When Logan Becker's family embarks on a summer "house swapping" vacation in a beach town in Oregon, Logan is overjoyed. Similarly, Tricia Merrit, the daughter of the other family, is thrilled to be in the farm belt of Minnesota.
Logan falls in love with the beach boy surfer of her dreams, but soon she discovers he's Tricia's boyfriend. Logan's dreams are shattered. Meanwhile, there's another boy who is attracted to Logan—the totally uncool Grant Duncan who is busy trying to launch a campaign to clean the local beaches. Can Logan come to realize that true love often reveals itself in unexpected ways
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I awakened with a start, bathed in cold sweat, then blinked twice. A bulky shadow hovered alongside of me. Something with two glowing amber eyes was staring right into my face. Every muscle in my body tensed. Every nerve was standing on end.
I opened my mouth to scream, but all I heard was a shrill sound from my attacker.
In an instant my mind cleared. I couldn't help but giggling. Reaching out to rub the black Angora cat's head, I heard her begin to purr. Hadn't Tricia Ferris warned me her spoiled pet--who under no circumstances was to be allowed outdoors--liked to sleep on the foot of her bed at night?
"Good kitty. Nice kitty," I said in a hushed, but still somewhat shaky voice. "Now get down where you belong and let me go back to sleep." I propped myself up on one elbow and gave her a gentle shove. The cat padded her way across the covers with slow, deliberate steps. I soon felt the weight of her curled-up body against my feet. The sound of her purring mingled with the ticking of my alarm clock.
I lay back down and jerked the covers more snugly around me. Darn! My midnight intruder had just interrupted the most wonderful dream. Midnight. Tricia couldn't have chosen a more appropriate name. Squeezing my eyes shut, my thoughts drifted back to my dream. It'd been about that gorgeous sun-tanned guy I'd glimpsed today on the beach.
In the dream, we were walking together hand-in-hand, the icy surf washing onto our bare feet. I don't remember exactly what the guy was saying to me, but his head had been angled close to mine, and his words had left me with a warm, melting feeling.
Actually, he was more than gorgeous--in real life as well as my dream. I guess you'd say he rated somewhere between the Beach Boys and Misca Barisnokoft. Somehow he possessed a magical combination of carefree abandonment, physical agility and perfect form.
Perfect form. That was I admired most in a guy, I guess. Someday I want to be a professional dancer. I've taken lessons for eight years now at Miss Bernstein’s School of Dance near Rochester and dream of winning a scholarship to the art academy after I graduate from high school.
Suddenly I knew I had to do more than just dream. I had to find that gorgeous guy again. I had to find him if it was the last thing I did. Tomorrow, I promised myself. I would get started first thing tomorrow...
I sat at Tricia's dressing table, brushing my shoulder length brown hair and once again reading the letter she'd left for me. I'd found it the day before taped to the mirror in her bedroom shortly after Mom, Dad, and Casey, my little brother had arrived.
Dear Logan Becker,
Welcome to your new home--well, I guess I should say your new home for the next three months. I'm so excited that our parents got together and decided to trade houses for the summer. That ad in the personal section of the newspaper certainly paid off.
I'm looking forward to discovering what it's like to live in the dairy farm belt of Minnesota. My folks jumped at the opportunity because you live so close to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Maybe you know by now they're both doctors and needed to work on an important research project. Something to do with kidney transplants.
Believe it or not, I've never traveled much before. Maybe by the time I return back to Oregon, I'll even know how to milk a cow--though I guess I wouldn't have had to go so far to learn that! As I'm sure you'll soon discover, there's lots of farm country there too.
The only bad part about leaving, of course, is not seeing my steady boyfriend till next fall. You probably having a cool boyfriend yourself and know exactly what I mean.
I hope you like living in my family's new house at Sunset Beach. There are a few little things I may need to warn you about. (My Mom asked me to tell you and your family.) First, there's my cat Midnight. Don't ever let her outside. She's strictly a house pet. Midnight likes to sleep on my bed each night, but forget trying to carry her in with you when you're ready to hit the sack. She insists on coming into the bedroom on her own time--which could anywhere up to several hours later. Her favorite food is canned Albacore tuna. Good luck trying to feed her anything else.
