Cole Reynolds had it all. And then one night he makes a bad choice... and loses everything.
When a drunken night out at a Michigan State college party results in the death of six people, Cole must come to terms with his part in the tragedy. Normally, he'd be able to lean on his best friends. The best friends that have been in his life since he could barely walk. Only, they're gone. Worse, there's the shattered body of a sixteen-year-old girl lying somewhere in a hospital bed, her entire life ripped from her because of a case of beer and a set of keys.
Everyone assures him that they know it wasn't intentional and yet he can't ignore the weight of their gazes, the whispers behind his back. The all-consuming guilt he feels every time he thinks of that girl who won't so much as allow him near her hospital room to apologize. As the months go by and the shame and loneliness festers, Cole begins to lose his grip of what once was important-college, his girlfriend, his future. His life. It's not until Cole hits rock-bottom that he can begin to see another way out of his personal hell: forgiveness.
And there's only one person who can give that to him...
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That’s how I spot her.
There’s no doubt that it’s her; I’ve memorized her face.
Leaning against a wall on the opposite side, her lips wrapped around a clear bottle filled with clear liquor, her fiery red hair a wild mane against the stark white wall, a tight black T-shirt showing off toned arms. She’s in no rush to part with that bottle, guzzling back a good portion before she hands it off to someone, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
Her eyes at half-mast.
My heart starts racing. What the hell is Kacey Cleary doing here? By my calculation, she’s probably finishing her last year of high school, having lost at least half a year while recovering.
I tug my cap down even farther, though I doubt she can see two feet in front of her.
Shit. What if she does recognize me? How would she react? Does she know my real name? What I look like? I can’t say for sure that my face wasn’t printed in a newspaper somewhere. She could have Googled my name and found a dozen game shots with me in them. I have my helmet on in most of them, but you can find a profile picture of me easily enough if you’re looking.
I don’t know that she was, though. I wonder if Kacey Cleary gives a fuck about anything anymore. Her Facebook account is inactive. She hasn’t posted a single word and the well-wishes have dwindled, as everyone moves on.
I do know that she shouldn’t be at a party in this state. I’ve heard of bad things happening when girls get that drunk. Especially when they don’t care.
But what do I do?
A blonde stumbles into my chest with two beers in hand. “Hey, do you go here? What’s your name?” She’s tipping her head back way farther than necessary to look up at me, telling me she’s trying to flirt but is too drunk to do it right.
I smile down at her anyway. She’s a good cover. I can stand right here and watch Kacey. “I’m Trent, and I used to go here.”
“Really? When’d you graduate?”
From the corner of my eye, I see Kacey shift from the wall and begin climbing the stairs, her arm hooked around the railing to help her. Two guys following her.
Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.
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