The Kiss Keeper - Krista Sandor Page 0,1

at the ceiling. “Right, moron! You’re his kiss keeper, and he’s yours. You’ve been coming to camp almost as long as we have. You know what you have to do.”

Nat stared at the shadows playing on the worn wood plank floor. “But I don’t want to kiss anyone.”

That wasn’t exactly true, but she certainly wasn’t about to clue her cousins in on that little tidbit.

“That’s why the kiss keeper is so great. It’s like it never happened because you don’t know who he is, and he doesn’t know who you are,” Lara offered.

“What if I blurt out my name?” Nat countered.

Leslie pointed the flashlight’s beam at her chin. Her nostrils flared as the orange glow illuminated her cousin’s face in a demonic shade of orange.

“The last girl who did that is at the bottom of the well,” Leslie answered, eyes wide, with all the theatrics afforded to a teenage drama queen.

Natalie let out a long sigh. “I’m pretty sure Grandma and Grandpa would know if there was a camper chilling out at the bottom of the well. I mean, wouldn’t she yell up for someone to get her out?”

Leslie groaned and swished her ponytail over her shoulder. “Like always, you’re missing the point, Nat.”

Lara glanced at her sister, tried to swish her ponytail, then pulled the poorly swished hair out of her mouth. “Yeah, Nat, all you do is climb trees and walk around with that sketchbook, drawing pictures and staring at flowers. What guy is going to want to hook up with a girl who’s totally obsessed with colored pencils?”

Natalie shrugged. “Somebody into art or nature or even pencils?”

Unlike her guy-obsessed cousins, parading around camp in barely-there jean shorts and tank tops, she had no interest in attracting the attention Leslie and Lara craved.

Well…maybe not no interest.

After her parents divorced six months ago, her life had split into two parts. Half of it was spent in a tiny town in southern Vermont with her mother not far from her grandma and grandpa Woolwich, while the other half was spent with her father across the country in California. She knew her parents loved her, and the whole situation was quite amicable as far as divorces go.

But she craved to be part of a cohesive unit again—to feel whole again—and not live as this fragmented girl who spent her weekends flying as an unaccompanied minor across the country when an idea sparked on her last flight from California.

Seated next to a newly married couple, all googly-eyed and completely in love, on her flight to camp, she started wondering if a boy could fill that void for her. Then she remembered that a boyfriend would probably want to kiss her. It wasn’t like it was a huge deal. Kids at her school would go and kiss behind the bleachers all the time, but she certainly didn’t want to kiss a stranger tonight.

Leslie crossed her arms. “You don’t have a choice, Nat. It’s your turn, and you’re going.”

“At least, let me change out of my nightgown, Les,” she said, conceding to the inevitable.

Another swish of ponytail. “Nope, it’s pajamas and the bandana for you, missy,” her cousin replied, plucking the square of material from the boot and fashioning it into a blindfold.

“What about when I have to walk back?” she murmured.

“Just don’t fall in the well or walk off a cliff. It’s not that far. You’ll be fine,” Lara said with a giggle.


Alone and wandering near an abandoned well in the middle of a heavily wooded area off the coast of southern Maine didn’t seem like the kind of place a pajama-wearing girl would be fine.

To be totally honest, this whole kiss keeper business constituted the complete opposite of fine.

“Put on your boots,” her elder cousin ordered as Nat contemplated a last resort tactic.

She gave her cousin a sugar-sweet smile then dropped the bulky footwear to the floor. The rubber boots hit the ground with a sharp thud as everyone’s head swiveled toward the counselor’s bunk.

Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

Natalie channeled all the psychic energy she could into rousing the counselor, and…oh my, God…had it worked?

Her heart nearly stopped as the woman snorted in her sleep while the campers looked on, wide-eyed, and barely breathing.

“Oh, no! Is she…?” Lara began before Leslie clamped her hand over her sister’s mouth.

But her little boot stunt was all for nothing. Unaffected by the crash, the counselor rolled onto her side then continued snoring softly.

“Scientists should study this woman’s uncanny sleep skills,” Nat said, her shoulders