My cat also likes phone calls. If you don't make a bee-line for the land-line phone the second it first rings, she's apt to spring across the room and knock it off the receiver. Don't ask me why. My parents think it all started years ago when they used to be on call a lot at the hospital and the phone was always ringing. (That was before they got cell phones, of course.) Apparently Midnight thought it was quite a game to beat them to it.
Next there's our toaster. The reason I mention it is because it's rather temperamental. Occasionally it pops up the bread much too soon, and you have to push it down another time or two. Sometimes I give up and eat plain, untoasted bread with strawberry jam in the morning, especially when I'm in a hurry. My parents are much too busy to worry about stuff like toasters that don't work right, but I thought your folks might be different. Especially since they are school teachers and have decided they'd spend a leisurely summer in Oregon sight-seeing.
I probably should mention one more thing. I'm taking my new curling iron with me, but if you should decide to use my old one (located in the third drawer of my dresser) it has its own special quirks too. It seems on hot days it never heats up, and on cold days (be prepared for a few of those in Oregon, even though it's summer), it gets so hot, you could easily singe your hair. I'm not sure what the weather has to do with it, but as I said it's quirky.
So that's about it. This house-swapping proposition is really kind of exciting, isn't it? Maybe when all is said and done, and we're both back in our own home towns at the end of the summer, we can even be pen pals. Good luck and have fun.
I lay the letter back down and gave one final swipe with my hair brush. Guess I'd better to stick to using my own curling iron, I decided, studying my reflection in the mirror. If what Tricia had told me about her curling iron was true, I certainly couldn't afford to take any chances ruining my hair.
I wear it in a short, carefree style--coaxed into place by the curling iron. Today I'd also taken special pains with my make-up, though I often don't wear much more than a quick touch of lip gloss. The iced-coffee eye shadow did make my almond shaped brown eyes appear larger, I mused. That's what Amy, my best friend Amy back in Minnesota always told me. The eye shadow also went well with my olive complexion. Standing up from the dressing table, I squared my shoulders and darted one final glance into the mirror. My hair and make-up were flawless. My red and white sundress, the one with the splashy tropical pattern, looked perfect with my dangling diamond-shaped earrings. (Don't ask me why I wore a sundress on an overcast day, but I'm an optimist by nature.)
Drawing in a deep breath, I practiced my most becoming smile. It felt and looked right. So what was I waiting for? It was time to get on with the hunt.
I stopped first in the kitchen for a quick breakfast, noticing my family was no where in sight. Then I remembered. Last night they'd told me they were going to check out the art galleries and gift shops in town. Now that I'd turned sixteen, they no longer insisted I go everywhere with them. Casey will be tied to our folks for a long time, poor kid. He'll only be eleven on his next birthday.
I dropped a slice of bread into the toaster, then opened the refrigerator door to hunt for the strawberry jam. In less than two seconds, the bread popped up--it hadn't even begun to get warm. Sighing, I tried it again. Still no luck. At this rate, it'd be nearly dinner time before I'd even begin to eat my breakfast.
Finally I gave up and hurried outside. The deck where I stood faced the beach. The fog still hovered over the sand and the water like a crumpled gray blanket. Below the deck lay a narrow strip of lawn. The Ferris's house stood on a high cliff, two stories tall with ceiling to floor picture windows. Above my head, a brightly colored wind sock flapped in the breeze.
I drew in a deep breath of moist salt air and descended the deck stairs, heading across the yard. What a terrific feeling! I was free! Free for an entire summer to explore my new world here in Oregon and maybe dredge up a little romance in my life.
It was certainly about time, I decided as I followed the walkway around the arborvitae hedge. I hadn't had a boyfriend since I'd broken up with Monty Lipman last year around Christmas time. Monty and I just didn't have enough in common--and he never did fit my mental image of the Perfect Guy.
I drew nearer to the small barn-shaped tool shed on the corner of the lot and noticed the door was opened. Strange, I thought. I could’ve sworn the pad lock had been intact yesterday evening when my parents and I'd taken a quick tour of the yard. Who would have opened it? I heard the drone of a lawn mower coming from somewhere near the front yard. Curious, I pushed open the gate and followed the sound. The droning grew louder, then stopped suddenly. As I rounded the side of the house and came to the small front yard, my gaze fell on someone hovering over the mower. I blinked hard. My stomach dropped. The guy in my dream was standing right before me.