Seventeen-year-old Claire Collins has a plan: get into college and leave North Carolina behind. What she doesn’t have is an idea for how to get rid of the local football star and womanizer extraordinaireAdam Meade, who she can’t even avoid (despite many efforts), because Claire’s dad is the high school football coach.
Seventeen-year-old Adam Meade never fails. He always gets what he wants . . . until he meets Claire, the new girl who leaves him unnerved, pissed off, and confused. But there’s something about her that he just can’t resist . . .
Praise for Surviving Adam Meade:
"Fans of Sarah Dessen will enjoy this. Recommended for general purchase where teens can't get enough of light romance." School Library Journal
“The humor and wit is clever, the relationships ring true, and the emotions are deep.” 4thPowerMama, reader on SwoonReads.com
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I should've negotiated better.
My shoulders burned beneath the North Carolina sun, the heat contrasting cold water at my feet. Mud stirred beneath my tennis shoes, soaking the black mesh fabric. I was supposed to be today's team manager, but I was more like a muck-covered version of Cinderella.
"Claire, we need those!" my dad called.
I lifted my attention and spotted him walking down the sideline, pointing at a pair of water bottles thrown near the field. Great, now there were two more bottles to fill. Yay. Perfect. Exactly what I hoped.
"Get them in a sec," I answered, annoyed by the never-ending water bottle shortage.
A whistle blew, stopping all movement on the field. Third water break in an hour. It was like my dad wanted me to be miserable.
My pulse quickened as football players, their jerseys soaked with sweat, swarmed the water like mosquitoes. A hulking lineman snatched the water hose from me and let the water flow across his tanned chin. He smelled like onions and dirt, a stench strong enough to make my eyes water. This was a million times worse than the usual crusty-gym-shorts-and-soggy-cleats scent my brother, Case, wore. And the lineman wasn't the only one. I was surrounded by a crowd of guys who smelled like butt.
I tried to filter my breathing through the damp collar of my T-shirt, but there was nowhere to breathe. I could taste their odor on my tongue, drowning me with no escape.
"Claire!" my dad hollered, his voice carrying across the field. Silver keys glistened in his hand.
Oh, thank goodness. I jogged across the grass, sweat beading my forehead as I stopped in front of him. Without hesitating, I reached for the keys.
"Not so fast," he said, raising them out of reach. "I haven't told you what I need."
"Let me guess," I answered, sighing as I put my hands on my hips. "More water bottles? Towels? Air freshener for your team of guys with foul-smelling pits?"
"How did you know?!"
I glared at him, and he laughed, his teeth flashing white against tanned skin. He'd be a warm golden brown by the end of the day, and I'd look like a strawberry. Unfortunately, the tanning genes weren't ones I inherited.
"Wow," he said, maintaining a grin. "You look just like your mom when you do that."
"I look like Mom ninety percent of the time." I glanced at the keys again, then him. "Can I go now?"
"For a little bit," he answered. "It's your lunch break. Grab some food, don't wreck my truck, and we'll discuss the terms of our negotiation when you get back."
He handed me the keys. I took them gladly.
"The terms were already negotiated," I reminded him, spinning the key ring on my finger. "Two days grueling manual labor in exchange for a weekend trip to Baker Heights. We shook on it. It's too late to change your mind."
No. There wasn't a we'll see. I needed a trip home like I needed air. This was a matter of survival — social survival. One way or another, I was going to Baker Heights.
"You'd better hurry before they empty all the water bottles," he commented, deflecting my attention.
"They keep flying through water bottles, and you'll be at the next city council meeting explaining how those guys drank the town out of water," I answered.
"Pader is small, but I'm pretty sure there's enough water to last us a practice," he said.
"Well, I hope you're wrong."
His mouth twitched at the corners. "If I'm wrong, I'll blame you for wasting all that high-quality h-two-o."
"You'd throw your daughter under the bus? Thanks, Dad."
"Anytime." He chuckled and pointed at a gap in the fence. My exit. "You should head out," he said. "Can't promise you'll get another opportunity to grab food. You're cranky when you're hungry."
