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Unmaking Hunter Kennedy, страница 1

 

Unmaking Hunter Kennedy
 


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Unmaking Hunter Kennedy


  Table of Contents

  Cover Blurb: Unmaking Hunter Kennedy

  Dedication:

  1: shiny black casket

  2: stupid dumb crush

  3: black italian coffee

  4: sexy chip eaters

  5: crazy ain’t sexy

  6: howie rutherford sucks

  7: landing

  8: spotting panic

  9: gnomes and tumbleweeds

  10: lying to jenna

  11: my new bestie

  12: dangerous driving

  13: shopping with hell’s princess

  14: clueless

  15: loyalty, trust and a haircut

  16: no going back

  17: guy exposure works

  18: promises promises

  19: the incident revisited

  20: the first test

  21: awkward topics: a++

  22: test bunnies

  23: invisible

  24: drama class just got better

  25: BGF is better than nothing

  26: heart shaped rocks

  27: what really happened

  28: more favors and WTF?

  29: dreams come true

  30: lake swimming

  31: guy language

  32: love, hate, heaven and hell

  33: holding his attention

  34: creating my own demise

  35: party pointers needed

  36: just one peck

  37: messing everything up: a++

  38: for the sake of practice

  39: people missed, things forgotten

  40: telling the truth

  41: misunderstandings

  42: too little too late

  43: introductions

  About The Author

  RESOURCES

  Cover Blurb: Unmaking Hunter Kennedy

  After a car accident—an event he considers a prank gone bad—jaded pop star, Hunter Kennedy is forced to hide out with his aunt in small-town Colorado. He’s supposed to rest, heal his scars and attend high school in disguise until the press dies down. But he only wants to get back to work.

  Worse, the girl who’s been assigned to make him over into a geek is a major geek herself. Vere Roth is a chattering pixie, a blushing tornado and a complete social disaster. He’s never met a girl who’s never-been-kissed, believes in romance and thinks Hunter’s a ‘nice’ guy.

  Funny thing is…Hunter is nice around Vere because she’s his first real friend. He also can’t seem to stop sharing his secrets or keep her out of his heart. Knowing he’d never deserve a girl as sweet as Vere, he resigns himself to the friend zone, and helps his new bestie with her own makeover.

  She tortures him daily for ridiculous guy advice on how to snag her life-long crush. A guy Hunter thinks is totally wrong for Vere, and sadly, one who has taken note of Vere’s stunning transformation.

  When Vere asks her best friend for some kissing advice, Hunter can’t resist. And that’s when things get out of control…

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, places, organizations, or persons living or dead, is a coincidence.

  UNMAKING HUNTER KENNEDY

  Published by Butterfly Books, LLC

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in the case of brief quotations within critical articles and reviews. For information contact www.butterflybooksllc.com

  Copyright © Anne MacFarlane 2012 writing as Anne Eliot

  www.anneeliot.com @yaromance

  1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

  ISBN: 978-1-937815-02-8 (E-Book ISBN Reg. Bowker)

  Butterfly Books, LLC. First Ed. 2012, Cataloging Information:

  Eliot, Anne

  Unmaking Hunter Kennedy / Anne Eliot

  Summary: Sweet Teen Romance, first love — After an accident and a suicide attempt, a teen pop star recovering from depression is forced to move to Colorado and live in disguise so he can rest, but falls in love with the girl next door.

  1. Young Adult Romance & Teen Romance (Children’s Love and Romance) — Juvenile fiction. 2. High schools —Fiction. 3. Teen Depression — Fiction. 4. Social Anxiety (Social Issues) (Social Situations) Emotions and Feelings — 5. Pop Culture 6. Contemporary Romance 7. Teen Literature

  Book design concept and book design — by Peter Freedman & Chiara MacFarlane.

  Printed in the United States of America

  Dedication:

  For Tom.

  I know. I will rescue you.

