A SUMMER LIKE NO OTHER (Broken Dreams – Em & Nick #1)
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She’s his best friend’s little sister. He’s the biggest player of them all. They shouldn’t be together. But this summer’s just too tempting.
Sixteen-year-old Emilia Moretti’s goal for the summer is simple: forget her brother’s best friend—Nick Grawsky—ever existed. It should be easy: He’s spending his summer in the Hamptons, adding girls in tiny bikinis to his list of broken hearts. Guarantee he won’t be telling them they’re like his little sisters. This summer, Emilia won’t stay awake at night thinking about him. She’ll need flawless ballet movements to have a shot at next year’s showcase, and she’s finally ready to search for her birth parents. But when Nick decides to stay in the city, Emilia’s resolve disappears in a pirouette. Maybe it’s the spin they needed to be together. As long as she doesn’t get stuck believing in happily ever after…
Nick is tired of pretending to be the happy, let’s-have-fun guy. His father wants him to change his career from professional dancer to…lawyer. He needs to put all of his focus on dancing to prove to Daddy Dearest he’s good enough to make it big. And he may have a case of the bluest balls in history courtesy of Emilia. She’s off-limits: The bro code with Roberto even forbids the dirty thoughts he has about her. Besides, he’s not boyfriend material. He only has time for flings, for girls who don’t expect much, for girls he doesn’t want to kiss goodnight. He knows he should resist her, but he’s not sure he wants to…
At least for this summer.
It’s going to be a summer like no other.
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CHAPTER 1 – EM
The pop music blasts from the speakers so loudly that it resonates within me. I jump once, twice, three times with my fist in the air, and then my hips move to the pounding rhythm.
The mirrors on the wall aren’t used to seeing me dance like this. I usually dance to Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Minkus. Not to Madonna.
I tilt my head to the side. I don’t want to rehearse the movements from any ballet choreographies, but I should. I rise on my toes into a relevé.
I don’t want to be Emilia Moretti—sixteen-year-old ballerina who tries to perfect each single movement to the point of obsession. I lower my body down, bending my knees over my feet, into a plié.
I don’t want to be the girl, who swears she doesn’t care about being adopted but who has been trying to find her birth parents.
I stand on my toes again.
I don’t want to dwell on the fact that I have the saddest crush on Nick—the best dancer at the School of Performing Arts and my brother’s best friend.
I want to let go and dance.
I close my eyes and raise my hands, moving my lips and making up words as I sing off-key. I leap from the ground. My legs form a grand jeté that would have me thrown out of the School of Performing Arts: my front leg is not entirely straight, and I’m definitely not high enough in the air. But I don’t care. I land on one foot, do little jumps and then turn and turn and turn—enjoying the moment, not worrying about anyone possibly watching me.
The summer has emptied the dorms and the hallways of the School of Performing Arts. And if my dad hadn’t lost his job, I wouldn’t be here either. I would be dipping my toes in the ocean, lying on the beach at the Hamptons, thinking of how to make Nick notice my new bikini. Those days of careless spending and adventures are gone.
My feet take me on another spin. I concentrate on the music, on the feeling of freedom that comes from letting my body move, on the possibilities ahead. Pushing away the thoughts that the music will end, that I will need to face reality, that this feeling of happiness will disappear.
“Nice, Em. But aren’t you supposed to wear clothes when you’re dancing?”
I gasp. Nick stands in the middle of the room. Shirtless. His sweatpants hang low like an Abercrombie model’s. All strong biceps, ripped abs and chiseled torso.
Note to self: keep breathing.
“Wh-what are you doing here?” I stutter. My heart does its usual happy-to-see-you-Nick dance. Even though, ever since my father got fired, it’s been a little tense between us. He’s not supposed to be here. He’s supposed to enjoy the beach where we used to have bonfires. He’s supposed to dip in the water where we played Marco Polo. He’s supposed to live the life we used to have. And of course, he’s supposed to be tanning on the sand, flirting with every girl in a tiny bikini, breaking hearts.
“Hmmm…what could I be doing in the dance studio?” He raises an eyebrow in his aren’t-you-cute-little-sister-of-Roberto way and I want to scream.
But I keep my voice as casual as possible. “Here, in New York.” I roll my eyes. Not joining the usual group in the Hamptons may have sucked, but it was supposed to give me at least two months without seeing him.
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