It's all fun and parties until someone falls in love in this glitzy, glamorous modern fairy tale starring a refreshingly self-assured heroine.
Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father's law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he's not ready for and isn't sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: they must not fall in love!
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Kate Evangelista’s novel No Love Allowed is filled with the perfect mixture of humor and hope.
Praise for No Love Allowed:
"Evangelista takes a familiar story of young love and makes it fresh." VOYA
“The perfect YA contemporary romance.” Stephanie, Bookfever
"It's like a modern fairy tale." –Camelle, reader on SwoonReads.com
About the Author
When Kate Evangelista, author of No Love Allowed, was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department and never looked back. Today, she is a graduate of De La Salle University - Manila with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature. She taught high school English for three years and was an essay consultant for two. Currently she writes full-time and is based in the Philippines.
Read an Excerpt
No Love Allowed
By Kate Evangelista
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2016 Kate Evangelista
All rights reserved.
CALEB BARELY STIFLED a grimace.
Across the table from him, Amber burst into tears. He hated how good he had gotten at predicting when the emotional shit would hit the fan. The chin quiver, the reddening of the nose, the welling of the eyes — he had memorized all the signs. What grated most was that the skill came from years of experience. He could teach a Master's class in Jerkology. In his defense, he thought he had made things clear at the start of senior year. Amber had readily agreed to no-strings-attached fun.
The original plan was to break up with her a week before he left for Europe with his cousin Nathan. Unfortunately for him and his carefully crafted post-summer breakup speech, she had other plans. Yesterday, at her graduation after-party, she invited him out on the dock behind her house and broke his number one rule under the moonlight. If he were less messed up, he would have been happy to have someone like Amber in his life. Beautiful. Well-bred. A girl his father would approve of. Instead he kissed her on the cheek, made some excuse about running an errand, left the party, and then sent her a text asking to meet him at the country club for lunch.
He pushed the starched white napkin on his side toward her. Ignoring it, she opened the small purse she had with her and pulled out a neatly folded square of tissue. She dabbed at the corners of her eyes and sniffed. He suspected crocodile tears from the way her actions seemed so rehearsed. Each sniff and silent sob orchestrated to tug at his heart, or whatever was left inside his chest. As far as he was concerned, the muscle had been buried along with his mother all those years ago.
Tapping the table with his index finger, he admitted to himself that asking her out to lunch to break up with her might not have been the best idea. He definitely shouldn't have started the speech right after ordering a blue cheese burger and truffle fries for himself and a Caesar salad with croutons, anchovies, and dressing on the side for her. But he'd had to stop this before Amber's feelings dug in deeper. In his mind, he was doing her a favor.
Heads swiveled their way from curious onlookers. Since it was the weekend, the dining room was packed. Another strike against him. Caleb shut his eyes to keep from rolling them when the women began whispering. Before sundown, news would reach the farthest corners of Dodge Cove. He could see the headline in big, bold letters: FAMOUS LAWYER'S SON BREAKS UP WITH IMPORTANT CLIENT'S DAUGHTER.
"Amber," he said, his eyebrows coming together. She gasped as if he had lobbed a grenade at her. He sighed and schooled his features into a more charming mask. "Look, I'm sorry."
"But ... but ... you and me ..." Her shoulders hitched up with every word she attempted to say. Hiccups prevented her from continuing. Thank God for small miracles. This situation was painful enough without her having to justify why they were perfect for each other.
No longer interested in Amber's hysterics, Caleb waved one of the waitstaff over. A girl about his age shuffled toward him. He paused.
Her eyes startled him — warm brown with specks of gold. Yet there was no light behind her remarkable irises. It was like she looked past him. Her brown hair fell in a messy braid over her shoulder as if she hadn't bothered running a comb through the strands before weaving them together. Her skin stood out despite the blandness of the country club's uniform of tan slacks and button-down in a color Nathan called sherbet — whatever the hell that was.
This time he didn't bother hiding his grimace when an ear-piercing keen accompanied Amber's hiccups. "Can you bring us two glasses of water?" He glanced at her name tag. "Diana."
* * *
Diana Alexander, or Didi as they called her, forced a smile on her face when the stretching of the muscles around her lips was the last thing she wanted to do. She nodded at the trust-fund brat who had reduced the poor girl sitting across from him to a mess of tears, and then turned on her heel to do as she had been asked. She should probably care more, but she couldn't bring herself to do so. If she wanted to make it through this day, she had to keep it together.
At the bar, she took a deep breath that didn't quite make it into her lungs. Exhaling anyway, she concentrated on her task. With practiced movements, she pulled a circular tray from the stack and placed two glasses in the middle. Then she reached for the pitcher with cucumber and lemon slices floating with ice in the rich-people water and poured. Once the glasses were three-quarters of the way full, she balanced the tray on her open palm and returned to the table.