"That's a personality trait I got from you."
"Really?" He tilted his head, the crinkled corners of his eyes barely visible beneath dark sunglasses. "Fine," he answered. "No lunch for you."
"No!" I tucked the keys into my pocket for safekeeping. "I have to get away from here. Those guys reek. We're talking a five-out-of-five odor ranking. I'm nauseous just thinking about it."
He looked at the sideline. "They can't smell any worse than your brother."
"Oh, but they do," I answered.
My eyes narrowed as I glanced at the sweaty team. Most of them were squirting the contents of my freshly filled water bottles on their heads. All my hard work was going down the drain, again.
"That's why there's water everywhere," I said. "Could you tell them this isn't a shampoo commercial? The water should be in their mouths, not on their heads."
"To be fair, it's hot out."
"Does it look like I'm concerned with the temperature?"
He frowned at me, but I ignored him. The summer heat didn't give them an excuse to waste water, or my time.
"That's a little inconsiderate," he said.
"Doesn't mean it isn't true," I answered. I tapped my tennis shoe against the grass. It squished from the water soaked through my soles. "And I'm not the only one who's inconsiderate. One of your linemen stole the water hose from me. He was lucky he didn't get bit."
"Football players never bugged you before."
"Because I used to like them," I answered. His face softened, and I looked away. "I don't want to talk about football players. I want to suffer through this practice, get my trip home, and be done."
"You could try looking on the bright side of things," he said. I stared at him, confused, and he shrugged. "This is grade-A bonding time with your dad."
"I'd rather be home watching TV." I turned, spotting the opening in the fence. "I'm going to lunch. I'll be back around one."
"You can break until one thirty," he replied, "but grab sunblock. I don't want your mom griping at me when you come home sunburned. While you're out, you can also grab a Pader High hat from my office. Should keep the sun off your face."
"I hate hats," I groaned.
"I hate getting in trouble with your mom." He blew the whistle, and I jumped at its shrill cry. "Grab the hat and contribute to my happiness. Okay?"
"Give me your credit card and contribute to my happiness," I replied.
"Uh, wasn't born yesterday." He pointed a wooden clipboard in the direction of the tackling dummies. The players dropped the water bottles and sprinted across the field. "I need to get out there. Take the hat and be thankful."
"I have a Baker Heights hat at the house. I'll grab that one instead."
His smiled faded to a frown. "Don't be difficult, please."
"I'm not, but I'm not wearing a Pader High hat, either."
He shook his head, his shoulders stiff as he crossed the field. He could be frustrated with me, but I still had a point.
Truth was, I should've been in Baker Heights, enjoying the remainder of my summer and looking forward to my last year of high school. I was supposed to be on the lake, waterskiing and slumming it up with my friends. Yet here I was — football team flunky for the day. I left practice, headed for the field house two streets over. The smell of freshly cut grass hung in the air outside the high school, while echoes of the football team mixed with the slam of car doors. Teachers hauled boxes into the school, prepping for the students' return. Week one would be here soon enough. The realization made my pulse race. This wasn't my first time at a new school, but senior year wasn't the time to start over. I wasn't ready to endure the dreaded new-girl effect, when I didn't want to be here in the first place.
"Hey, water girl!" a guy said, his voice coming from the direction of the field.
Confused, I turned. I wasn't the water girl, but I was the only non–faculty member outside the school.
Outfitted in white practice pants and a telltale red jersey, a football player jogged across the road. Red meant one thing — quarterback status. Despite his helmet-hidden face, I knew his name. Adam Meade. Pader High's quarterback extraordinaire. He was my dad's constant conversation topic, the player colleges were always calling about, and what I understood to be the best thing since sliced bread.
I motioned at myself as Adam stopped in front of me. "I'm Claire. I'm not the water girl."
"You get the water, therefore you're the water girl." He handed me a key and nodded toward the field house. "Coach wants you to bring the Gator when you come back. You need that to turn it on."
"Did he say why he needs it?" I asked, spotting the sports vehicle parked beside the field house.
"Nope. He just said he needs you to bring it."
