In the south, everyone has a secret--and murder is served with sweet tea.
The word's out: Ethan Wilder’s coming back to town, and the people of Bowie, Georgia are in a southern tizzy. Everyone knows the story. He shot and killed his sister four years ago, and people say his father, Jim Wilder, the biggest holy roller this side of the Mississippi, sent him packing for just that reason. Even if her death was unofficially ruled a suicide, Ethan’s return has everybody talking.
Seventeen-year-old Delilah Doherty can’t go anywhere without hearing his name. Born and raised in Bowie, Delilah knows firsthand about the gossipmongers and how they love a good scandal. The daughter of a wild child and niece of the local psychic, she’s also the only one who doubts Ethan’s guilt.
After Ethan saves her life, the two start a slow and steady burn neither can deny. But when Bowie's spiritual leader is nearly murdered, it rocks the small southern town to its core. Delilah and Ethan are caught in the crossfire, their relationship threatened before it's even begun. Someone has it out for Ethan's family. With everyone convinced of Ethan's guilt, it's up to Delilah to unravel the mystery before someone else gets hurt or worse...dead.
I rolled my eyes. “I am not depressed, Aunt B.”
“Could’ve fooled me,” she said.
“Hey.” Ronnie came over, pulling George with him. “What’s going on over here?”
“Not much,” I mumbled.
“What’s wrong with her?” Ronnie asked.
“Wilder,” George said before I could reply. “Turns out he’s an ass, like the rest of you men.”
As if in answer, Selena let lose another cackle, and I glanced back. What I saw didn’t even faze me. That Janet had joined the group surrounding Wilder wasn’t a shock. There was now a whole flock of girls, all beautiful, all over him like he was giving out free samples, and they looked hungry, ready to grab up whatever he dished out.
“Maybe he’s just too polite to say anything,” Ronnie suggested while George and I scoffed. He gave a low whistle. “But I’ve got to say, you’ve got good taste, Delilah.”
“This has nothing to do with him,” I said, turning back around. “Nothing. At. All.”
“Wow,” Ronnie said. “You’re a really bad liar.”
“Told you so,” George said to me. Slanting a look at Ronnie, she added, “And it doesn’t matter if he’s gorgeous.”
“Oh, it matters,” Ronnie grinned. “Believe me, it matters. What do you say, Aunt B?”
“Wilder’s a looker,” Aunt B agreed. “But if he turned down my niece, he must not be too smart. It’s alright.” She patted my hand. “Nobody wants a stupid boy for a boyfriend.”
I jerked away. “God, why aren’t you all listening? I don’t want him. There’s nothing between Wilder and me, okay?”
Ronnie’s eyes went wide. “Delilah—”
“Oh, I know, I know,” I said, cutting him off, “Wilder’s beautiful. We get it.”
“Umm, D,” George muttered.
“Yes, George, I agree,” I admitted grudgingly. “He’s gorgeous from top to bottom and everything in between. Despite what you might think, I’m not blind. And by the way, sorry Aunt B, but Wilder’s not stupid. I think he’s even got an A in Rapier’s class.”
“B minus, actually.”
Oh God, please no…
“Did you need something, Wilder?” Aunt B’s eyes twinkled as she spoke, confirming my fears. My heart made a bid for freedom, running a mile a minute, hammering at the cage around it like a prisoner trying to escape. When had he broken away from that pack of rowdy girls?
“Just thought I’d get my fortune read,” he said, “but if you’re busy I can come back.”
Face flaming to high heaven, I forced myself to turn.
“No, she’s free,” I said and stood, glad when my knees didn’t wobble. “Have a seat.”
Wilder met my gaze but didn’t say a word. He just planted himself in the chair I’d vacated, and waited for Aunt B’s instructions. Fine by me. Avoidance I could handle. Then again, maybe he hadn’t heard everything.
Aunt B cracked her knuckles. “So, what’ll it be, Wilder? Palm or tarot?” When he didn’t answer, she went on. “I could tell you a thing or two just from looking at your hands, how long your life will be, what kind of person you are, that kind of thing. But the deck’s more specific. It’ll give me a clear look into your future.”
Wilder shrugged. “What do you suggest?”
“Well now, that depends,” Aunt B said, and I became hopeful. He really did look totally oblivious. Maybe he really hadn’t heard. “Do you want a more comprehensive telling or just a quick peek?”
“Oh, no,” Wilder said. “I’ll take the comprehensive one. I’d like to hear it all. Top to bottom and everything in between.”
Hearing my words repeated in that easy drawl was like a sucker punch to the gut. George and Ronnie stayed silent but were fighting back grins. As Wilder looked over and smiled his slow smile, I closed my eyes. So. He’d heard after all. Could I just die now, please?
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About the Author
Cookie O'Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her debut novel ADORKABLE is out now! Her second book NINJA GIRL was released March 30,2017!