Black Ice by Becca FitzpatrickBlack Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Black Ice

byBecca Fitzpatrick

Hardcover | October 7, 2014

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about

Danger is hard to resist in this sexy thriller from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.

Britt Pheiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

Britt is forced to guide the men off the mountain, and knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there…and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.

But nothing is as it seems, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?

Black Ice is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous…
Becca Fitzpatrick received a degree in community health from Brigham Young University in 2001. After graduating, she worked as a secretary/teacher/accountant at an alternative high school in Provo, Utah. She took a writing class in 2003. Her first book, Hush, Hush, was published in 2009 and debuted as a New York Times bestseller. She i...
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Title:Black IceFormat:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.2 inPublished:October 7, 2014Publisher:Simon & Schuster Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442474262

ISBN - 13:9781442474260

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from THRILLING & SUSPENSEFUL If you're debating whether or not to pick this book up - just do it. You won't regret it.
Date published: 2017-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Icy thriller with a burning romance I bought this book because I was a fan of Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush Hush series and she did not disappoint with this book! It was an icy thriller with a burning romance, and ultimately a story about survival and self-reliance. I really liked how Britt became more capable and sure of herself as the book went on, and how Mason didn’t treat her like a helpless damsel even though they were stranded on a freezing mountain. Awesome read for the author’s first stand-alone novel!
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING AS ALWAYS! Yet another amazing book by Becca! I finished it the day I bought it because I couldn't put it down! I love the relationship between the main characters, you could feel their passion for each other! Totally recommend this book!
Date published: 2017-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent thriller I am very impressed by this thriller. One of my students recommended that I read it and I am so glad I did. The thriller follows a captivating plot that kept me turning the page. I read the entire novel in one sitting.
Date published: 2017-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV I love this book so much, idek why, the story isn't great, the characters are annoying, but i loved it so much
Date published: 2017-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MINDBLOWING I love books that have danger and suspense. The author had me completely under her spell with this one. I couldn't, WOULDN'T stop reading. It was amazing to go through the traumatic journey with Britt.
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Must Read! I first picked it up at the library and instantly fell in love, so much that I had to buy my own copy from Indigo! A definite must-read! Just did a book review on it for my high school class! 10/10! Would definately reccommend this to anyone!
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVED IT! Not something I would normally pick up but my friend told me that I would enjoy it. It definitely kept me on my toes and I wasn't sure what was going to happen. Such a good read, I would recommend this book especially for a book club.
Date published: 2017-02-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unexpectedly loved it! Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick was a somewhat surprisingly, enjoyable read for me. I was familiar with her popular Hush, Hush series (still on my TBR) but having never read her, I didn’t have any expectations. I was actually a bit nervous of how that shift from urban fantasy to contemporary went for her. Fitzpatrick understands the contemporary genre really well. I’m not a big contemporary reader, so becoming a new fan of Fitzpatrick through Black Ice was a big thing for me. I don’t know when I’ll get to her Hush, Hush series, but I will be making time for her recent release, Dangerous Lies. In Black Ice, the main character is Britt Pheiffer and I took an instant liking to her. She’s been training for a hiking trip to the Teton Range with her best friend for the past year. Things take a turn for the worst when the two of them get lost in a major snowstorm and are forced to shelter in a cabin with two dangerous strangers. Britt also needs to watch out for the serial killer, who may or may not be involved with these strangers. The mystery surrounding the serial killer was well-played; I didn’t figure it out until very close to the end – and I’m great at figuring out those things! The entire survival aspect, and Britt needing to rely on what she’s learned in the past year was well-researched. I’d without a doubt recommend this thrilling novel!
Date published: 2017-02-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intriguing.... Black Ice is one of those books that gives you just enough to intrigue, with its hints of suspense and romance. When the increasing tension mounts and dark twists begin to show themselves , it grabs you like a cold hand and doesn't let go. I was pleasantly surprised by how much this story grabbed my attention.
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thrilling! This book had me up reading until all hours of the night. It constantly keeps you on your toes and makes you feel like you're in the book at some points. I've given this book to a few friends to read. I loved it!
Date published: 2017-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing By far one of her most exciting books. As much as I loved the hush hush saga this book was nothing compared to that I simply could not put it down it left me wanting for more. I spent so much time stuck to this book. It is work the sleepless nights.
Date published: 2017-01-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Thrill of a Book! Black Ice was an adventure all in itself. From the moment you start reading until the moment you finish, you change with the characters in the book. You get consumed into the story-line and feel cold while doing so. What I loved about this book is the way it holds your attention the entire way through. I strongly recommend reading it!
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing one night read! I love it and you will have to read it in one sitting because Becca gets you hooked and you want to know what happens. Definitely recommended! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Won't be able to put it down! Once you start reading this book, you are instantly hooked. I read the whole book in one sitting. Couldn't put it down even if I tried. Very impressed.
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Glad I Gave it a Shot I'm glad I gave this book a try. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and very disappointing in myself when i realized I missed all the clues about who the murderer was.
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best YA thriller i've read in a while! After reading the 'Hush Hush' series, I was skeptical about reading another Becca Fitzpatrick book because it was not all that good. I'm so glad I gave her books another chance. 'Black Ice' is honestly the BEST Young Adult thriller I have EVER read. It was suspenseful, and so well written, and it kept me on my toes the entire time! I had NO clue who the murderer was going to be until the last second and just WOW!!! It was such a gripping novel, and I'm so happy to have been fortunate enough to read it.
