Title: Leftover Girl: The Complete Series
Author: C.C. Bolick
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Mystery
Her parents disappeared. Jes wants the truth. What if solving the mystery could take her from her from high school to the stars?
At fifteen, Jes has adjusted to moving without notice and never fitting in. Her adoptive parents insist she keep her past a secret from everyone they meet. Should she feel bad about the lies? It's not like Jes remembers the night they found her barefoot in the snow. Plus, they cared enough to keep her out of a foster home.
But knowing they care doesn't stop Jes from feeling alone.
After starting over in the latest town, she turns to the only person who understands her. His power should scare Jes, but she's determined to learn why he seems so familiar.
As Jes will learn, truth comes at a cost. Could he be the key to unlocking her past?
Above us the hill seemed to stretch to the sky. Where were we going? My feet were already screaming with the pain of blisters on each toe. Just when I thought the hill would never end, Pade scaled the top and pulled me up behind him.
Beyond our feet were tracks, overgrown rails that led to a bridge, surrounded by a complex structure of metal beams, crisscrossing into the sky.
“Ever heard someone brag about jumping off the train trestle?”
“Yes,” I said, filled by awe over how far the weathered metal stretched. As a makeshift roof, several metal bars collided to form a repeating X.
“Don’t worry.” Pade tugged my arm. “There hasn’t been a train on these tracks in years.”
Fear rose inside of me with each step. Several of the wooden planks were rotted and barely hanging on. Some of them were missing completely. I shuddered to think with one wrong step we might be in the water.
“Keep your feet on the metal,” Pade said.
I eyed the water to either side of the bridge. If I slipped, I could always zap myself somewhere else, if I could only keep my fear in check. But what about Pade? I muffled a laugh with my hand. What would he say? Was my power strong enough to save us both?
“Don’t look down,” Pade whispered, as water started to show through the boards.
“There they are,” a voice yelled.
Up ahead stood Skip and Angel, leaning against a metal beam.
“Watch this,” Angel screamed and jumped over the side.
I looked down, nausea overwhelming me at the shear distance between us and the water.
Skip jumped next, as her scream carried across the water, not fading until her feet broke the crystal surface. One set of rings appeared, left by Angel when her body went under, and then another set of rings only feet away, left by Skip. It felt like a set of eyes staring up at me until the water calmed. Skip pushed back through the surface first, followed by Angel.
I released my breath. Seeing Skip and Angel safe slowed my racing heart, but not by much.
“We’ll take this slow.” Pade pulled me along the bridge.
“Jump, Jes,” Angel called from below. The sound echoed up as if bouncing around a canyon. “It’s amazing!”
I pulled away from Pade, stepping closer to look over the edge. A cold fear sickened me. It’s not the water, I told myself. The moonlight faded and I was on that platform again, staring down at Chase.
Pade’s lips were moving—I felt the sound even if I couldn’t hear it. I turned as he took my hand.
“I won’t let anything happen to you,” he said.
My teeth chattered. “What… could… happen?”
“I promise to always be there for you, to protect you no matter what.” He pulled me back from the edge and circled his arms around my waist. “We’re different—I get that. The secrets you carry from New York make it hard for you to trust me. No matter what happens, don’t forget I care about you. I’ve never stopped loving you.”
The intensity in his eyes scared me. I couldn’t breathe. My lungs no longer worked. His arms tightened, pulling me close until his lips were on mine.
Somehow, I must have found a breath because the kiss didn’t stop. I’d never felt anything like the shock when Pade’s tongue touched mine. I wrapped my arms around his neck, taking in the raw smell of his sweat merging with the iron rails. It was everything I’d hoped for, and more emotions than I ever imagined. My stomach swirled until he broke away.
“Wow,” Pade said as he stepped back. “Now is the perfect moment.”
He held my hands as we climbed through the rails to stand on the outside edge.
“Ready?” he asked.
I took a deep breath. “No.”
“On three… one, two, threeeee!”
The water rushed up as we plummeted, leaving no room for more thoughts. For a split second, I could see the stars above us, a perfect dome-shape of light surrounding the moon. Then cold water wrapped around me, holding my body stiff as I dropped below the surface. I opened my eyes, seeing the moon as a hazy silver coin dancing beyond the water. Waving my arms, I kicked my feet and propelled toward the surface. As if bursting through a ceiling of glass, I pushed the last inches of water away and took a huge gulp of air. My lungs begged for more as a thrilling sensation surged through my veins. I was alive and in that moment, nothing in the world mattered more.
Pade laughed from a few feet away. He swam to my side and pulled me close. He kissed me again, pulling me so tight against his chest I felt his heartbeat. Maybe it was faster than mine.
“Get a room,” Skip yelled. He and Angel laughed.
Pade released me but held onto my hands. “Have you ever felt a greater high?”
I joined in the laughter, shaking my head. “Never.”
If only the feeling would never end.
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C.C. Bolick grew up in south Alabama, where she’s happy to still reside. She’s an engineer by day and a writer by night—too bad she could never do one without the other.
Camping, fishing… she loves the outdoors and the warm Alabama weather. For years she thought up stories to write and finally started putting them on paperback in 2006. If you hear her talking with no one to answer, don’t think she’s crazy. Since talking through her stories works best, a library is her worst place to write… even though it’s her favorite!
C.C. loves to mix sci-fi and paranormal—throw in a little romance and adventure and you’ve got her kind of story. She’s written a dozen books including the Leftover Girl series, The Agency series, and The Fear Chronicles.
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