  We will run away to the woods by the sea with my dusty old books and your guitars. There, we can search for cool rocks every day. Okay?

  In the meantime:

  Rock that Gypsy Jazz, Minor Swing song for me

  one more time!

  I love you.

  Thanks for loving me back.

  Forever.

  xo xo xo

  1: shiny black casket

  HUNTER

  1:50 A.M.

  “Damn. She’s early.” Hunter Kennedy swallowed a lump of dread as he watched his mom’s limo snake along the outer grounds. He shoved his iPhone into his pocket and covered his unease with a forced smile to Barry, his therapist. “She’s never early.”

  “This is good.” Barry smiled back. “Shows responsibility.”

  “Shows she doesn’t want to miss the fun of dumping me off again. Plus if the woman came late, she’d have to take me home, right?”

  Barry didn’t answer. He was also the owner of this fancy, fenced, teen hospital. They both knew home was not an option. Instead, Hunter was heading for phase-two of his mom’s latest crap, Hollywood-parenting plan: kid misbehaves, pay for therapy, ignore him, then convince others to handle the dirty laundry.

  Handle him.

  As if six weeks locked up in this place hadn’t been enough.

  His whole spine lit with goose bumps. He pulled on the hideous, white-and-silver hoodie she’d sent ahead for him to wear, making sure the sleeves were long enough to cover his wrists.

  No need to remind Mom what got me here. Time to play along like I said I would. It’s not like there’s anywhere to run.

  The limo had stopped at the ornate, first gate. The gate that ‘kept up appearances’ because it featured no razor wire or guards with guns. The other two gates would take longer thanks to the vehicle search, ID checks, metal-x rays—all that resident safety junk this place featured so proudly.

  It would be awhile.

  As the gate swung open, a loud, mechanical buzzing increased, sucking up all of the air around him. It echoed off the wide flight of marble steps where they waited.

  “Dude. That thing is dying.” Hunter winced, realizing the noise wasn’t just in his head. Its source was a bronze, sculpted sign above the portico that was supposed to read Falconer Hope Residential Solutions. Now, because of burned out bulbs, only part of the first word was lit.

  It flashed: l-oner, l-oner, l-oner....

  So. Appropriate.

  “Guess I waited too long to call someone to fix it.” Barry, as though happy to have something to do, hopped up into some terraced planters to take a look.

  Hunter slouched against a marble pillar, annoyed that his whole outfit blinded him. When he’d pulled the all-white costume out of the bag, his skin had crawled at the thought of putting it on.

  But the outfit had also come with a note written in his mom’s large scrawl: Hunter. Make sure you wear everything in this bag. Everything. Please.

  So, because he was trying to prove he was a good boy, and because his mom rarely said please, Hunter had dutifully zipped himself into the to
o-tight white jeans, tapered in—as usual—from his calves to his ankles.

  He’d layered on the silvery graphic-tee and added the humiliating, long chain that boasted a dangling, fist-sized medieval sword. It hung down past the matching, chain mail belt. The sword acted like a weighted, sharp-tipped pendulum. His mom had probably picked the thing on purpose because it punched his junk every time he moved. Hunter had even pulled out the top edge of the crap, silver boxers to prove he’d worn everything.

  Everything. As commanded by her.

  Cherry on the wardrobe-hell-pie? White sneakers that rated worse than the boxers. Because they had girly, glitter soles! His band’s name, GuardeRobe, had been stitched into the heel and over the toes with silver thread. Not to be outdone by the amazing laces that featured his tiny initials painted top to bottom: HK, HK, HK, HK.

  All in more, shiny, sparkle shit.

  So messed up. What had the designers been thinking?

  Being dressed like an epic ass was nothing new for Hunter. Wardrobe choices were never his department. But wardrobe choices worn without a fight always kept the mom happy.

  And today, that was Hunter’s goal.

