"This was such an awesome book, so enjoyable and great, and just fun to read, though there were some problems that the characters had to face! Can't wait to read more of this series!" -Louisa, Words I Write Crazy
Sloane Whitaker isn’t happy about moving to Texas. She loves living in New York City, can’t imagine starting over her senior year somewhere else, and misses her friends and family something fierce. Worst of all, it's all her fault. If she wants to earn her way back to the Big Apple, she has to prove she can still be the perfect daughter.
Which means no vandalism art, no trouble at school, and absolutely no Tru Dorsey, her serial screw-up, incredibly hot neighbor, who loves nothing more than pushing her buttons.
But from the moment he vaults onto the roof outside her bedroom, there is something about the irresistibly charming bad boy that makes her want to break every rule. Suddenly it's not the ten things she hates about Tru that are at the top of her list. It's the ten reasons she’s willing to risk her future to be with him.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains vandalism in the name of art, art in the name of love, and love for a boy too charming to ever hate.
The Sloane and Tru duology is best enjoyed in order.
#1: Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru
#2: Falling for the Girl Next Door
The Sloane and Tru duology is part of the larger, multi-authored Creative HeArts Series, which can be read out of order. If you loved Sloane and Tru's stories, you'll love the complete series set at Austin NextGen Academy, including:
#1 - Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru
#2 - How Willa Got Her Groove Back
#3 - Crazy, Stupid, Fauxmance
#4 - The Secret Life of a Dream Girl
#5 - Falling for the Girl Next Door
#6 - Weddings, Crushes, and Other Dramas
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru
A Creative Hearts Novel
By Tera Lynn Childs, Stacy Abrams
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Tera Lynn Childs
All rights reserved.
Back home, whenever I needed to think, I would climb out on the fire escape and listen to the sounds of the city. The mix of car alarms, angry horns, and screeching tires was like a lullaby, its chaotic energy soothing me better than chocolate, a hot bath, or a full-body massage ever could. New York City is the soundtrack of my life.
Austin is like a silent film.
Our new suburban neighborhood is unnervingly quiet. No car alarms, no angry horns, no screeching tires. No human sounds at all. Only the occasional dog barking and the irritating chirp of some kind of bug. I'm picturing giant grasshoppers.
No fire escape, either. Instead, I had to push an unopened box under my second story window so I could climb out onto the roof above the living room.
The sky is an unfamiliar shade of midnight, the kind of dark blue you see in pictures and paintings but almost never in Manhattan. My city always has a kind of glow. Easter-egg colored, like a protective bubble of light. This darkness is too vast, too unending.
But at least out here I can breathe.
Inside, with the house too full of boxes and too empty of people, with Mom at the kitchen table, finishing the paperwork to enroll me at Austin NextGen Academy in the morning, telling me how much I am going to love this new place, I was suffocating. My heart rate sped up, and I started to see spots at the edges of my vision.
Rather than pass out on the kitchen floor, I fled to my room and out into the night.
Everything is wrong here. Not just the quiet and the dark. My whole world is missing. No Dad, no Dylan, no Tash or Brice. None of the friends I've gone to school with for the last three years.
Starting over senior year is bad enough, but to do it halfway across the country and with no friends and only half my family? That's torture.
And the worst part is that it's all my own fault.
I may not have made the decision to uproot and start over — had, in fact, fought tooth and nail to stay in New York — but my actions led to The Plan, and for that I can never forgive myself. Mom and Dad may have put the nails in the coffin, but I handed them the hammer.
Before the panic spots return, I flip open the cover on my tablet and open up my favorite drawing app. When in doubt, create. Stylus in hand, I start sketching out the first cell of the next issue of Graphic Grrl.
This week, Graphic Grrl finds herself in the middle of an empty, desolate ghost town, surrounded by crumbling gray buildings, grasshoppers sporting six-shooters, and fields full of cows. She is about to face down a herd of aggressive tumbleweeds.
