Leave the Pieces Behind
by Shirley Anne Edwards
Genre: YA Romance
Bree Apollo is an average fifteen-year-old girl: she loves chocolate, baking cupcakes, and her neighbor, the hunky and all around popular seventeen-year-old Foster Quinn. Except Foster is clueless about her feelings for him, instead treating her like a kid sister and begging for her homemade desserts. As a fellow chocolate lover, he should be Bree’s for the taking, if it weren’t for his oh-so-perfect girlfriend.
After she overhears Foster making fun of her to his friends, she’s devastated. And not even chocolate can take away the pain. She intends to wallow in grief for a boy that was never hers to begin with, but Austen, her eccentric new neighbor has other ideas.
The strange boy down the street always wears a black fedora, walks barefoot, and focuses all his energy on building a treehouse in his backyard. For some reason, he’s elected Bree to help him. At first, she turns him down because he acts too awkward and takes everything she says literally. But after learning of his autism, she decides to help with his construction (forgiving him for not being a chocolate fan), even though she doesn’t know a think about power tools.
As Bree and Austen grow closer, Foster notices Bree no longer worships the ground he walks on. He wants her to go back to that doting version of Bree, but Austen has become more important to her than she’s ready to admit.
Austen may just be the one to help her move on from Foster.
Like two pieces of a puzzle, they fit together perfectly.
I’d become paranoid, not just because my black lab, Hunter, watched me pace my living room, but I swore the chocolate mousse cake I had baked this morning at five a.m. stared at me, too. Sure, a cake doesn’t have eyes, but I baked this one for my neighbor, Foster, and decorated it with white chocolate truffles that could double as them.
As Hunter inched closer to the cake on the coffee table, complete with drool sliding from the corner of his mouth, I may have snarled at him. A first for me. I never snarled at anyone, humans or dogs. But with my nerves jangling like crazy, I decided to blame my hormones. At fifteen, I may have been a few years past puberty, but I, Breanna Charlotte Apollo, had the worst crush on the just-turned seventeen-year-old hunk, Foster Quinn, president of the senior class of Musgrove High and one of the hottest guys I knew.
My longtime crush beginning in the seventh grade had grown into full-blown lust—which, of course, explained why I woke up before dawn on a Saturday morning to bake a chocolate mousse with graham cracker crust cake from scratch. Foster had a bad chocolate addiction, like me. This cake would be my birthday gift for him, a few days late. His birthday had landed in the middle of the week, and I had given him a silver keychain with his initial on it for his keys to the new silver Jeep Renegade his parents bought him.
A way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. Once I gave him the cake, he would invite me to the lake—where he’d planned to go with his group of friends, aka his crew.
Hopefully, he would notice I’d dressed for the lake, in my bathing suit, board shorts and tank top. Even though it was the last weekend of September, the Indian summer still lasted, which I didn’t mind because it meant having more time to hang out with Foster.
His parents owned a house near Devon Lake. Foster and his crew had hung out there most of the summer. I’d never been asked to join, but, now, I had the power of my homemade chocolate cake to convince him this time. People raved about my ooey-gooey, sin-in-the mouth desserts, especially Foster. When I presented him his birthday cake I had made just for him in the pre-dawn hours, maybe then he would finally understand how much he meant to me.
Hunter nudged his nose in the plastic Saran wrapped cake. I swooped it up then inhaled to calm down. I had to leave before Foster left without me.
Shirley Anne Edwards is a Northeast girl who first found her love for books when she read Nancy Drew’s The Secret of the Old Clock Tower at thirteen. Shirley found her love for writing at a very young age, and since then has let her imagination run wild by creating quirky characters and vast worlds in her head. Shirley is also a brownie addict who loves to bake when she’s not busy writing. Shirley lives in New Jersey and works in the entertainment industry in New York City.
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