Kody Keplinger: A Midsummer's Nightmare

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Kody Keplinger A Midsummer's Nightmare
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    A Midsummer's Nightmare
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A Midsummer's Nightmare: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorce dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancee and her kids. The fiancee's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great. Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her stepbrother...at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together. Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger's most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.

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“Hey, don’t get upset just yet, munchkin.” He reached over to pat me on the knee.

Millerton had been twice the size of this place. It wasn’t really a city, but there was a mall, at least, and all the houses didn’t look exactly alike. There had been some diversity, some color. There were skate parks and weekend mini-golf places. And sometimes Dad took me to the go-kart track in the summer.

Unless they were hidden in the middle of a cornfield that separated the tiny neighborhoods, I doubted Hamilton had any of those things.

As we drove through the town, I spotted a library, a grocery store, a bank, and absolutely nothing fun to do.

“I’m going to be so pale when I start college,” I whined.

“You’ll still get a tan. We already have a pool.”

We?” I repeated. “Who’s we? You mean you and me?”

“Actually…” Dad cleared his throat. “That’s the second part of the surprise.”

“Second part?”

We pulled into a driveway. The house we faced was pretty big, with a perfect, well-kept yard and neat little shutters on the windows. The part that caught my attention, though, was the woman standing on the front porch. She was tall, blond, and wearing super-high high heels.

“Dad,” I said. “Who is that?”

He cut the engine and pushed open his door. “Sylvia!” he called out in his deep, booming voice. “Honey, I’m home!”

Honey?” I frowned and climbed out of the SUV.

The woman was already jogging down the sidewalk, which I had to admit was impressive in those heels. Instead of running toward my father, she steered in the other direction and landed right next to me, reaching out and wrapping her arms around me in a tight hug before I could stop her. Thank God it was a quick one. When she stepped back, she was smiling at me like some kind of lunatic.

“Oh, Whitley,” she said with a sigh, brushing blond hair out of her heart-shaped face. “It is so nice to finally meet you. You are just so, so beautiful. Your dad’s pictures don’t do you justice at all.”

“Uh, thanks…” I glanced over at Dad, who was making his way around the SUV, coming toward us. Then I looked back at this crazy woman. “Sorry, but who the hell are you?”

She looked taken aback for a minute before my father sidled up beside her, slipping his long arm around her shoulders. “This is Sylvia. My fiancée.”


Once we were inside, I got the full story.

Sylvia Caulfield was a lawyer from Indiana. She and Dad had met last September when Dad was doing a story on Land Between the Lakes, a national recreation area near his condo, and Sylvia was there, visiting the park with a friend from college. Dad asked her for an interview about her experience at the park, and she asked for his phone number. Not long after that, they were crazy in love.

The story made me nauseous.

“We mostly exchanged e-mails and phone calls for a few months,” Sylvia explained as she poured herself a mug of coffee in the house’s cheerful kitchen. The pastel blues and greens were in direct contrast to my mood—four hours into vacation and already everything was ruined, and I had the strong urge to strangle my father and his bride-to-be.

“You sure you don’t want a cup of coffee, Whitley?”

I shook my head. She had already offered me one, but I’d refused. I hated coffee with a passion. The smell alone was horrible.

“Well, anyway… Neither of us expected a long-distance relationship to work out. Especially me, I think. I hadn’t dated since my first husband passed away from a heart attack a few years ago. This was so new to me. I was sure we’d break up before Christmas.”

“Did you really think I’d let you get away that easy?” Dad asked, kissing her on the cheek. “I’m not that stupid.”

She blushed and giggled.

I couldn’t believe I was seeing this. It was like a bad made-for-TV movie. Poor little widow meets successful local celebrity. Then it’s all flowers and sunshine in suburbia. Ew.

And it was so unlike Dad. After he and Mom split, my father had turned into a real flirt, which was, you know, pretty normal for a semifamous bachelor. Every summer when I came to visit he had a new twentysomething bombshell following him like a lost puppy. They always had names like Heather or Nikki, and they spent most of their time in way-too-revealing bikinis, lying on the beach and reading Vogue.

Sylvia wasn’t one of those girls, though. In fact, the only thing she had in common with any of them was her hair color, but my father had always preferred blonds. Other than that, she was a total one-eighty from the usual bimbos. For one, she had a real job, whereas all the others had been waitresses or retail clerks. And she was close to his age, too. So not his type.

What kind of spell did this chick have him under?

And how the hell could he not tell me about her?

“But we made it past Christmas,” she said, sitting across from me at the kitchen table. I wrinkled my nose as the smell from her mug wafted my way. “Finally, we realized we just couldn’t stand being apart for so long. Because, of course, your dad couldn’t travel to see me with his work, and I don’t get out-of-state cases that often.”

“So I asked her to move in with me,” Dad said.

“And I said no.” Sylvia laughed. “I just couldn’t live in that condo.”

I scowled. I hated the way she said it. That condo. Like it was a bad place. Didn’t she know that that condo had been a home to me? More of a home than Mom’s house in Indiana ever had been.

“So we negotiated,” Dad continued, either not seeing or choosing to ignore the glare I was giving them both. “I realized I wanted to marry her, but Sylvia wanted to live in a family community. She’d been in the city for too long, and she was right—that condo was just too young for me. It was a bachelor pad, and I wanted a real home. Plus, I was driving more than an hour to get to the station every morning. With that kind of trip twice a day, the money I was paying for gas was really ridiculous.”

“And my sister lives here in Hamilton.” Sylvia took a sip of her coffee, beaming at me over the top of the mug.

“We both knew that this was the perfect place for us. We got engaged last month, and we finally moved everything in last night.”

I looked at Dad, silently asking for a better explanation. Why? Why had he let this woman convince him to move out of the condo and into this place? Who was she to make him change? I kept hoping he’d burst out laughing and shout, Got you! You really fell for it, munchkin. But he didn’t, and that pissed me off even more.

“I got an Illinois license to practice law, moved to a new firm—one closer—and now your dad is closer to his work, too,” Sylvia was saying. “It’s only thirty minutes to the station from here. And we both just love this little town. It’s lovely, isn’t it?”

“Sure,” I muttered.

I’d been there for twenty minutes and already hated Hamilton. I never thought I’d say this, but I would have rather been back in Indiana. The city would have been better than this place. Dealing with Mom would have been better than dealing with this little surprise.

I couldn’t believe Sylvia had talked Dad into moving here. Hamilton so wasn’t his style. Dad liked bizarre pink flamingos and horseshoe pits in his yard. Not picket fences and cliché little gardens. At the condo, he had these crazy retro paintings and posters in trippy colors hanging from the walls. I think there was even a Velvet Elvis in his bedroom. But there was nothing like that in this house. Floral wallpaper. Watercolor art. Nothing with real personality. It was all generic and uniform.

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