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Authors: Erin L. Schneider

Summer of Sloane (29 page)

BOOK: Summer of Sloane
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“I’m so sorry, Sloane. Please tell me you forgive me?” he whispers, tracing one of my eyebrows with the tip of his finger. And those eyes, those brilliant blue eyes, are staring right through me. “Please. Tell me you don’t want to walk away.”

“Finn, I never wanted to walk away. I’ve never wanted to be with someone more. And I’m sorry, too. I’m sorry I ever made you think that.”

As he leans in to kiss me again, I realize it wasn’t so long ago I thought my entire life had completely shattered apart. But here, in this moment with Finn, I’ve never felt more complete.

Maybe all Mick needs is time. Or maybe she really will never speak to me again. At this point, I can’t force her to do something she doesn’t want to do—and honestly, why would I want that? Things will never be the same between us, not after everything that’s happened. Not after everything that’s been said. I’d be a fool to think differently.

I guess sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you always thought they would. Or maybe they turn out exactly as they should, just not what you expected. Of course knowing what I know now, I would’ve done things differently. So much differently.

In some ways, I’ll always feel guilty I didn’t say something sooner to Mick. That I didn’t respond to any of the many e-mails or letters or texts or voice mails she sent me.

Because Mick, Tyler, and I, we all made mistakes. Big mistakes.

But it wasn’t entirely my fault. I didn’t force Mick and Tyler to do what they did.

Like my father said, everyone is responsible for their own actions; it’s just a matter of what they choose to do. And what we choose to do in response.

I finish getting ready and smile when Finn knocks at my door and pops his head in.

We’re going to our waterfall today.

He looks amazing, even in swim trunks and a T-shirt.

He leans in and lands a soft kiss on my forehead, and a little flutter of nerves makes my stomach uneasy. God help me if I puke on the cute boy.

Because today I’m letting him know I won’t be going home to Seattle.

I’ve already enrolled at Punahou, and even though it’s my Mom’s alma mater, it still took a lot of finagling on her part to get me accepted. But I’m in.

Penn doesn’t know what he wants to do—he and Mia are taking everything one day at a time, seeing where things might go. And while it’s not perfect between the two of them, at least not yet, she’s still a good reason for him to stay. But I know he’s worried about leaving my father alone. Especially our last year before we both leave for college.

I struggled with all of that, too. I’m still struggling with the thought of not being home in Seattle for my last year of high school. Of not being with my dad. But I’ve talked to him and he’s reassured me he understands. That it’s the right thing to do.

Because when I think about everything I’d be leaving behind here, I know without a doubt he’s right.

Hawaii is who I am now. Finn, Mia, Luce.
. Not to mention my mom and the possibility for us to have something we haven’t had in a very long time.

So yes, I’ve decided to stay.

And I’m doing
for me.

Like Sloane, I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason—even if it doesn’t seem that way at the time. Had it not been for a particularly unfortunate 2013, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here, holding a finished book in my hands. Had it also not been for an army of incredibly talented people behind me, the same thing could easily be said again.

To my agent, Lisa Grubka—my heartfelt gratitude for being on Twitter and #MSWL that wonderful day, pulling
Summer of Sloane
from the slush pile, and seven months later, giving me the best birthday news ever: sold! I’m so lucky to have you and the entire team at Fletcher & Company in my corner.

So much appreciation goes to my editor, Kieran Viola—our paths may have crossed in the most unusual of ways, but I’m so glad they did. Thank you for making
better in every way and pushing me to go further than I ever thought possible. To my associate editor, Julie Moody—there isn’t a doubt in my mind you made the entire Hyperion team see how beautiful Hawaii is, through the eyes of Sloane. So many thanks to Tyler Nevins for designing the most gorgeous cover an author could ask for; Jacqueline Hornberger for her line-editing prowess; Mary Ann Zissimos and Nicole Musich for their publicity genius; Emily Meehan—and everyone else at Hyperion—who helped make
Summer of Sloane
an actual honest-to-goodness book. And of course, to Lisa Yoskowitz—who loved Sloane and her story so much, she stood in front of an entire acquisitions team and convinced them that they did too.

I’m beyond lucky to call the following amazing women my critique partners: Heidi Sinnett, who relentlessly reads every single word I write—including the really bad ones—and still comes back for more; Bridgid Gallagher, who devoured that early draft of
and left the longest and bestest voice mail ev-ver; Kris F. Oliver, who corrects any scientific facts I fail to get right—and there are a lot of them; and Sara Biren, who worried about all the technical ways to say something, so I could focus on telling the story instead.

I’m beyond grateful to the entire crew of the YA Buccaneers—I’m truly humbled to be surrounded by so much greatness. And of course to both the Sweet Sixteens and Sixteen To Read: I can’t wait to be sitting on the shelves next to all of you!

As a writer, it’s important to never forget how it feels to be on both sides of the book. It’s because of this, I am eternally grateful to all the readers, bloggers, librarians, booksellers, and bookstore owners worldwide, for your unwavering support over the years, social media shout-outs, and overall enthusiasm. Sloane and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

To Mom, I wish you were here to see this beautiful journey unfold, but somehow I think you might have the best seat in the house. Save me a beer and some lau lau and poi, won’t you? To Dad, who supported me every step of the way, and
believed—and thankfully taught me to not tuck my thumb in when throwing a punch. My sisters, Claudine and Nicole, and my brother, Eric, for providing the best childhood a girl could ever ask for. I’d gladly do it all over again, as long as the three of you are there.

So many thanks go out to my extended family and friends, of which there are too many to name here. I am truly grateful to every single one of you for your continued support and encouragement.

To the best companions ever: Ronin, who nudged my hand for pets and missed countless walks while sitting patiently at my feet; Ono, for curling up on my keyboard and reminding me to take breaks; Poke, for all the head bonks and giving me that “look”; and to all of my other four-legged kids that may no longer be here, but did their part in keeping me company on this otherwise solitary road called writing.

To my beautiful son, Kellan, who listened to every round of edits while in my tummy, as I read out loud—and not only kicked at all the right moments, but twirled at them too. I’ve always dreamed of becoming a published author, but my greatest accomplishment will forever be you. I love you with all my heart and soul.

And finally to my husband, Neal: for all the years you’ve stood by my side and never once laughed at any one of my crazy ideas—“I think I’m going to write a book” and “So… I’ve decided to quit my job to write full-time” being only two of them. My hole-in-one would have never been possible without you. I’ll be cheering the loudest when you hit yours. Love you, Bubs.

Erin L. Schneider
is native to the Pacific Northwest, attended college in Honolulu, and—although Hawaiian—should never be allowed on a surfboard. With more than twenty years in corporate merchandising, she’s now a full-time writer living in Seattle with her husband, Neal; their baby boy, Kellan; a rowdy German shepherd named Ronin; and two crazy cats, Ono and Poke. She’s a member of both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and is also cofounder of the YA Buccaneers (
Summer of Sloane
is her debut novel. Visit Erin online at
or on Twitter

BOOK: Summer of Sloane
7.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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