There is something different about Madison Winters. The town has labeled her an outcast, but Jennifer Sherman is convinced there is more to her than her tough exterior.
Determined to get to know Madison, Jennifer strikes up a friendship with her. As they grow closer, she starts to develop feelings for Madison, which is scary and confusing.
Madison lives with her uncle, but there’s something off about him that Jennifer can’t pin down. Suddenly Jennifer finds herself tangled up in a web of lies created by Madison's family, and it turns out her own family has not been entirely honest, either.
Can Jennifer and Madison deal with the secrets unraveling around them ... and their growing feelings for each other?
“It’s quiet out here,” Madison said, averting her gaze to her shoes as she kicked her legs lightly.
My eyes moved around the garden nervously. “There are other quiet places you can go to.”
“Yeah, but it feels safe here.” Her eyes met mine and even in the darkness they stood out, two piercing blue orbs in the shadows. “Maybe it’s silly but I like being all alone out here. I don’t have to worry about anything. It’s like I can just ... breathe.”
There were so many questions that I wanted to ask her but I didn’t want to push her. I wanted her to open up on her own terms.
A small smile formed on my lips when she continued to look at me, waiting patiently for me to say something. “It’s not silly.”
Her eyes lit up and flickered away from mine as she squared her shoulders. “You can see the stars clearly here.”
I glanced up. Then I paused and my breath hitched in my throat as I really, really looked at the stars for the first time in a long time. The faint pinpoints of light wavered, gleaming in the dark sky. The city suddenly seemed a million miles away and I realized that I didn’t care. Not in that moment, anyway. “It’s beautiful.”
I turned my head and found her looking at me intently. The blush that had almost disappeared from my cheeks returned in full force but I didn’t look away. I couldn’t think and I wasn’t aware of what I was saying until the words had already left my mouth. “Why did you move here?”
Madison’s face fell. “Just circumstances.”
I pursed my lips sadly and couldn’t stop myself from shuffling closer to her. “You’re a mystery, you know that?”
I hadn’t meant it negatively but Madison’s shoulders slumped. “I don’t mean to be.”
“Then what are you so afraid of?” I asked.
Madison didn’t look at me. I was glad that the blank expression that seemed to be etched onto her face around others was no longer present with me, but it had been replaced by an emotion that was so intense that I didn’t know what was worse. I wished I could discover a middle ground.
“I don’t know.”
I dipped my head in an attempt to catch her gaze but her eyes were firmly trained on the ground. My hand moved sideways, my fingers carefully gliding along the rough texture of the wall, before it barely grazed hers. “Madison?”
I could see the confliction on her face and I wanted to say something to reassure her but no words seemed right. She looked at our hands. “I moved here because I didn’t have anywhere else to go and uncle Pete kind of insisted.”
I just nodded, lifting my hand slightly so that my pinky covered hers.
“I’m assuming you already know about my dad,” she continued.
My gaze snapped up to her face. I searched for a hint of sadness or perhaps grief, something that would tell me what she was thinking, but there was nothing.
My throat felt like sandpaper when I swallowed. “Leona told me.”