Okay, so I haven't actually seen a tumbleweed yet, but we've only been here a couple of days. They must be hiding somewhere.
When life gets too tough to handle, I retreat into Graphic Grrl. She's my alter ego, a better me in a world I can control. The best therapy technology can buy.
I lose myself in the art. Sketching in the initial shapes and actions. Refining and filling in with detail. I make sure everything in the first cell is perfect before saving it and moving on to the next one. When I'm done, I'll export them to my laptop so I can clean them up, finalize the line work, and add the color.
I've finished the first three sketches when my phone vibrates in my back pocket.
A name flashes across the screen: Tash.
I debate not replying. I'm not supposed to talk to her — or any of the other so-called "bad influences" in my life. We're not supposed to have any contact at all. It's one of the "Three Rules of Sloane Surviving to Legal Adulthood" that Mom and Dad laid out after The Incident.
That's not why I consider ignoring the text. Things have been strained between us since The Incident. We've only spoken a couple of times all summer, including when I texted her about the Texas plan.
But with so many miles between us — between me and my home — that all seems like a waste of energy. Tash has been my best friend for years. Despite everything that happened, I don't want to throw that away because I'm mad about one little thing — okay, two not-so-little things. I'll get over it. I always do.
Besides, at this point I'm desperate for contact with civilization.
I open my messaging app.
Tash: R u in redneck hell?
Tash: :( kept hoping shemonster would back out
Me: U n me both. She is 2 stubborn
Once Mom sets her mind to something, there's pretty much no stopping her. Even if it means splitting up her family and moving to the middle of nowhere.
Tash: Hows the house?
A million descriptions flash through my mind. Too big. Too empty. Too ... suburban.
Me: Boring, so cookie cutter
I never thought I would miss our brownstone on the Upper West Side. All my life I've wanted to live anywhere but — the Lower East Side, Williamsburg, Park Slope. Somewhere with more edge. More soul. More artistic heart.
But compared to suburban Austin, the Upper West Side is a freaking hippie commune.
At least the brownstone had personality. I miss the cool roughness of the exposed brick on the ground floor, the weird-shaped micro closet in my bedroom, and the ultra-creepy basement. The third step that sounds like a moaning ghost when you step on it just right. The way the upstairs windows rattle in the wind. Every corner had something unique to explore.
This place, with its uniformly plastered and painted walls, slab foundation, and spacious walk-in closet is too ... normal.
At least it's only a rental.
Tash: When duz school start
Tash: :( :( :(
Me: Ur telling me
Tash: SODA wont be same w/o u! Who will I sneak out w/ at lunch?
I almost reply, With Brice, but that wound is still too raw. Someday we'll laugh about it. Not today. Not when Tash will be walking through the doors of the School of Drama and Art next week, the same as we've done for the last three years, only this time without me at her side.
Me: U'll find some1
Tash never has a problem finding friends. Which is probably the only reason we're besties. For the most part, I'd rather be on my own. Other people tend to get complicated. See: Tash and Brice, relationship of.
I sigh. No use going down that path for the millionth time. I guess if I'm looking for a bright side to being 1,750 miles away (I looked it up — just in case I decide to walk home) it's that I won't have to see my best friend and my almost boyfriend play lovebirds before my eyes.
Me: Better go. Skule starts early
Tash: Miss u! xxxooo
Me: Miss u
As I slide my phone back into my pocket, my vision blurs. But I know it's not a panic attack this time. It's the realization that life is going on without me back in New York.
Not that I expected Tash's world to stop spinning. Nothing ever seems to derail her for long. I always knew that her days would go on like normal. I just didn't expect the thought to hurt this much.
"Get a grip, Whitaker," I tell myself.
It's not like self-pity is going to change anything.
No, the only thing that's going to fix my world is getting home to New York. The sooner the better. I just don't know how to convince Mom of that.
"Do all New Yorkers talk to themselves?" a teasing male voice calls out from the dark below.
I sit up a little straighter, peering into our yard and the light spilling from the kitchen.
