WEATHER ALERT: SEVERE STORMS AHEAD. Gemma and Hallie's world has come to a screeching halt. Their parents are engaged, which makes them step-sisters. Nothing in the world could possibly be worse for Gemma and Halliethey won't let it happen. Even if it means putting their own feud aside to separate their parents. Events quickly escalate as a hurricane rips through the Hamptons leaving everyone (including Gemma's two exes, her current crush, best friend, and her nemesis) bottled up in one house. One big, miserable group of exes and enemies together allow secrets to unfold and plans to be plotted. The calm before this storm definitely doesn't exist.
Katie Finn pulls out all the stops for this fast-paced, romance-revenge novel, Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross, the dramatic conclusion to the Broken Hearts and Revenge series that began with Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend and Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold.
"This book is the perfect way to wrap up my favorite series!" Morgan Matson
About the Author
Katie Finn is the author of the Top 8 trilogy when she's not going by a different name altogether. As the acclaimed author Morgan Matson, she has written novels Since You've Been Gone and The Unexpected Everything. Both identities currently live in Los Angeles.
Read an Excerpt
Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross
By Katie Finn
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2016 Katie Finn
All rights reserved.
I shifted in my hard straight-backed chair and tried to ignore the fact that I could feel frosting starting to dry on my cheek. I had been uncomfortable many times in my life — and certainly many times this summer, like when I'd been at a pool party and my bathing suit had started to disintegrate — but this probably took the cake. Sitting in the world's least comfortable chair, wearing a borrowed dress that had gotten ripped at the shoulder, frosting in my hair, and getting yelled at by an angry ship's captain for fighting while my dad shook his head disapprovingly ... it won My Most Uncomfortable Moment, hands down.
"I've just never experienced anything like this before!" the captain was saying as he tried to pace around his office. It seemed like maybe he was used to pacing when he was upset, but this was made more difficult by the fact that the office wasn't very big to start with, and now it was filled with me, my dad, Hallie Bridges, and her mom, Karen — not to mention all the baggage we'd dragged in there with us. "I mean, the last thing I expect when agreeing to have a birthday party on my boat is that the guests will end up brawling and throwing cake at each other, to the point where they have to be physically separated!"
I glanced over at Hallie, who was in the chair next to me. She was sitting up ramrod straight, and I could see that it looked like the heel of one of her shoes was broken off, and her short pixie cut was beyond mussed — and slightly blue, due to the frosting I'd rubbed into it when we were fighting. I closed my eyes for just a second, still not quite able to believe it had happened. It was something I never normally would have done ... but then again, this whole summer could fit under that heading. I hadn't planned to fight with Hallie tonight. Sure, I'd gone to the party with the goal of playing the video compilation that showed the worst of Hallie. It was straight from the source, too, Hallie revealing the truth about who she was — but accidentally, because she didn't know I'd spent the last month with a camera clipped to my shirt.
But even though I'd intended to show the video to everyone — and, once and for all, put an end to this revenge war of ours — I'd had a change of heart at the last minute and called it off. I'd been ready to walk away from all of it. But the video had gotten played anyway, thanks to Gwyneth Davidson and her own secret agenda, which had been unknown to me until the moment it was too late to stop it. Hallie had stalked over to me, furious, as soon as it was over, and while I'd started to explain it hadn't been me, she hadn't given me the chance to continue. She'd shoved me, hard, and when I pushed back to steady myself, something in me had snapped. All the buildup of a summer of secrets and lies and escalating revenge plans had suddenly come rushing out, and the next thing I knew, Hallie and I had been fighting — dress-ripping, cake-throwing fighting in front of everyone, in front of the whole party.
"Do you have anything to say for yourselves?" the captain asked now, looking from me to Hallie.
Hallie turned and looked at me, and I could see there was still fury in her eyes. "I have something to say about the security on this boat," she snapped. She pointed at me, even though it wasn't really necessary in a room this small. "Somehow this person was able to board the boat and then ruin my party, when she was explicitly not invited."
"Oh, you think I ruined your party?" I asked, turning to face her. "I think you did that on your own."
"Listen," Hallie snapped, her voice low and seething. "If you think —"
"Girls!" This was my dad, looking back and forth between us, bewildered. "Really. This is getting out of control."
I opened my mouth to respond, but then all words left me as once again my gaze drifted down to Karen's hand — to her left hand, and to the giant ring currently sitting there.
The sight of it had been enough to knock all words from me as Hallie and I were pulled apart by our respective parents. Just seeing my dad there had been a major shock on its own — he had told me he was in California, where he lived during the year, working on his latest screenplay. So to see him, in the Hamptons, on the boat for Hallie's seventeenth-birthday party, had thrown me for a loop. But I wasn't done being shocked just yet — Hallie had noticed the ring on her mother's hand at the same moment I had. Before we could get an explanation, though, we'd been hustled in here by the captain while the DJ had started playing music again, clearly trying to get the party going after Hallie and I had so decidedly derailed it.