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Book. Read this book in a couple sitting. Would recommend!
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Good Not an all time favourite but still a good read. Would recommend to anyone on the fence about it.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from enjoyed it I really did enjoy this book, I have always loved Becca Fitzpatrick writing and storytelling, i would buy what ever she writes
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a good book I received this book as a Christmas gift two years ago, so it wasn't one that I knew anything about. I didn't know what to excpect from it, but it looked intriguing, so I started reading it right away and couldn't put it down. I stayed up all night into the wee hours of the morning trying to finish. I eventually had to put it down to get some sleep. But I only got a few hours and was up bright and early and didn't even leave my bed I just grabbed the book and needed to finish it. It was a bitter sweet moment when it was done though, part of me had wished that I had taken the time to saver reading it, but another part of me was so happy that I made it to the end and found out how it all came together. Definitely recommend to everyone to read this if you are like me and like romance, but also like thrillers.
Date published: 2016-12-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enjoyed this It's not the best thriller or the most excellent book but it was enjoyable and suspenseful.
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love It It was a little predictable but interesting regardless of the fact.
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from good read i was interested in this book after reading the preview in the back of the hush hush series but for some reason expected there to be a supernatural aspect to this book. I felt like i never knew who to trust or who was telling the truth in this story. I was rooting for britt the whole time and how quick on her feet she was when in danger. I really enjoyed the plot twist in this book and was glad she got the closure at the end. different from her other books but still really good if your looking for a quick read. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life I'm a big fan of Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush series. So of course I was ecstatic when I heard she had new book coming out. And one so very different from her previous series. No fallen angels involved. Black Ice isn't my go to genre of choice, in fact I really don't read much in the way of mystery/thriller/survival type books, and that isn't because I don't like a good mystery, it's just that I don't gravitate towards them. Anyhow, not my point. Fitzpatrick wrote it, so I was picking it up. Honestly, there was a small part in me that was really hoping Patch would some how make an appearance in the book. I mean he didn't have to be an angel. He could just be there in some way. Obviously that did not happen. #spoileralert. Black Ice being the mystery/thriller that it is, there's really not too much I can say about the plot without giving major spoilers. But here's what I can say. Britt, and her best friend, Korbie, are on their way to Korbie's mountain side house for spring break when a freak snow storm leaves them stranded on a narrow and dangerous mountain side road. Britt knows they can't get her jeep running, so they must abandon it and face the cold trying to find shelter. This is where the girls stumble upon Mason and Shaun. At first the guys seem totally legit. Sure, Mason might seem overly brooding. And, Shaun might be a little two flirty. But they're in a warm cabin and can offer them shelter. Stranger danger signals should have been going off everywhere upon knocking on that cabin door. Obviously there was no alarm, so things go south pretty fast. The guys take the girls hostage and it leads to a pretty scary situation. Britt is pretty confident she can give the guys what they want; a way off the mountain without being seen. So she offers to lead them to the highway and in exchange they promise not hurt her. Once out of the shelter of the cabin things just keep going down hill. Shaun is a pretty scary guy. A scary guy with a gun. And Mason is putting off a vibe that is confusing, Britt. It kind of seems like he wants to help her. But that can't be right. These guys are fugitives. Britt is pretty sure one of them might even be a murderer after finding a dead body and evidence that points in the guys direction. But with things getting complicated, messy and dire and other things feeling not as they should be feeling(like Britt finding, Mason attractive) and add in the below freezing temperatures, Britt isn't sure she's going to make it out alive. I can't really go into most of the character's profiles because of spoilers. But there are a few I can delve into. Let's start with the MC, Britt. Britt, is a spoiled daddy's girl. She's a very unlikable character to begin with. She's petty and a brat. For the first hundred pages I just cringed every time she opened her mouth or had a thought. I really wanted to throat punch her. Britt is also obsessed with Calvin, her ex and Korbie's brother. He dumped her about eight months ago, out of the blue. And since then she's be out to prove something. Like rather than going to a tropical destination for spring break, she trained hard so she'd be able to hike the mountain and prove to Calvin how strong she is. It's pretty obvious that the men in her life have seen her in a certain light. Or treat her kind of delicately. She's a girl and they want to be able to help her and protect her. Britt totally plays into that. Being taken hostage and having the guys believe that she is the only one that can get them off the mountain gives Britt a confidence boast. Especially when Mason, keeps telling her he believes in her. Even though Britt, knows she shouldn't be happy that Mason, of all people thinks she can take care of herself, she is. Britt does go through quite a bit of character growth through a very short time period. But it still didn't make me like her. She's still open her mouth and say something totally ridiculous. Britt is immature. She doesn't get it. As much as she came to realize that she is strong enough to take care of herself, she still didn't get it. Korbie was on a whole different level of awful. How in the hell her and Britt are best friends, even friends, was beyond me. Everything was a competition with them. Korbie would get Britt going by saying something condescending and belittling and Britt would play right into her game. Korbie was just a plain old whiny bitch. Between her and Britt it really took a lot for me