by Olivia Lynde
A girl who’s lost her voice, and a boy who carries a world of anger bottled up inside.
A girl haunted by soul-crushing guilt and regret, and a boy who knows he can’t afford the weakness of feeling—not if he is to survive.
They meet by chance and are unwillingly fascinated by each other. They become unlikely friends, and in each other, they find redemption.
Until they are betrayed.
Can they ever regain their friendship? And if they do, can they trust each other enough to take the biggest risk of all: falling in love?
This excerpt happens immediately after the main characters first “meet” each other. At the time, Seth is seven years old, and Summer is five years old.
For the next few hours, Seth remained out of sight, covertly watching the new addition to the household. Not because he was curious about her, but in order to ah… gather necessary intel. Yes, of course. Since she was an unknown quantity—maybe even a potential threat (all 3’3” of her)—and it was in his nature to be cautious.
Surprisingly, Grandma and the social worker led the girl to the second floor and stashed her small suitcase in the unoccupied room beside Seth’s. The previous foster kids had all used the bedroom next to Grandma’s own, on the first floor, while the upstairs had remained her grandson’s exclusive territory. Yet now he seemed to have acquired a tiny trespasser on his personal turf.
Said tiny trespasser didn’t talk at all during this time, but Seth had no doubts that she was listening very carefully indeed. Her eyes were alert and shone with intelligence, taking everything in. She seemed wary, like a startled fawn, holding her stuffed toy (which on closer look had turned out to be a scruffy teddy bear) in a desperate clasp, and Seth felt an uncharacteristic urge to gather her in his arms and tell her that everything would be okay.
As if he could make those kinds of promises! Seth snorted. He had a shitty enough life on his own; he didn’t need to take on someone else’s problems as well. No matter how vulnerable that someone else looked. He clenched his fists in frustration.
Finally, the social worker left, and Seth forced his legs back to the front of the house. There was no reason for him to go to the girl’s room, now that she was alone, and study her from up close; no reason for him wanting to confirm if her hair was really as blond as it seemed from a few feet away and if her eyes were dark blue or brown or maybe even black. No reason at all.
Connect with Olivia Lynde
Olivia Lynde has been in love with books for as long as she can remember. She is a computer scientist by profession and, in between developing computer software and reading too many novels, she is now pursuing her dream of writing her own stories.