And now, as I looked from my dad to Karen, I couldn't quite believe it was happening, even as the evidence was right in front of me. They had gotten engaged — engaged — without even talking to me about it first? My dad hadn't even told me he was dating Karen again, which I thought he might have been able to mention, if he was serious enough about her to propose. Looking back, I should have read the signs — my dad had been happy and distracted, in a fuzzy state for the last month. And he had stopped complaining about having to adapt the film version of Just Bitten, the best-selling erotic vampire trilogy. When I'd figured out that the author was actually Karen writing under a pseudonym, I should have put two and two together, especially considering all the time my dad had been spending with the author. But I'd been so caught up in my own drama, I'd missed what was right in front of my face.
"You want to talk about out of control?" Hallie asked now, turning to face her mother. She pointed at Karen's hand, and I realized Hallie had just been thinking the same thing I was. After a summer of either never knowing what she was thinking — or being two steps behind her — it was a bit of a shock. "What's going on there? Don't you think you might have mentioned it?"
"Yeah," I said immediately. Hallie turned to look at me, and it seemed like she was as surprised as I was that we were on the same side of things for once.
"That's not the issue here," Karen said as she folded her hands behind her back, her cheeks going pink.
"Exactly," the captain said, starting to look increasingly uncomfortable that we were bringing personal business into this. "The issue at hand is the behavior that was exhibited, not to mention the damage done, not only to this vessel, but to its reputation. We can't be seen as an operation where fights break out and destruction is allowed to flourish."
"I wouldn't have felt the need for destruction," Hallie snapped, "if someone hadn't snuck onto the boat illegally and humiliated me in front of all my guests!" Her voice cracked on the last word, and she scowled, like she was angry at herself for showing even the tiniest flicker of emotion. She sat up straighter and crossed her arms over her chest — then uncrossed them when she looked down and must have realized the front of her dress was covered in cake.
"And like I've been trying to tell you," I said, feeling the need to defend myself, especially given the way my dad was currently looking at me, "it wasn't me. I tried to call it off, but Gwyneth went ahead and played it."
"Gwyneth ... Bruce's daughter?" my dad interjected, looking not angry any longer, just baffled. "Why would she do that?" He looked around, like she might be hiding somewhere in the office. "Is she here?"
"She's at the party," I said, trying to keep my voice steady but not able to stop myself from seeing Gwyneth and Josh on the side of the boat, kissing. I wasn't even sure what I was feeling for Josh ... and I was pretty sure I had moved on from him after he'd made it abundantly clear he was done with me. But still, seeing him and Gwyneth kissing — and seeing the way he'd looked at her — had hit me harder than I'd been prepared for it to.
"Wait, the Gwyneth who's dating Josh?" Karen asked, now sounding as puzzled as my dad.
"No, a different Gwyneth," Hallie snapped. Karen's eyebrows flew up, and a moment later I saw Hallie pale slightly, like she'd just realized she'd crossed a line. "Sorry," she muttered.
"Why would Gwyneth have done that?" my dad asked.
"Exactly," Hallie said, turning to glare at me again. "It makes no sense. Gemma's clearly making it up."
"It's because she's making a documentary," I said, glaring right back at her. "About us. And she needed your reaction for the third act, or something."
"I thought her documentary was about Bruce," my dad said, his brow furrowed. I wasn't sure how to tell him I didn't think it was going to get unfurrowed in the near future. "And me," he added after a moment, no doubt thinking back to the last month we'd all spent staying in Bruce's house, tiny cameras clipped onto our shirts, giving them back to Gwyneth every night so she could bank the footage.
"She said it was too boring," I said, and it looked like a tiny flicker of hurt crossed my dad's face before he returned to looking bewildered. "Um, sorry."
"Wait, someone was filming on the boat today?" the captain asked, and I blinked as I looked over at him. I'd almost forgotten he was there. "I wasn't made aware of that. Did they get the proper permits?" "You really expect me to believe that?" Hallie asked me, ignoring the captain completely, but with less confidence than before — like some of this was starting to ring true to her.
"Believe what you want," I said. "It's the truth." I looked over at my dad and Karen. "And she was the one who leaked Karen's identity to the press," I said, hoping they would believe me and not just think I was passing the blame on to Gwyneth. "Not me. She said she needed to create more drama."
"So much for a documentary," Hallie muttered, and I tried not to let the shock appear on my face that we had now agreed on two things in the span of a few minutes. I was sure it was an anomaly, that was all.
"Wait just a minute," my dad said, shaking his head. "This doesn't make any sense."
I shook my head. "It does, though," I said. "Gwyneth is a lot more like Bruce than you realize. And what would Bruce have done in this situation?"
I saw a look of understanding pass over my dad's face, and he nodded. Bruce Davidson, his former college roommate–turned major Hollywood producer, was ruthless when it came to getting his movies made, a trait his daughter, I'd realized just a bit too late, had clearly inherited.
"Bruce?" the captain repeated, looking between us.