not to DNF within the first hundred or so pages. I was thinking that if this is the type of characters I have to deal with than no effing way. Korbie is just the epitome of a spoiled rich girl. Thankfully, Britt and her split up at just over the hundred page mark. Mason, becomes another prominent character. But because he's one of, Britt's kidnappers I can't really go into too much about him. Britt, is obviously scared of him, but there's also something about him that is confusing. Of course he's really mysterious but he's also taken to her. He seems to see something in her. Their relationship definitely touches on Stockholm syndrome. As the plot progresses we start to learn more about, Mason and maybe things aren't as they seem with him, but he still kidnapped, Britt. I just don't see how that makes anything else he does alright. As for the mystery element of the book, yea, I saw that "twist" coming from page five. I just saw it as glaringly obvious. The person was charming, creepy, psychotic with a very rocky past. It was never going to be anyone else. It kind of takes away from the book when it's too easy to figure out the ending upon cracking the spine. There were definitely a few smaller plot twists I didn't see coming. But the big one... Maybe I'm just a pro with my CSI skills. The romance didn't sit well with me. It just felt wrong. And I can't get on board with that. There was also a lack of swoon. I need my swoon. The beginning and end of, Black Ice was very underwhelming. The middle of the book though, definitely had me turning pages. Once you get rid of, Korbie shit gets real. The book turns into a survival story with a bunch of thrills. Even though I was 100% sure what was coming at the end, those middle pages still piqued my interest. Britt's trooping through snow and freezing temperatures well trying to figure out how she can get away from kidnappers without getting shot. I'd say that's a pretty shitty situation to find yourself in, I'm interested to see how you're going to get out of it with dying, too. Although, Black Ice didn't live up to my expectations I still enjoyed it. Fitzpatrick's writing is snappy enough to keep me reading. Even when her characters mad me want to punch all the things. I'd give the beginning and ending a 1* but the middle was thrilling enough to earn 4*. So I can recommend, Black Ice as long you know going in the characters are going to be unbearable. But push through it and you'll come to the good stuff. I'd also suggest having a blanket and hot drink handy. Holy crap did this book get me shivering. I am not anticipating winter. Black Ice brought me a dose of it though. *shivers*
Date published: 2015-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More than I expected Since reading the Hush Hush Saga I had a high rating of Becca Fitzpatrick and her works. Usually I tend to stick to dystopic romance novels and sometimes the occasional thriller, but I rate this one high up on my recommendations list. Once I got into the book I couldn't stop reading it. The characters were well thought out and had deep psychological influences which governed their characters and actions. Well done to Becca Fitzpatrick
Date published: 2015-07-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mixed Feelings Reading Becca Fitzpatrick's Black Ice is a cinematic experience. When Britt and her best friend Korbie become stranded in the heart of a blizzard, they take shelter in a remote cabin only to be taken hostage by its two handsome occupants. Forced to help the men evade police capture by getting out of Grand Teton National Park before the storm is over, Britt hopes she stays alive long enough for Korbie's older brother Calvin, who's also her ex-boyfriend, to find and rescue her before it's too late. Black Ice is more than just a romantic thriller, it's a fight for survival against nature's terrifying strength. I felt that Becca Fitzpatrick dropped too many hints about the overarching murder mystery because I figured out all the connections between the characters and the identity of the murderer within the first few chapters. It kind of ruined the fun for me because I expected this mystery to take much longer for me to unravel. The clues definitely needed more subtlety or ambiguity because the few attempts to throw readers off course were not convincing enough. In the end, all it did was cause me to become frustrated with Britt because, for an apparently smart girl, she couldn't see what was right in front of her face. Britt places her faith in all the wrong people, even when the signs are SO obvious she shouldn't. Not only does Britt have a horrible sense of judgement, but she's also a perpetual liar; she lies to others and she lies to herself all the time. It makes Britt an unreliable narrator, and even though she claimed she'd trained how to backpack the Teton Range, I didn't fully believe she could actually survive in the wilderness. She even acknowledges several times that she's spoiled and relies on the men in her life to do everything for her. Calvin is an arrogant rich boy. Britt may have known him since she was a child, but she was—and still is—too blind to his faults to realize he was never a good boyfriend. Korbie is annoyingly melodramatic and self-centered, and I was so relieved she didn't have a large role in the novel. She and Britt seemed to share nothing in common; they may have been close when they were younger but now their separate interests are drifting them apart. Mason was the only character I didn't want to punch in the face or strangle. He may have helped to hold Britt as a hostage, but he's oddly protective of her and definitely hiding secrets... While I wasn't really a fan of the characters (except Mason!), Becca Fitzpatrick's vivid descriptions of the Teton Range in Wyoming made up for it, helping to bring the novel to life. I was completely captivated by the suspense and danger of Britt's trek through the mountains as the relentless blizzard raged on. Despite some of my mixed feelings, I really do hope Becca Fitzpatrick's Black Ice is a success. After exhausting the YA paranormal and dystopian genres, there's still so much potential in the mystery/thriller genre to grow. Even though I didn't love Black Ice as much as I hoped I would, it hasn't dissuaded me from wanting to read similar novels.
Date published: 2015-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book! It's definitely differently from Hush Hush, however, i loved every bit of it. It was dark, and thrilling and and I think the emotions/ romance introduced in this book was appropriate. If you liked Hush Hush, or a dark thriller ( that isn't scary), check this book out. I can't wait for her next book- absolutely love Fitzpatrick!
