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I look up to meet his eyes,

serious and determined and the rarest, most intense colors I’ve ever seen. I lean closer, our gaze unbroken, fire crackling and warming the air around us. He swallows and then he’s there, right before me. My heart slams into my ribs and my neck goes hot and I close my eyes just as our lips brush and my breath catches and …

And he pulls away.

SARAHOCKLER.COM

There’s a fine line between bitter and sweet.

ONCE UPON A TIME, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances … a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life … and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last….

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of Fixing Delilah and the critically acclaimed Twenty Boy Summer, a YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominee and an Indie Next List pick. She is a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading at home in Colorado, Sarah enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex. Visit her website at SARAHOCKLER.COM, and find her on Twitter and Facebook.

JACKET DESIGNED BY JESSICA HANDELMAN

JACKET PHOTOGRAPH COPYRIGHT © 2012 BY GETTY IMAGES

AUTHOR PHOTOGRAPH BY R. ALEX MORABITO

Simon Pulse

Simon & Schuster, New York

Watch videos, get extras, and read exclusives at TEEN.SimonandSchuster.com

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

SIMON PULSE

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

www.SimonandSchuster.com

First Simon Pulse hardcover edition January 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Sarah Ockler

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

SIMON PULSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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For more information or to book an event contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at www.simonspeakers.com.

Designed by Karina Granda

The text of this book was set in Adobe Caslon.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Ockler, Sarah.

Bittersweet / by Sarah Ockler. — 1st Simon Pulse hardcover ed.

p. cm.

Summary: Hudson Avery gave up a promising competitive ice-skating career after her parents divorced when she was fourteen years old, and now spends her time baking cupcakes and helping out in her mother’s upstate New York diner, but when she gets a chance at a scholarship and starts coaching the boys’ hockey team, she realizes that she is not through with ice-skating after all.

ISBN 978-1-4424-3035-8

[1. Divorce—Fiction. 2. Ice skating—Fiction. 3. Diners (Restaurants)—Fiction.

4. Cupcakes—Fiction. 5. New York (State)—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.O168Lan 2012

[Fic]—dc23

2011024193

ISBN 978-1-4424-3037-2 (eBook)

For Ted Malawer,

who always finds a way to let me

have my cupcakes and eat them, too.

Contents

Prologue: ’Twas the Month Before Cupcakes

Chapter One: Damsels in Distress

Chapter Two: Cupcakes of Destiny

Chapter Three: No One Wants to Kiss a Girl Who Smells Like Bacon, So I Might as Well Get Fat Cupcakes

Chapter Four: When Life Hands You Lemons, Stuff ’Em in Your Bra Cakes

Chapter Five: Opportunity Knocks You on Your Butt Cakes

Chapter Six: Kill Me, Kill Me Now Cupcakes

Chapter Seven: How to Appear Outwardly Cool While Totally Freaking Out on the Inside Cupcakes

Chapter Eight: The Good, the Bad, and the Cupcakes

Chapter Nine: Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Falling Down Hurts Real Bad, Too, Cupcakes

Chapter Ten: Red-Hot Double Crush Cakes

Chapter Eleven: Shoulda-Coulda-Woulda Cakes

Chapter Twelve: Dirty Little Secrets

Chapter Thirteen: Bah Humbug and a Merry Who Cares to You, Too, Cupcakes

Chapter Fourteen: Cupcakes with Benefits

Chapter Fifteen: Desperate Times Call for Desperate Cupcakes

Chapter Sixteen: Lights, Camera, Cupcakes!

Chapter Seventeen: Chocolate Banana Snap Crackle Popcakes

Chapter Eighteen: Hester’s Scarlet Letters

Chapter Nineteen: Desolation Angels

Chapter Twenty: The Perfect Storms

Chapter Twenty-One: Woolly Mammoth Freeze-Outs

Chapter Twenty-Two: Bittersweets

Chapter Twenty-Three: Liar, Liar, Cakes on Fire

Chapter Twenty-Four: Friend of the Devil Cupcakes

Chapter Twenty-Five: Hudson Avery’s Last-Chance Triple/Triple Combo Cupcakes

Chapter Twenty-Six: Not-So-Impossible Orange Dreams

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Have Your Cupcakes and Eat Them, Toos

Acknowledgments

Prologue

’Twas the Month Before Cupcakes

Three years ago …

It was the biggest competition night of my life, but all I could think about was the cheetah bra.

I’d found it a few hours earlier, tucked into a pile of folded laundry on the end of my bed. It was just there, two perfect C-cups trimmed in black, nestled between my jeans with the butterfly on the pocket and the faded Buffalo Sabres hoodie I’d swiped from Dad.

Mom was in her bedroom ironing, decked out in her yellow robe and those hard-bottomed slippers that are supposed to be good for your back. I dangled the bra off my finger, because Mom + cheetah = eww, and dropped it on her dresser.

“It was mixed in with my stuff,” I said when she looked up. I flopped on her bed, tossing a pillow in the air and catching it. Toss. Catch. Toss. Catch. “Are we leaving soon?” Toss. Catch.

     

 

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