  Besides, the nightmare-suit gave Hunter a small shred of hope. Why else would he be dressed for work? The outfit was a good sign that his mom might have changed her mind.

  Please. Please. Please.

  Hunter sucked in a big breath. The cool night air shocked his lungs.

  He’d forgotten to breathe again. If he’d learned anything good in this place, it was that he had to remember, no matter what, to simply breathe.

  Barry slammed his hand into an electronic box behind the sign, succeeding in quieting the buzzing. As he climbed out of the planters he said, “That thing is going to cost a mint to fix.”

  Barry looked tired. Hunter was sure the poor guy wasn’t used to being awake all hours like he was.

  “I guess this is it, huh?” Hunter said, trying to distract both of them from the stress of waiting. “It’s been—interesting.”

  Barry smiled. “I’m sorry we had to release you in the dark like this. It is not our normal procedure. But your mother said—”

  “She’s right.” Hunter flicked another glance at the limo, watching the guards at gate two search the trunk. “The paparazzi would have been all over this place. I’m surprised none of your staff leaked I was here.”

  “We’ve built our reputation on discretion. They are all screened and paid very well not to have seen you. It’s why parents all over the world choose us to help their kids. I wish you could have taken part in some of the group sessions. I know you would have liked them.”

  “Yeah. Too bad.” Hunter nodded as though he totally agreed. There was no point in hurting Barry’s feelings at this late date. Barry’s cry-and-hug sessions were not on Hunter’s wish list. “Maybe next time,” he added, shooting Barry a wry glance.

  Barry gave him a look. “Let’s hope not. I’m going to miss you, Hunter. I really am. But I never want to see you again—if you know what I mean.”

  Hunter smiled. “Yeah. Back at you, dude. And thanks for curing me.”

  Barry gave him a small bro-hug that Hunter returned. “I’ve never said you were cured. Depression does not have an on-off switch. Don’t make me lecture you all over again here, because I will.”

  “Work in progress. I know the speech.” Hunter pushed a hand through the mop of hair that hit his forehead now that it hadn’t been cut for so long. “Are you billing me for this extra therapy hour?”

  “Of course I’m billing you. Double, for after-hour charges if you’re keeping track.”

  “I like that you never pretend things aren’t about the money.” Hunter yawned.

  Barry frowned, placing a gentle hand on Hunter’s arm. “I get paid well because I’m good at what I do. Just like you get paid well to sing and play the guitar. Not everyone wants to use you, son. You need to change your views on that.”

  Hunter shrugged. “If I come across real evidence of your theory, I’ll reconsider my ideas. But from where I sit, it’s the view I’ve been tracking forever.”

  “That view is what your mom is trying to change by sending you to Colorado. Your reality is skewed. You need to get it back on track. This time is going to give you the chance to analyze your real feelings. Try to make honest friends. The kind with no strings attached.”

  “Please. An impossible idea.” Hunter kicked his shoe against the steps. “Back on track my ass! She wants me locked down. You should satellite-map the town of Monument. It’s in the middle of a bunch of trees. I bet everyone who lives there has a blade of grass stuck in their teeth. And it’s probably the kind of grass you can’t even smoke!”

  Hunter paced the length of the portico. Barry followed.

  “Living off the Hollywood grid is the only way you’ll be able to figure out what being normal feels like. You’ve never known anything different.”

  “Forget normal! Everything could be over when I get back. Hell. No one seems to care about what I want. How could I ever be normal after the life I’ve lived? The life I plan to keep living as soon as I get Mom to stop being pissed off at me.”

  “From what I can tell, you weren’t living much of any life. Just working.”

  “I love to work. So what? It’s my solace.” Hunter shook his head. “And besides, I haven’t been to my Aunt Nan’s since I was eight. I think she must be like...seventy now? Does she even remember me—want me in her house?”

  Barry nodded. “Seventy-two. She’s excited to have you for the school year. Your mom told me.”

