Dante’s Girl by Courtney Cole
Contemporary Young Adult*ebook, paperback*Published by Lakehouse, July 2012
I have spent every summer since I was ten years old with my father in London. Every summer, since I was ten years old, has been uneventful and boring.
Until this year.
And this year, after a freak volcanic eruption strands me far from home,
I have learned these things:
I have learned these things:
1. I can make do with one outfit for three days before I buy new clothes.
2. If I hear the phrase, “You’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto,” even one more time, I might become a homicidal maniac.
3. I am horribly and embarrassingly allergic to jellyfish.
4. I am in love with Dante Giliberti, who just happens to be the beautiful, sophisticated son of the Prime Minister of a Mediterranean paradise.
5. See number four above. Because it brings with it a whole slew of problems and I’ve learned something from every one of them.
Let’s start with the fact that Dante’s world is five light-years away from mine. He goes to black-tie functions and knows the Prime Minister of England on a first name basis. I was born and raised on a farm in Kansas and wear cut-off jeans paired with cowboy boots.
See the difference?
But hearts don’t care about differences. Hearts want what they want.
And mine just wants to be Dante’s girl.
My heart just might be crazy.
“Why do you look sad?” I ask. “You live in a beautiful country with the world at your fingertips. Your dad is amazing and nice and you’re a billionaire. What could possibly make you sad?”
Dante studies me, his cobalt eyes serious, his expression unreadable.
“Let’s go for a walk,” he finally says. “Someplace quieter.”
A quiet place with Dante? Yes, Please!
I scramble to my feet and walk with him through the crowd again, this time oblivious to the stares. He has a huge stride and I find myself hurrying to keep up, two steps for every one of his. He weaves us through the people and out the doors in record time.
Before I know it, we are on a terrace. In the dark. Under the stars.
This may as well be Heaven.
In fact, it might actually be.
Have I died and didn’t realize it?
I flex my fingers and poke at my thigh.
My mind is fuzzy and I feel like I am moving slower than I actually am. Is life in slow motion right now or is it me? I blink hard then poke myself again.
“Are you alright?” Dante asks, watching me curiously. I nod.
“Yep. I’ve just never had three glasses of champagne before. In fact, I’ve never even had one. Until now.”
I giggle at the thought and Dante smiles.
“Okay, drunk girl. Let’s sit you down.”
He guides me to a lounger and eases me onto it. I clutch at his arm, not wanting to let him go. He stares down at me.
“You really have had too much to drink, haven’t you, little sunflower?”
The name warms my heart and I decide that he is the handsomest person in the world.
“Is handsomest a word?” I ask him.
He looks at me blankly.
“I don’t know,” he answers slowly. “Why?”
“You’re the handsomest person in the world,” I announce. “I don’t care if it’s a word or not. You are it, one way or another.”
Dante smiles and runs a hand through his hair, as though he’s trying to decide what to do.
“Oh. Okay. Um, thanks? What am I going to do with you? You’re adorable when you are drunk. But I made you drunk, even if it was an accident. How was I supposed to know that you’re such a lightweight?”
He sounds like he is waging some sort of battle with himself.
“Who exactly are you arguing with?”I ask, the champagne clouding my thoughts in a very thorough way. “You will get no arguments from me tonight. No matter what.”
He sighs, a husky and ragged sound.
I scoot closer to him and drag him down until he is sitting on the lounger with me. His warmth feels nice out here because the air has turned cool. It’s dark and I feel like we’re in our own little world. I run my fingers over his arm, then grip at his shoulders.
“You’re so strong,” I tell him. “And your fingers are so long.”
I don’t know what that has to do with anything, I just feel like pointing it out. Because his fingers are long. I pick up his hand and slide my own against it. His hand is at least a full inch longer than mine. Probably more. I curl my fingers around his and hold tight to his hand.
I look up at him.
He is so devastatingly beautiful in the moonlight.
I tell him so.
He stares at me, his dark gaze unwavering. Except for my knees. It definitely wavers my knees, if that is possible. I know I wouldn’t be able to stand up if I tried. Which I’m not going to. I’m staying right here…with Dante.
“Kiss me,” I whisper. “Please.”
Dante is silent, his blue eyes frozen on me.
And then he lowers his head and his soft lips are upon mine.
And I might seriously die this time.
I’m kissing Dante.
The thoughts won’t stop running through my head as Dante kisses me in the most romantic and soft kiss I’ve ever experienced. My thoughts blur together and all I can do now is immerse myself in the moment. The world actually seems to explode for a second. This is the most amazing kiss in the history of the world.
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