Alpha girl Harper is used to getting what she wants,
and that means Adam,
Beth's all-American boytoy.
Blond, boring Beth, who Kane,
the charming playah, secretly wants too.
Miranda thinks Kane is out of her league,
but she wants him all the same.
And then there's the new girl.
Kaia. Who only wants trouble
and he's definitely on his way.
Want to know more?
About the Author
Robin Wasserman is the author of Girls on Fire, an NPR and BuzzFeed Best Book of the Year. She is a graduate of Harvard College with a Master’s in the history of science. She lives in Los Angeles, where she writes for television.
Read an Excerpt
By Robin Wasserman
Simon PulseCopyright © 2005 Robin Wasserman
All right reserved.
"And it was the best sex I'd ever had." Harper finished off the story with her favorite line and a lascivious grin.
The other girls tanning themselves on the makeshift beach (though chaise lounges plus backyard plus desert sun and margaritas did not an island paradise make) sighed appreciatively. All but Miranda, who rolled her eyes and -- just barely -- stifled a snort. Harper had already given her best friend the full download on this guy, so she knew very well that the previous evening's encounter had been nothing if not nasty, brutish, and (perhaps mercifully) short.
But Harper knew Miranda would keep her mouth shut. After all, when had she ever dared ruin a Harper Grace story? Never -- which is exactly why their friendship had lasted so long.
"So what now?" Beth asked, tucking her long blond hair behind her ears. A nervous habit. Miranda and Harper exchanged a smirk: The hallmark of any good Beth Manning imitation was to get the hair tuck just right, at a frequency of about one per every three sentences. "Are you going to see him again?"
Harper just laughed and shook her head, a crest of wavy auburn hair whipping across her face. "Maybe when hell freezes over -- or when pashminas come back in style -- but not before. Not even great sex is worth dealing with that again, if you know what I mean..."
The girls all burst into laughter and, clinking their plastic margarita glasses, toasted -- to good stories, and better decisions. In the rock-paper-scissors of life in Grace, California, sex sometimes trumped boredom -- but often (given the quality of guys available in Grace) it was the other way around.
But this -- sun, fun, and booze, girls only -- this was the life. They'd been meeting once a week all summer, setting up shop in Harper's backyard -- and given that the rest of the week was generally filled with sweat, lethargy, and dead-end part-time jobs off the highway, serving fast food or gas or porn to skeezy travelers, "beach day" was always a highlight. Even if instead of sexy bronzed lifeguards, they were watched over by a couple of spiny, brownish cacti. Even if the only available view consisted of the low-slung hills that loomed on the fringes of town, lumps of dirt and dust irregularly spotted with scrub brush as if they'd been struck by a fatal dose of desert leprosy. Even if the only water in sight sat warming in the pitcher Harper periodically tipped into the mouth of the tequila bottle, replacing what she'd taken in hopes her parents would remain none the wiser. So what? The sun still bore down on them from a cloudless sky, mixing with their carefully applied sunscreen to create the picture-perfect tan. The day was hot, the drinks were cool, and it was still summer. At least for now.
"But the really unbelievable thing -- ," Harper began again, then stopped abruptly. "Aren't you a little old for the Peeping Tom act?" she called out in a louder voice, gesturing toward the sliding glass door of the house next door, where a strikingly handsome face had just shown itself. Harper's neighbor, and another highlight of the week: the handsome, hunky, and utterly unavailable Adam Morgan. It wouldn't be a day at the beach without putting in some scoping time. And there was no one better to scope -- too bad he always showed up fully clothed.
Adam crept into the backyard with one hand splayed loosely over his eyes.
"Is it safe for me to look, or have you ladies started up the nude tanning portion of your afternoon?" he asked, as the girls frantically threw themselves into poses that maximized their good parts -- not that, in their skimpy bikinis, there was much of anywhere to hide the bad.
"This is reality, Adam, not your favorite porn movie," Harper drawled. "What are you doing here, anyway? Shouldn't you be off somewhere celebrating your last day of freedom? There's only" -- she checked her watch -- "nineteen hours left before that first bell rings."
"Yeah, good-bye summer, hello torture. Don't worry, I'm headed out to the courts now -- just thought I'd stop by to say hello." He ruffled Harper's hair and then squeezed onto the plastic chaise lounge next to Beth, slinging a tan, well-muscled arm around his girlfriend.
