Home > Just One Summer (Castleton Hearts #7)

Just One Summer (Castleton Hearts #7)
Author: Chelsea M. Cameron


About Just One Summer



Hayden Lindsey expects to spend lots of time at the beach and with her cousin Piper when she temporarily moves in with her in Castleton, Maine. What she doesn’t expect is to bump into Alessi Mason at the bakery and fight her for the last cinnamon roll. The girl she used to spend every summer in Castleton with is all grown up and she probably doesn’t even remember the last time they saw each other and that kiss they shared when they were kids.

Hayden doesn’t think about it either. Much.

But now is no time for thinking about past kisses. Hayden is only in Castleton to get on her feet and figure out how to balance her accounting job and her online tie-dye shop. A romance with Alessi is the last thing on her mind.

That is, until Alessi is in a bind and Hayden comes to the rescue and that little spark Hayden felt during the kiss? Well, now it’s an inferno, and she isn’t the only one who feels it. Alessi has her own complications, and a relationship is the last thing she needs.

Alas, chemistry sometimes has other plans. Will Hayden and Alessi give in to everything pulling them together, or will they let too many obstacles pull them apart?



Chapter One



“You’re in luck, that’s our last one,” the smiling server at the bakery said to the person in front of me. I’d been watching silly videos on my phone and hadn’t been paying attention, but I watched in horror as the server took the last caramel apple cinnamon roll and gently put it in a bag.

“Wait, is that the last one?” I blurted out in a panicked voice. I needed that cinnamon roll. That pastry was the main thing that got me out of bed this morning. I had built my entire morning routine around acquiring the cinnamon roll, eating it, and then kicking ass the rest of the day. Everything hinged on that roll.

“I’m so sorry, it is,” the server said as the person in front of me moved to the cash register. I closed my eyes and tried not to scream.

The person in front of me didn’t seem to have heard me. Maybe I could prevail upon their kindness? Castleton, Maine, was a friendly place, and I might not be a local, but people knew me. I’d spent nearly every summer of my youth here with my parents, getting sunburned at the beach, and eating too many ice cream bars.

I tapped the person on the shoulder, and they removed an earbud before turning around.

“Holy shit,” I said. “Alessi?”

I would have known her anywhere, even though we hadn’t seen each other since we were eleven. Her dark waves framed her face and I’d know those light denim-colored eyes anywhere. The freckle next to her left eye was still there.

“Hayden?” she said, shock in her voice. “Is that you?”

My hands almost ached to reach out and touch her, to see if she was real.

“Hayden? What are you doing here?” Someone cleared their throat next to me and I realized we were holding up the line.

“What can I get for you?” the server asked me loudly, probably trying to move me along.

“Well, I wanted a cinnamon roll,” I said, looking pointedly at the bag that sat on the counter in front of Alessi.

“Oh, that’s too bad,” she said, picking up the roll and then handing her card to the server. “Looks like I got the last one.”

I stared at her for a second.

“I’ll pay you for it,” I said. I refused to elaborate on why this cinnamon roll was so important at right this moment, but I didn’t care what it took. I needed it.

Another person made a frustrated noise and I pulled Alessi out of line as the server handed her card back. Everyone was staring at me, but that wasn’t my top concern.

“How much?” Alessi said, holding up the bag.

“Twice the price,” I said immediately.

“You’re going to pay me twice the price of this roll. It’s that important to you?” she said.

“Yes,” I said.

Alessi stared at me for a few seconds.

“How about we split it?” she said. “And you can tell me what you’re up to.”

I narrowed my eyes, because somehow that felt like a trap, but this was Alessi. I knew her, or at least I used to.

“Deal,” I said.

“Come on,” she said, and headed for the door.

“Wait, I need to get a coffee,” I said as she pushed through the door.

“We can stop at the café,” she said. It happened to be just down the street. I walked beside Alessi under the late August sun, barely believing that this was happening.

“How long have you been back?” I asked, but she shook her head, hair flying everywhere.

“Coffee first,” she said and held the door to the café open for me.

I joined the line and she didn’t seem all that curious about me, but I did catch her giving me a few sideways looks. I wondered what she saw. If I had changed from the clumsy kid with the big ears and the passion for staying inside and making collages when it rained. I hoped I’d grown into my ears at least.

I wondered if she remembered that last Fourth of July night we’d spent together. I sure as hell hadn’t forgotten, even though I’d tried to. Her family had literally picked up and moved away from Castleton the day after and I’d never seen her again. She hadn’t even said goodbye. I’d looked for her every summer after, but she was gone for good, and my emails to her went unanswered.

Finally, I reached the counter and ordered my usual iced coffee with vanilla syrup and cream from the barista, Blue.

“You got it, gorgeous,” Blue said, and I put a few extra bucks in the tip jar.

Alessi waited with me for my drink and I wondered what to do because there was absolutely no way of getting a table. The place was jammed with the end of the summer crowd, gig workers who didn’t have home offices, moms trying to amuse their kids and have a moment of peace, and bored teens who were probably ready to get back to school.

“Let’s get out of here,” Alessi said, leaning toward me. This place was as loud as a bar on a Saturday night.

I followed her out the door of the café and then across the street, and down an alley between two buildings to the huge downtown parking lot. That wouldn’t normally be a destination, but the parking lot was located right on the edge of a bay, where the air smelled sharply of salt, and several boats puttered along, going out to fish or on excursions.

Alessi sat on one of the picnic tables and patted the seat next to her. I swung my leg over the seat, and then there we were.

I watched as Alessi pulled out the cinnamon roll and cut it in half with a plastic knife.

“Pick your half,” she said, and I was thrown back in time. I wondered what the last food we’d shared was. Must have been that last night together. Maybe a serving of fries.

I selected what seemed like the bigger half and bit in, savoring the caramel and sugar and soft texture. The perfect cinnamon roll. Sweet’s hadn’t let me down, ever.

I didn’t even care if I had caramel frosting all over my face. Alessi had seen me with my face covered in frosting before.

“So,” I said, putting down the cinnamon roll so I didn’t try to inhale it all at once, “what the fuck are you doing here?”

“That question seems a little hostile, Sparrow,” she said, and I was glad I wasn’t eating, because the use of the nickname might have made me choke.

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