorce, Summer derails her own future by breaking up with her parent-approved boyfriend and giving up her lifelong plans for a big-city career. She moves back home, business degree in hand. Dad needs her to fill the gaps her mother left behind; Summer needs to find who she is outside of the cookie-cutter life that failed so miserably for her parents.
Ford O’Neal’s future involves one person: himself. He doesn’t have a permanent address and he definitely doesn’t commit. To a place or a person. Raised by hippies, he plans just far enough ahead to secure his next stop, this one landing him at a work-study program at Heritage Plantation where he can grow his own herbal and medicinal creations.
Summer is gorgeous and smart and fun to be with, the perfect way to pass five months. It won’t be love—Ford’s got too many things to accomplish, too many places to go, before he settles down. Yet Summer pulls him in, challenging him to rethink his own philosophy.
When Ford’s five months are up, each of them must decide if love is really worth the risk.
Now I understood why grown men wrote poetry and serenaded outside windows. Summer Stafford’s mouth was fucking inspiring. No matter what she said next, there was no way I wasn’t doing that again. Whatever argument or “this is the sensible thing to do” speech she tried to give me, I would change her mind. I had just over four months left to do it. I planned on kissing her for the majority of that time.
And a dirt bike ride? Genius. Casey definitely had his moments. I thought steam was going to shoot out of Summer’s ears when he told her to ride with me. And then again when he disappeared into the woods. But she’d rolled with it. She seemed genuinely torn between wanting to be friends—or whatever this led to—and wanting to run home and hide. Now that Casey had filled me in, I understood why. That didn’t make it any less of a challenge or a thrill when she gave in, put reason aside, and did what she felt. People needed to pursue passion and happiness more instead of settling for whatever life picture they’re taught to want. If nothing else, maybe I could teach her to let go a little.
Four months wasn’t much time for anything else. Not that anything else was on the menu. Friendship, affection, passion, those were all things I enjoyed pursuing. Love? That wasn’t in the cards. Not for me, not yet. Love clouded a future, blocked you from fulfilling your dreams in order to be there for the other person. That wasn’t what I wanted. Didn’t mean I intended to miss out on the first three. No matter how short lived.
Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. She now lives in coastal VA, a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, with her two adorable children. She works from home, part time, as a property manager and when she's not furiously pounding at the keyboard, or staring off into space whilst plotting a new story, she's lying on the beach, soaking in those delicious, pre-cancerous rays.
Heather loves Mexican food, hates socks with sandals, and if her house was on fire, the one thing she'd grab is her DVR player.
Heather is a co-founder of Accendo Press, a publishing group she operates with fellow authors: Angeline Kace and Jennifer Sommersby. Accendo (a-CH-endo), A Latin word, means “to kindle, illuminate, inflame, or set fire.” This is something Accendo strives to do inside a reader’s imagination with every title released. For a complete list of titles and author bios, visit www.accendopress.com.
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