Authors: Lisi Harrison
Copyright © 2008 by Alloy Entertainment
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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First eBook Edition: May 2008
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
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CLIQUE novels by Lisi Harrison:
BEST FRIENDS FOR NEVER
REVENGE OF THE WANNABES
INVASION OF THE BOY SNATCHERS
THE PRETTY COMMITTEE STRIKES BACK
DIAL L FOR LOSER
IT’S NOT EASY BEING MEAN
SEALED WITH A DISS
BRATFEST AT TIFFANY’S
THE CLIQUE SUMMER COLLECTION:
ALICIA (Coming June 3)
KRISTEN (Coming July 1)
CLAIRE (Coming August 5)
For Cindy Eagan, the woman behind the curtain who makes it all happen.
Buuuurp! (That was from Dylan.)
Monday, June 29
Dylan Marvil sat across from her famous TV-host mother on
The Daily Grind
’s private jet en route to a spa in Hawaii, wondering why anyone would
to fly commercial. The luxe cabin was papered with interlocking D’s and G’s, the seats were made of butter-soft tan leather, and the in-flight movie was anything she wanted it to be. The only thing missing was a silver spoon for her fat-free triple-chocolate banana split—and the petite brunet flight attendant in the cute navy minidress was rushing one right over.
Once it had arrived, Dylan swallowed a mouthful of creamy deliciousness. “Ahhh! Brain freeze!” she shouted as the cold shot straight up to her scarlet roots.
Without lifting her emerald green eyes, Merri-Lee Marvil tossed a snowy white cashmere throw on her daughter’s lap and returned to her thick file on Svetlana Slootskyia, the teen tennis phenom and current
cover girl. Merri-Lee reclined in her seat, tucked her burgundy blowout behind her ears, and began flipping through the research material her assistant, Cassidy Wolfe, had prepared for the upcoming interview.
Until Svetlana, the only thing tennis-related Dylan had ever noticed was the sparkling diamond bracelet glinting on her mother’s bony wrist. But these days, Svetlana “Tennis the Menace” Slootskyia was impossible to ignore.
At first she made headlines for her blond hotness. But then she TMZ’ed her way onto Dylan’s radar when she whipped her racket at a ball girl’s teeth after losing a majorly important match. And this was only four days after she’d smashed her now-ex-boyfriend in the mouth with a Dunlop because he smile-thanked the soda girl for his Pepsi. After twelve weeks of anger-management therapy, Svetlana had emerged to scores of paparazzi, all of them hoping to snap
the instant she snapped again.
Now, every entertainment journalist from Maria Menounos to Nancy O’Dell was tripping over their Manolos to get a post-rehab interview with Svetlana. But she was more impossible to land than Chanel’s Black Tulip nail polish, thanks to Merri-Lee, who’d bought the rights to the Slootskyia story the second Svetlana’s Wilson KFactor collided with Ali Chipley’s incisors.
“Ha! I’ll show
Merri-Lee blurted, scribbling something on her yellow legal pad.
Dylan licked the silver dessert spoon and dropped it in the fat-free chocolate soup that was starting to congeal at the bottom of her crystal bowl.
“Barbara Walters. She’s not the only one willing to go
It was the interview of the season, and Merri-Lee was determined to deliver high drama. But to Dylan, Svetlana represented a first-class ticket to a five-star fat camp, an opportunity to drop the four pounds she’d gained trying to show Kemp Hurley and Chris Plovert she wasn’t some prissy girly girl who fussed over calories.
Even though she was.
After a short snooze and a steaming, lavender-scented face towel, Dylan threw the blanket off her palm frond green puff-sleeved Juicy hoodie and, out of pure boredom, reached for a stack of Merri-Lee’s research materials. She scanned the headlines next to various photographs of Svetlana petting her thick side-braid:
BLOND BOMBSHELL EXPLODES . . . BALL GIRL’S TEETH SOLD ON EBAY . . . NIKE SWOOSHES TO SVETLANA’S RESCUE WITH AN ENDORSEMENT DEAL . . .
Dylan flipped through dozens of pictures, then sighed hopelessly. Every one showed Svetlana in some bland white dress and athletic sneakers. Suhhh-noooozer!
“Mom, do you think there will be anyone my age at the spa who’s
“Cass!” Merri-Lee called back to her assistant, ignoring her daughter. “Are we confirmed on Svetlana’s must-haves?”
