Chapter One

The horrendous car ride from the airport was finally over. I'd flown all the way from the Navy base in California, to Boston Massachusetts where I was being forced to live for the next four months at least. See, my parents are both in the Navy and just got shipped to Iraq. Me? I was being sent to the insane asylum commonly known as the McGowan house. John McGowan is my father's best friend from basic training and they've stayed in touch over the years. There's nobody else my parents would entrust my safe keeping to in this situation other than the McGowan's. Unfortunately.

See, the McGowan's are not just your normal American family with three kids all close in age. Oh no, that would be much to hope for. The McGowan's have seven boys. Yup, you read that right, seven. Ranging in age from twenty down to six. And quite frankly, being sixteen myself and having had minimal extensive exposure to my peers because of the constant traveling my parents job ensues, the thought of living with them terrifies me. Never mind the fact that these boys have hung me upside down over so many different objects (pools, wells, anything where they could threaten to drown me) over the years that I don't fully trust them. This however was my only option. Both sets of my grandparents had died when I was a baby and the McGowan's are my legal guardians should (Heaven forbid) anything ever happen to my parents.

Regina McGowan pulled her car into the driveway and I noticed that everyone else was in the front yard playing some very bizarre and messed up version of ultimate Frisbee. None of them were wearing shirts. I stared. There was no way the grubby little chubby monsters who had been so mean to me growing up had morphed into these lean solid muscled teenage heartthrobs.

"You can lock yourself in the car sweetheart but eventually they will break in and drag you out." Regina said, breaking into my state of shock. I hope she wasn't thinking I was ogling her boys. It was impossible to tell though. The sympathetic smile on her face could have been there for any number of reasons.

"Why don't you just come out of your own free will and deny them the pleasure of trying to pry you out of the car?"

"Deal." I said, breaking my gaze away from the nightmare awaiting me on the lawn and grinning at her.

I got out of the car and walked around to the trunk and grabbed the bag with my pajamas and underwear and my laptop case while Regina grabbed my suitcase. "We'll leave your bike for the boys to take down and put in the garage later." She said, heading towards the house.

"Megan!" A voice from behind the crowd of boys broke out, John McGowan stepped forward arms opened wide and wrapped me in the biggest bear hug I've ever had. "Look how much you've grown! It's been, what, four years since the last time we saw you?"

"Six." I corrected as he set me back down on my feet.

"A long time at anyrate." He glanced back over his shoulder at the group of boys standing just behind him and staring pointedly at me. "You boys just gonna stand there or are you gonna introduce yourselves?"

One of the taller ones stepped forward and offered his hand. "I'm Finn and I think you're going to be in my class at school. You're a junior right?" He had shaggy dark blond hair that was slightly curly at the ends and piercing pale blue eyes.


"Awesome. This here is Evan." Evan was roughly the same height as Finn with the same blond hair (only slightly shorter) and brown eyes. "The twins Doug and Miller." Miller was staring pointedly at the ground and wearing a Yankees baseball jersey and Doug was glaring at me like I was something summoned straight from his personal form of hell just to torture him. "That's Ian." Ian was about eight years old and looked just like the rest of his brothers only with much shorter hair. Just then the smallest one came running towards the group making fire engine sounds and ran straight into me. "And that little runt is Caleb." Finn said smiling fondly at Caleb who was grinning up at me as if he'd just found his new best friend.

"Hi Megan."

"Hi Caleb."

That was only six boys though. There was one missing.

"SEAN!" John hollered towards the garage, "Get out here! Your mom and Megan are here!"

The garage door banged open and there he was. The ring leader of the pack. The one who always was the one instigating the "let's see how we can try and drown Megan today" incidents. Sean McGowan. Shorter than the oldest of his younger brothers, he wasn't quite six feet tall, his hair was darker than everybody else's (a trait clearly inherited from his mother) and eyes the most beautiful shade of green I've ever seen before in my whole life. He walked calmly towards the group and I noticed he had the Orange County Choppers logo tattooed on his right arm and unlike the rest of his brothers he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt (even if it did have its sleeves cut off).

"Hello Megan." He shot that sweet grin my way and I melted all over again, just the way I had when we were kids.

"Hello Sean."