There's no one there.
I sense movement from the corner of my eye and turn in time to see a boy climb onto the fence between our house and the neighbors'. I can barely make out his features in the glow from the window behind me. Tall, with tan skin and dark hair that falls to his shoulders in an artfully shaggy mess.
This must be the infamous Tru Dorsey.
Great. It's his mom's fault that I'm here right now.
Mom didn't choose Austin out of thin air. She's a native, born and bred until she went away to New York to attend Columbia Law.
Gramma and Gramps retired to Florida a few years ago, but she still has a lot of friends here, and Uncle Mason isn't too far away in Dallas.
Mrs. Dorsey is Mom's college BFF, and she and Mr. Dorsey own this house and like three others in the neighborhood. When she told Mom that the house next to theirs was available, Mom jumped on the chance to get me out of the city and away from my "bad influences" — her words, not mine.
When we arrived, we found the keys in an envelope under the doormat and a letter letting us know that the Dorseys were away on a last-fling-of-summer vacation.
Apparently they're back.
"Does every Austin-dweller invade their neighbor's privacy?" I return.
His face is a map of shadows and light, but I can clearly see the Asian influence of his mom's genetics. High cheekbones, thick slashing brows, a square jaw. The light catches a flash of white teeth from his smile.
"Actually," he says, not looking down as he walks without wobbling across the top of the fence toward me, "the proper term is Austinites."
I turn back to my tablet. "I can think of some other terms." "I'm wounded," he says. "You don't even know me."
I feel like I do. I've heard Mom talk a lot about Tru over the years, how he's such a disappointment and always in trouble. How Mrs. Dorsey is just heartbroken and doesn't know how to get through to him, to get him to take his future seriously.
After The Incident, Mom made plenty of comparisons between him and yours truly.
She also gave me an explicit warning to stay away from him.
Not that I need to be warned away from guys like Tru. All false smiles and pretty words, handsome enough to melt the hardest heart, and he knows it. Certain he can flatter or flirt his way out of anything. He and Brice have that in common. I got burned once, and now I carry a fire extinguisher with me at all times.
I focus on my sketching.
There is a scraping sound and then a grunt of effort. When I look toward the fence, he's gone.
For a second I wonder if he fell — and I probably would feel bad about it if he did — but then I see him hefting himself up over the end of the roof.
"What are you doing?" I hiss.
Tru pushes to his feet and walks confidently toward me. "Coming to meet the new neighbors."
"We have a front door."
"Front doors are so pedestrian," he says as he plops down next to me.
"Exactly," I say. "Meaning you're supposed to walk to them."
"But this makes our meet-cute so much more memorable."
"This is not a — "
"Sloane?" Mom's voice calls from the yard below. "Is that you? I heard footsteps on the roof."
Her hair appears past the edge of the roof, and I know she's walking out on the porch so she can turn around and look up. If she does, she'll see me sitting with Tru Dorsey, and my prison sentence will be upgraded to maximum security. I don't want to lose what little freedom I have left.
Without stopping to think, I reach over and push Tru down.
When he starts to say something, I slap my hand over his mouth.
"Just getting some air," I call down as Mom's face appears in the glow from the porch light.
She frowns. "Is that safe?"
"It's fine," I reply.
Considering how much I don't want to be here, she should be more concerned about the possibility of me jumping off the roof than falling. Tru chooses that moment to lick my palm.
"Eeeep!" I can't help but squeal as I yank my hand away.
"Sloane?!" Mom gasps.
"I'm fine," I grind out, throwing a quick glare at Tru, who is grinning like an idiot. I want to wipe my hand on my jeans — because gross — but I don't want to give him the satisfaction. "Just saw a spider."
"Have you unpacked yet?" she asks.
I picture my room full of boxes, the packing tape still intact. They are all neatly labeled — thanks to Mom — but inside they're disasters — thanks to me. I just can't bring myself to open them. It'll be like I've given up, given in. Like I'm admitting that we're actually in Texas, which I'm not.
