The Neighbor Wager Read Online Crystal Kaswell

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Chick Lit, Contemporary Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 101
Estimated words: 103102 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 516(@200wpm)___ 412(@250wpm)___ 344(@300wpm)

The science of attraction is getting seriously tested…

Meet River. He used to be the nerd next door…only now he’s all grown up, got a sleeve of tattoos, and women seem to like him. A lot.

Even Lexi, the girl of River’s teenaged dreams, all bubbly sweetness—never noticed him. Until now.

There’s only one problem. They’re not meant for each other.

Now it’s up to Deanna, the super pragmatic, algorithm-fueled brains behind the new dating app Meetcute to make sure they realize it.
River might be certain he knows true love when he sees it, but Deanna knows differently, and the future of her company is riding on it. All she has to do is prove to him that what he’s feeling for Lexi isn’t love. Not even close.

…even if it means making him fall for Deanna, instead.

Challenge accepted.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************



Ten Years Ago

Lexi Huntington is the sun, and I’m a planet in her orbit, powerless to resist her gravity.

Or is she the moon and I’m the tides?

The shore, pounded by the waves the tides create?

No. The sun. That’s the better metaphor. It fits her—she’s as bright and brilliant as the ball of fire in the sky.

I scribble the phrase in my sketchbook.

She’s the sun, and I’m a planet in her orbit.

There’s no rhythm to the words—not yet. They need shading. Shaping.

Artistic ability runs in the family, but I lack Grandma’s skill with words. Pictures are more my speed. Princesses with golden curls. Fire mages with white-blonde hair. Acrobatic monks with flaxen locks.

Of course, I draw a lot of curvy blondes. I have inspiration from the girl next door.

After I sketch the scene, I fall back onto my bed, study the glow-in-the-dark star stickers struggling to hold onto the popcorn ceiling. As with everything in Huntington Hills, our house is a bit gaudy.

Grandma curses the nineties architecture but, deep down, she loves the neighborhood. She loves the town. She loves living next door to the family who owns a third of Orange County and half the city.

Thankfully, my room is a refuge. It’s small—only a desk, a bed, a bit of floor space, and a big window overlooking our backyard and the next-door neighbor’s—but it’s mine. The white desk is covered in multicolored sketches. The bed still rocks Spider-Man sheets (under the plain red bedspread, of course). The Roy Lichtenstein posters blend perfectly with the shelves packed with graphic novels. One entire bookshelf is filled with modern classics. Another with adaptations of classic literature.

That’s sort of what I’m doing now, trying to turn my thoughts into a story, the way Grandma does. The visuals I adore—castles with grand towers, knights slaying dragons, waves crashing into cliffs—and the words she adores.

My cousin Fern and I are working on a project for Grandma’s birthday. A small graphic novel, where a butt-kicking adventurer destroys evil and finds love. It combines all of our passions.

Only, Fern is more of a reader than a writer. Which means I’m here, picking up the slack, struggling with how to write the perfect sentence.

Would the love interest say this?

She’s the sun and I’m the planet, powerless to resist her orbit…

Sure, why not?

It’s what I would say, anyway.

I rush back to my desk, pull my large sketchbook—a different one—from on top of my art textbooks, and I draw. Three panels where the love interest, an adventurer, stares at the sky, professing his love for the princess. But not to her, not yet. He’s practicing first.

The second I finish and drop my pencil, I hear it: music next door.

The Huntingtons are having a party.

That isn’t a notable event. The Huntingtons have a party every week, it seems. But I know this isn’t any old party.

This is Lexi Huntington’s Sweet Sixteen.

The Lexi Huntington’s Sweet Sixteen.

Only three days after my birthday. That’s fate. Kismet. Destiny. Whatever word you use, it means the same thing:

We belong together.

Sure, right now, the stars don’t align, but one day, they will. I have patience. I can wait for the right moment.

Tonight, I only want one thing: to offer her a gift. It is her birthday, after all. Who wouldn’t want a four-panel birthday card? I’ve been working on it for the past two weeks, making sure every line and color is perfect.

I stand, stretch, change out of my wrinkled Star Trek shirt into something more appropriate for a Huntington party: cargo pants and a short-sleeved plaid button-up. For me, this is as formal as it gets.

I can’t see what’s happening inside, but outside my window, the party is already humming. At least a dozen people gather by the Huntingtons’ enormous pool, sipping punch and admiring the fake waterfall on the other side of the backyard. And it’s quite the backyard.

The Huntington estate sprawls over half our block. Their pool is as big as our house. Their house is the size of a department store. The rest of their backyard is, well, the parking lot of a department store.

Obscene for the neighborhood, but then the city is named after their great-grandfather.

Usually, I resent the inequality of it. But it’s hard to complain about anything that keeps me this close to the sun.

For a few minutes, I study the party from above, as if locked away in a tower. The fashion, the posture, the music. Something popular on the radio. One of those girl-power pop artists Grandma loves.


Grandma doesn’t want me to go.

Grandma doesn’t appreciate my crush on Lexi. She thinks Lexi will end up hurting me.

But has the sun ever hurt the earth? Okay, never mind, that’s a bad metaphor. I suck at metaphors. That isn’t the point. The point is I don’t believe Lexi would ever hurt me.