"Nice to see you, too," Beth giggled. "Now get out of here so that Harper can finish telling us about her date."
"Another date?" He flashed Harper a knowing grin and took a swig from Beth's drink. "I just hope you're not teaching my girl here any of your tricks." He winked at Harper, then leaned over to give Beth a quick peck on the lips.
That was Adam -- equal opportunity friend, one-woman man.
Beth nuzzled against her boyfriend. "Don't worry, Adam -- I think Harper's got all the guys in town staked out as her own personal property. I guess I'm just stuck with you."
No one who wasn't watching for it would have noticed, but with those words, Harper's face turned a definite shade of pale. And who could blame her? Listening to the happy couple's flirtatious simpering was enough to turn anyone's stomach. And given that Beth had only been invited in the first place by virtue of her connection to Adam, it seemed more than a bit inappropriate for her to be teasing Harper about her conquests. It was one thing when Harper and Miranda laughed about all the men -- but coming out of Beth's mouth, it just made Harper sound like...well...a slut.
But Harper suppressed the nasty comeback that threatened to leap off her tongue. No reason to let the blah blonde spoil her perfectly pleasant afternoon. Besides, Beth would learn her lesson -- soon enough.
"I mean, come on, Harper," Beth continued, oblivious to the dangerous ground she was treading. "After all these years and all these dates, is there even anyone left? Or have you been through every eligible guy in town?"
Harper aimed her most sugary grin at the happy couple, her gaze lingering on Adam's handsomely chiseled face and brawny shoulders.
"Not yet, Beth," she said, slowly shaking her head. "Trust me -- not yet."
With a sneer, Kaia wearily waved away the stewardess -- or flight attendant, if you wanted to bother being PC about it. Which she didn't, of course. Who cared if she offended little blond Charlotte, washed-up beauty queen from Tennessee, or Ricky, her so-gay-here-come-the-stereotype-police-to-come-drag-him-away partner in crime? As if she wanted a rancid plate of underdone potatoes and gravy-swaddled mystery meat sitting in front of her for the rest of the flight. She didn't need airplane food to make her nauseous -- these days, life was doing a good enough job of that on its own.
She squirmed in her seat, trying her best not to touch the greasy arm of the woman next to her, who'd only barely managed to squeeze her rolls of fat into the narrow seat. Talk about airplane cliches -- now all she needed was the screaming baby.
Oh, that's right -- the universe's central casting office had instead saddled her with a bratty five-year-old who had a bad case of ADD and, apparently, a spastic kicking problem.
"Now, now, Taylor," a weary voice behind her said. "We don't kick the seat in front of us -- it's not nice."
Kaia wanted to turn around and explain to little Taylor and his wimpy mother exactly what would happen to "us" if the kicking continued throughout the rest of this interminable flight -- but she thought better of it.
Simple math: The in-flight movie (some tedious Adam Sandler bomb) would only last two hours, the flight would last at least six -- she needed to save some entertainment options for later.
Kaia sighed, pulled out her iPod, and tried to relax. As the Shins warbled in her ear, she practiced the breathing exercises that Rashi -- her mother's yoga instructor, life coach, and all-around personal guru -- had taught her last year. Breathe in, breathe out. Clear your mind. Go to your safe place.
Of course it was all bullshit -- ancient wisdom dished out at $300 an hour, maybe -- but bullshit nonetheless.
She just needed to stop dwelling. Stress causes wrinkles, Kaia reminded herself, and just because her mother was the reigning Botox queen of Manhattan didn't mean that she was eager to claim the throne anytime soon. She needed to calm down...but exactly how was she supposed to do that with her hideous new life rushing toward her at six hundred miles an hour?
It was bad enough that she was being shipped across the country like a piece of furniture. (Last summer, for example, her mother had decided that her grandmother's mahogany armoire clashed with the new Danish modern decor and shipped it out to her father. This summer's "out of sight, out of mind" shipment was Kaia.) Bad enough that she was going to miss this year's Central Park fall gala, the winter benefit season, all the La Perla sample sales -- basically, every social event of the year. And she was sure that her so-called friends would waste no time in making her so-called boyfriend (okay, all her boyfriends) feel a little less lonely.
