Girl behind the blog
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- 1 star: Wasn't my cup of tea
- 2 stars: It was okay
- 3 stars: Wasn't amazing, but was an enjoyable read
- 4 stars: Enjoyed this so much
- 5 stars: I'm in love,and obsessed
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Details: 320 pages, Released August 1st 2013
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When aspiring music journalist Ren Kingston takes a job nannying for a wealthy family on the exclusive island of Nantucket, playground for Boston's elite, she's hoping for a low-key summer reading books and blogging about bands. Boys are firmly off the agenda.
What she doesn't count on is falling in with a bunch of party-loving private school kids who are hiding some dark secrets, falling (possibly) in love with the local bad boy, and falling out with a dangerous serial killer...
The gripping new stand-alone novel from the author of Hunting Lila.
Inside the shop it takes a while for my eyes to adjust to the gloom. I hesitate, wondering if Miller’s Bike and Boat shop is in fact as the sign declares, OPEN! but I can hear music blaring from a back room so I figure it must be.
I glance around. I could pretty much help myself to any of the thrillingly exciting fishing and cycling equipment lining the shop walls and walk out without anyone noticing. Fortunately for the Millers I can’t differentiate the boating equipment from the cycling equipment. And, added to this fact, I’m not a thief.
‘Hello?’ I call out.
No one answers.
Behind the counter there’s a door standing ajar. That’s where the music is coming from.
I drum my fingers on the counter for a moment and then walk around its scratched wooden edge and behind it. I notice amidst the chaos of paperwork that there’s a big pile of books lining the counter and for a second I’m distracted and want to read through the titles but then I remember what I’m hear for and I push the door gently with my foot.
Bent over with his back to me in the centre of the room is a boy. He’s shirtless and I can see the muscles of his back and shoulders working angrily beneath his skin as he pumps up a tyre as though he and the tyre have personal issues to work through. A bike is overturned in front of him, resting on its saddle and handlebars in an autopsy position.
I clear my throat. The music is so loud though it’d probably take the sound of a chainsaw to cut through it, so it’s no surprise when he doesn’t hear me.
I step gingerly over a toolbox that’s disgorging its contents across the cement floor and head towards him. A part of me does consider turning around and leaving but it’s a long walk back to town. Also I kind of want to see what he looks like, because, frankly, his back is begging the question – what the hell does his front look like?
The boy is now resting on his haunches, running the tyre through his palms, his head bent as he studies it – for a puncture? I notice his hands are covered in oil and grease, his forearms tanned and well-worked. Sweat is running in rivers down his back and for a second I hesitate. I try clearing my throat again but he doesn’t hear. The music is so loud it’s vibrating through the soles of my feet and out the top of my head. I feel like I’m a bass speaker. Eventually I lean forward and tap him lightly on the shoulder.
He jumps to his feet, spinning around. I leap backwards startled, upending the toolbox behind me which goes flying, scattering wrenches and screws and things I don’t know the names of all across the floor.
‘Sorry,’ I say, looking at the mess, ‘I didn’t mean to startle you.’
‘You didn’t startle me,’ he answers through gritted teeth.
I raise an eyebrow, my eyes dropping to the spanner he’s clenching in his hand.
‘People don’t usually wander into rooms marked private,’ he says, jerking his head at the door.
I turn. And notice the sign on the door. Private. Employees only. Huh.
‘I’m sorry,’ I say again, struggling to be heard over the music. ‘I didn’t notice. I called out and nobody answered.’
He reaches down only then and with his foot yanks the lead from out of the iPod speaker he has set up on the counter. The music cuts out and suddenly my breathing sounds really loud. It also seems to amplify his whole nakedness.
I stare at him. Actually I try not to stare at him but it’s kind of hard not to. I mean, he’s standing there topless in front of me and his stomach looks like it just walked out of an Abercrombie catalogue. Sweat has darkened the waistband of his jeans. He’s holding a spanner in one hand, the tyre in the other.
I glance upwards. He’s still glaring at me, but not with irritation. He looks instead like he wants to kill me. His fingers twitch around the spanner. Unconsciously I have edged back towards the door.
‘I’ll just go then...' I say, my eyes fixed on the spanner now. Weird doesn’t even begin to describe this encounter. But at the same time, in my head, I’m sorting through the words I'll use to describe it to Megan in an email later. I’m already framing this scene in my memory so I can recreate it – spanner, muscle, sweat and all. I bump the wall behind me and then dart backwards through the door.
‘Wait,’ I hear him say.
A muscle pulses in his jaw. ‘What do you want? A bike?’
I stare at him. ‘Um, yeah. You’re a bike shop, right? You do hire bikes?’
He wipes his hands on a cloth he pulls from the back pocket of his jeans and comes towards me. I step backwards out of his way, banging into the counter behind me, splaying myself like a really attractive starfish. He ignores me, reaching for a t-shirt on the counter and pulling it on as I watch, trying to force myself not to stare at. Those. Muscles. I forbid myself to quiver. Or to reach out and touch them to check that they are real.
I follow him as nonchalantly as possible as he walks to the line of bikes in the centre of the shop. He stops in front of them and turns to me. His expression is blank now, totally indifferent. His gaze falls the length of my body, but not in an appraising way, more in a yawn look at this chemistry text book I have to study way. He then turns to the row of bikes, puts his hands on the handlebars of one and pulls it free of the line.
‘This should fit you,' he says.
‘O-kay’, I say walking towards the bike as though it’s a frothing Rottweiler. I’m not sure which I’m more scared of. The bike or the boy.
‘You want to try it?’ he asks, when I’m standing next to the bike, staring at it hesitantly. ‘Then I can adjust it if it needs it.’
I hesitate. He’s holding the bike steady for me but there’s a trace of impatience in his voice.
I drop my bag to my feet and bravely take hold of the handlebars and swing my leg over the seat. I try to act like the last time I rode a bike wasn’t at least a decade ago. He lets go and I wobble and wonder if I can abase myself by asking for stabilisers.
I wish I had worn jeans and not these shorts because I’m aware that my bare thigh is brushing against his jeans. He notices too and edges away from me and I feel my cheeks start to burn. I test the brakes. At least, I think they're the brakes. I so do not want to have to ride this bike with him watching so I just admire the handles, mutter something about it feeling fine and swing my leg back over. I feel better on flat ground with no saddle between my legs.
He kicks the stand down and then drops to one knee and starts fiddling with the seat. He raises it slightly, screws it tight and then turns to me without a smile.
‘That should do it,’ he says.
He heads to the counter and reaches across it for a notepad. After scribbling something on it he tosses it to me.
‘Fill in the blanks,’ he says.
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