Date published: 2015-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book is amazing, it brought so many feelings when I read this, I definitely recommend anyone who want to read this book
Date published: 2015-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I'm usually a fantasy and dystopian fan but I strong recommend you check out Black Ice. I loved this book! The synopsis is a bit misleading - the book was much more a thriller than a romance. The tension and danger level kept me turning the pages. I'm not a big murder mystery fan but there was enough intrigue in this story that I was fully engaged trying to unravel the mystery and worrying about Britt's safety. The girl power thread of the story, wherein we see Britt transform from a near helpless spoiled girl to a young woman capable of fending for herself, was an added bonus. I'm usually a fantasy and dystopian fan but I strong recommend you check out Black Ice.
Date published: 2015-01-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Better Than Expected I am a fan of Becca Fitzpatrick because her first book Hush Hush is what really got me into reading; especially romantic genres. The beginning of the book is slightly dry and very cliche. To begin with, I didn't really like Britt or Korbie's character because I thought they were just too... Girly, and when I compare them to previously strong female characters like Nora and Vee, I was slightly confused as to what Becca was trying to portray. The book unfolded beautifully and left me in awe. I was slightly disappointed in Becca for screwing up her own characters name; as the blurb says "Britt Pfieffer" but the in-book text says "Britt Pheiffer". Overall I really enjoyed this book, however I did not finish it as quickly as I finished the Hush Hush saga. I found this book more on the adventurous side than the sexy, romantic side.
Date published: 2015-01-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from could have been better Black Ice had such a great premise. I'm a sucker for any type of thrillers.. whether psychological, murder, or mystery. Knowing Black Ice involves kidnapping and trying to escape the kidnappers, I had to get my hands on it. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing an ARC! I really like Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush Hush saga, so I was expecting an amazing romance, thrilling fast paced plot, and likable characters. Unfortunately every single one of these points was lacking. This doesn't mean I didn't like the book, because I did. I just didn't like it as much as I hoped I would. The story takes a while to kick off.. almost 80 pages to finally continue on to the unknown, when the girls get kidnapped. I'm all for building the whole plot and storyline.. but this is a contemporary, you don't need any world building like in fantasy, paranormal, and dystopian books. Still, I was patient. I wasn't the biggest fan of Britt though. Right before the kidnapping, she had several weird vibes from the two future kidnappers but she chose to ignore every single hunch she's had. The whole time I was virtually banging my head on a wall. Also, Britt's supposed friend? ugh that is one toxic and unhealthy friendship. I honestly didn't understand Britt and why she bothered staying friends with Korbie when all the girl did was try to prove how much better she to Britt. Once the kidnapping actually happens, that's when the plot picks up. Another plot line that picks up is the romance and dear God I wasn't on board with that at all. I really tried liking Britt and the guy but I just couldn't. So I just tried ignoring the romance (again, something I've come to automatically do in a ton of YA books). The big mystery in Black Ice is who the killer is. The first chapter is set several months before (in April), where your read the POV of one of the girls that ended up being murdered by the mystery killer. He (no spoilers, you find out it's a male from that first chapter) has actually killed several girls around their area in the past year. I honestly guessed who the killer was very early on and I was correct so the shocking factor didn't work for me. However I do have to say I did like who Fitzpatrick chose to be the killer, their motive, and why they killed. It was quite brilliant. I personally was a tad bit disappointed in this book because I had pegged it as becoming a favorite thriller/mystery. I do think fans of romance and ones who never really delved into the mystery/thriller books would enjoy it and love the mystery.
Date published: 2014-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Book review Love it!! Becca fitzpatricks books never fail to catch my attention. Especially her hush hush series
Date published: 2014-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Book This is an amazing book. I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2014-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The very definition of my kind of book! Without spoiling the book, I could sum up the book in two words: Stockholm. Syndrome. But to use a few more words, this book is thrilling, dangerous, page-turning, and sexy. I am a huge fan of Fitzpatrick's first set of books, the Hush Hush saga, but I read Black Ice without any previous judgement or expectations from those series. After all, Black Ice is a stand-alone (sadly). And even without those expectations, this book left me wanting more and more! There was a part of me that read feared Black Ice would be about a 17-year old girl who constantly whines about her ex for a major portion of the book. I was expecting eye-rolling. However, to my pleasure I quickly learned I wasn't going to get any of that typical high-school dating drama. I know the blurb kind of gives off this impression, but I promise it doesn't happen. The protagonist's memories of her previous relationship becomes the nice-break in the heart-pounding abduction and journey. I did expect and predict every turn in the plot, but it's because I'm familiar with Fitzpatrick's style of writing and the character traits she likes to use. For anyone who has not read her previous books, Black Ice is chilling and heart-pounding, and every turn will shock you. Even if you expect it, it will not ruin your reactions at every new situation. If you love a page-turner, mixed with danger, mystery, sexual tension, and winter freak storms any Canadian can relate to, this book is for you. Fitzpatrick has a talent of writing books that will captivate your undivided attention that keeps you coming back to the book for more and wishing the book would never end. If I could erase my memory about this book and read it again like its my first, I would. Many, many times.