I pocketed the key, and Adam shifted the weight on his feet, his light eyes surveying me from behind the metal facemask.
"Does he need anything else?" I asked.
"He doesn't. I do." I quirked an eyebrow, and Adam shrugged. "We need ice. The last water girl was always good about bringing a cooler to the field, but there isn't one out there. Get on her level, or you'll be replaced."
Replaced?! I stared at him, my blood boiling. I wouldn't bring him ice. I'd bring him a special water bottle filled with the tears of my enemies.
He turned and jogged back to the field, leaving me dumbfounded as I tried to pull my jaw from the ground. Adam may be the quarterback, but I wasn't a pushover. If he wanted to piss me off, he could deal with the consequences.
* * *
"You're a sight for sore eyes."
A cool breeze swept across my mom's floral shop, carrying the smell of fresh paint and cardboard boxes. Being inside was a welcome change, but the longer I stood beneath the air-conditioner vents the more I dreaded going back to the field.
My mom moved behind the counter, her dark hair tossed into a messy ponytail and her gray T-shirt damp with sweat. The bags under her eyes and streaks of dust on her cheeks told me one thing — she was exhausted. She worked long hours trying to get this place ready to open, and it looked like she was finally making progress.
"You've gotten a lot done," I said.
She leaned against the counter and smiled. "Been here since seven. Finished painting, then started on the candle display. What do you think?" I glanced at the long row of narrow wooden shelves near the door. They were filled floor-to-ceiling with cylindrical candles of every variety and looked like every other candle display. It wasn't bad. Mediocre.
"I like it if you like it," I told her, forcing a smile as I pushed a wayward strand of hair behind my ear. "Speaking of what I like, I'd like to borrow the car when I go to Baker Heights."
"You share the car with Case," she replied. "You need to talk to him about taking it to another state."
"But I'm the oldest! I'm immune from asking Case to borrow anything."
"Sorry. That's not how life works." She grabbed a box from the floor and hauled it onto the counter. "Will you put that up?" she asked, pointing at a vase near the register. "There's a spot over there where it'll be safe."
Vase in hand, I sulked to the far wall where the rest of the vases sat. "Can't we skip the sibling rules for once?" I said. "You purchased the car. You have final say."
She pulled a set of gift tags from the box and placed them on the counter. "If I give you permission without mentioning it to him, he'll say I played favorites. I'm not getting stuck in the middle."
"Stupid little brothers."
"You'd do the same thing." She slid the tags toward the register and lifted her gaze. "What time are you supposed to be back at practice? I doubt you're done for the day."
"One thirty," I answered.
"And how is it going?"
"Awful. The guys smell so bad flies won't even go near them."
I faked a gag, and she grinned. "Any cute ones that don't smell bad?"
"Nope." I returned to the counter and leaned against it, arms crossed. "And it doesn't really matter if they're cute. Football players are off my radar. Remember?"
"You've spent two days at the field. I thought you might have changed your mind."
"My mind isn't changing," I answered. "After today, I'm done. No Friday night games. No pep rallies. Nothing."
"What about cheerleading?"
"Nothing," I repeated. "I plan on spending the season at home. We're talking Friday nights full of reality shows and food. Who knows, maybe I'll decide to toss on a mud mask and paint my nails. The goal is total relaxation. If you want to skip the games, you're more than welcome to join me."
"I can't do that, and you won't either," she argued. "Football is in your blood. Pretending you don't care won't make it go away. Watch. You'll be on the sidelines of every game, and I'll be there to say I told you so."
"It isn't going to happen."
Her grin faded. I knew what she was thinking, and I didn't feel like having that conversation again. Once was more than enough.
"I need to head out," I said. "If I'm late, Dad will give me a more annoying job than water girl. Which, by the way, is the worst job on the planet."
"You used to like filling bottles."
"I used to like a lot of things." My chest tightened, and I swallowed emotions swelling in my throat. "I've got to go."
I reached the door but didn't make it all the way through before my mom said, "Give Pader a fair shot, and you can borrow the car for your trip to Baker Heights."