It was certainly bad enough that she was going to be stuck in the middle of nowhere -- literally exiled to the desert, and for a lot longer than forty days and forty nights. That tomorrow she'd be facing her first day at some hick school sure to be filled with a bunch of losers destined for community college or ranching school, and who probably thought that Gucci was a neato name for a pet cow.
She winced. (One more time and that kid was going to learn about the emergency exits the hard way.)
It was bad enough, to sum up, that the plane was hurtling toward a father she barely knew, a town whose name she couldn't remember, a year in hicksville hell --
All that was bad enough -- but honestly, did they really have to make her fly coach?
Kane Geary released the ball from his fingertips and then turned away, as if to demonstrate his lack of interest in following its perfect arc across the court. But he grinned as, a moment later, he heard the swish.
"Check it out," he bragged. "Nothing but net."
Adam grabbed the ball and tossed it back to his friend in disgust. He should have known his early lead was just a false hope. He'd known Kane for almost ten years -- and the last time Kane lost a game of pickup ball, they'd both been about three feet tall. Kane may have been too lazy to show up for practices (so lazy, in fact, that he'd been thrown off the Haven High team in ninth grade, never to return), but when it came to actual games, he hated to lose. And thus, never did.
In other words, trailing by seven points and about five minutes away from utter exhaustion, Adam had no chance whatsoever.
"Okay, Shaq, how about we wrap it up for today?" he suggested. The tiny basketball court behind the high school offered no opportunities for shade (much like the rest of town), their bottles of water were long since empty, and after an hour of running back and forth in the searing desert heat, Adam's shorts looked like he'd just worn them in the shower. His shirt, now balled up at the foot of the basket, had long since become a lost cause, and his sweaty chest glistened in the sun.
Kane, on the other hand, looked as if he'd just stepped out of his air-conditioned Camaro; only a small trickle of sweat tracing a path down his cheekbone betrayed the afternoon's exertion in 103-degree heat.
Kane tossed up a casual layup, which rolled once around the rim and then tipped away, on the wrong side of the net. At least the guy misses sometimes, Adam told himself. Small comfort.
"In awe of my superior skills?" Kane smirked, jogging down the court to grab the rebound. "Terrified of going head-to-head against the reigning champ? Worried that by the time the winter season starts, you'll be so demoralized that you'll have to drop off your little team?"
Adam laughed, imagining the look on his coach's face after hearing that his star forward was too sad to play that season. Yeah, coach would just love that.
Adam darted across the court and snatched the ball away from Kane, shooting a jump shot from mid-court and watching with satisfaction as the ball soared toward the net.
Three points. Sweet.
"More like I need to get home and make myself pretty for my girlfriend," he corrected Kane. "I hope all those dreams of basketball glory keep you warm tonight while you're sitting home alone eating leftovers and watching The Simpsons. Beth and I will be thinking of you -- oh, wait, no we won't."
"Very funny. You should take that act on the road." Kane shook his head in disbelief. "I still don't understand what the hottest girl in school sees in a loser like you -- you're just lucky I'm too busy to give you much competition." Kane palmed the ball and tossed Adam his shirt, and they took off for the parking lot. In the waning hours of summer vacation it was still empty, Kane's lovingly restored Camaro and Adam's rusted Chevy the only evidence of human life in the concrete wasteland. As they walked, both guys tried their best to avoid looking directly at the low-slung red building that would soon imprison them for the next nine months. Ignoring the inevitable may have been a feeble defense, but it was all they had.
"And by 'busy,' I assume you mean hopping in and out of bed with half the cheerleading squad and three fifths of the girl's field hockey team?" Adam retorted. With his close-cropped black hair, piercing brown eyes, and impeccable physique, Kane could have any girl he wanted. And Adam knew that by now, he'd pretty much had them all.
"Dude, you know what they say -- idle hands are the devil's plaything." Kane gave Adam his best Sunday school smile. "You gotta keep them busy doing something."
"You're disgusting, you know that?" Adam slapped his friend good-naturedly on the back. "You give us all a bad name."
Kane shoved him in return, then began idly dribbling the ball as they walked.
"Seriously, Adam, I know she's hot, but you've been with her awhile -- aren't you bored yet? There's bound to be some freshman cuties this year..."
Adam bristled and walked a step faster, wondering -- not for the first time -- how disgusted Beth would be if she knew the kind of guy his best friend really was. Sure, she'd seen plenty of Kane and was already distinctly unimpressed -- but that was Kane in good behavior mode. Kane: Uncensored was not a pretty sight.