"Some," I lie.
"Sloane ..." Her voice takes on that warning tone.
"Fine," I say. "Not yet."
She frowns. "You can't live out of a suitcase forever."
I don't say the retort that itches on my tongue because: points. If holding in my backtalk gets me home sooner, then I can manage.
"Be careful up there," Mom says. "And don't stay out all night. We need to get you to school early to finalize your enrollment."
She disappears back into the house.
What did I do to deserve this?
Oh right. Destroyed our family in "an act of wanton irresponsibility" and my "unwavering spiral into delinquency." Parents can be so melodramatic.
"Happy times with Mom," Tru mocks. "You're practically the Gilmore Girls."
At least he'd had the good sense to stay down. If Mom had seen him up here, I would have had to kill him. And I'm pretty sure cold-blooded murder is the final destination on my delinquency spiral.
I flick him a quick glare before punching him in the arm. "Get off my roof."
"Technically," he says, pushing to his feet, "it's my roof. Well, the old man's roof, anyway."
He walks without hesitation right down to the edge, right above the spot where, moments ago, Mom stood lecturing up at me. It's a miracle he doesn't fall off.
No, it's a miracle I don't push him off.
All I want to do is finish the initial sketches for my strip, unpack enough clothes to wear tomorrow, and then bury my head for eternity under the pillows on my hastily bought bed.
He reaches the edge of the roof, executes a left turn, and begins balance-beam walking along the edge. Whatever. If he falls off it's not my fault.
"Austin's not so bad," he says.
I don't look up. "Are you still here?"
"You'd miss me if I was gone."
"I don't even know you."
"Not yet," he says.
"Let's keep it that way."
"Admit it." He leans forward, places all of his weight on his left leg, and swings his right leg out over the porch, arms wide like a tightrope walker's pole. "You never met a charming stranger on your roof in New York."
I snort. Charming? He's about as charming as a subway rat.
"I thought it was your roof," I retort.
"It is," he says. "But I'm going to let you have it for a while."
My brow drops. "Why is that?"
"Because ..." he says again, drawing out the word. His face is a study in focus as he brings his right foot back in and places it behind his left. "You clearly need it more than I do right now."
I'm about to snort again when he squats low, swings his arms back, and then — in a blur of motion — flips over backward. My breath catches in my throat as he lands, then wobbles.
"Tru!" I gasp, tossing my tablet aside so I can rush to his rescue.
He starts laughing before I can even push to my feet. "Gotcha!"
As he stands up straight — and sure-footed — my tablet slides quickly down the sloped roof. I scramble for it, but it darts out of my reach. I watch, helpless, as it picks up speed.
Tru bends down and snatches it right before it sails over the edge.
My heart is pounding, and I don't know if I want to kill Tru or kiss him.
His mouth kicks into a cocky smile.
I hold out my hand as he treads back up the roof. He holds out my tablet, but as I reach for it, he pulls it out of my grasp.
Kill him. Definitely kill him.
"Tru ..." I say, hoping my voice sounds like the deadly warning that it is.
He holds the tablet out to the side.
"I think," he says, "that my daring rescue deserves a reward."
I choke out a stunned laugh. "A daring rescue that you caused."
"Hmmm." He waggles my tablet menacingly.
"Okay, okay," I relent. "What reward?"
Honest to God, if he asks for a kiss I'm pushing him off the roof. I don't care if Mom has a conniption or I go to jail for life. It will have been worth it.
"All I ask for" — he steps closer — "is a smile."
"A smile?" I echo. "You've got to be —" He lifts his brows.
"Fine," I say, forcing the corners of my mouth up into an imitation of a smile. I point at my face. "See, I'm smiling."
He immediately hands over my tablet. "Nice to meet you, Sloane Whitaker."
Excerpted from Ten Things Sloane Hates About Tru by Tera Lynn Childs, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2015 Tera Lynn Childs. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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