"Excuse me?" I shifted my gaze to her, meeting eyes the same shade of blue as mine. "What do you mean give it a fair shot?"
"I mean get involved," she answered. "Be nice to people. Find friends. You don't have to love it here, but give it a try."
"And I'll get a car for my efforts?"
"You'll get the car for your trip," she said.
I crossed the shop and stopped in front of the counter. I couldn't promise to be prom queen, but I could force a smile and fake it until my mom believed it was real.
"I'll try to like this place, and you'll let me borrow the car," I said, shaking her hand. "You've got yourself a deal."CHAPTER 2
Itching for War
Freshly waxed tile squeaked beneath my tennis shoes, muffled by banging locker doors and voices of students I didn't know. All morning I'd been a fish in a fishbowl, stared at and wondered about. It was the dreaded new-girl effect, but I was over it. The day couldn't end soon enough.
I sipped from a water bottle as I searched for Case's locker in Junior Hall. Today would've marked the first day of my final year at Baker Heights. My friends would be walking the halls with me, talking about cheer practice or making plans to hit Sonic after school. Seth would be there, too.
Seth. I sucked in a breath and tried to swallow the knot in my throat.
Where was Case? I scanned the hallway for my little brother. Before I could find him, someone backed into me. A backpack collided with my hand, and my water bottle splashed to the floor.
"Sorry, sweetheart," a guy said, flashing me a smile as he backed away.
He was taller than Case, maybe six one or six two, with light eyes, dark hair, and a perfect face. He continued down the hall, chatting with a blond girl instead of helping me with the mess.
"I was drinking that!" I said. "But it's cool. The tile looked like it needed it more than I did."
The guy gave me a thumbs-up over his shoulder and carried on.
"Jerk," I grumbled.
"Saw what you did there," Case said, coming to a stop beside me. "Congrats. Your comebacks are the stuff of legends."
"I'm already mad. Drop the sarcasm, okay?" I grabbed the water bottle and hurled it into the nearest trash can.
"That's the I'm-gonna-hurt-someone walk," Case said, following me through the hall. "Should I go to class or stay here and reel in your attitude?"
"My attitude isn't my fault."
"It's not." I pointed at the idiot in front of us. "Blame that guy. He just left the mess. Didn't even get me a paper towel. What happens when someone falls in the puddle and breaks their leg? That's on me."
"Tell a janitor," Case answered. I scowled at him. "Okay, I'll tell a janitor."
"Thanks." I searched for the cafeteria entrance and came up empty. "I don't know about this," I said, giving up. "These people are rude, and I don't like this school. I want to go home."
Case positioned himself in front of me. He was a massive roadblock in a graphic tee and faded jeans. "Okay," he answered. "First off, you are home. Second, you don't like this school because you don't know it. Third, these people are nice." He gave a high five to a passing guy and shot me a pointed look. "See. Making friends already."
"Yeah, because you're an athlete and a guy. It's easier for you."
"It would be easy for you, too, if you'd try."
"I am trying." He pursed his lips, and I rubbed the back of my neck. "Okay, that was a lie," I said. "I just don't see the point. It's my last year of high school. Why waste the effort?" "Because it's worth the effort."
"For you," I said. "You've got another year here, unless Dad decides to take a different job. Who knows, maybe you'll get to start over your senior year, too."
The bell rang, and Case glanced at the clock beside the library. "Great," he muttered. "I'm late. This is your fault."
"Well, you always make me late. It's time I returned the favor."
"I don't make you late."
"Right." I nodded. "You just take forty-five-minute showers and use all the hot water."
"Got to get my luscious locks fully conditioned," he answered, raking a hand through his brown hair. "It takes time."
"Well, you and your luscious locks are about to miss fifth period. Dad's going to be pissed when I tell him."
"You shouldn't threaten people who know where you sleep," he said, frowning as he shifted his weight.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Surviving Adam Meade"
Copyright © 2018 Shannon Klare.
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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Water Girl,
2. Itching for War,
5. Tales of Tofu,
7. Hit On,
8. Keep It Simple,
10. The Truth,
15. I'm Here,
17. Thank You,
24. The End,
About the Author,