In the background, a middle-aged man asked for extra parmesan cheese. She ignored him, reminding herself to chill. Just attend to one table at a time.
She had woken up to a dead alarm clock because the power must have been cut in the middle of the night. This triggered the downhill slide. Her mom had probably run out of money before paying the bill ... again.
No power meant no hot water, so no shower. To make matters worse, she'd had to make do with yesterday's uniform since she'd been too exhausted to run the wash. And no matter how hard she looked, she couldn't find her white tennis shoes, which forced her to wear boots that had seen better days.
Another patron calling her name surprised Didi out of her head. She tripped as she stepped on the shoelace she kept forgetting to tie, sending the tray lifting out of her hand. She managed to catch the tray by taking a step forward and placing her free hand on the edge. Sadly the two glasses had already spilled their contents onto the blubbering girl with Trust-Fund Boy. The girl screamed and pushed away from the table so fast the back of her chair caught Didi on the hip. This activated a sequence of events that killed her inside. The glasses fell and shattered. The girl yelled for the manager, then spat obscenities no lady should ever know.
Humiliated and close to tears herself, Didi dropped to the ground and began gathering shards of glass and placing them on the tray. Blubbering Girl wouldn't stop screaming hateful words, adding to Didi's fast-rising stress levels. Doing her best to close off as much of the noise as she could, she concentrated on picking up what was left of her dignity scattered among the glass and lemon slices. She wasn't going to cry. Damn it. She totally wasn't.
When she reached for the largest piece, a hand beat her to it. She looked up into the brightest blue eyes she had ever seen. They were so clear she could almost see her reflection in them. She gasped when the tips of her fingers grazed the back of his hand.
"You don't have to do that," she said quickly, hating how shaky her voice had become. The corners of her eyes stung.
"You shouldn't be doing it either," he replied. "You could cut yourself."
"But it's my job," she insisted, reaching for a clump of cucumbers.
"To cut yourself?"
She pinned him with a withering glare. She'd had just about enough. Her day had to stop getting worse. Or she would explode. Or spiral into a deep, dark pit of despair. Either was bound to happen. She felt it like an itch under her skin.
The corners of his gorgeous eyes crinkled as he whispered, "To be honest, what just happened did me a huge favor." He glanced up and said loud enough for the girl still looming over them to hear, "It's just a little water, Amber. Calm down."
Didi would have laughed if she could have found it in herself to. He had just said the two worst words any guy could say to a clearly distressed female. Something about him being a jerk was yelled. She looked over her shoulder and witnessed pink pumps striding away. She would have breathed a sigh of relief if the stocky form of her manager hadn't been lumbering toward them.
"Mr. Parker, I'm so very sorry," he said.
Trust-Fund Brat stood up. Didi followed him with her eyes, because how could she not? Paying attention, she could make out the best details about him. Besides those eyes, his dark tousled hair was combed to one side. When he smiled at her manager and shook his hand, a hint of a dimple appeared. She was pretty sure the combination of navy sports jacket over a simple T-shirt, and khakis with leather loafers cost more than what she made at the club in an entire year. Add sparkles dancing in the air around him and he would cut a dazzling figure. Hell, it was like he had stepped out of a Ralph Lauren catalogue — all pressed and shiny.
"Don't worry about it, Tony," he said after pulling his hand away from the manager's grip. "Put everything on my tab."
It rubbed Didi the wrong way how he used his money to smooth things over. Sure, she couldn't afford paying for the glasses and the food that had already been ordered, but she didn't need someone like Mr. Parker coming to her rescue. Oh, why oh why had he picked her section to sit at today?
Impulsively she pushed to her feet and said, "That won't be necessary."
The corners of his eyes crinkled again. "Really. I'm happy to pay. What's two glasses and lunch? You can even keep the burger and salad." He leaned in, giving her a good whiff of his cologne — cool, clean, and crisp. Expensive. "You saved me. I owe you."
Like water from a burst pipe, words spewed out. "You don't owe me anything. I tripped because I was wearing the wrong shoes. I spilled the water on Ashley —"
"Amber," he corrected.
"Whatever." She huffed. "I'm done! My fault." She yanked off her name tag, threw it at Trust-Fund Brat, and stomped off in the direction of the staff locker room.
* * *
The country club sat on a hill overlooking the water. Boats of different sizes tugged against their moorings along the docks, waiting for their owners to take them out. The afternoon sun gleamed, giving the water a shimmer like golden confetti. The sky looked way too clear for the kind of drama Caleb had already been through.
After making sure Amber had left by asking one of the valets out front, he made his way to the limited-edition Mustang his grandmother had given him for his sixteenth birthday, parked in its slot facing the docks. Still in mint condition, it had been his grandfather's car. Given to him by the great Carroll Shelby himself. He would miss the car when he took his gap year, but it was a small price to pay for freedom.
