Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Shades of Pink Teaser - The Pink Ribbon by Sarah Daltry

Every day until the end of September, I will post here the blurb for one of the stories from the Shades of Pink charity anthology, as well as a teaser, and a short bio for the author. The anthology will be available on October 1st, with all proceeds going to breast cancer research but you can donate today and get it 5 days early! I invite you to come back, share the links for these teasers, tell your friends about it... It's all for a good cause! And if you tweet about it, you can use the hashtag #shadesofpink :)
Today, a glimpse from The Pink Ribbon by Sarah Daltry

"The Pink Ribbon" is short and sweet romance about the moments that we remember—and the joy of second chances. Cam and Jessica meet as teens one summer night on vacation. Twenty years separates them, but is there hope that the spark was never extinguished?

There is nothing worse than flying across the country to spend three weeks in a tiny ass beach town with your family. Especially when your family includes your parents, who pretty much hate each other, and your older sister, who is too depressed about being away from her boyfriend during their last summer before college to be of any use to you. It takes a world record of six days before everyone decides it’s just easier to spend the rest of the vacation by themselves. This leaves me to wander the boardwalk every night, for no reason other than that the cottage we’re renting is way too small for the overlying dislike we all feel towards one another.

Dad gave me twenty dollars tonight to stay out for the whole evening. We’re leaving tomorrow; Becca flew home a few days ago because she has orientation right after we get back. I think my parents are going to attempt to salvage their marriage, but it’s a pointless exercise. They’ve been “attempting” since I was born. I don’t know what to do with myself, so I wander toward Lehrmann’s, the local ice cream stand that claims it’s “world famous,” although it has a lot more to do with the fact that they are the only ice cream stand for this entire stretch of the Atlantic rather than with the quality of their ice cream.

The lines, as always, are unnecessary. It’s just ice cream. I’m tempted to leave as well, but I want to stay gone for as long as I can. So I wait, being corralled like an animal through the bottleneck until I reach the window an eternity later. I’m not even hungry, but that doesn’t stop me from ordering.

“A double scoop of Maple Walnut on a sugar cone,” I say. My voice, however, has a weird echo and I look to my right. Standing beside me is a girl around my age, who just ordered the exact same thing that I did.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she says. It isn’t quite night yet; instead, it’s that odd in between time when it feels dark and it becomes hard to see. The flickering fluorescent light overhead crackles and I take her in. Her reddish blonde hair is tied back, revealing awkwardly large ears. Freckles have exploded over her face from the summer sun. She doesn’t make eye contact with me and bites her lip, looking down at the sticky residue of way too many children’s lost ice cream cones. Her toes wiggle in her flip-flops and she uses the edge of one sandal to dig a sprinkle free from its gelatinous prison; it’s meaningless since it now just rests sadly on the concrete. No one is going to pick it up, and clearly, Lehrmann’s has no plans to wash down the walkway. I’m fifteen and I’ve never been in love, but in this strange moment, I want to be.

“No, it’s fine. Here, let me buy yours,” I offer and turn back to the annoyed kid working the window and reorder two double scoops of Maple Walnut on sugar cones. He rolls his eyes and heads off. I suppose I would act the same if I had to deal with this crap every night.

“Jessica,” she says. “I mean, I’m Jessica.” She’s still biting her lip and she goes to tuck her hair behind her ear, although it was already back there. This results in a weird, jerky movement that ends with her giving up and pretending it didn’t happen. She smiles, embarrassed, but I just think it’s adorable.

“Cam. So, Maple Walnut?”

Her smile brightens, but then disappears. “Yeah, I know. Everyone says it’s for old people, but it’s just—”

“So good,” we say at the same time.

“I know. Maybe old people have good taste. Who wants bubble gum or Snickers? You can get that without getting ice cream,” I say.

“Right? This is my favorite part of coming up here every summer—eating Maple Walnut in peace.” She starts to laugh. “That’s so stupid, isn’t it?”

“I’m from the Midwest. Do you understand that Maple Walnut is like gold out there?”

“Really? Not in Vermont. We put maple in everything.”

The kid returns with our ice cream, which is already melting, and I pay him before handing Jessica her cone. Neither of us moves and I’m not sure what to do next. I don’t have a lot of experience with girls.

“Are you… I mean, do you want to go for a walk?” I ask.

Sarah Daltry writes romance and erotica that ranges from sweet to steamy. She has completed several collections of short stories, as well as two novellas and two novels. She can be found online at http://sarahdaltry.com.

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