A Taste of Summer

By: Beverly Preston

Acknowledgments




To everyone who is falling in love with The Mathews Family, I cannot thank you enough for your support and words of encouragement.

To my husband Don, thank you for loving me just right.

To my family and friends who support me in my endeavors, your words of encouragement and friendship are priceless.

Caylee Rae, thank you for creating a gorgeous cover. I love it!

Jennifer Haren, Cara Gadero, Francine Petro, and Pamela Carrion…you ladies rock! Thank you for taking the time out of their busy lives to administrate and promote the fan page for my writing and The Mathew Family Series. Your love and support means the world to me. This crazy journey wouldn’t be the same without you and the BBG’s.

I would also like to thank Denise Milano Sprung, Amy Barber, and Kimberly Morse-Bertoia. Your valuable input made A Taste of Summer even better.





Chapter One







Sweat trickled down her arm from wrist to elbow. Droplets of determination pooled on the rubber mat beneath her spin bike. Carrie Ann crouched lower, hovering over the handlebars, intensifying her focus. The nose of her saddle bumped against her inner thighs as she pedaled aggressively, cresting the top of her virtual hill. Her pace slowed, but she pushed through the discomfort. The burn in her glutes was no match for her steadfast determination to fit into the little red dress hanging in her closet.

The music on her iPod switched tracks, cueing her cool down with Dance With Me Tonight by Olly Murs. She reached down giving the resistance knob three half turns loosening the tension on the pedals. Sitting back onto her cushioned seat, her stride coasted along with the beat slowing her heart rate.

Carrie Ann lifted her hands to the ceiling working through a routine of stretches. She dismounted the bike and kicked her heel to her bum, closing her eyes as she deepened the stretch in her tight quad. Switching feet, Carrie Ann bobbled slightly and threw her arm out to the side for balance, accidentally whacking someone next her. Startled by the jolt, her eyes popped opened, staring at a teenage boy. His lips moved, but she couldn’t hear him over the bass of Rude Boy by Rihanna thumping in her ear.

Her brows lifted inquisitively. Carrie Ann tugged the earbud free from her ear, tossing the handsome young man a small smile. “Sorry, I couldn’t hear you. What did you say?”

He crossed a lanky somewhat defined arm in front of her, casually gripping the handlebar of her bike. “I said, you must be exhausted—” Before she could reply he continued, “—from running through my mind all day.”

Surely she must’ve heard him incorrectly. He was probably fifteen at most sporting a baby face and a patch of ten whiskers on his chin. “Excuse me?”

A dose of youthful overconfidence drifted over his mouth in a sharp grin. “I seem to have forgotten my number. Can I have yours?”

“My phone number?” Carrie Ann scanned the near vicinity, row after row of workout equipment, for the practical jokester responsible for the madness. “Ha ha. Very funny. Who put you up to this?”

Her amusement only encouraged the boy’s macho bravado. “No one put me up to anything. I need a date. I just got into LA and I’ve got this Red Carpet event—”

“A date?” she scoffed at the ludicrous suggestion. Though she looked young for her age, Carrie Ann was still all of thirty-four years old.

“Yeah, you know. A date. You, me, hundreds of fans screaming as we stroll down the Red Carpet.” His voice cracked emphasizing the words Red Carpet…for the second time. A self-absorbed twinkle gleamed in his brown eyes as if he expected her to melt and drop to her knees right there in the gym.

“Kid, you’re barking up the wrong tree.”

“I’m totally serious. My uncle has this movie premier and I can’t just bring anyone.” A chunk of blond hair fell on his forehead and he flipped his head to the side. My date needs to be…hot, and well, you’re the hottest girl I’ve seen since I got to LA.”

She sneered at the absurdity. Silliness turned to annoyance. Carrie Ann switched gyms a few months back, paying out the nose to invest in her fitness and more importantly her privacy. Her last gym was more crowded than a cattle call casting session.