He sat in the driver's seat, not intending to leave. Amber's shrill voice still rang in his ears. Tugging his phone out of his back pocket, he plugged it into the special jack on the dashboard. Then he opened the glove compartment and grabbed a small plastic bag containing a joint and a lighter. He glanced around.
The parking lot looked empty, but considering his luck today, he didn't want to risk adding an arrest for possession with intent to use to his worries.
Slipping the joint and the lighter into his pocket, he left the baggie on the passenger seat and got out of the car. He knew the best place to get high.
Coward's Cliff. It stretched out over the water and was accessible by a path that began at the edge of the parking lot. The stand of trees gave the perfect cover. As kids, he and his friends used to dare one another to jump off. It wasn't too far from the road, but it was secluded enough that a passing cop wouldn't see him from the road.
Caleb ambled down the grassy path, keeping his stride leisurely, hands in his pockets. As far as anyone who saw him was concerned, he was out on an after-lunch stroll, enjoying the rest of the beautiful day. Once he made it to the shelter of the cliff, he fished out the joint and lighter.
Squeezing one end between his lips, he lit the other and inhaled. Holding his breath for a beat, he allowed the magic to work before exhaling in one long, satisfied puff. The smoke curled up in lazy tendrils. He sagged against a tree, tucking the lighter back into his pocket and keeping his hand there. His knuckles brushed against something metallic. The name tag. The waitress. A grin pulled at the corner of his lips.
She'd made him forget himself for a minute. And that was saying something.
He silently thanked her — wherever she might be — for the entertainment and inadvertently saving him from having to face Amber after the tears had dried. Amber would lick her wounds and move on to someone else. There were far richer eligible bachelors for her to latch onto in Dodge Cove. Maybe their breakup this early was a good thing. Now he could concentrate on the trip. Nathan already had most of the itinerary planned out. They had been talking about this trip since he proposed it at the start of the year.
After he'd taken a third hit, a hand snatched away the only thing relaxing him. Caleb straightened as fast as he could under the mellow circumstances. The protest died in his throat.
Pinching the joint between her thumb and index finger, Diana brought it to her lips and sucked in a lungful. Maybe it was the weed working or the shock of her sudden appearance, but he couldn't take his eyes off her mouth. The soft whoosh of her exhalation mesmerized him. The way her lips formed an O? Check his pulse, he might have just died.
"Hey," she said in a breathy voice, then took another hit. She still wore the country club's uniform and those ugly boots.
"Hey," he said back, unable to think of anything better until, "Quit hogging my high." Not the best line either. He blamed it on the brain-dulling substance he had been inhaling.
With a huff for a laugh, she handed him back the joint. The idea of returning it to his lips when it had just been on hers made him suddenly very aware of her. The curve of her bottom lip. The upward tilt of her eyes. The long column of her neck. Her citrusy sweet scent.
"Whoa!" He inhaled, eyes wide. "This is some strong shit."
She settled beside him against the tree. Their shoulders touched. "I've had stronger."
"Oh yeah?" came out with an exhale of smoke.
"Yeah." She reached for the joint, and he willingly handed it to her just so he could watch her bring the end to her mouth again.
He thought of something to say and came up with, "Diana."
Her name. Just her name. It sounded so good to his ears for some reason. Yup, his brain wasn't working properly anymore. He reached into his pocket again when she turned her head to face him, the joint still on her lips, and returned the name tag she had thrown at him.
"They call me Didi," she said, running her thumb over her name. "I guess I don't need this anymore."
"Who are 'they'?" He took the joint back, the knuckle of his index finger grazing the corner of her mouth.
She shrugged one shoulder — the one with the braid — then looked out onto the confetti water. "Can you see the future?"
"No. Can you?" He played along, not willing to overthink the sudden bizarre turn in their conversation. He was content to float in her company without actually leaving the ground.
"No matter how hard I look, I just can't see it."
Before he could ask what she meant or anything else about her, the girl they all called Didi pushed off the tree she leaned on, walked up to the cliff's edge, and jumped.
It took a couple of seconds for Caleb's brain to catch up with what had just happened. His heart dropped. Then just as fast, it leapt into his throat. He dropped the joint and toed off his shoes. Removing the jacket, he ran toward the edge and dove in after her, like an Olympian going for gold.CHAPTER 2
SOMETHING HAD TO give.
The instant she took the leap she felt the pendulum swing up.
Best. Decision. Ever.
She loved the wind rushing against her skin and through her hair. She caught herself thinking this was what flying must feel like. The freedom. The weightlessness. Until wham! She slammed feetfirst into the water. The shock took her aback. But there was no stopping now. A grin stretched her lips as her body sank. The coolness banished the stifling heat in her blood. Most people would have fought hard to break through to the surface. She wasn't most people.
Breath left her body in tiny bubbles. The salt water stung her eyes like tears. She struggled to keep them open, blinking often. What little of the sky she could make out grew farther and farther away.
Excerpted from No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista. Copyright © 2016 Kate Evangelista. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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