Authors: Melody Grace
Tags: #romance, #unafraid, #unbroken, #untouched, #abbi glines, #melody grace, #untamed hearts
Copyright © 2013 by Melody Grace
Smashwords Edition 2013
Copyright © 2013 by Melody Grace
Smashwords Edition 2013
Interior design by Angela McLaurin, Fictional
Photograph credit: Jessie Weinberg.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may
be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
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any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or
are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons,
living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The author acknowledges the trademarked
status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this
work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The
publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated
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All rights reserved.
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I used to love fairy tales. When I was a
little kid, my mom would read to me before bed every night.
- I must have heard them a
hundred times over, but still, I couldn’t get enough. The brave
heroines, the beautiful dresses, the big gala balls. And of course,
the handsome prince. No matter what evil spell the witch cast, or
how fierce the dragon was, he would always show up in time to win
the princess’s heart and restore good to the world.
I don’t know when I stopped believing in happily
ever after. Maybe it was when my dad walked out on us, back when I
was just four years old. Maybe it was the first time I found my mom
high: slumped on the bathroom floor with a glassy smile on her face
and an empty vial of Oxy in her outstretched palm. Or maybe it was
when she walked out for good, left me and my brothers alone like we
didn’t mean a thing.
Either way, by the summer I turned sixteen, I
knew: fairy tales weren’t real. There was no godmother coming to
wave her magic wand over my crappy life, and Prince Charming would
only leave in the end, leaving me heartbroken and alone. So I
swore, I wouldn’t fall for his bullshit. I would never let myself
believe in love.
I wouldn’t make my mom’s mistakes.
I took what I wanted from guys, and didn’t care
about the whispers that followed me around town. I didn’t give a
damn if they thought I was some trailer trash slut, my heart was
safe behind my barricades, walls built high enough to keep anyone
Until Hunter Covington smiled at me one bright
July afternoon, and my defenses came crashing to the ground.
I couldn’t help it. He was gorgeous, charming,
rich. The golden boy of Beachwood Bay--and the last guy who would
ever look twice at a messed up girl like me. But my heart didn’t
I wanted him more than I’ve ever wanted
anything. Just a taste of his perfection, a glimpse of what it felt
like in the safety of his embrace. Just one night to believe in the
dream I knew I could never have.
One night. Just one night, that was all I
But what would happen when morning came?
It’s the last night of summer, and I’m stuck
in a suit and tie, about to lose my goddamn mind in the middle of
my parents’ stupid dinner party.
“Summer in Beachwood has been lovely as always,”
my mother coos to her collection of friends--an identical group of
Botox and beaming insincerity. “But I can’t wait to get back to
civilization in the city. And of course, Hunter will be joining his
brother at Yale. We’re so proud. He can’t wait, can you,
I murmur a reply. What I can’t wait to do is
tear off this damn tie and get the hell out of here, but dad made
it clear: attendance was mandatory.
“Here’s your drink, bro.” My brother Jace hands
me a tumbler of clear liquid. “Club soda, right?” He winks, and
when I take a sip, I taste a healthy dash of vodka in the mix.
God, I love my brother.
“Have you declared your major yet?” One of the
blondes asks Jace.
Before he can reply, my father interrupts.
“Business, with a minor in Econ.” He slaps Jace on the back. “Just
what he needs to join his old man at the firm. He’s been working
with me this summer, learning the ropes.”
“More like working on my golf swing.” Jace
“Now now,” my dad chortles, “plenty of important
deals have been sealed on that green. It’s all part of your
responsibility as a Covington.”
“As long as my responsibilities include an
after-game drink at the clubhouse, I’m set.”
The room laughs along with dad and Jace. “Like
father like son,” one of the guests remarks, and I down the rest of
my drink in a single swallow.
I hate these parties. Jace can turn on the charm
and play along, but every word of small talk just sticks in my
throat. What’s the point? I want to yell. Especially tonight, with
college looming over me like a prison sentence. I’ve managed to
ignore it all summer, but now, I can’t avoid it. Soon, I’ll be one
step further along the plan my parents have made for me, walking in
footprints that were laid out in stone the day I was born.
“What about you, Hunter?” Someone turns to me.
“Have you been working this summer?”
“Yup,” I nod, just as my father answers,
“No.” I turn. “Messing around on that ranch
isn’t work,” he corrects me.
“Tell that to the guys who are up at five every
morning to feed the horses,” I reply, feeling a familiar tension
blaze in my chest.
My dad chortles again, like I’ve made a joke.
“I’ll never understand the appeal of that ranch,” he says, talking
about my Grandpa’s pride and joy like it’s some broken down shack
and not one of the best training ranches in the county. “Camille
and I tell him to sell, that land’s got to be worth a fortune, but
pops won’t hear about it.”
I don’t say a word. The world may revolve around
balance sheets and shiny new toys to people like my dad, but
Grandpa knows there are some things more important than money. Like
passion, freedom. Making your own rules. He’s been teaching me to
train the horses every summer here for years, and it’s my secret
dream to take over from him one day. But if I’m going to stand a
chance of running my own ranch, I need to make it through college,
at least—and another few years of gritting my teeth through nights
like this one.
Dad starts up talking about business gossip, so
I look around for some distraction. My mom comes back in from the
kitchen looking distressed. “Everything OK?” I ask.
“It’s a disaster,” she tells me in a hushed
tone. “Maria’s making her pastries for dessert, but we’re out of
butter. I can’t believe we don’t have spare!” She looks so upset,
you think we were talking about world famine instead of
profiteroles, but I leap on the chance to escape.
“I can run out and get some.” I offer
“But you’re enjoying the party...” Mom is
“I’ll be back in no time.” Before she can
disagree, I kiss her on the cheek and slip out of the room, leaving
the small-talk and stifling laughter behind.
I pile in my car and back out of the driveway so
fast I send gravel flying, turning at the end of the leafy street
and heading into town. It’s a gorgeous evening as I cruise along
the winding coastal road that leads to Beachwood Bay, the ocean
glittering blue under the clear skies. I pass the harbor, boats
bobbing on the tide, and find a spot to park on Main Street. The
town feels emptier now, but there are still some tourists browsing
the quaint stores, kids buying ice-cream, their legs sandy from the
I feel a pang in my chest, the same one I always
do when summer comes to an end. Beachwood Bay is my escape: a
chance to leave Charleston and my parents’ stuffy social scene
behind. No obligations, no rules, just two months to work with
grandpa on the ranch; go sailing with Jace, hang out and feel free.
Time has slipped by so fast I can’t believe it, and now summer is
over for another year. The house is already packed up, and tomorrow
we’ll be heading back home—back to reality. To the life I can’t
wait to leave behind.