Read an Excerpt
Cute guys are my weakness.
I'll be the first to admit it.
As soon as I see one, I instantly go into flirt mode.
Today was no exception.
I was lying on a blue-and-white-striped chaise lounge, wearing the most adorable red-and-white polka-dot bikini. I knew I looked good and I could see guys staring at me from behind their mirrored sunglasses. It was hard not to notice. Some of them even lowered their sunglasses to get a better look.
If I were at the beach, I would just gather up my things and go home. Escape the temp-tation-that's what my boyfriend, Finn, would have wanted me to do.
But I was on a cruise ship, and everywhere you looked there were cute guys. There was no escape!
So how could I not flirt?
For me, flirting is like breathing. It's just something I do.
I've never wondered why I like to flirt. It's part of being me, I guess. I want people to like me. I want them to see me-Ashley Bishop-and I don't think many people do. My father, unfortunately, is one of those people. It's hard being the daughter of a workaholic. But don't get me wrong-I know my father loves me. He just works really long hours overseeing his company, BPE-Bishop Pharmaceutical Enterprises-so he can give me, my mother, and my older half sister, Charlotte, everything we could possibly want.
This cruise is the perfect example.
My sixteenth birthday is at the end of the week. Instead of just throwing a birthday party, I asked my father if I could do something different. After all, sixteen is a major birthday. I didn't want something gross andover-the-top like those spoiled brats usually do on that MTV show My Super Sweet 16. I asked Daddy if I could take a cruise to the Bahamas and invite some of my closest friends.
He said yes.
Originally my parents were going to chaperone us, but then Daddy had to fly to Europe on business and my mother had her own job crisis going on. Because of previous commitments, none of the other parents were able to take their place, but luckily Daddy was good friends with the captain of the ship, who promised to have his staff keep an eye on us.
Anyway, as soon as Daddy gave me the green light, I got on the phone with my two best friends, Simone Greer and Kristine Fisher, and told them to start packing their bags. I knew from the start that my guest list would also have to include Tabitha Varvatos. Tabitha and I aren't exactly best friends, even though we've known each other since kindergarten, but our mothers are. I guess they've always hoped we'd be as close as they are, but we're not. Tabitha and I compete with each other for everything-grades, guys, clothes, and popularity. The list goes on and on. I guess you could call us frenemies. I hadn't wanted to invite Tabby-she hates it when I call her that, but the nickname so fits. She's exactly like a cat-sly and sneaky! But, as predicted, my mother insisted that I give sneaky Tabby a birthday cruise invite.
Of course, Charlotte was on my guest list too, and her boyfriend, Sam. They're both going to be seniors next month. I couldn't exactly celebrate my birthday without my half sister, and I was determined to make her have some fun. There's more to life than just studying for your SATs.
I also invited Finn O'Brien, my boyfriend. Finn is the guy that every girl at my high school wishes she could go out with. He's tall, blond, and blue-eyed, with a killer smile and two of the most adorable dimples you've ever seen. He plays tennis and rugby and volleyball and has that All-American look that you see in Abercrombie & Fitch ads. He's definitely a hottie. We've been going out since January. On the first day of class after our Christmas break, he asked if he could walk me home. I go to school in New York City on the Upper East Side, and I live only a few blocks from there. Anyway, instead of answering, I slowly squeezed his bicep and then started walking down the hallway and looking over my shoulder to make sure he was following. He was. Sometimes it's not what you say but what you do.
Finn's different from the other guys I've dated. For one thing, he's going to be a senior. Because he's older than me, he thinks he knows more than I do, which is totally annoying. He also likes being in charge-well, what guy doesn't?-and whenever we go out, he makes all the plans.
At first I didn't mind. After all, the guy usually does all the planning when you first start dating. Then, once you get to know each other-once you're a couple-you kind of take turns.
He still calls all the shots.
Lately that's been bugging me too. I mean, Finn is really fun, but things haven't been perfect between us for a while.
"You're frowning," Simone said, breaking into my thoughts. "No frowning! We're on a cruise!"
I turned to where Simone was lying on a blue-and-white-striped chaise lounge of her own, applying coconut oil to her glistening brown skin, being careful not to get any on her tiny white bikini. It takes Simone, who's Hispanic, only one day to get a great tan. I wish I could tan the way she does, but I can't. I'm a redhead, with super-fair skin, so I have to be careful in the sun. That means sunblock, not suntan oil. The only way I'm able to get a great tan is if I go for a spray-on.
"Where did Finn disappear to?" Simone asked, capping the bottle of coconut oil.
"She's not thinking about Finn," Kristine said from the other chaise lounge, sitting up and pushing her huge sunglasses on top of her blond head. "She's been too busy staring at Smoothie Guy."Killer Cruise. Copyright (c) by Jennifer Shaw . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.