YA fans have been buzzing about Huntley Fitzpatrick‘s upcoming The Boy Most Likely To, a companion to 2012’s My Life Next Door. It’s the story of unlikely couple Tim and Alice. Tim partied hard — way too hard. And Alice certainly isn’t the type to fall for her little brother’s messed up best friend. But you know how these things go … Let’s check out an excerpt, shall we?
“Hot fake leather! Hot fake leather! I forgot to leave a towel on the seat,” Alice says after sliding into the driver’s side. “Holy! I never forget to do that.”
“You were probably distracted by my hard, manly body.” I stretch into the backseat for a towel and toss it to her. She misses the catch, fumbles for it, crams it beneath her. Then turns to face me. Presses her lips together, sets her jaw, bracing herself. I wait for her to blast me for something—like she can read my mind and knows every little nook and cranny it’s gone to in the last two hours.
Pucker between her brows now. Her eyes move over my face.
“What?” I ask again, reaching up to rub my chin self-consciously. I haven’t shaved.
Still frowning, she rests her index finger between my eyebrows, brushes away the worry lines.
Then she wraps one arm around my waist, sets her fingers at the back of my neck to pull my head down. She touches her tongue to my bottom lip, and then opens her mouth. Tastes like salty ocean and sweet birthday cake and everything I’ve ever blown out candles and wished for.
I kiss her back, skim one thumb slowly down her spine, the other hand hesitating at her waist for only one inhale before I press my palm hard against her soft skin, turn her to face me more fully, pull her all the way into my lap, bend all I have into all of her.
We’re in a Volkswagen and I’m six three. The fine German engineering of the People’s Car was not engineered for this.
Still, there’s no freaking way I’m gonna stop and request a more comfortable situation. Even if my legs are wedged under the glove compartment and my rib cage is about to be cracked by the gearshift.
“What am I doing with you?” Alice whispers, sliding her hands up my back. “This is crazy,” she says, shifting her hips to accommodate me. “You’re a kid.”
“I’m no kid. And you know it.” I move my lips behind her ear, along her throat, her neck, lower. Then slip one hand very slowly, tips of my fingers, edge of my thumb under the triangle of her suit.
God, God, God.
There we are in a tiny car with the windows down in a public parking lot and you’d think sanity would stop us, but nothing does.
I pluck the strap of her halter top to the side.
Drop my mouth to her collarbone where the strap has left a small red indentation.
Her hands on me, my lips on her, her fingers tightening, my breath catching.
Hers coming in these little puffs of air, hot against me.
I edge one hand down to touch the lever to recline the seat back and instead it folds around this thing, this loop of plastic and squish of rubber that I don’t immediately identify until I get it—a pacifier. For a baby.
In this case, Patsy, but . . .
Alice will hate herself, and me. Why did this have to happen now?
“This is . . . probably not a good idea.”
“Hmm?” She’s kissing my collarbone, her palm flat against my chest, over my heart.
She looks up.
“We need to cool off here,” I tell her. Now I have to discover my inner maturity?
Her eyes are hazy. “We do?”
“Right, you’re right,” she says, sliding off my lap back into the driver’s seat. I’m abruptly cold without her heat. Her head’s bowed and I bend over to kiss her forehead.
“In case it wasn’t obvious, I didn’t want to stop.”
“Uh-huh,” she says, still looking down.
“Alice. Look at me.”
She slowly raises her head and swallows. All shimmery eyes and wild hair and every kind of gorgeous. Then holds up a hand, stopping anything I might say.
“Give me a second.”
Reaches into the back of the car for a sweatshirt, pulls it on like armor, rests the flat of her hand over her eyes for a beat of my heart. Then another.
Then she turns her keys in the ignition, looks over her shoulder, and peels out of the parking lot so fast, rubber would burn if the drive weren’t made of broken clamshells. As it is, shells fly.
We don’t say a word the entire ride back. Tim opens his window all the way, tips his head out, drums his fingers on the dashboard. I can only see his profile, and not much of that.
My legs are shaking, like I’ve run miles, breath hard to scrape out of my lungs, my toes tingling as if coming back from numbness. Probably true, they were so tightly curled before. When I reach over to shift gears, my hand trembles a little. I stop to get gas and he pulls up the parking brake, his thumb slipping along my calf as he does so.
He looks down at my leg for a moment, swallows, his Adam’s apple visibly bobbing.
“There’s something I think—I know—I should tell you. But first, I’ve got to know. What was that?” he asks in a low voice.
“What was what?” I scribble my name on the receipt and hand the card back to the gas station guy, turn the car out onto the main road.
Tim jerks his thumb over his shoulder, indicating the beach we’ve driven away from. “You know. Are you, like, toying with me, Alice? Just be straight up, if that’s what this is.”
I hate that he’s so much taller than I am, the top of his head brushing the roof of the car.
“I’m not toying with you,” I say, pulling up to a red light. “God. Like I do that.”
Tim meets my eyes.
“Fine. I do that. But I’m not doing that now. At least”—I put my head in my hands—“I don’t know what I’m doing. But it’s not toying, like a cat with a mouse. Or whatever.”
“So this is . . . what? Sample dating? Even though I screwed up our first? Temporary insanity? I don’t know what this is.”
“I don’t know either,” I say, looking at him. “Besides . . . you’re the one who got smart and put the brakes on.” My voice sounds hurt, and I hate that.
“I didn’t want to. You had to know that. It couldn’t have been more obvious. But . . .”
I wave one hand at him, brushing it off, him away. “Whatever. It doesn’t matter.”
I flick my hand at him again, trying to regain myself, shift back into Tin Alice, the girl with no heart.
“Alice. Don’t whatever me. It matters. Could you look at me, for Chrissake?”
“I’m driving. Have to focus.”
I drive down the main street of Stony Bay, around the roundabout shaped like a lighthouse, then out onto the straightaway without looking at him again. But, just as we get to our road, I reach out my hand, palm up, and after a pause, he slides his big warm hand into mine, squeezes. Holds on.
When I pull into the driveway and finally sneak a look, he’s drumming on the other leg with one thumb. I turn to him.
“Look, Tim. What if we just try—”
“Alice. There’s something important I’ve got to tell you—”
He breaks off, stares over at the garage apartment.
“Oh, fuck me.”
The Boy Most Likely To will be avaialble in stores and online this August! In the meantime, why not check out some other Young Adult love stories here?