TITLE: THE EXISTENCE OF BEA PEARL
GENRE: YA Mystery
With Bea Pearl’s brother, Jim, presumed dead, Colin presumed responsible for Jim’s disappearance, and herself reputed crazy, Bea Pearl braces herself for The Lets-Be-Friends speech.
Can I accept that we’ll never be more than friends? It’ll be incredibly hard, but as Colin doesn’t live here, once he’s gone it’ll be easier. Maybe.
Probably not. But he’s the only one who can help me find Jim. And so for Jim, I will swallow my pride and pretend I’m okay with just being friends with the guy who is more than likely the love of my life.
“Um, Bea? Are you okay?”
I sigh, fidgeting with his leather cuff around my wrist. “No, I’m waiting for that ‘clear the air’ talk we were going to have before Momma and Daddy bust in at the hospital.”
“You know, the one where you tell me you think of me as a friend, etc, etc.”
Confusion knits his brow. “I do think of you as a friend.”
Jeez, he’s making this hard. I exasperatedly push my hair back from my face. “ Just a friend,” I whisper.
I’m completely shocked by what happens next. I expect an awkward pat on the shoulder, a glad-you-understand smile.
Instead, I’m scooped up faster than I can think and crushed to him. He kisses me with such intensity I honestly melt into Bea stock. His lips are soft and just the tiniest bit salty. He tastes of boat rides on breezy days. The hint of stubble scratches my skin in the best way possible. If I thought dancing with him was magical, I have nothing to compare to this first kiss.
He backs away enough to murmur against my cheek, “Is that a just-a-friend kiss?”
I shiver though my lips burn as if I just ate spicy crawfish. “I hope not. I don’t think I can stand up. My legs are all wobbly.”