Date published: 2014-10-10

Read from the Book

Black Ice CHAPTER ONE If I died, it wouldn’t be from hypothermia. I decided this as I crammed a goose-down sleeping bag into the back of my Jeep Wrangler and strapped it in, along with five duffels of gear, fleece and wool blankets, silk bag liners, toe warmers, and ground mats. Satisfied nothing was going to fly out on the three-hour drive to Idlewilde, I shut the tailgate and wiped my hands on my cutoffs. My cell phone blared Rod Stewart crooning, “If you want my body,” and I held off answering for a moment so I could belt out the “and you think I’m sexy” part along with Rod. Across the street, Mrs. Pritchard slammed her living room window shut. Honestly. I couldn’t let a perfectly good ringtone go to waste. “Hey, girl,” Korbie said, snapping her bubble gum through the phone. “We on schedule or what?” “Tiny snag. Wrangler’s out of room,” I said with a dramatic sigh. Korbie and I had been best friends forever, but we acted more like sisters. Teasing was part of the fun. “I got the sleeping bags and gear in, but we’re going to have to leave behind one of the duffels: navy with pink handles.” “You leave my bag, and you can kiss my g-ass money good-bye.” “Should’ve known you’d play the rich-family card.” “If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Anyway, you should blame all the people getting divorced and hiring my mom. If people could kiss and make up, she’d be out of a job.” “And then you’d have to move. Far as I’m concerned, divorce rocks.” Korbie snickered her amusement. “I just called Bear. He hasn’t started packing yet but he swears he’s gonna meet us at Idlewilde before dark.” Korbie’s family owned Idlewilde, a picturesque cabin in Grand Teton National Park, and for the next week, it was as close to civilization as we were going to get. “I told him if I have to clear bats out of the eaves by myself, he can count on a long, chaste spring break,” Korbie added. “I still can’t believe your parents are letting you spend spring break with your boyfriend.” “Well—” Korbie began hesitantly. “I knew it! There is more to this story.” “Calvin is coming along to chaperone.” “What?” Korbie made a gagging noise. “He’s coming home for spring break and my dad is forcing him to tag along. I haven’t talked to Calvin about it, but he’s probably pissed. He hates it when my dad tells him what to do. Especially now that he’s in college. He’s going to be in a horrible mood, and I’m the one who has to put up with it.” I sat on the Jeep’s bumper, my knees suddenly feeling made of sand. It hurt to breathe. Just like that, Calvin’s ghost was everywhere. I remembered the first time we kissed. During a game of hide-and-seek along the riverbed behind his house, he’d fingered my bra strap and shoved his tongue in my mouth while mosquitoes whined in my ears. And I’d wasted five pages recording the event ad nauseam in my diary. “He’ll be back in town any minute,” Korbie said. “It sucks, right? I mean, you’re over him, right?” “So over him,” I said, hoping I sounded blasé. “I don’t want it to be awkward, you know?” “Please. I haven’t thought about your brother in ages.” Then I blurted, “What if I keep an eye on you and Bear? Tell your parents we don’t need Calvin.” The truth was, I wasn’t ready to see Calvin. Maybe I could get out of the trip. Fake an illness. But it was my trip. I had worked hard for this. I wasn’t going to let Calvin ruin it. He’d ruined too many things already. “They won’t go for it,” Korbie said. “He’s meeting us at Idlewilde tonight.” “Tonight? What about his gear? He won’t have time to pack,” I pointed out. “We’ve been packing for days.” “This is Calvin we’re talking about. He’s, like, half mountain man. Hold up—Bear is on the other line. I’ll call you right back.” I hung up and sprawled in the grass. Breathe in, breathe out. Just when I’d finally moved on, Calvin was back in my life, dragging me into the ring for round two. I could have laughed at the irony of it. He always did have to have the final say, I thought cynically. Of course he didn’t need time to prepare—he’d practically grown up hiking around Idlewilde. His gear was probably in his closet, ready at a moment’s notice. I rewound my memory several months, to autumn. Calvin was five weeks into his freshman year at Stanford when he dumped me. Over the phone. On a night when I really needed him to be there for me. I didn’t even want to think about it—it hurt too much to remember how that night had played out. How it had ended. Afterward, taking pity on me, Korbie had uncharacteristically agreed to let me plan our upcoming senior spring break, hoping it would cheer me up. Our two other closest friends, Rachel and Emilie, were going to Hawaii for spring break. Korbie and I had talked about spending our break with them on the beaches of Oahu, but I must have been a glutton for punishment, because I said adios to Hawaii and announced that in six months we would be backpacking the Tetons instead. If Korbie knew why I’d chosen the Tetons, she had the sensitivity not to bring it up. I’d known Calvin’s spring break would overlap ours, just like I’d known how much he loved hiking and camping in the Tetons. I’d hoped that when he heard about our trip, he’d invite himself along. I desperately wanted time with him, and to make him see me differently and regret being stupid enough to give me up. But after months of not hearing from him, I’d finally gotten the message. He wasn’t interested in the trip, because he wasn’t interested in me. He didn’t want to get back together. I let go of any hope of us and hardened my heart. I was done with Calvin. Now this trip was about me. I closed my mind to the memory and tried to think through my next steps. Calvin was coming home. After eight months, I was going to see him, and he was going to see me. What would I say? Would it be awkward? Of course it would be awkward. I was ashamed that my next thought was so incredibly vain: