From the Inside Flap
If you enjoy happily-ever-after's alongside tragic lovestories, intricately plotted mysteries filled with some nail-biting thrills,mature adult themes infused within a riveting YA, strong female leads andnoble, rogue heroes, then guess what? You've just stumbled upon your next book.
So please sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride as you're whiskedaway to Stony Creek. . .
From the Back Cover
Five Years Ago
-August 4, 2009-
Her scream still echoedin his ears-that horrible shrill sound human beings make right before they die.Twelve-year-old William trembled,not from the cold, but out of shock. He crossed his arms, pressed them into hisstomach and began rocking back and forth. "It didn't happen. It didn'thappen," he mumbled to himself. His little body went numb.
As William sat frozen inthe passenger seat, a whimper came from the backseat of the car. He turned tolook and the stiff, vinyl seat creaked underneath him. There lay his dog, Mack,wounded. It rested its head on his little brother's lap. The puppy's big, brown eyes blinked up at him. As William stared at the dog's injuries, guilt pressed downon his chest.
Charles stroked thedog's brown fur. "What was that loud bang I heard, William?"
Although William's jawwas broken, he strained to answer his brother, but the only sound he could makewas a slurred groan. When the puppy tried to raise its head, it yelped in pain.
"Oh, it's okay." Charlespatted the dog behind its crooked ear.
Overwhelmed with grief,William had to look away. He stared up the long circular driveway that ranacross the front lawn of his family's estate. His gaze drifted until it lockedonto the delicate, yellow flowers his mom had tenderly planted just a few days before.
Charles's little voicequivered, "I heard a girl scream."
William covered his earstrying to block her cries for help, but the sounds weren't coming fromoutside-they ricocheted within his head.
Charles squinted andlooked around. "Where's Mom and Dad?"
A steel wall of denialslammed down as a void swept across William's mind-subconsciously shielding himfrom the truth.
A moment later, Charlespointed toward the house. "Here he comes."
William flinched.Instinctively, his hand reached for the door handle. He was about to bolt whenhe thought of Charles; he loved his brother dearly. Everything in him wanted torun, but he knew if he did, Charles wouldn't be able to keep up. William'sstomach muscles tightened. He didn't what to think about the awful things thatwould happen to his seven-year-old brother if he left him behind.
A split-second later thedriver's side door whipped open. When the car's engine roared to life, the tangscent of burnt oil blasted from the vents and stung William's nose. A coldtremor raced up the back of his neck when he noticed smeared blood on the carkeys. The gearshift slammed into reverse. The car flew backwards. Gravel peltedthe undercarriage.
As they drove from crime scene, William's heart sank. Frantically, he searched through thetrees, seeking out one last glimpse of his mother's bedroom window.