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When Peter decides to encourage the wild streak in a rebellious hippie girl across the lake, she runs away to hide in a nearby ...
When Peter decides to encourage the wild streak in a rebellious hippie girl across the lake, she runs away to hide in a nearby abandoned sawmill, only to discover it's not as abandoned as it looks. Soon, community tensions erupt, and the boys get more action than they bargained for.
About the Author
An ear-piercing scream followed by a heavy splash shattered Jake Evans's sleep. He sat up and blinked in the houseboat cabin's early morning light. He wiped a droplet of water from his face. Then he threw off his covers and scrambled toward the open window. Had he been dreaming or had someone just fallen off the boat's deck into the lake?
He had hardly stuck his sleepy head out the water streaked window and into the dry Arizona air when someone floating in the water immediately below him swept an armful of water into his face.
"Argh!" Jake shouted as he pulled his head back inside and shook it. Peals of laughter sounded from the lake's surface.
"Ha ha! Got you! Wakey, wakey, old buddy! Nothing like a cannonball into Lake Powell to start your day! Don't you love this desert air and warm water?"
"It's not really that warm, Peter, especially when it's in my face!" Jake moved to the window again and made a face at his best friend, this time ready to duck if Peter Montpetit's muscled arm dared to aim at him again. "You'll pay for that," he added in as threatening a tone as he could muster through a grin. "What time is it, anyway?"
"Breakfast time,"' called a cheerful female voice from the next window, where the galley kitchen on the three-room boat was located. "Pancakes for our wakeboarders, if you're ready."
"Pancakes? Awesome, Mom. Thanks!" Peter called, breaking into a vigorous stroke toward the houseboat's ladder.
"Yeah, thanks, Mrs. Montpetit," Jake called, reaching for his wetsuit, then deciding he should probably wear real clothes to breakfast.
"A Lake Powell five-star breakfast," Peter's tall,elegant mother was wearing her flightattendant smile and gesturing to the glassy, canyon-rimmed lake outside. Her blonde hair was perfectly coiffed and she wore white jeans and a silk blouse. As she moved plates of steaming pancakes and bacon to the table, Jake's mouth watered.
She smiled at Jake. "Way better than General Powell got when he came here in 1869," she said.
"Darling, Lake Powell didn't exist then." Mr. Montpetit corrected his wife. "This lake was part of the Colorado River before Glen Canyon Dam flooded it in the sixties. Mmm, those pancakes smell wonderful. Just the thing for growing boys."
"Dad, we're fifteen, not 'growing boys,'" Peter corrected his father as his fork attacked a tall stack of golden hotcakes.
"Thanks for having me on your spring break vacation," Jake offered politely as he dribbled syrup on his stack. "I've never been to Arizona before. Never been on a houseboat, either."
"Well, it'll do for three days," Mr. Montpetit said with a grin as he folded his newspaper away. "Though I doubt you boys will end up spending much time aboard this boat, what with all the wakeboarding around here."
Jake had a forkful of bacon halfway to his mouth when the sound of a powerboat and a blast of heavy metal music jerked everyone's head toward the window.
"Rock on with Rocky!" said a booming voice over the same sound system delivering the music at high decibels.
Jake and Peter craned their necks to look out the window. Jake gawked at the shiny white powerboat that had pulled up near their houseboat. A buff-looking guy in his twenties with a red bandanna over an unruly mop of shoulder-length blond hair was jiving to the music. A golden retriever with a matching bandanna around his neck sat alertly in the passenger seat.
Jake turned to see Mrs. Montpetit cover her ears and Mr. Montpetit smile and shake his head.
"Sign up now with the rockingest wakeboard school on Powell. Big air, big wake! Let the Wakeup Wakeboard School show you a good time!"
The man paused and grinned at his stunned audience. His golden retriever lifted its paws to the dashboard and barked its own greeting.
"Sweet boat," Peter murmured. "A tournament quality V-drive. Maybe 300 horsepower. Chrome speaker towers and four-board racks. Those are like $60,000. Who is this guy?"
"And check out his board," Jake said, also in a low voice, as he stared at the super-fancy wakeboard complete with sponsor stickers.
