Jackie knows making out with her cousin is a bad idea. Something like that rarely has a happy ending, but she hasn’t been able to call it off since he kissed her that first time on a dare. He’s her best friend, but that only makes it harder to quit. She and Marcus have been close since their parents combined households in an attempt to be ecofriendly. Marcus insists their deal is only physical- they both know they can’t date each other. That relationship would be almost as weird as their parents’ swinger lifestyles.
But Jackie is falling in love with Marcus, so she calls off their deal, afraid the whole town will find out and their parents will split their families up. She can’t tell Marcus why she ended things, because then she’d lose his friendship, too. Clearly hurt and angry, Marcus starts dating the new girl, Sylvia.
When a stranger nearly kills Marcus in an car accident, and Jackie starts seeing the same person everywhere she goes, she thinks someone else is hiding a secret too, and she suspects it’s Marcus’s new girlfriend. Sylvia knows more than she should about a murdered classmate, and Jackie’s certain there’s a connection between her secrets and the man threatening Marcus. Her suspicion of Sylvia drives a wedge between Jackie and Marcus, and she has to decide if he’s really the boy she wants. Either way, Sylvia’s secrets may mean their bodies will be the next ones the police dig out of the Missouri woods.
I’m an intern with a literary agency, an editorial intern with Entangled Publishing, and a high school English teacher.
My mom was a pothead in college. I'm convinced this is how we got to where we are now. I’ve seen her college pictures- denim shorts and waist-length braids. A guy-stopping smile. Mom and her brother are all-natural, free-thinking types. Their pot-smoking days are the reason my uncle convinced her to move our family to Missouri, and Missouri is the whole reason we even had a produce stand for Marcus and me to be working behind the day I met Sylvia Young.
Sylvia walked across the grass, each step of her sandaled feet bringing closer the ruinous end of my contentment. Marcus tilted his head.
He didn’t tilt it much, but I knew what it meant. He did that any time he saw my tan line or I wore an above-the-knee skirt. I narrowed my eyes.
“Hi,” she said. “I’d like a cabbage and six tomatoes.” Just like that. She wanted a cabbage and six tomatoes.
Marcus arranged the vegetables in brown paper bags. “Are you from around here?”
Of course she wasn’t from around here. We’d know her if she were.
“Just moved from St. Joseph. I’m Sylvia Young.” She smiled. The breeze toyed with her dark hair, tossing short wisps around her high cheekbones. She seemed perfectly friendly. Of course. My contentment exhaled its dying breath.
“Going to Manson High in the fall?” Marcus creased the tops of the bags.
She nodded. “My dad’s teaching science.”
I smiled. Manson High went through teachers with alarming regularity. “Three bucks.”