Any other night, Ryan Mills would have driven his best friend, Michael, to Emily’s sweet sixteen party at the Breakers Club. Instead, determined to win over the birthday girl, he goes to the party early and alone, setting off a chain of events that ends with Michael’s death in a car accident.
Ryan blames himself for what happened to Michael. As far as he’s concerned, he doesn’t deserve to have love or ever be happy again. Then he learns Michael left a secret behind. Ryan feels compelled to take on his friend’s unfinished business and, in the process, changes his life forever and becomes a man.
This book was previously published under the title Loving Emily.
Any other night, I’d be down for driving my best friend Michael to the party, but tonight is different. Tonight is the Sweet Sixteen birthday party for Emily Wintraub.
Who I think I’m in love with.
Not that I actually know her, by the way—I’ve never actually spoken to her. But all of that’s about to change.
I send Michael a text. i want to get there early.
Michael never gets to parties early. His answer comes back to me. why?
But then he remembers. u gonna talk to her tonite?
awesum—go for it dude. I’ll meet u there
So I shower and wrestle with my hair to make it lie smooth, but it goes all wavy on me anyway, and put on a nice shirt and sports jacket and splash on some manly cologne. I take off in my prize possession—the hot, red BMW 3 series convertible that my folks gave me for my sixteenth birthday. I pull into the Malibu Breakers Club parking lot at exactly 8:05, thinking Sweet! I’m the first one here. I’ll have her all to myself.
Cool and self-confident, I saunter down the steps to an area of beach where they’ve put up this canopy over a dance floor and tables set for dinner. The sight of Emily nearly knocks me over. She looks amazing, with this flower or something in her hair and this little dress that goes in and out in all the right places and stops mid-thigh, so I can scope out her legs.
I can’t believe this. Even this early, she’s surrounded. She’s standing with Derek Masters, the six-foot-two-inch captain of the school basketball team. He wears his hair gelled and spiked, but it actually looks decent on him. I’ve heard he can sink a basketball from mid-court blindfolded.
Derek’s got his hand on her back like he owns her or something. Not only that, but there’s a freaking mob of kids hanging around them, all wanting to talk to her.
This was not part of my plan.
I force myself to chill and wait for my chance to get her alone, spending the next forty-five minutes hanging with these guys I know while Masters and some other clowns monopolize her on the dance floor.
This party blows. If it weren’t for Emily, and the promise I’d made myself to talk to her, I’d get out of here and take a walk down by the water.