When their younger twin siblings were murdered by their cold-blooded father, Shane and Keri’s own twin connection deepened. Their father shamed Shane and Keri into silence, and then went on to bring four more children into a house shuddering under the weight of his unpredictable temper.
Ten years later, what should have been a regular visitation turns into a horrific nightmare. Trapped in the Superstition Mountains with an addicted and dangerous father, Keri’s faith and determination wavers, but she knows she must save her brothers and sisters and return all of them to the home they love.
She now faces one insurmountable obstacle. He can’t afford to let her go.
The window in my bedroom that I share with my two younger brothers overlooks Main Street. I angle my head, so I can attempt to see where my twin is.
“See Keri?” Axe, my best bud, asks.
“Nope. But I do see a bunch of cars leaving.” I face him and grin. “That means she’s on her way back.”
“Great. We can leave now.”
“Looks that way.”
He and I race down the stairs. The normal noise of a large family during winter holiday break greets me, along with what can only be described as evil snickering. We come around the corner, shoving and pushing to see which one of us gets to the bottom first, with me gaining an inch on my bud.
“Yes!” I pump a fist and hop down the last three steps, the satisfaction of proving once and for all that I’m the best pass receiver on our team.
“I am so going to beat you one of these days,” he says.
We knuckle bump and clown around.
For high school siblings, Amy and Bryce, the night began with a football game. Bryce was stuck at home with a cold, brought on by an uncaring coach. Amy was in the stands, playing with the band whose funding had been taken away and given to the football team.
Her best friend, Jane, brought the band together to play a prank on the team in protest.
The prank went wrong. Horribly, tragically wrong.
And the lie that started it all would not stop.
The sun is peeping over the mountains all around us. The members of the Landry High School Band fill in the last of the holes where we placed our planned revenge to go off tonight. None of us has had any sleep since we woke up yesterday, yet we’re charged up and ready for the rest of today and well into tonight.
“Where are your friends?” I ask.
Jane Preston, my bestie, the true mastermind of this prank, smirks at me.
Her light brown hair flies around her face in the early morning breeze. She swipes a few strands away from her pinched mouth and grimaces. Jane is always angry, always ready to take revenge for what she sees as a slight against her. Her slender body hunches forward, what she calls a protection method against all of her enemies. A lot of people don’t like her. I’m her only real friend. That’s because I feel sorry for her. Honesty turned on… a trait I value not only in myself but everyone close to me… I sometimes wish that Jane will stop being so weird and mean, and learn to be part of the group.
Brooke English never belongs. She changes schools twice a year, as often as her looks and name change. Her thoughts about belonging to her “family” get even more viral when they stop in Landry, Georgia. Then things start to go wrong. Then Brooke starts to have dreams.
Will she find the answers she wants? Or will her worst fears become reality?
“A new semester, a new school, and who am I looking at? Sure isn't me – whoever that is.”
I stare into a mirror at the new house, and I don't recognize the person staring back at me.
For as long back as I can remember, I've had at least two different names every year—Layla, Helena, Penelope (nicknamed Perky, definitely not me!), and many, many more, far too tedious to mention. At times, I get confused, and I've always wondered what my real name is. Where I'm from comes in a very close second. Third is my desire to have a real life, friends, and a future. We moved here last night. I’ve lost count of the houses. Never homes.
Like that will ever happen.
One by one, the residents of Landry, Georgia gave up on finding Lyssa Winders alive. It had, after all, been fourteen years since she vanished. The men who invaded her home left behind the bodies of those she loved with all her heart. Only one person never gave up and still searches for Lyssa. Kyle Tinker battles his own demons from that night, when he hid like a coward instead of running for help. Their eighteenth birthday looms on the horizon, and Kyle is determined to bring Lyssa home.
Meanwhile, Kim Tinker is having trouble understanding her dreams about a pretty blonde girl—she has no idea that these dreams are of her life as Lyssa Winters. She also hears a guy who has recently started talking to her--in her head. All Kim wants is to get away from a family which hates her, but doing it safely is the one thing which eludes her.
On the day of the Freedom Festival, Kyle sees the girl he never thought he’d see again. And Lyssa finds the one person she’s protected for the last fourteen years on their shared birthday.
Four-year-old Lyssa Winders landed with a thump on her living room floor. Her bottom hurt from the hard wood, and her head ached from all the yelling and shouting she’d been hearing. Nothing made sense. She just wanted this to stop.
Her parents, Auntie Keisha, Nana Brandy, and Grandpa Monty kneeled in front of her. They had their hands on the back of their heads, and they looked very scared.
“Gonna talk now, Jack?” the stinky man asked. He had carried her out of the safety of her bedroom and dumped her on the floor. “Or do I hurt your kid?”
Stinky jerked Lyssa to her feet. She couldn’t run. He held her tight in front of his nasty smelling body.
“She’s just a baby,” Daddy said. “Don’t hurt Lyssa. Let her go. She won’t tell anyone anything.” He stared at her with scared eyes. “Right baby? You won’t say anything.” She nodded, and her daddy faced Stinky. “See, she agreed. Just let her go.”