I wondered if I’d gained any weight since he’d last seen me. I didn’t think so. If anything, the running and weight lifting I’d done to prepare for our backpacking expedition had sculpted my legs. I tried to cling to the idea of sexy legs, but it wasn’t making me feel any better. Pretty much, I felt like throwing up. I couldn’t see Calvin now. I’d thought I’d moved on, but all the pain was surging back, swelling in my chest. I forced a few more deep breaths, composing myself, and listened to the Wrangler’s radio playing in the background. Not a song, but the weather report. “. . . two storm systems set to hit southeastern Idaho. By tonight, the chance of rain will rise to ninety percent, with thunderstorms and strong winds possible.” I perched my sunglasses on top of my head and squinted at the blue sky stretching from one horizon to the other. Not a wisp of cloud. Just the same, if rain was coming, I wanted to be on the road before it hit. Good thing we were leaving Idaho and driving ahead of the storm, into Wyoming. “Daddy!” I hollered, since the house windows were open. A moment later he came to the front door. I craned my neck to look at him and put on my best little girl pout. “I need money for gas, Daddy.” “What happened to your allowance?” “I had to buy stuff for the trip,” I explained. “Hasn’t anyone told you money doesn’t grow on trees?” he teased, observing me with a patronizing shake of his head. I jumped up and kissed his cheek. “I really need gas money.” “Of course you do.” He opened his wallet with the softest of sighs. He gave me four faded, rumpled twenties. “Don’t let the gas tank drop below a quarter full, you hear? Up in the mountains, gas stations start to thin. Nothing worse than getting stranded.” I pocketed the money and smiled angelically. “Better sleep with your cell phone and a tow rope under your pillow, just in case.” “Britt—” “Only kidding, Daddy,” I said, giggling. “I won’t get stranded.” I swung into the Wrangler. I’d dropped the top, and the sun had done a fine job of warming my seat. Sitting taller, I checked my reflection in the rearview mirror. By the end of summer, my hair would be as pale as butter. And I’d have added ten new freckles to the ranks. I’d inherited German genes from my father’s side. Swedish from my mother’s. Chance of sunburn? One hundred percent. Lifting a straw hat off the passenger seat, I squashed it on my head. But dang it all, I was barefoot. Perfect attire for 7-Eleven. Ten minutes later, I was in the store, filling a cup with Blue Raspberry Slurpee. I drank some off the top and refilled it. Willie Hennessey, who was working the register, gave me the evil eye. “Good grief,” he said. “Help yourself, why don’t you?” “Since you offered,” I said cheerfully, and stuck the straw between my lips once more before refilling. “I’m supposed to keep law and order in here.” “Two little sips, Willie. Nobody’s going bankrupt over two sips. When did you become such a crank?” “Since you started pilfering Slurpee and pretending you can’t operate the gas pump so I have to come out and fill your tank for you. Every time you pull in, I want to kick myself.” I wrinkled my nose. “I don’t want my hands smelling like gas. And you are particularly good at pumping gas, Willie,” I added with a flattering smile. “Practice makes perfect,” he muttered. I padded barefoot through the aisles looking for Twizzlers and Cheez-Its, thinking that if Willie didn’t like pumping my gas he really should get another job, when the front door chimed. I didn’t even hear footsteps before a pair of warm, calloused hands slipped over my eyes from behind. “Guess who?” His familiar soapy smell seemed to freeze me. I prayed he couldn’t feel my face heat up under his touch. For the longest moment, I couldn’t find my voice. It seemed to shrink inside me, bouncing painfully down my throat. “Give me a clue,” I said, hoping I sounded bored. Or mildly annoyed. Anything but hurt. “Short. Fat. Obnoxious overbite.” His smooth, teasing voice after all these months. It sounded familiar and foreign at the same time. Feeling him so close made me dizzy from nerves. I was afraid I’d start yelling at him, right here in the 7-Eleven. If I let him get too close, I was afraid I might not yell at him. And I wanted to yell—I’d spent eight months practicing what I’d say and I was ready to let it out. “In that case, I’ll have to go with . . . Calvin Versteeg.” I sounded carelessly polite. I was sure of it. And I couldn’t think of a bigger relief. Cal came around me and leaned an elbow on the aisle’s endcap. He gave me a wolfish smile. He had nailed the whole devilishly charming thing years ago. I’d been a sucker for it back then, but I was stronger now. Ignoring his handsome face, I gave him a bored once-over. By the looks of it, he’d let his pillow style his hair this morning. It was longer than I remembered. On the hottest days of track practice, when sweat dripped off the tips, his hair had turned the color of tree bark. The memory made something inside me ache. I shoved aside my nostalgia and eyed Calvin with cool detachment. “What do you want?” Without asking, he bent my Slurpee straw sideways and helped himself. He wiped his mouth on the back of his hand. “Tell me about this camping trip.” I yanked my Slurpee out of his reach. “Backpacking trip.” I felt it was important to make the distinction. Anyone could camp. Backpacking required skill and moxie. “Got everything you need?” he went on. “And a few wants, too.” I shrugged. “Hey, a girl needs her lip gloss.” “Let’s be honest. Korbie will never let you leave the cabin. She’s terrified of fresh air. And you can’t say no to her.” He tapped his head wisely. “I know you girls.” I gave him a look of indignation. “We’re backpacking for one full week. Our route is forty miles long.” So maybe it was a teensy exaggeration. In fact, Korbie had agreed to no more than two miles of hiking per day, and had insisted we hike in circles around