"Never mind," I said quickly, feeling like there was really no need to involve sea captains in this. If we did, I knew Bruce would suddenly get way too interested, and the next thing you knew, he'd be developing a thriller about a party on a boat gone wrong.
"So can we go?" Hallie asked with all the dignity one can muster when there is frosting in your hair.
"Yes," the captain said, looking relieved we were coming back to the issue at hand. "I mean, no. We need to discuss the next steps. The last thing I want is my boat getting a reputation as the kind of vessel where these types of shenanigans happen."
"I assure you ..." my dad started, just as the walkie-talkie on the captain's desk started crackling.
The captain held up a hand as if to say Just a minute, and picked up the walkie. "Yes?" he asked, and as I watched, his expression grew more grave. "Uh-huh," he muttered, turning away from us and holding the walkie up to his ear so we couldn't hear anything being said by the person on the other line — just the sound of static. "Okay," he said as he turned to us again and set the walkie back down on his desk. "We're going to need to revisit this another time. Right now I need all of you back on deck as quickly as possible."
"What's going on?" Karen asked, clearly picking up — like I had — on the captain's tone, which was grave and no-nonsense ... the way you sounded when something was really wrong.
"This boat is going back to shore immediately," the captain said as Hallie and I got to our feet. "All nonessential emergency boats have been ordered to return to shore."
"Um," I said, wondering if there was something I'd missed. "Why?"
"We just got a report from the National Weather Service," the captain said, his voice more serious than ever. "We need to get back to shore ASAP. There's a major storm front bearing down on the Hamptons."
I glanced over at Hallie, meeting her eyes just as the first clap of thunder sounded.CHAPTER 2
"Wow," Sophie said from the backseat, her voice worried. "It's really coming down out there."
I looked out the window and then across Bruce's SUV at my dad, and folded my arms over my chest. The storm the captain had warned us about didn't really seem to be happening — to me, it didn't look like anything more than heavy rain with occasional flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder. It really seemed like every other summer storm, maybe a tad heavier than usual, but not by much. I honestly wasn't sure this whole thing hadn't just been a ploy by the captain to bring in the boat early and get us all off his ship. "Uh-huh," I said a moment too late. If I'd been answering anyone else but Sophie, I would have worried I was being incredibly rude, but she'd been my best friend pretty much all my life, and I knew she would forgive me for being distracted.
During the year, Sophie lived in Putnam, Connecticut, like me. But she'd shown up in the Hamptons earlier this summer, needing a distraction after a bad breakup, and had ended up staying and then babysitting the world's least likable twins. She'd gone to Hallie's party with Reid Franklin — Josh's roommate from boarding school who was spending the summer with him after he'd been fired from his internship — but in the confusion of everyone hustling off the boat and getting into their cars at the marina, she'd walked over to my car, probably out of habit, and ducked in before the rain got really bad. My dad had also headed over to the SUV after a quick, whispered talk with Karen. Since I hadn't even been aware he'd been in this time zone, let alone this state, I had no idea how he'd gotten to the boat in the first place. But when he held out his hand for my keys, it was clear he was coming back to Bruce's with us — and he'd be doing the driving.
A lot had happened quickly when we were hustled out of the captain's quarters — the embers of the party were pretty much squelched out when the announcement came over the PA system, warning there was a storm approaching and there were life jackets available for guests who wished to wear them. I saw Hallie rolling her eyes at me as I took one and belted it around my waist, but I didn't care. It wasn't that I thought some massive storm was going to hit us — though it did, in fact, look like all the other boats around us during the party were making their way in as well — but that I wasn't entirely sure Hallie wouldn't shove me overboard if she got the chance. I also wasn't entirely sure Gwyneth wouldn't do the same thing and tell me it was Hallie, just to give her documentary a little extra excitement.
But the life jacket had somehow come with me in the confusion, and it was now sitting in the backseat next to Sophie, who was keeping up a mostly one-sided conversation about the weather, clearly trying to mitigate some of the silent, angry vibes flying back and forth between my dad and me.
Though we hadn't said anything to each other beyond the basic rudimentary topics about the weather and the best route home, I could sense the tension brewing between us. And it wasn't just that I was mad at my father (which I was). It was also that he was mad at me, and I could practically feel it coming off him in waves.
"Sure is," my dad said in response to Sophie, his voice flat, as he turned the wiper speed up. It did look like the rain was starting to come down harder now, I had to admit. But it still didn't look like anything worth hauling in a boat over.
I squinted out the rain-streaked window, trying to get a sense of where we were. I wanted to go home and change out of this dress and wash my hair until I was sure there was absolutely no frosting left in it. But mostly, I wanted to not be in this car anymore, confined with my dad, both of us mad at each other.
Excerpted from Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross by Katie Finn. Copyright © 2016 Katie Finn. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A very good book
Hearts, Fingers, and Other Things to Cross by Katie Finn is a roller coaster of emotions! The relationship ins and outs of the characters become pretty tangled along with the hurricane scare. This is the shortest and final book of the Broken Hearts and Revenge series and also the most intense!