Published by Self Published on November 5, 2013
After a tragedy nearly ripped 21 year old Madeline Darlington-Gray’s life in half, she's spent the past three years trying to put the pieces back together. But pieces never just fit back together, and when she's betrayed by those she trusts, everything crumbles. Shoving everything she owns into the trunk of her car, Maddie drives south, trying to run from her past.
Eno, North Carolina seems like the perfect place to hide. Working at a local café is light years from Maddie's Manhattan existence and for the first time in a while, she's finding her family. There's Grandma, the café owner; Samantha, the hairstylist next door with plans to make Maddie's life unsuck and Noie, the three year old girl who's stolen Maddie's heart.
And then there’s Gabriel Mendez, Noie’s single dad. He’s intrigued Maddie since the first time she met him, and while he has his own secrets, he wants more from her than just friendship. But the past never stays past, and all too soon, Maddie realizes she can't hide from hers. If she can't put the pieces of her shattered life together this time, she'll have no hope for a future.
A future she desperately wants.
Which is actually the very First Page of the Book!
It had been seven hours and fourteen minutes since I completely and utterly lost my mind. Since I shoved everything I could fit into my car, returned my keys to the landlord, and drove. All I wanted to do was drive – drive until my tires ran flat, get a new pair, and keep going. Drive until I couldn’t drive anymore, until the allure of wherever I was became stronger than the urge to bury my head in the sand and never, ever come out. Far enough away that my memories would all magically fade away into a bizarre kind of nostalgia, the kind that only comes from knowing how bad things sucked. The kind that only happens after blacking out.
I don’t know when I realized there were beaches again. It was miles and miles of mindless driving. No GPS, no phone, and no map- I was probably heading south. It would have helped to read road signs, but when everything goes, everything goes. I pulled into a rest stop and stumbled out of the car, cramped from sitting hunched over the wheel for seven hours. It was a testament to how far gone I was at this point- I had driven over seven hours without stopping. Normally all it took was two minutes of driving before the panic attack would hit.
Welcome to Virginia Beach! A garish sign proclaimed. Well, that would explain the location bit, I thought as I walked blindly to the bathrooms.
I barely recognized myself in the mirror. Then again, it had been years since I recognized myself at all. Swiping the hair out of my face again and pulling it into a ponytail, I made a face at my reflection. If Mother knew I was walking in public with my hair looking like this, she would be so horrified her Botoxed forehead wouldn’t be enough to hide it. I don’t know which one she would find worse- showing emotion or my hair. It was a tough call. Shaking off thoughts of my mother, I trudged out of the restroom and into the main convenience store.
“Well, hi!” sang a cheery voice from behind the counter as I walked in, surveying the store. “How can I help you?”
Nobody could help me. Especially not some random cashier in a gas station store on the side of the highway. “I’m fine, thanks,” I mumbled. “Just looking.”
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