Idlewilde, in case we needed quick access to amenities or cable TV. While I’d never truly expected to backpack the entire week, I had planned to leave Korbie and Bear at the cabin for a day and trek off on my own. I wanted to put my training to the test. Obviously now that Calvin was joining us, he was going to find out about our true plans soon enough, but at the moment my biggest priority was impressing him. I was sick of him forever insinuating that he had no reason to take me seriously. I could always deal with any flak he might give me later by insisting that I’d wanted to backpack the whole week and Korbie was holding me back—Calvin wouldn’t find that excuse far-fetched. “You do know that several of the hiking trails are still covered in snow, right? And the lodges haven’t opened for the season, so people are sparse. Even the Jenny Lake Ranger Station is closed. Your safety is your own responsibility—they don’t guarantee rescue.” I gazed at him with round eyes. “You don’t say! I’m not going into this completely in the dark, Calvin,” I snapped. “I’ve got it covered. We’ll be fine.” He rubbed his mouth, hiding a smile, his thoughts perfectly clear. “You really don’t think I can do it,” I said, trying not to sound stung. “I just think the two of you will have more fun if you go to Lava Hot Springs. You can soak in the mineral pools.” “I’ve been training for this trip all year,” I argued. “You don’t know how hard I’ve worked, because you haven’t been around. You haven’t seen me in eight months. I’m not the same girl you left behind. You don’t know me anymore.” “Point made,” he said, flipping up his palms to show it was an innocent suggestion. “But why Idlewilde? There’s nothing to do up there. You and Korbie will be bored after the first night.” I didn’t know why Calvin was so set on dissuading me. He loved Idlewilde. And he knew as well as I did that there was plenty to do there. Then it hit me. This wasn’t about me or Idlewilde. He didn’t want to have to tag along. He didn’t want to spend time with me. If he got me to drop the trip, his dad wouldn’t force him to join us, and he’d get his spring break back. Digesting this painful realization, I cleared my throat. “How much are your parents paying you to tag along?” He made a big deal of looking me over in mock critical evaluation. “Clearly not enough.” So that’s how we were going to play this. A little meaningless flirtation here, a little banter there. In my imagination, I took a black marker and drew a big X through Calvin’s name. “Just so we’re clear, I argued against having you come. You and me together again? Talk about uncomfortable.” It had sounded better in my head. Hanging between us now, the words sounded jealous and petty and mean—exactly like an ex-girlfriend would sound. I didn’t want him to know I was still hurting. Not when he was all smiles and winks. “That so? Well, this chaperone just cut your curfew by an hour,” he jested. I nodded beyond the store’s plate-glass window toward the four-wheel-drive BMW X5 parked outside. “Yours?” I guessed. “Yet another gift from your parents, or do you actually do more than chase girls at Stanford, such as hold down a respectable job?” “My job is chasing girls.” An odious grin. “But I wouldn’t call it respectable.” “No serious girlfriend, then?” I couldn’t bring myself to look at him, but I felt immense pride over my oh-so-casual tone. I told myself I didn’t care about his answer one way or another. In fact, if he’d moved on, it was yet another flashing green light telling me I was free to do the same. He poked me. “Why? You got a boyfriend?” “Of course.” “Yeah, right.” He snorted. “Korbie would have told me.” I stood my ground, arching my eyebrows smugly. “Believe it or not, there are some things Korbie doesn’t tell you.” His eyebrows furrowed. “Who is he?” he asked warily, and I could tell he was thinking about buying my story. The best way to remedy a lie is not to tell another lie. But I did anyway. “You don’t know him. He’s new in town.” He shook his head. “Too convenient. I don’t believe you.” But his tone suggested he might. I felt an overpowering urge to prove to him that I had moved on—with or without closure, and in this case, without. And not only that, but that I’d moved on to a much, much better guy. While Calvin was busy being an oily womanizer in California, I was not—I repeat, not—moping around and pining over old photographs of him. “That’s him. See for yourself,” I said without thinking. Calvin’s eyes followed my gesture outside to the red Volkswagen Jetta parked at the nearest gas pump. The guy pumping gas into the Jetta was a couple years older than me. His brown hair was cropped, and it showed off the striking symmetry of his face. With the sun at his back, shadows marked the depressions beneath his cheekbones. I couldn’t tell the color of his eyes, but I hoped they were brown. For no other reason than that Calvin’s were a deep, lush green. The guy had straight, sculpted shoulders that made me think swimmer, and I had never seen him before. “That guy? Saw him on my way in. Plates are Wyoming.” Calvin sounded unconvinced. “Like I said, new in town.” “He’s older than you.” I looked at him meaningfully. “And?” The door chimed and my fake boyfriend strolled inside. He was even better-looking up close. And his eyes were most definitely brown—a weathered brown that reminded me of driftwood. He reached into his back pocket for his wallet, and I grabbed Calvin’s arm and hauled him behind a shelf stacked with Fig Newtons and Oreos. “What are we doing?” Calvin asked, staring at me like I’d sprouted two heads. “I don’t want him to see me,” I whispered. “Because he’s not really your boyfriend, right?” “That’s not it. It’s—” Where was a third lie when I needed it? Cal smiled devilishly, and the next thing I knew, he had shaken off my hand and was ambling toward the front counter. I trapped a groan between my teeth and watched, peering between the two