Title: Secrets Return (Leftover Girl Book 2)
Author: C.C. Bolick
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Jes Delaney's story from Leftover Girl continues after months of fighting to recover her memory. She's no closer to learning the truth about what happened the night she ran away, or to finding Chase. When someone discovers the articles from New York, lies begin to pile up as Jes must keep everyone in the dark or risk disappearing again.
She finds an odd ally in Pade, who came home distant and broken. Something happened in Colorado to change him, but Jes holds back because he'll never understand her secrets. She still dreams about the gunshot, but now her hands are soaked in blood. Jes wonders why Chase hasn't returned and if her parents will ever forgive her for hiding that she wasn't born on Earth.
I crossed my legs and lifted one knee high enough to hide the book in my lap. It was tough to get comfortable in the small space of the van. “Yeah,” I said, though I wasn’t sure what I’d been asked.
Someone grabbed my leg and yanked, forcing me to drop the book between the seats.
“Mom,” Danny said, “Jes is reading again.”
I looked up to see the boys snicker. Collin snatched up the book and waved it in the air.
“Jes,” Mom said. “I told you no more books. All you’ve done for the last three months is hang out in your room and read.”
“When did reading become a sin?” I mumbled.
Mom turned around. “When you decided to read instead of live.”
“Everything in moderation,” Dad said, from the driver’s seat. “Too much of anything is bad.”
“Fine.” I crossed my arms. Instead of watching the boys laugh in triumph, I stared at cars rushing by. More lanes had formed and lighted signs appeared above the next exit. Atlanta was close.
I closed my eyes. The aquarium was starting to top my list of worst ideas ever. If only those stupid boys hadn’t insisted.
Dad had always promised the boys a visit to the aquarium, but never managed to find the time when we lived in Atlanta. Maybe it was because of his cancer treatments or maybe it was my fear of water. Either way, the boys begged him for more than a year.
The walk across the parking lot wasn’t as bad as I feared. By the time we got to the first exhibit, however, I was out of breath. Walking to the edge of a huge tank, I pressed my hands against the glass and stared into the wall of liquid blue before me.
“Does the water bother you?” Dad asked.
“Not at all,” I said, forcing a smile.
“Maybe this trip was a good idea,” Dad said. “You needed to get back to the world.”
As he walked away, the first impossible wave of dizziness hit. The room spun as I gasped for air. People gathered to my left and right blurred. The ringing in my ears returned, this time shooting through my head and converging behind my eyes. Benches called to me from beyond the stingray exhibit, but the crowd of people forced me to hesitate. Could I make it through without falling? I had to find a place where I could think without the noise. Then I spotted the stairs.
A dozen or more stairs led to another level above. I thought of Chase as I climbed the stairs, about the time a wave of nausea rolled over me. Grabbing a side rail, I clung to the metal. Below, people crowded the glass in front of the sharks. As Danny touched the glass, I closed my eyes, praying for the dizziness to stop. Where were my parents? I had to tell them.
“Mom,” I called, sure she’d never hear my whimper.
“Jes?” Mom was shoving through the crowd in the direction of the stairs. “Honey, are you okay?” she yelled.
“I’m fine,” I mumbled, but felt better knowing she was near.
“Jessica!” Her shout was muffled in my head. I heard the worry, and I felt instant guilt. All I could think about was how she must have felt when Dad was sick. I needed to be strong.
Mom screamed for Dad as I released the rails. She would have to see me standing on my own to be convinced, and in some strange way I thought I might be okay with her there. The ringing increased until I no longer heard her voice, only watched her lips move as she ran for me. Her feet pounded in slow motion. Her arms reached for me, distorting at the edge of sight.
I clamped both hands over my ears, but the noise only increased. My legs gave way and I fell down the stairs, sliding across the rough edges until my back landed on the floor. I stared at the ceiling, a sea of white with strokes of color swimming before my eyes. Someone grabbed my hand. Lips moved, calling my name. Asking what happened with alarm. Horror.
An envelope of darkness surrounded me as my mind shut out the world. Fear faded with the voices to merely a laughable nagging at the back of my brain, reminding me of how I once made light of the fact they’d never love me. Couldn’t love me, for I wasn’t their daughter.
I didn’t want to be alone.
At least the ringing had stopped.
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"...strikes the perfect balance of action, description, dialogue, and introspection. A suspenseful tale that stands out in a crowded genre." - Kirkus Reviews
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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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