Cassidy unbuckled her gold DG-stamped seat belt and appeared between Merri-Lee and Dylan on the brocade-carpeted aisle, her auburn curls pinch-clamped to the back of her head by a clear Scünci jaw clip.
“Spirulina detox smoothies, all the current tabloids with photos of Paris Hilton removed, thirty packs of chocolate mint Altoids, Tocca candles in lemon verbena, unscented baby wipes instead of toilet paper, and a gray kitty cat with haunting blue eyes.” She tapped her pad with the tip of her pencil. “We’re all set.”
Cassidy turned on her ivory espadrille and wobbled back to her seat.
Suddenly, the plane dipped. It quickly recovered, but the sinking feeling in Dylan’s stomach remained. Was she doomed to spend her spa vacation watching her mother kiss some blond Russian’s ultra-toned butt? Gawd! Just because
wasn’t famous or blond or toned or violent didn’t mean she deserved to be ignored—did it?
“Aloha. We will now begin our initial descent into Honolulu,” the pilot announced. “They had quite a thunderstorm last night, so everything will be beautiful and fresh for your arrival.” His smooth voice sent an anxious ripple through Dylan’s undefined abs.
It was time to make a fresh start.
No more comparing herself to Svetlana, or
. The next three weeks would be all about
learning to love Dylan.
No more super-skinny Westchester girls to compete with. No more alphas to obey. No more pretending to be someone she wasn’t. No more crushing on boys who didn’t crush back.
Her days of feeling inadequate were over!
And if anyone wanted to witness a real temper tantrum, all she had to do was stand in her way.
Monday, June 29
After dumping their LV luggage, slipping into matching floral-print sarongs, and nibbling on papaya slices from their complimentary exotic fruit basket, Dylan and Merri-Lee
down the palm-lined path to the resort’s boutique. It was a Marvil tradition—no matter what city they were in, no matter how jet-lagged they were, they always made an effort to “go native.”
The Kapalua shops were located in an open-air teak building overlooking a much-photographed black sand beach. As if infused with skin-softening emollients, a gardenia-scented breeze kissed their dry airplane arms.
. . .
It made the private jet’s cashmere blankets feel like loofahs in comparison.
Pre-shopping tingles ran down Dylan’s pale spine as she stepped into the boutique’s air-conditioned entryway.
“No!” she burped, stopping dead in her scarlet Louboutin slides and dropping her mom’s birdlike arm. Light spilling from an elegant row of recessed fixtures glinted off the cream-and-silver fleur-de-lis wallpaper. Short, white, pleated
tennis skirts hung next to white, sweat-absorbent polos. Against the far wall, Nikes, Adidas, New Balances, and Pumas were given the Jimmy Choo treatment. It was as though a group of LBRs were sitting at the Pretty Committee’s lunch table.
Where were Calvin and Chloé?
“This is supposed to be a high-end boutique, nawt a Lady Foot Locker,” Dylan whisper-hissed to her mother.
Merri-Lee hitched her straw Gucci hobo higher on her shoulder. “When in Rome, Dylan. This is all state-of-the-art athletic wear.” She gave her daughter a let’s-make-the-most-of-it pat on the backside, then nudged her farther into the store. “Keep in mind,” Merri-Lee said as she lifted a green raw-silk headband off a plastic display head and slipped it over her ponytail, “tennis skirts sit low on the waist and can be very flattering. And the ones with the built-in undies are just plain c-u-t-e. Meet at the dressing rooms in five?”
Dylan checked her silver Kenneth J. Lane watch. “Done.”
She trudged over to the only rack that looked remotely acceptable. Just as she reached for a terry cloth cover-up with slight potential, Svetlana appeared on the plasma TV behind the register. On-screen, she gave her signature graphite tennis racket a quick peck and then lovingly stroked its strings as if they doubled as a harp.
“I love my Wilson. And you’ll love watching me use it to serve up my A-game at this year’s Aloha Open. See you there!” TV Svetlana winked, then tossed her blond braided hair-snake over her tanned shoulder—in slo-mo, of course.
Dylan giggled-smirked. Svetlana was obviously trying to work her way back into America’s good graces. And it reeked of fake—like Massie’s famous IT act, or Innocent Teacher act, where she loaded on the sweetness to avoid detention.
Just then, a perky Hawaiian salesgirl in tennis whites approached with I-work-on-commission enthusiasm. “Hi! I’m Ash! Can I take that for you?” She grabbed the terry cloth cover-up and flipped her dark, glossy hair over her shoulder.
