Pieces of Summer (A stand-alone novel)

By: C.M. Owens

Prologue



MIKA



To say it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all… Yeah, that’s bullshit. That’s what people who think they’ve been in love say. They probably do the whole shitty thing where they make beautiful poetry out of devastating heartbreak and make a tragedy sound like it restored a piece of their soul.

Fuck them. They don’t know what it’s like to have your heart ripped out, spit on, and crushed. There’s nothing beautiful or poetic about it. It’s raw, it’s painful, and it’s consuming, because you never stop thinking about it. You never stop regretting letting yourself get that close. That dull ache turns into a hollow void that never goes away.

That’s heartbreak.

You spend the rest of your life just wishing for a little more of it, anything to soothe the ache. Anything to remember how it felt to be loved so intensely that the world ceased to exist and everything revolved around the two of you. But you realize it’s not real. It’s not there. And that feeling you long for just taunts you for being a fool.

So fuck everyone who says it’s something beautiful. Fuck those who say love steals your breath or whatever. It doesn’t steal your breath.

It shatters your soul.





Chapter 1



MIKA



Summer… 12 years ago



“When I’m eighteen, I’ll be able to move here permanently,” I tell Chase, relaxing against him. “Then we’ll buy that old bowling alley you love so much, fix it up, and live happily ever after.”

“We’re sixteen now, so that’s not too long of a wait. Just two years. Then maybe we can actually be together instead of just killing time… waiting for summer,” he says on a sigh. “I can’t wait for the day we can just be together, Mika.”

Every summer, my parents have brought me and my brother to Hayden. It’s a small town with a beautiful lake in Georgia. It’s a stark contrast from our ranch in Montana, but Dad grew up here, and he never really let go of this town. In truth, he says Hayden never lets you go.

So now it’s our summer tradition.

Chase James became my summer tradition five years ago. What started off as an innocent friendship turned into so much more.

We’re lying on top of the roof, staring up at the stars like nothing else in the world matters. My mom and dad are off doing whatever it is they do on a random Monday night. My brother is probably off getting stoned or getting drunk at one of the local parties.

All I care about is where Chase is. And he’s holding me to him.

“I’ve been thinking,” Chase says, twirling a piece of my hair around his finger.

“About?”

“You and me. We only stay together during the summer, then we do our own thing during the rest of the year.”

Swallowing hard, I nod. Doing my own thing nearly cost me Chase when I told him about the boyfriend I had up until a few months ago. It starts to suck when you’re the only one not dating anyone because the only guy you really want is hundreds of miles away. However, Chase wasn’t so easy to convince that the feelings I had for Jared weren’t real… Especially when I told him how far I’d taken things with said ex-boyfriend.

That’s my fault. I let my mother get in my head with her “words of wisdom” about how Chase was here getting plenty on the side. It was his rule that we do our own thing during the school year. It made believing her easy, and I stupidly lashed out at him when he hadn’t even done anything wrong.

I’ll never listen to her again. I’ll never let her in my head again.

“What if we didn’t do our own thing anymore?” he asks, bringing me out of my regretful thoughts and sitting up so he can lean over me.

His blue eyes are nothing but dark shadows with the moonlight behind him.

“How would that work? You don’t even have a phone.”

I wince when I realize how shitty that just sounded, as though I’m pointing out he’s not from a family with money. Fortunately, he doesn’t seem bothered by the benign comment.

“What if we just promised each other we’d be loyal until the next summer?” he asks quietly. “Would you do that? Just wait for me?”

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