  “You’ve talked to her about this?” Hunter whispered as he felt his throat closing up. “When and why does she talk to you, but never to me?”

  “She told me it’s too soon. She’s not ready.”

  “And you bought that?” Hunter exploded. “You think Mom’s silent treatment is about the dumbass prank I pulled at home six weeks ago?”

  “I thought we’d stopped referring to it as a prank.”

  “Yeah, yeah.” Hunter glowered, changing the subject. “That woman hasn’t spoken to me about anything real since my bottom-feeder step-dad ran to Florida two years ago with the intern—or personal assistant. Whatever she was.”

  “You mentioned that. I know it causes you pain.”

  “Well, not how you think.” Hunter blinked. “Mom got really pissed when she discovered the intern had also been personally assisting me in every way.” Hunter smiled at the look on Barry’s face.

  “No.”

  “Yep.” Hunter nodded. “Like twice a week in our hot tub and all over the house. Mom stopped talking to me when I told her I missed the girl more than I missed having that guy around pretending to be my dad. Because I still miss her—or what she could do with her mouth, anyhow.”

  “Holy shit.” Barry, who hardly ever looked shocked or surprised, now looked shocked and surprised. “Why didn’t you tell me about all this?”

  Hunter shrugged. “I thought I’d keep my first girl to myself. I told you about the masses of girls after. How will one more twisted story about my sex life make my ‘mental-health-file’ any better? At least you get now that I can never be normal. Never make normal friends.”

  “Yes, you can.” Barry threw his arms wide. “That girl should be in prison. The stuff was done to you, Hunter. Done to you. You were a kid two years ago. Hell, you’re still just seventeen.”

  Hunter shrugged again and met Barry’s gaze. “I was old enough to willingly participate. Not gonna lie. I loved it. Thought I loved her,” he scoffed. “She was only seventeen herself. Wicked-step-daddy was smart enough to wait until she became legal before taking off with her. Totally bummed me out when she left like that, though. I had no idea....”

  “Wow. I’m so sorry you went through that.”

  Hunter grimaced. “She tried to keep things going with me. I turned her down. Back then I hated sharing my toys.”

  “And so you share now?” Barry asked, ramping back to hi
s calm-doctor voice, but the guy couldn’t hide his bugged-out eyes or horrified expression.

  “No. I still hate sharing. I’ve simply stopped playing with dangerous toys. Mom paid them both tons to never contact me again. The assistant dumped the loser the day after the check cleared. Take some notes if you need to,” Hunter offered.

  Barry shook his head. “You and your mom have been through so much. I know she’s also seeing her own therapist. She’ll speak to you when she gets herself straightened out, but probably not before.”

  “Whatever.” Hunter glared at the limo, still holding at gate two. “If I’m forced to go to Colorado today, I’m done with her. And I’m not going to be sitting by the phone waiting for Mommy to call. I learned long ago not to believe that woman’s promises. My agent swears he’s going to get me out of the judge’s contract in a few weeks.”

  “Luckily, your mom made sure the agreement is rock solid: Report to Colorado after we release you, or report to the nearest juvenile detention center. It’s for the whole school year whether your agent likes it or not.”

  Hunter crossed his arms. “Martin is a strong force to be reckoned with. He’ll win for me. You’ll see.”

  “Son, you need to rest. It’s critical.” Barry trapped his gaze. “I’d think twice about Martin’s intentions. Can’t you see he’s obviously in it for the money?”

  Hunter sighed. “I know.” He flicked a glare at the limo. “But at least he keeps his promises. He’ll come through. And like I said, isn’t everyone in it for the money?” Hunter fronted, hiding his true panic about the situation. If Martin couldn’t convince his mom to change her mind soon, Hunter was stuck.

  Stuck in Colorado.

  His own mom had slapped huge vandalism charges on him. Between his totaled car, and the damage Hunter had done to the house, he’d wrecked about a million dollars worth of stuff.

 
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