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By Shelby_Painter All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Scifi


After losing her brother in a terrible accident, the last thing Cadence James wants to do is move to a new town in the middle of her junior year of high school. Cadence hates everything about Swanford, Missouri. There is no nightlife, no beaches, and the people...Don’t even get her started on the people. She didn’t think she’d be able to find anyone here that could understand her, but then she met Garrett. Garrett McDuffie and his family were the wealthiest people in town. Garret was freakishly handsome, incredibly smart, and a star athlete. All of these things should make him the most popular guy around, but instead he was known to be a loner. Cadence is quickly drawn to him, but the closer she gets the more she starts to wonder about him and his strange family. Are the skeletons in Garrett’s closet ones like Cadence’s, or are they something different entirely? Something...not human?


“Cade!” I hear my brother’s voice call from down the hall. I slide my laptop out of my lap and walk down to his room. I open the door to see my twin brother shoving random pieces of clothing into his backpack.

“What are you doing Stephen?” I asked confused.

Stephen stopped and looked up at me with his sad blue eyes. “I just got a text from mom.”

The exasperated look on his face told me everything else I needed to know. “How long until they get home?” I sighed.

“Half hour.” He replied as he went back to packing. “I’m sure as hell not going to be here when they get back. You coming with me?”

I stood in the doorway, toying with a strand of my long brown hair. Do I want to be here? No, of course not. I can’t leave tonight though. “I’ve got a ton of homework Stephen.” I finally answered. “Actually, so do you.” I reminded him.

He laughed half-heartedly. “You’re the one who cares about that kind of stuff, Cade. Not me.” Stephen slipped his backpack on and then sat on the edge of his bed facing me. “You shouldn’t stay either. You can do your homework at David’s.”

It was my turn to laugh. “Nobody gets anything done at David’s.” I pointed out. “Unless you were looking to get a hangover.”

“Or an STD.” He quipped. “Still, I wish you would just come.”

I walked over to him and mussed his hair like he hates. “Go on,” I told him. “I’ll be fine.” Stephen stood and pulled me into a quick hug before heading over to his open window. “We do have a front door you know?” I joked as I watched him crawl out.

“This way is just way more fun.” He chuckled, stepping out into the grass on the other side. “Love you Cade.” He called over his shoulder and then ran across the yard to jump in his black Lexus.

I went over to his messy bed and made it to where it would look like he was sleeping under the covers and then went back to my own room, locking the door once I was inside.

I wish I could have gone with Stephen. If it weren’t for the loads of books on my bed reminding me of all of the midterms I needed to get ready for, I may have called him and told him I’d changed my mind.

Instead I crawled back into bed, put on my Christina Perri playlist, plugged in my head phones and got back to work.

Two hours later I pulled out my headphones to hear banging at my bedroom door. I tried to ignore it for a moment, assuming it was just the usual commotion from their fighting but then I heard my mother’s voice calling to me. “Cadence! Open the door!” I could hear she was crying. I was reluctant but decided to let her in. As soon as I saw her face I knew something was very wrong. My mother grabbed my shoulders and pulled me to her. “Cadence baby, it’s Stephen.” She was sobbing into my neck but I was just letting my arms hang loose at my sides. “He’s gone Cadence. Stephen’s gone.”

Then I felt it.

I felt a hole in my chest open up and I knew that my twin brother was dead.

That had been the last time I would ever see him.

He was gone.

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