by Krystal Wade
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: October 6th, 2014
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that’s great . . . as long as you don’t die.
Sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother’s name are all she has left.
Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker. Struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps, he reaches out to the one person he believes truly sees him, the one person he wants: Haley.
Little do they know someone’s determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder.
Excerpt from Charming
Chapter 1, part 2
“Deerfield police found Jeremiah Woodson dead this morning along the bank of the Connecticut River. Investigators say he suffered a bullet-wound to the head and are searching for clues.”
“Wife probably killed him.” Dad chugged a bottle of beer, then slammed it onto his side table—he knew his least favorite daughter was home, and that was his best greeting—rattling the seven or eight other empty bottles already there. “Maybe his oldest daughter.”
Jocelyn tensed, finger held over one spot in the middle of her book, legs tucked up under her on their ugly paisley sofa.
“I’m home,” Haley muttered.
Dad took the time to glance at the clock, then scowled over his shoulder at Haley with his piercing blue gaze. “About time.”
Please not tonight.
Five minutes past curfew, five minutes her manager had wanted to talk about candle placements for the upcoming Harvest Festival. But Dad would never forgive those five minutes. He’d never understand. Haley should have been home. She had chores, homework, a family—that didn’t love her.
He remained seated, despite his pursed lips and balled fists. Dad would wait for Jocelyn to go to bed before he said anything to Haley.
Wouldn’t want to tarnish that image in his perfect daughter’s eyes. That perfect daughter who had yet to acknowledge Haley was home.
With a silent sigh, she dropped her bag inside the door to the mostly empty bedroom she wouldn’t be able to crash in for at least another hour, then started on her chores. She filled the sink with soapy water, collected the dirty dishes from the uneven kitchen table and off stacks of newspapers in the den, then washed and dried them one by one. From there, Haley wiped down the butcher-block counters, the gas stove—astounded they actually tried to make a meal rather than microwave something; although burned mac and cheese was probably a step down—picked up the trash, then swept the tacky yellow linoleum floors. Haley slammed the garbage into the large black can outside and then sat on the steps and put her head in her hands, tugging out strands of hair as she tried to control her shaking.
A stray cat Dad had taken a liking to walked up to her and meowed.
The little orange tabby wound through Haley’s ankles, purring set on overdrive, leaving fur behind on her black work slacks.
“You’re like the only thing in this house that cares about my existence. Promise not to ever run away?”
The cat put her front paws on Haley’s knees and meowed again.
“Feed that animal already,” Dad yelled from inside, sending a wave of panic through Haley’s chest at the same time the cat hissed. Had Dad heard her?
“Taking off for Amanda’s now, Daddy,” Jocelyn called in her sweet little voice, walking toward the door with her patchwork shoulder bag slung over her arm.
“She still having issues with that stupid boy?”
“Yep. Be back in about an hour.”
“I don’t like you out there alone at night.”
“Mace is already in my bag, Daddy.”
Dad said something else in return, but Haley stopped paying attention when he agreed and allowed her fourteen-year-old sister to go out past ten on a school night because a friend was having boy issues.
“I’d love to hear his response if I asked that question,” Haley whispered, scratching the scruffy cat behind the ears.
“Maybe if you didn’t always come home after curfew, he’d let you.” Jocelyn allowed the screen door to slam behind her and then propped her hands on her slim hips, her wavy, long blonde hair falling around her porcelain face, narrowed blue gaze locked on Haley.
About the Author
Krystal Wade is happily married to the love of her life (don’t gag) and raising three beautiful children in the gorgeous state of Virginia. They live just outside Washington, D.C., and every day she wakes up to find herself stuck in traffic trying to get there.
The horrid commute gives Krystal plenty of time to zone out and think about her characters in full, brilliant details (she’s a safe driver; don’t worry). Stories give her a way to forget about the sometimes smelly strangers sitting next to her on the fifty mile trek into town (she picks up hitchhikers every day. True story. Check out www.slug-lines.com if you don’t believe us).
Krystal has been a part of organized hitchhiking for nearly fifteen years, but that’s just one small aspect of her oh-so-large life. When she’s not working, commuting, or chasing after her three children (four if you count the man), you can usually find Krystal outside talking to her chickens like they’re the cutest things in the world (they are), or training her amazing dogs how to herd said chickens (which they love), or curled up on the sofa with a good book (why can’t that be 100% of the time?).
A Kindle Paperwhite (US).
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