Capture My Heart - Book cover

Capture My Heart

Mariah Hanson

Age Rating


18-year-old Melody Harper is thrilled when her parents surprise her with a three-week getaway to their family cabin after her graduation. Until she finds out that they also invited her arch nemesis, Adrian Taylor. For years Adrian relentlessly teased her and played pranks on her. When she sees him for the first time since he left for college, she’s caught off guard by his devastatingly good looks and polite behavior. The boy she’d spent years despising has grown up. But can she forget the past long enough to survive three whole weeks in the woods with him? More importantly, will she be able to resist his charm, or will he finally capture her heart?

Age Rating: 16+

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Chapter 1

“He is such a jerk! If our parents weren’t such good friends with each other, I’d blackmail them into moving to England.”

I complained over the phone to my best friend Jess as I painted a fresh coat of aqua polish on my toenails.

“I hate to break it to you, Mel, but I don’t think England would appreciate the gift. They’d probably post ‘return to sender’ on Adrian’s forehead before they’d let him off the plane.”

I laughed at the image Jess’s remark imprinted in my mind.

Now that I would give almost anything to see, but it wouldn’t even come close to the payback I’d wished for all the times he had teased and mocked me over the years.

It didn’t help that we shared a backyard, not to mention the swing set that my dad had built for me when I was only five.

I’d had many amazing adventures on that little playground, until my parents told me I had to share with the new neighbor boy when he moved in ten years ago.

At first I was thrilled at the thought of having a friend to play with, until I met him for the first time and found out he was three years older than me.

I could still remember the way he had grinned at me with that crooked smile when my parents introduced themselves that day. I was hiding behind my mom, too shy to say hello.

In the beginning he was quiet and reserved, but when our parents’ backs were turned, he would tug on my braids and poke me till I ran away, and then he would chase me around the yard.

Our parents took it as playing but I saw it for what it was: annoying. Throughout the years he would pick on me and I would storm off into the house to escape his infuriating pranks.

He won the battle of the swing when I would no longer go near it after finding that rubber snake underneath my feet.

“So…are you going to tell me what he did this time, or should I assume it was something similar to the shoe incident?” Jessica asked, bringing my trip down memory lane back to the present.

“No, it wasn’t anything like that. I still haven’t gotten over that, so thanks for bringing it up, Jess. It just reinforces my repulsion for him even more.”

I paused to screw the nail polish cap back on and return it to my drawer before answering. “He decided to invite himself to my grad party.

“I mean, does the guy think he owns my family or something? And my parents, they just adore him. It’s so irritating!” Jess grunted disapprovingly.

“So why don’t you just tell him to buzz off, say it’s cancelled or something?” she asked me. I sighed, wishing it were that easy.

“It wouldn’t do me any good considering that we live right next to each other and the party is at my house. Besides, I don’t want to make my parents upset before the big trip.

“I am so looking forward to getting away for a month. I just wish you could come with though. Tell me again why you had to promise your boss you’d work those weeks?”

“Because they need me. Plus, Amber promised me a better paycheck if I stayed on the clock for her.

“You know we’re slammed the hardest in the beginning of the month, especially in the summer,” Jess reminded me.

“But hey, don’t worry. I’ll keep you posted through email how everything is here and let you know if Adrian breaks into your house or something while you’re gone.”

Again I sighed. A lot of good emailing would do. The cabin didn’t receive any signal on cell phones, let alone the internet.

“Good luck trying to reach me. I’m as good as gone when it comes to the north woods, but don’t worry.

“I’ll be chilling next to a beautiful, blue, sparkling lake while you’re deep-frying cheese curds in the hot summer sun.” Jess groaned at my teasing and I laughed.

It felt good to be the one poking fun for once, especially since Jess was so easy at times.

“But seriously, Mel, it’s been what? Three years since you’ve seen him? Or at least had to deal with his constant teasing?

“You have to admit that three years can change a person, especially their looks. I wonder if he’s grown into that athletic build yet. Did you see him up close at all, or no?”

I was trying hard not to remember every detail of seeing Adrian again since he left for college.

I was outside making plans for the outdoor decorations when he came waltzing out the back door toward me.

I couldn’t help but notice how his black hair had grown out enough to conceal his eyes a little bit.

You know that gorgeous chiseled face under the long shaggy style hairdo that most celebrities have when playing the bad boy role? Yeah…it does something to a girl.

As well as the muscles that were visible even through his shirt, at least enough to tell that a six-pack was hidden beneath it.

The moment was lost on me, though, when he opened his mouth about my grad party and my mom just happened to come out at that moment and overheard his inquiries about it.

“MEL! Are you alive over there? Can you come down to Earth for a second so I can talk to you before I have to go to work?” Jess’s insistence helped me focus again.

“Sorry. I don’t know what to tell you. I guess you could say he has changed in appearance, but who cares? He’s still the same old annoying Adrian.”

I didn’t feel as convinced as I tried to sound. Luckily, Jess didn’t pick up on any hesitance in my voice to question my statement.

As I suspected, she was busy fixing her hair and finishing the final touches on her makeup before she had to run out the door.

Even though she was a year older than me, we were as close as twin sisters.

“Just promise me you’re still coming to my party, please! I cannot do this without you, especially if he’s going to be there.”

Jess hummed in response and I could tell she had her comb in her mouth, so I waited.

“Of course, Melody, my dear! I wouldn’t miss it for the world!” she said once the comb was removed from her lips.

“And don’t worry! Even if Adrian tries to shake your hand in congratulations, I will be watching his every move. No one is going to ruin your big day. They’ll have to get through me first!”

I smiled. I could always count on Jess for more than just amusing moments.

For the first time since I watched Adrian’s Jeep pull into the driveway this morning and knew that he was home for the summer, I felt relieved.

Now all I had to do was get through graduation and the rest would fall into place. If I was really lucky, I wouldn’t have to deal with Adrian at all for a long time.

Graduation, summer vacation, and then off to college. Things couldn’t be more perfect.

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