Last day of the tour!! I can't even begin to say how grateful I am to all of those who have helped me out in so many ways. The writing community is The Best! To all those who've hosted me: YOU ROCK!!
These people all deserve a serious reward: -Kara Leigh Miller, -Alyssa at Eater of Books, -Madeia Sharif, -Diana at Offbeat Vagabond, -Beth at Promote 52, -Cecelia Robert's Written Word, -Shona Lawrence, -Book Lover Stop, -Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf, -Behind A Million And One Pages, -The Reading Obsession, -Mayra's Secret Bookcase, -Tina's Book Reviews, -Blood Sweat and Books, -The Daily Harrell, -Erin Albert, -Kelly Hashway, -Hardcore Heroines, -Faith Sullivan, -Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy, -Katie Carroll, -Fresh As A Daisy, -Author Tracker, -Sabrina Gabrie, -Little Library Muse, -Jeanz Book Read n Review, -Minding Spot, -Christie's Book Reviews, -Always Jo Art
It's also the last day for this:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And because I'm incapable of writing anything short, this is still going on:
~He was gone a month. Richie and Charlotte were lost in their own little world and I was floating, unable to rejoin Mary and her group, counting down the hours until graduation.
He stepped back into History class like he never left. Settling in his seat in front of mine without looking at me. Even Mary let out a little gasp of surprise.
He didn’t say a word all day. I didn’t know how to approach him. The internal battle over whether I should scream or tackle him was impossible to sort out. I settled on avoiding him, which worked well until Photography let out and he waited for me in the classroom.
“So.” I stopped in front of where he leaned against the doorframe, watching me with a guarded expression.
“So. Are you going to avoid me forever?”
“Are you going to explain what happened? Where you went?” I hated the tightness in my throat, the desperate way I wanted to grab hold of him.
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “There are things I can’t explain. I want to,” he added quickly when I started to cut in. “But I can’t. It’s not safe.”
“Not safe?” I rolled my eyes. “You have got to be kidding me.”
He touched my arm, sending a shock right to my marrow. “Do you think I’d leave if it was something trivial? Do you know how long I’ve wanted to meet someone like you? Do you have any idea what I’d have to give up to stay?”
His expression, the unguarded one I’d grown to love, said more than his words.
“No, I don’t, James. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Why don’t you try explaining it?” I pulled my arm free and made to walk past him out the door.
Grabbing my hand as I passed, he pulled me to a stop. “You’ve seen things, haven’t you? Guessed about what I am. But by telling you the truth, I’ll lose that all. It’s not just some simple choice to make.” He stopped, cupping my cheek with his free hand, “If I leave, I can never go back. And it puts you in danger.”
I gulped at the honesty that rang through his words. “I don’t think I can bear to have you leave again,” I whispered. The weight of the words seemed to float from my shoulders.
“I don’t want to leave again. But I have to make sure you’re safe.”
We went out Friday night. The Dairy Queen was hopping with students, music, and school-is-nearly-out energy.
“Do you see him?” James asked in a low voice, motioning toward one of the tables at the front. We were settled in our booth, waiting for Richie and Charlotte to get their order.
A man sat where James pointed, alone, no food, his hair a tangled halo. My skin prickled as I watched him sneak glances our way.
“Who is he?” I wasn’t altogether sure I wanted to know, but maybe, finally, James would open up.
“The person we have to convince you don’t know a thing about me.”
My jaw gaped open and it took me a long minute to come up with what to say. “Why?” was my eloquent response.
“He’s here to watch me. Make sure I’m not divulging secrets.”
Picking apart my burger, I tried to process that. “You’re not in some sort of secret government agency, are you?” I asked.
James chuckled. “No. Think about what I’ve been doing here with Richie. What a 180 the kid’s made.”
The whole situation with befriending the outcast, watching Richie come back to life, had always seemed strange. Uncanny. With James’ words, it all fit together.
“Who sent you?” I asked, struggling to get my brain around to work. He was here to help Richie. The kid who’d been talking about death. He’d dragged him back to the land of the living. Why? Because that was his job. A job he had to keep secret.
Wrapping an arm around my waist and pulling me closer, James pressed his lips to my hair. “I was sent here, though definitely not by some government. Finding you was a bonus. But if I share too much, they’ll kick me out. I’m beginning to think maybe that’s the right thing to do.”
“What do you mean ‘kick you out’? And if you stay, you don’t get to stay here, right?” I did my best to cover the quiver in my voice. “I can’t handle it if you leave again.”
Richie and Charlotte approached, all smiles and laughter, ready for a fun evening. We had plans to go to the drive-in later. Before they sat down, James leaned in to whisper, “I don’t want to leave.”