top shelves. “Hey,” Calvin said affably to the guy, who wore a buffalo-check flannel shirt, jeans, and hiking boots. With barely a glance up, the guy tipped his head in acknowledgment. “I hear you’re dating my ex,” Calvin said, and there was something undeniably wicked in his tone. He was giving me a taste of my own medicine, and he knew it. Calvin’s remark drew the full attention of the guy. He studied Calvin curiously, and I felt my cheeks grow even hotter. “You know, your girlfriend,” Calvin prodded. “Hiding behind the cookies over there.” He was pointing at me. I straightened, my head surfacing above the top shelf. I smoothed my shirt and opened my mouth, but there were no words. No words at all. The guy looked beyond Calvin to me. Our gazes locked briefly, and I mouthed a humiliated I can explain. . . . But I couldn’t. Then something unexpected happened. The guy looked squarely at Calvin, and said in an easy, unruffled voice, “Yeah. My girlfriend. Britt.” I flinched. He knew my name? Calvin appeared similarly startled. “Oh. Hey. Sorry, man. I thought—” He stuck out his hand. “I’m Calvin Versteeg,” he stammered awkwardly. “Britt’s . . . ex.” “Mason.” Mason eyed Calvin’s outstretched hand but didn’t take it. He placed three twenties on the counter for Willie Hennessey. Then he crossed to me and kissed my cheek. It was a no-frills kiss, but my pulse thrummed just the same. He smiled, and it was a warm, sexy smile. “I see you haven’t gotten over your Slurpee addiction, Britt.” Slowly I smiled back. If he was game for this, then so was I. “I saw you pull in, and needed something to cool me off.” I fanned myself while gazing up at him adoringly. His eyes crinkled at the edges. I was pretty sure he was laughing on the inside. I said, “You should stop by my house later, Mason, because I bought a new lip gloss that could use a test run. . . .” “Ah. Kissing game?” he said without missing a beat. I shot a covert glance at Calvin to gauge how he was handling the flirting. Much to my enjoyment, he looked like he’d caught a mouthful of lemon peel. “You know me—always spicing things up,” I returned silkily. Calvin cleared his throat and folded his arms over his chest. “Shouldn’t you be heading out, Britt? You really should get to the cabin before dark.” Something undecipherable clouded Mason’s eyes. “Going camping?” he asked me. “Backpacking,” I corrected. “In Wyoming—the Tetons. I was going to tell you, but . . .” Ack! What possible reason could I come up with for not telling my boyfriend about this trip? So close to pulling this off, and I was going to blow it. “But it seemed unimportant, since I’m heading out of town too, and we won’t be able to spend the week together anyway,” Mason finished easily. I met his eyes again. Good-looking, quick on his feet, game for anything—even pretending to be the boyfriend of a girl he’d never met—and a frighteningly good liar. Who was this guy? “Yes, exactly,” I murmured. Calvin cocked his head at me. “When we were together, did I ever take off for a week without telling you?” You took off for eight months, I thought snidely. And broke up with me on the most important night of my life. Jesus said forgive, but there’s always room for an exception. I said to Mason, “By the way, Daddy wants to have you over for dinner next week.” Calvin made a strangled noise. Once, when he’d brought me home five minutes after curfew, we’d pulled into the driveway to see my dad standing on the porch tapping a golf driver in his palm. He’d marched over and smacked it against Calvin’s black Ford F-150, leaving a nice round crater. “Next time you bring her home late, I’ll aim for the headlights,” he’d said. “Don’t be stupid enough to need three warnings.” He hadn’t meant it, not really. Since I was the baby of the family and the only girl, my dad had a grouchy streak when it came to the boys I dated. But actually, my dad was a lovable old bear. Still, Calvin never broke curfew again. And never once had he been allowed to come to dinner. “Tell your dad I could use a few more fly-fishing tips,” Mason said, continuing to hold up our charade. Miraculously, he’d also correctly guessed my dad’s favorite sport. This entire encounter was starting to feel . . . eerie. “Oh, and one more thing, Britt.” He combed his hand through my hair, pushing it off my shoulder. I held perfectly still, his touch freezing my breath inside me. “Be safe. Mountains are dangerous this time of year.” I gawked with amazement at him until he pulled out of the gas station and drove off. He knew my name. He’d saved my butt. He knew my name. Granted, it was printed across the chest of my purple orchestra-camp tee, but Calvin hadn’t noticed that. “I thought you were lying,” Calvin told me, looking stupefied. I handed Willie a five for my Slurpee and pocketed the change. “As satisfying as this conversation has been,” I told Calvin, “I should probably go do something more productive. Like key that Bimmer of yours. It’s too pretty.” “Just like me?” He waggled his brows hopefully. I filled my cheeks with Slurpee, miming that I intended to spit it at him. He jumped clear and, to my satisfaction, erased his cocky grin at long last. “See you tonight at Idlewilde,” Calvin called after me as I pushed out of the store. By way of answer, I gave him a thumbs-up. My middle finger would have been too obvious. As I passed Calvin’s BMW in the parking lot, I noticed the doors were unlocked. I glanced back to make sure he wasn’t watching, then made a split-second decision. Climbing through the passenger door, I knocked his rearview mirror out of alignment, dribbled Slurpee on the floor mats, and stole his vintage CD collection from the glove box. It was a petty thing to do, but it made me feel a smidge better. I’d give the CDs back tonight—after I’d scratched a few of his favorites.

Editorial Reviews

“Fitzpatrick’s novel is rife with psychologicaltwists exploring themes of revenge, misogyny, and familial duty.”