"I mean, she's gorgeous and all," Kane continued, "but she seems a little uptight, if you know what I mean."
Adam whirled on him, eyes blazing with anger.
"Enough! Don't talk about her like that. She's not one of your brainless floozies. She's -- " Adam cut himself off. He wasn't about to explain to Kane how Beth was different from all the girls he'd dated before (especially since he still didn't really understand it himself). Wasn't going to tell him about how beautiful she looked in the desert moonlight or how he could tell her things, secrets, about himself and his life and his dreams that he'd never told anyone before. He certainly wasn't telling Kane that he thought he might be in love with her.
They were guys, after all, and friendship -- even best friendship -- had its limits.
"Whatever," he finally continued. "Just give it a rest, okay? Beth and I are not breaking up anytime soon."
Kane winked and gave Adam an intentionally hokey leer.
"No problem. I guess if I had a girl like that willing to climb into bed with me, I wouldn't want to let her out anytime soon either."
Adam flushed and said a silent prayer to whoever watched over sex-obsessed teenagers that Kane wouldn't notice his sudden silence and obvious discomfort. Beth was willing to climb into the bed, all right. She would lie there next to him, her perfect body nestled against his. She would kiss him, and caress him, and drive him crazy with desire, and --
And that was about it.
Harper heard the old Chevy roar into the driveway and rushed to the window. There he was. Lean. Tan. Shirtless. His golden hair bronzed by the sun, his hundred-watt smile piercing through his obvious exhaustion.
Adam. Her next-door neighbor. Her childhood friend -- her partner for swimming lessons, playground dates, imaginary tea parties, and the occasional game of doctor.
And now, years later: Homecoming king. Star of the swim team. The basketball team. The lacrosse team. Basically, an All-American high school stud. None of which meant much to her, considering how lame their school was, and the fact that she usually saw sports as a crutch for the mentally weak. Besides, that's not what she saw when she looked at him. Or, at least, not all she saw, not anymore.
She opened the window, about to call out to him, to wave -- then thought better of it and just watched. What she saw when she looked at him was her oldest friend, the boy who knew all of her secrets and liked her anyway -- the boy she'd recently discovered was a man she wanted to be with. Might even be in love with.
What a hassle.
The poor little overlooked best friend, languishing in the shadows, the man of her dreams blinded by the bright glare of puppy love. Tossing his true soul mate aside in favor of a human Barbie doll. It was such a pathetic cliche -- and Harper didn't do cliches. She liked to consider herself unique, and she wasn't a huge fan of seeing her life turn into a second-rate knockoff of a third-rate teen chick flick. Especially one that starred her as the weepy protagonist too wimpy to open her mouth and take what she wanted.
But on the other hand -- just look at him.
Postgame, Adam was hot, sweaty, and shirtless, and his taut body gleamed in the sun. Harper couldn't take her eyes off him -- that tan six-pack, those firm pecs, the broad biceps that, if she used her imagination, she could feel ever so gently tightening around her...
There was just one problem with the picture-perfect romance -- the picture-perfect girlfriend. Beautiful Beth. Blond Beth. Bland and boring Beth.
Lately, the Blond One was all Adam could talk about, and it was driving Harper slowly but surely insane. He was probably even now heading inside to call her, to whisper sweet nothings in his lilting Southern accent (an adorable holdover from an early childhood in South Carolina). He was probably already planning some sickeningly sweet, romantic candlelit dinner for their last night of summer. He was just that kind of guy. It was disgusting. And it should have been her.
Harper slammed the window shut and crossed the room to her bed, which was covered in clothes -- a haphazard pile of unsuitable first-day-of-school possibilities. She burrowed through them in frustration, wondering how it was possible that with all these clothes, she never had anything to wear.
The beaded yellow tank top with pleated ruffles and an off-center sash that had looked so promising in the store? Hideous.
The stonewashed denim jacket that hugged her curves and made her feel like a supermodel? So last season.
The tan blouse and matching scarf her mother had brought home as a surprise last month? Yeah, maybe -- if she was forty. And was a desperate housewife.
No. She needed something special, something that would make her look good. Really good, Harper mused, fingering a lime green miniskirt that she knew would show off her tan -- and potentially, depending on how far she bent over, a lot more.
It was simple. Harper wanted Adam -- and Harper always got what she wanted.