“What’s with the whiteout?” Dylan gestured 360 degrees to the Wonder Bread–colored clothes.
“Every year we clear out our designer inventory to make room for the Aloha collection. White’s the official color of the Open, so everyone—players, guests, resort personnel”—Ash pinched her white Lacoste shorts—“wears it. It’s big fun! I’ll stick this in the dressing area for you and pull a few of our top sellers.” She tilted her head and gave Dylan the once-over. “Size six, right?”
Dylan rolled her eyes in a how-dare-you sort of way. “Actually, it’s a four.”
Ash lifted her thick, doubting eyebrows. “Try this.” She yanked a tiny pleated mini off the rack.
“Don’t bother.” Dylan waved away the skirt. “I’ll pull my own things. I have very specific taste.”
“Oh yeah?” Ash popped her collar. “How would you describe this
taste of yours?” she challenged.
Ash gasp-turned to smile-greet a dangerously tanned man in madras golf slacks.
The instant she was alone, Dylan hung the size-four skirt back on the silver rack and grabbed the six.
In the back, outside the dressing room, Merri-Lee was signing an autograph for a fiftysomething blonde who clearly did not have a best friend. If she did, this friend would have held a mirror up to the woman’s wrinkled legs and stopped her from going out in nothing but a black one-piece and three-inch slides.
“I just luuuv your mother,” the lady gushed in a husky voice. “Or is she your sister?”
She cracked up, the loose skin on her turkey neck shaking in time with her implants.
Merri-Lee joined in until the two were cackling like reunited sorority sisters. It didn’t matter how many times some desperate fan busted out the old “Are you two sisters?” joke—-Merri-Lee always lapped it up. Meanwhile, it left Dylan wondering if she looked like a forty-two-year-old woman.
Surrounded by white sportswear and mom jokes, Dylan wished she’d accepted Massie’s invite to spend the summer in Southampton. What had made her think she would have any fun hanging out with her mother and a bunch of geriatric
fans? Yes, they were in paradise. But paradise was only paradise if there was someone special to share it with.
Rolling her eyes, Dylan closed her dressing room door, tossed the white pleated skirt on the cold marble floor, and searched for her comfy terry cloth cover-up. But it had been replaced with a rack of blindingly white tennis outfits, tight racer-back tanks, and a row of Nike sneakers.
“Mom, I don’t
white on white,” Dylan whisper-yelled through the dressing room door.
“Excuse me for a moment, Helen,” Merri-Lee said to her stalker. “Dyl Pickles,” she called, “everyone here wears tennis whites—it’s tradition.”
Dylan smacked the hanging clothes. “But I’m allergic to . . .
“Don’t be ridiculous. Besides, I thought one of your summer goals was to drop four pounds.”
Dylan’s cheeks burned. Did the Polynesians need to know this?
“Try the Svetlana for Nike outfit,” Merri-Lee insisted. “It’s very forgiving.”
Dylan sighed. It was pointless to argue. The AmEx black card was in her mother’s Gucci,
hers, meaning she’d have to play by the rules. Besides, she planned on spending most of her time on the massage table, naked, sandwiched between Frette sheets and smothered in more oil than curly fries. And who knew? Maybe the Pretty Committee would bloat to size sixes and they could all dress up as tennis players next Halloween . . . either that or latte foam.
“Come out, Dee Dee. Let’s see it.” Her mom’s puffy red lips appeared in the crack of the door. “Svetlana wore one just like it on the cover of
.” Dylan could hear Merri-Lee’s thumbnails punch-tapping the keys on her BlackBerry. “I’m sure you look adorable.”
“Whatevs,” Dylan groaned, not bothering to check. She swung open the dressing room door and spun to give her mom the rear view. “White makes my butt look—”
“Hot,” a male voice cut in.
Instinctively, Dylan shielded her barely covered rear and inhaled sharply, preparing to unleash her wrath on the mysterious perv.
And then she saw
, Zac Efron was on a movie set filming yet another musical remake. But she was tempted to pluck one of this hawttie’s honey-colored highlights for DNA testing, just to be sure.
“The fabric wicks sweat away before it even leaves your pores. See?” He hooked the elastic band of his own tennis whites, revealing a sliver of tanned, toned, rock-hard boy-belly.
Merri-Lee rested her perfectly manicured fingers on his shoulder. “Dylly, this is John Thomas Daley. His father owns this place.”
“The store?” Dylan teased.
“The resort,” Merri-Lee beamed.
