by Eliza Tilton
Dealing with the loss of her mother, seventeen-year-old Jessica Stone tries to find an escape from the pain by secretly medicating herself with Xanax, but the anxiety increases, crushing her and her grades.
Then she meets Caleb Jonas, the pastor’s son at her mother’s church. Between his cute dimples and love of fast cars, Jessica is completely smitten, and the feeling is mutual. But dating a Christian boy isn’t easy. He doesn’t party, and he never goes past first base. Jessica struggles with his faith, since it makes her question her own, but for the first time since her mother’s death, she can breathe. Life is finally shifting into a state of happiness.
But that happiness shatters when Jessica catches Caleb kissing her ex-best friend—and step-brother’s girlfriend—Rachel, the girl who used to be like her sister, and the same girl who betrayed her once before.
While her stepbrother hints at a deeper connection between the two, Caleb insists it was a one-time mistake and begs forgiveness. With contradicting stories coming at her, Jessica isn’t sure who to believe, but sometimes the truth is better left undiscovered and she’s about to find out why.
There's a certain stale quality about a hospital that unnerves me. Death hovers all around, clawing its way under my skin. The last time I had entered the hospital was the day Mom died. I knew that day she would leave. It was as if a part of me was slipping away with her, and I just knew.
She had smiled at me, her thin face still beautiful. She gripped my hand in reassurance. “Don't be scared, my love.”
Scared wasn’t even close to what coursed through me. I couldn't survive without her. A part of me wanted to convince her to stay, but I knew the sickness was beyond her, and an hour later, it consumed her.
When he spoke, his gaze traveled all the way to my toes. He reached over and pushed one of my flyaway curls behind my ear. “Counting keeps my mind busy.”
Butterflies more potent than first day jitters fluttered in my stomach. “Busy from what?”
His lips curled into a grin. “Thinking of you.”
He said it like thinking of me was the most dangerous thing in the world.
Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me.
I shut my eyes and savored each precious touch of his lips. He snaked his hand around my neck, gently brushing it. Every piece of my soul connected to his. When Caleb's lips were on mine, his hands circling my body, the world could explode and I would still be safe.
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Eliza graduated from Dowling College with a BS in Visual Communications. When she’s not arguing with excel at her day job, or playing Dragon Age 2, again, she’s writing. Her YA stories hold a bit of the fantastical and there’s always a hot romance. She resides on Long Island with her husband, two kids and one very snuggly pit bull.
Her novels, Broken Forest and Wicked Path, are published by Curiosity Quills Press.
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