PIECES OF LOVE
Sixteen year-old Alexis Hartman wants nothing more than to smoke pot and play guitar. Getting high and escaping into her music seems the perfect solution when her world is shattered by her sister's death. But when she’s arrested for possession a second time, life couldn’t get any more complicated. Her mother's breakdown is the final straw that forces Lexi to spend the summer on the West Coast with her grandmother, Maddie. When Lexi steps over the line one too many times, she's certain her life is over and that she’s destined for juvenile detention—until Maddie decides that desperate measures are called for. A three week Mediterranean cruise—for seniors.
Eighteen year-old Ethan Kaswell, the poster child for good sons, is stranded on the cruise when his father, a famous heart surgeon, is called away. With his own life perfectly mapped out, Ethan finds Lexi’s unpredictability irresistible. Although he’s smart enough to see that there is no future in falling for a “vacation crush,” Lexi’s edgy dark side draws him like an anchor to the bottom of the sea. As the two embark on the journey of a lifetime, will Lexi finally learn to love someone—even when she has to let them go?
Excerpt from PIECES OF LOVE
Ethan studied the group and then took me by the hand. “We need to catch up to our tour. Besides, buying drugs in a foreign country is a really bad idea,” he whispered. “Trust me. It’s not worth getting caught.”
I sighed and dismissed my plan, picking up my pace. Aside from my chronic state of irritability over the past week since I’d last been high, I missed the buzz—that foggy haze that made everything seem a little brighter and a fraction less bleak. The fact that Ethan hadn’t brought up any more about my pot smoking or the trouble I’d gotten into back home gave me one more reason to be grateful for his friendship. It seemed he’d come to understand my need to dull the ever-present ache that resided in my heart. At least he didn’t appear to hold it against me.
When we finally reached the church on the hill, Maddie had already entered. I tossed the requisite shawl over my shoulders and ducked inside, happy to escape the heat for a few minutes. The high domed ceiling and stone walls gave the place a cavernous feel. Giant, full-length stained glass windows depicting the “passion of Christ”—according to Maximo—echoed the sacred cross that adorned the front of the church. Tall, red candles stood on an altar along one wall.
I was surprised to see Maddie lighting a candle and then kneeling in a front pew. The polished, ancient wood, gleamed in the sun’s rays that showed through the stained glass in a kaleidoscope of color. She looked serene as she gazed up at the cross, and I wondered what she could be thinking. Was she praying for Grandpa Henry, my dad, Amanda…me? A familiar fragrant scent wafted through the air. My throat closed and suddenly I couldn’t breathe.
“I need to get out of here.” I turned to dart for the entryway.
Ethan was at my side when I reached the heavy wooden door. “What’s wrong?”
I sucked in a deep breath as I burst out into the hot sun, the scent of Frankincense still strong in my nose. “Ever since…Amanda…I can’t stand the smell of that incense. It makes me feel sick.” I pushed through the crowd heading into the church, passing an ancient, weathered man who stood hunched and toothless, handing out scarves to the tourists who irreverently bared their shoulders. I flung off the shawl and balled it into my hand as I made my way to a nearby bench overlooking the village below.
Ethan dropped down beside me. “For me, it’s the smell of hospitals. After spending so much time there when my mom was sick, I can’t stand the smell of antiseptic.”
“That could be a problem if you’re planning to be a doctor,” I said, allowing a fraction of a smile to surface and glad to take the focus off me.
“You think?” he said, a wiseass grin spreading across his face.
Award winning author of young adult books, Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer, and Yogi, PJ Sharon has been called “a powerhouse of positivity and productivity.” Her mantra is “find balance in all things, and live every day to the fullest.” A black belt in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate, avid kayaker, and singer of Italian art songs, PJ has two grown sons and lives with her brilliant engineer husband in the Berkshire Hills of Western MA where she writes YA…because every teen deserves a hopefully ever after.