"His name is Rocky Benson," Mr. Montpetit said, lifting a cup of coffee. "Better known around here as The Party Animal. A rich, spoiled brat and amazing wakeboarder who gives lessons. A major hit with the kids on the lake. Or so Joe Friesen told me last night when we were at the Beach Pub. Looks to me like he wants you boys to sign up. His marketing isn't very subtle, is it?"
Jake smiled at the boat owner, prompting Rocky to lift his designer shades for a moment and wink at the boys. The man leaned coolly against his boat's chrome tower, the arch over the boat. Wakeboard towers, Jake knew, give wakeboarders' tow ropes extra lift, making for a better ride and more boost. But mostly only pros can afford them.
"Dudes!" the megaphone blared as Rocky drew his boat a little closer. "Me and Hoochie here" -- the dog wagged his tail -- "would be stoked if you'd like to join us. We're the happeningest school on the lake, and you look ready to hit it."
His eyes were on their boards, which were strapped to a rack on the deck.
"Can we?" Peter asked his father.
"Go ahead," Mr. Montpetit said, fishing his wallet out of his back pocket. "That's what we came here for, right? And don't worry, Jake," he added as Jake began to protest, "this is my treat."
"Thanks!" Jake said, hardly able to believe it.
Thirty minutes later, Rocky gave the boys a helping arm over to his Malibu, which Jake noticed was named "Hoochie's Ride."
"You named your boat after your dog, and your dog after a wakeboard trick?" Jake asked, smiling as he stowed his wakeboard on the tower's board rack.
"You got it! Hoochie and me are hardcore, aren't we, fellow?" His big hand patted the dog's head fondly. "Where you boys from?"
"Seattle," Peter replied.
"And I'm from Canada, just north of Seattle in British Columbia," Jake added.
"No kidding!" Rocky stared at each of them in turn. "I'm from near Bellingham, Washington."
"That's not far from Seattle," Peter spoke up. "So where do you wakeboard up there? Or is this where you live now?"
"Oh, Lake Powell's the place," Rocky said, spinning his boat around and waving casually at Peter's parents as they took off. "But I'm heading back to Eagle Lake for good next month. Gonna start up a wakeboard school there. I think the area's ready for it. Gettin' to be lots of good wakeboarders in the Northwest."
"Eagle Lake," Peter mused. "Isn't that a bird-protection place near Bellingham?"
Rocky's scoff could be heard even over the revs on his engine. "Bird sanctuary, my foot. It's got a lot of birds, for sure-right, Hootchie?" Rocky reached over to scratch his dog's ears. "He loves chasm' 'em."
Hootchie barked in agreement. Jake rested his hand on the friendly dog's back. He had heard of Eagle Lake, too. It was supposed to be big, pretty, and unspoiled. But he'd heard it was all private, owned by some family who used to run a sawmill there.
"That'd be a cool place to wakeboard," Jake said. "Isn't it like five miles long? Wakeboarders are always saying they wish they could get on that lake. So you have access to it? And you're starting a wakeboard school?"
"Access?" Rocky threw back his head and laughed. "I own it! It was my parents' land. When they died last year, I got half, and my sister got half. So yes, I'm gonna move back there now, and it's gonna be the rockingest wakeboard scene in the Northwest. Rocky Bensons good times move north! That lake and its birds sure won't know what hit them, right Hoochie?" He cut his throttle and started to fill his ballast. He threw Jake a life jacket.
"Okay boys, here's the tow rope; start rollin' it out. Get ready to shred some wake and show me your best tricks!"
"Alright!" Jake replied, jumping up and grabbing his board.
Rocky threw the rope into the lake, then jumped into the driver's seat and set the cruise control.
"Show him how it's done, Jake," Peter encouraged as he slapped Jake's back. Then Peter leaned closer to his ear as Jake got ready to climb out over the stern to the boat's swim step. "Like, really show him, so he'll hire us as junior guides for that school of his over summer vacation."
Jake stared at Peter for a moment, then smiled. They high-fived as Jake leapt overboard off the swim step and sank in the water.