It was just a matter of figuring out how.
Copyright © 2005 by Robin Wasserman
Excerpted from Lust by Robin Wasserman Copyright © 2005 by Robin Wasserman.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When I first read this book, I was immediately reminded of Gossip Girl, only on a small-town scale. There's the same drama, romance, and conflict that perpetually occurs and you can't put the book down. The first book really only sets the stage for the series...a lot does go on, but after this book it only gets better. There's no way you can only read Lust without being curious about what will happen next throughout the series!
I read this book (and the rest of the series) over a year ago, and I'm going back now to reread them because I love them, to give you an idea of how enticing the novels are.
My mom was pushing me to get a book to read because all I really do is sit around all summer. So my mom took me to Barnes and Noble to pick out a book and I just wanted to get out of there. So I picked up the first book that I saw. I went home and read it and I couldn't stop. I'm not usually one to like teen novels like this but this is one of my guilty pleasures. The only thing I wasn't too crazy about is that every move the characters make is completely predictable. But that aside, it's a great start to a series.
i was looking for books online, and i saw this one and i was just thinking 'i HAVE to read it'. its a great book, its like . . . sexy and thrilling and backstabbing. it reminded me of the gossip girl series. these are the perfect books to make you laugh. i cant believe how evil (and sexual lol) everyone is, turning on each other and everything. and i so want harper to get adam, because i hate beth -- shes just so annoying. and kaia, well you hate but you love her -- i just dont want her with adam!! DEFINITELY read this book
Gosh These books were not what i expected. they are AMAZING i love the fact that the book changes points of view. The series overall i would rate as excellent! you can never guess the plot and the ending to the series is complete but leaves you wishing there was more!
I normally can't stand series or trendy lloking books. And this one looked just like one, but was totally different from what I expected. Lust is a great start to the 'Seven Deadly Sins' series. I have read all the way through Pride and am waiting to get Wrath. This series is like a great movie that you can't get enough of. Harper and Kaia are the queen B's that everybody loves to hate and Beth is the picture perfect beauty that the queen B's are secretly jealous of at times. Everybody has a problem and a secret. I'm so anxious for Wrath to see what Beth does. I HIGHLY recommened you just read Lust. You'll get addicted and just can't stop.
I normally don't read books like Gossip Girl and A-list and all of that because it's like soap operas on paper, and I think that's stupid. But this book was SO good. I loved it. The characters were fairly prdictable, but it was so different form most of these teen books. Wasserman looked at each situation form different angles with each different character. She allowed the reader to be more inside the characters heads'and that made for a really compelling read. I enjoyed it and am waiting anxiously for Envy to be released!!
I loved this book i like how the book switches veiwpoints and tells you every thought of all the characters. Its so dramatic.
I picked up this book because I loved the 7 Deadly Sins miniseries on Lifetime. For a teen read it is actually pretty good. The characters are spicy, there is a lot of drama going on, and the ending leads you to want to read more books in the series. It's amazing to see how much hate these teens have for eachother, and how much trouble they want to stir up in their group of "friends". Good read, highly recommended!
Robin Wasserman is an amazing author. All of her books are amazing too, and this book is no exception. Very well written.
THIS BOOK... Was great. It includes 6 character point of views: Kane, Miranda, Kaia, Harper, Adam and Beth. Basically, HArper wants Adam but Adam's with Beth, and Kane wants Beth but she's with Adam and Miranda wants Kane but he wants Beth and Kaia wants to have fun while messing with others lives.... READ IT
The story is mainly about six different characters witch are Harper, Adam, Beth, Kane, Kaia. It surprised me when all of them had a situation to deal with . Some of that was when Adam has been dating Beth, for to years and he really loves her but is put as she don't want to have sex. But that's what most teenage want at their age. Kane decides to steal Adam's girlfriend (Beth) as a challenge. If you love GOSSIP it is a great book, involving not just one situation but different leading towards each other . And there are a series of them , which one book isn't the end , and all add up to be seven sins.I recommend this book to be for teenage girls , and just know what different kinds of situations there can be, and come unexpectedly. There are different situations , that will lead to even more wondering wanting to know what will happen afterwords. A few hundred pages of drama, and if your onto the teenage drama this book with the other Six deadly sins will best fit you. Basicly about teenage years is when most of the drama in your life will ever be, with teen fear, love seduction, and betrayed.