Read Winter Longing Online

Authors: Tricia Mills

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Love & Romance

Winter Longing

BOOK: Winter Longing
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Table of Contents
Winter Longing
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario,
Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
(a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124,
Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre,
Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Mairangi Bay, Auckland 1311, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue,
Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Copyright © 2010 Trish Milburn
All rights reserved
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available
eISBN : 978-1-101-46004-7
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To those who have brought Alaska to life for me even though I’ve never been there: novelists Dana Stabenow and Jean Craighead George; the creators of
Northern Exposure
Men in Trees
; and the forces behind and the boat crews of
The Deadliest Catch
Mrs. Frank, my second-grade teacher, handed me the stack of valentines from my classmates. I noticed that two had the same handwriting on the outside. I opened the first.
“Have a Beary Happy Valentine’s Day.
I glanced at Spencer before opening the second one. He was busy opening his own valentines. When I slid the card out of the envelope, my heart beat a little faster.
“Will you be mine?
drone of a plane engine stopped me in my tracks, and adrenaline surged through my veins. I looked up into the cloudy, midday sky. But what I’d heard wasn’t the familiar red-and-black Piper Super Cub carrying my brand-new boyfriend. Instead, it was Harry Logan’s yellow Cessna 185, probably returning from Anchorage with another load of supplies for the residents of Tundra.
I turned my gaze toward the Aleutian Mountain Range to the east: low clouds hugged the higher points of the snow-capped, volcanic peaks. Even squinting, I couldn’t distinguish a speck of red against the white. I’d been wondering all morning how Spencer’s flying test was going. How long before he got back to town? Before he left this morning, did he eat part of the cake I’d baked for him? Had he thought of me and what we’d shared the night before?
My lips warmed at the memory of his soft, sweet lips.
“Good morning, Winter.”
Embarrassment filled me when I realized I’d been caught reliving kissing Spencer by Mrs. Kerr, our next-door neighbor, host of today’s annual Labor Day cookout and the person Mom had sent me over to help with the party preparations. She stood in the driveway with a bag of groceries in her arms and a wide smile on her face. Ack! I imagined her being able to read my thoughts, see my steamy memories.
I pushed those thoughts away and took a couple steps forward. “Can I help you with that?”
“I’ve got this one, but there’s one more in the back of the truck.”
I breathed a sigh of relief when she headed inside and I didn’t have to face her anymore. My memories were mine and mine alone. Oh, okay, so they all got spilled to my best friend, Lindsay, but that was to be expected, right? Like an inherent right of wearing the best-friend label. Equal to being American, meaning you had the right to vote and pursue happiness.
Besides, keeping that much giddiness inside without sharing it might very well do me physical harm. I didn’t want to injure myself right as my life had zoomed straight into the fantasticsphere.
Grocery bag in hand, I made my way in the back door to the Kerrs’ house, trying to keep my smile with a mind of its own under control.
“Jesse!” Mrs. Kerr called up the stairs just as I walked inside the kitchen. “Come on, sleepyhead.” She looked back at me, smiled, and shook her head. “The American male. They could sleep half their lives away if we let them.” She took the grocery bag from me and set it on the center island.
I laughed a little, thinking about how Spencer always threatened me with dire consequences if I ever woke him on a weekend day before ten. Of course, he’d get up early for flying and school, but everything else risked at least the stink eye before the magic hour of 10 a.m.
Jesse Kerr, fellow member of the Tundra School senior class and jock extraordinaire, loudly made his way down the stairs. He paused for a moment when he saw me. “Oh, hey, Winter.” Then he proceeded toward the fridge.
“Hey.” Despite living next door to each other and being in the same class, it always felt a little odd to speak to Jesse. He was friendly enough, but it wasn’t like we inhabited the same social circle. I pulled my attention away from him and refocused on his mom. “What can I do? Mom sent me over to help.”
“That was nice. Let’s see.” Mrs. Kerr scanned the kitchen. “I need some snack mix made up, and there are some cupcakes over there that need icing.” She pointed toward two trays of cooled cupcakes at the end of the far counter, and I nodded. “Jesse, you help. I’m going to go start setting up things outside.”
As soon as his mom stepped outside, Jesse met my gaze. “Run. Run for you life,” he said with lots of drama.
I laughed and headed toward the cupcakes. “Not a fan of the annual picnic?”
He shrugged. “It’s okay. Mom just goes a little overboard. We end up eating leftovers for a week.”
“So I shouldn’t tell her I think we need more hot dogs or baked beans?”
He narrowed his dark eyes. “If you do, you might mysteriously fall prey to random snowball attacks this winter.”
I gave him my you-don’t-scare-me look. “You do realize that can go both ways, right?”
He grinned. “Guess we’ll have to see who wins.”
I rolled my eyes and started icing cupcakes. Jesse downed the rest of his juice, then pulled the makings for snack mix out of the grocery bags.
“You sound way too chipper this morning,” Jesse said after a couple of minutes.
Only when I glanced at him did I realize I’d been whistling. Well, so what? I was happy, and nothing was going to dim that fact.
“I’m in a good mood. Live with it, grumpy boy.”
He tossed a pretzel at me, which I dodged with unusual quickness. “Hope you shoot pucks better than that.”
My taunt about his hockey prowess prompted him to pitch another pretzel and what looked like a wheat square at me. I grabbed the butter knife coated with icing and ran toward him.
He laughed and ran around the island, just barely eluding me. Each time I thought I was close enough to inflict sticky, sweet payback, he surged just out of reach. When I rounded the island a third time, I screeched to a halt. Patrice Murray, aka Jesse’s girlfriend, aka Queen Witch of Tundra School, aka Brunhilda, stood in the doorway with a less-than-attractive glare on her face. I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised if she’d pulled an ice dagger from behind her and gone after me with mean-girl ferocity.
“What’s going on here?” she asked.
Jeez, did she have to sound as if she’d found us naked and rolling on the kitchen floor?
“It’s commonly called a food fight.”
I turned my back on her to return to the cupcakes before I made my gagging face.
“Come outside. Everyone’s starting to arrive,” Patrice said.
I knew she was speaking to Jesse by the way her tone of voice had changed, to sweet with an edge of conniving.
“I need to finish this up,” Jesse said.
“Winter can finish in here.”
“I got it,” I said as I looked back at him. “Almost done anyway.”
Patrice’s face reflected victory. Let her think she’d won. What she didn’t know was that I just couldn’t stand to listen to her voice anymore. She wasted no time dragging Jesse out the door.
He might be a decently nice guy, but he had amazingly bad taste in the girlfriend department.
I finished icing the last cupcake and tossed the rest of the party mix fixings into the bowl Jesse had started.
“What’s up with the snarl on Brunhilda’s face?” Lindsay asked from the open doorway.
“I think it had something to do with me being in the same hemisphere as her boyfriend without her permission.”
BOOK: Winter Longing
3.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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