“And the one next door,” John added. He stuck out his hand to shake Dylan’s.
“You can call me J.T. My dad goes by John.”
“Is he as cute as you are?” Merri-Lee purred.
J.T. glanced down at his tanned knees and grinned.
Dylan rolled her eyes, silently apologizing to the HART (Hot Alpha Rich and Toned) for her embarrassing-times-ten mother.
The second Dylan gripped his warm boy-hand, she abandoned her whole only-crush-on-boys-who-are-going-to-crush-back summer goal. She was fully prepared to obsess over him.
“Aloha,” she giggled shyly, hating herself for not pre-glossing.
“So”—J.T. turned to Merri-Lee—“is it true you’re here to interview Svetlana Slootskyia?”
Gawd! Is a stint in rehab the only way to get noticed these days?
“Wow!” He blushed with awe as Merri-Lee nodded. “I mean, good luck with that. I heard she can be tough.”
“I can handle it.” Merri-Lee flexed her bicep.
Dylan turned away and clenched her fists.
“Did you know that
‘goodbye’?” J.T. swiped his long, butterscotch-colored bangs to the side of his forehead.
“Dyyyylly.” Merri-Lee nudged her daughter. “J.T. is talking to you.”
“Huh?” Dylan asked, excusing herself from her I’m-invisible pity party.
“Did you know that aloha means ‘hello’
‘goodbye’?” he asked again.
“Oh yeah. Totally.” Dylan finger-combed her red curls, reinvigorated by his tidbit. She’d heard on
that when a male is interested, he drops random scraps at the female’s feet, something to do with the hunting instinct. Wasn’t this aloha
factoid the human version of that?
“Speaking of aloha, we’re having a welcome dinner for the Open’s VIPs tonight. You two should come.”
“We were planning on it.” Merri-Lee pulled the gold and white invite out of her Gucci and waved it like a victory flag. She was clearly offended J.T. hadn’t
they were invited. “You know, as
The Daily Grind,
Her BlackBerry tooted the
theme song. “I have to take this.” She lifted her tissue-stuffed bags, and
Dylan’s matchmaking mom was gone like Criss Angel.
Alone at last.
“Hey, J.T.” Ash wave-walked over, her black high-pony swinging like a happy puppy’s tail.
“Whaddup, Ash?” he mumbled, never taking his eyes off Dylan.
Ehmagawd, was he crushing back?
Perkyshorts got the hint and harrumphed to the front of the store.
“Those are pretty sweet kicks,” he said, nodding at Dylan’s shoes. He lifted one toned leg, revealing an identical shoe.
Dylan blew Merri-Lee a mental air kiss to thank her for picking the Nikes.
“So, are you the hard-core-into-tennis type?” He raised his brown brows. “Or the all-gear, no-idea type?”
“Puh-lease! I totally heart tennis,” she lied. “I
to buy this outfit. I’ve already worn my other ones out.”
Did he think she was joking?
“I think you should get that one.” He smiled with his midnight blue eyes. “Come on, I’ll walk you to the register.”
Dylan thought about rescuing her sarong from the changing room but decided not to bother. Her new tennis persona wouldn’t dream of wearing something that impractical and chic. Besides, the sweet smell of J.T.’s coconut-scented sunscreen had suddenly become something she couldn’t live without, and it was now heading in the opposite direction.
“Oh no,” she accidentally blurted as they reached a rack of white visors.
“What?” J.T. stopped walking and touched the small of her back.
“My mom has my AmEx black card in her purse.”
J.T. grinned. “No worries. It’s on me.”
“Really?” Dylan beamed, and
because of the 100 percent discount.
“Really.” He caught Ash’s attention and air-scribbled. She nodded once. And just like that, they strolled out of the boutique without so much as stopping to pick up a complimentary mint.
“Love the outfit.” Dylan smiled, the afternoon sun warming her air-conditioned shoulders. “My tennis elbow thanks you.”
“You have tennis elbow?” he asked with grave concern.
Something in his expression made Dylan wonder if she had misused the term.
“Kidding,” she tried.
His smile returned.
“You’re right,” she giggled. “Thanks again for the dress.”
“No problem. I’ll have Ash send more up to your room.” He quickly scanned her. “Size six?”
“Four,” she corrected him quickly.
“Four it is!” He waved once and turned toward the villas. “See you tonight.”
“Yup. See ya tonight.” Dylan rocked back on the rubber heels of her Nikes, hoping the boutique had a decent exchange policy.