Lisa Marie’s ordinary summer turns into a summer of firsts—first date, first kiss, first boyfriend—when she meets teen baseball star Hank.
But can a romance with a boy who lives out of state last, or will it drift away like summer snow in the breeze?
BUY THE BOOK
“Can I take your order?” the surly teenager in the food truck grunted at them.
“Yeah, we’d like three mediums, an Island Breeze, a Cherry Cola and a Ninja Turtle, and can you put gummy bears on all of them?”
“The Giants are supposed to be really good,” Joe rattled on. “They have a pitcher who can throw a ninety-mile-an-hour fastball. He was hurt for a while but he’s better now.”
Hank Caro. Hank Caro. The name echoed in her mind. She knew exactly whom her brother was describing. Easily the tallest boy in the lineup of any of the teams, many of the girls, including Lisa Marie, had noticed him when the Giants were practicing. “Where did you two hear that?”
“We met a kid at the park yesterday,” Sonny replied with a wise look.
“His name’s Gavin,” Joe chimed in. “He’s from Iowa, too. He’s brother of the shortstop.”
“Gavin said the Giants totally sucked in the beginning of the season,” Sonny added. “But they kept getting better and then they made it here. They have the best pitcher in the series.”
“Hank Caro,” Joe put in. “Gavin says he can pitch, but he chokes sometimes when he’s at bat. Then, he can’t hit the side of the barn.”
“Shh…” Lisa Marie’s eyebrows shot up. She wished that she could be absorbed right into the ground. Please don’t let anyone else have heard them, especially not any of the Giants players.
“What?” Joe asked innocently. “That’s what Gavin said.”
“That’ll be ten dollars and twenty cents,” the server held a hand out for payment.
“Wait a minute,” Lisa Marie reached into her jean shorts pocket for the moist, wadded up bill. Her heart sank. “It should be ten bucks. We got three summer snows with gummy bears for under ten bucks two weeks ago.”
The food worked shrugged. “Not my problem. Prices have gone up. Ten dollars and twenty cents. I don’t set the prices. I just work here. It’s posted. You should’ve looked.” He pointed to the signage she’d been studying on the side of the trailer. Sure enough, new prices had been written next to the assorted sizes.
“I didn’t think to check the price. I mean, that’s what it cost last week,” Lisa Marie trailed off lamely. “I don’t have the twenty cents. Can you scrape off the gummy bears? That should get us under ten bucks.”
Mulishly, the food worker pulled the Island Breeze medium ice back into the trailer. Demonstratively, he held it poised in the air over a garbage can. “No. They’re already made the way they are. If you want the shaved ice with the gummy bears, it’s ten bucks and twenty cents or I throw them away. What do you want to do?”
“I don’t have twenty cents,” Lisa Marie protested. “I can bring it by tomorrow.”
“No twenty cents, no shaved ices. I’m not going to risk my job for you. Next?”
“I want my shaved ice,” Joe shrieked.
“Wait,” a deeper voice broke in. “Here,” someone took Lisa Marie’s hand in a much larger one and pressed warm coins into her palm. She looked down and saw two dimes there. Glancing up, her eyes encountered Hershey chocolate brown ones in a strong-featured face lit with a boyish grin. Hank Caro. He hadn’t been behind her two seconds ago. She would’ve noticed him. A teammate was standing beside him. Both were watching Lisa Marie and her brothers. Hank must have joined his friend up in the line, right behind us. Had he heard our discussion?
Hank Caro. Hank Caro looked out of place playing in the Babe Ruth Series. With his size and filled out frame, he appeared a grown man until one glimpsed his youthful face. He had buzzed, blonde hair, big brown eyes, and mostly smooth skin. The back of his neck, face, and arms were baseball sunburned. Hank was hot.
“Thanks,” the word squeaked out of Lisa Marie’s throat. She cleared her throat. “Thanks,” she repeated more clearly. “I’ll pay you back at your next baseball game. I don’t know when that will be. I mean I’m not like I’m following your team or anything. I’m not some kind of psycho baseball fan.” Shut up. Stop talking. “I’m at the baseball fields for many of the games. I work at the concession stand.”
“I know. I’ve seen you there,” he replied. His voice was warm and deep, like maple syrup on pancakes. “I mean, I noticed you. I mean, it’s no big deal. Glad to help.”
“Thanks again for the money.” Lisa Marie turned back to the food cart. “I have the twenty cents,” she called out, handing it to over to the shaved ice worker. “I’ll pay you back,” she assured Hank as she did so.
The sullen worker set all three ices out on the window ledge. Her two brothers grabbed theirs while Lisa Maria picked up her Styrofoam more slowly, aware that her lips and tongue would soon match the bright blue of the sky.
“Don’t worry about it,” Hank reassured her.