Susan Heim on Writing is pleased to be a stop on the book tour for Crushing, by Elena Dillon. Read on for an exciting excerpt from the book!
About this book:
As a pampered and adored daughter of a wealthy Southern family, Rory’s life was seemingly perfect until her troubled childhood crush moves back in across the street, forcing her to choose between him and the life that has been chosen for her.
As if that isn’t enough, her quiet island town has turned dangerous. A good friend has gone missing, lending truth to the rumors of a serial kidnapper. In her quest to help, she becomes a target and will have to make choices about love, friendship, and the inevitable sacrifice that they both require.
“Who was that, Rory?” Dom looked confused. He had seen him, too. “Do you know him?”
“That was Gage Maddox,” I said, looking down at the menu and trying to sound casual.
“Oh, that guy? My dad said he got into so much trouble at his last school they kicked him out,” Dominic said.
Holden mumbled something with his mouth full of the bread that they had set in front of us.
“Oh, yeah. I heard that, too.” Dominic nodded.
How did boys understand each other when their mouths were full?
“Th-th-the st-st-stutterer,” Holden said.
“Shut. Up. Holden.” I glared at him. Holden was the epitome of a spoiled rich kid. He had been a brat when we were kids and had teased Gage back in the day. He’d gotten better since elementary school. Most of that behavior had stopped, but sometimes he reverted back to that bully mentality, and I just wanted to kick him.
“That’s right. Didn’t you have a crush on him back in the day?” Holden looked at me and smirked.
I kicked him in the shin. Hard. “You’re just mad because he used to beat the crap out of you every week.” I glared at him.
“Ow, Rory.” He huffed and turned to talk to Veronica.
Dom turned in his chair to look me in the eye. “Do you know why he moved back?” He knew me really well, and I would need to tread carefully here.
“No.” I hedged. “I’ve seen him, but it’s not like I grilled him for information. I didn’t even know it was him.” I wasn’t exactly lying, but I didn’t want to tell the whole storm drain story now.
Laken looked over from where she was gazing into Walker’s eyes, obviously having something to contribute to the gossip. “I heard he went to a really expensive prep school that his rich uncle paid for. He got kicked out because he got caught with the dean’s daughter and got her pregnant.”
Veronica chimed in. “I heard he stole the dean’s car, and cheated on all his tests. And there was some kind of scandal with his parents a long time ago.”
“My uncle, the police chief, said he heard he was dealing meth,” Holden said. “He says they are going to be watching him real close.”
My heart sped up. That couldn’t all be true. Small-town gossip ran wild here. It could be any of that, none of it, or somewhere in between. And on top of it all, Holden was a jackass. He always liked to stir up trouble. As if he didn’t get into plenty of his own trouble, his uncle or his rich parents had to consistently get him out of. I decided I wouldn’t believe any of the Gage rumors until I heard from a more reliable source.
“Yeah, well, maybe we shouldn’t judge people before we know the truth.” I was getting even more irritated. “It sounds like Wynter gossip out of control to me.”
I was angry. Why couldn’t people mind their own business? Obviously, no one had anything better to do than make up stories about him. Good grief. If he was moving here to get away from his reputation, I am pretty sure he picked the wrong place. Every time I thought about him or someone mentioned him, I got a weird feeling in my stomach. Like a party was going on and the squirrels were leading a conga line in there. Not in a good way. All of a sudden, I wasn’t hungry anymore.
Follow the tour:
The author is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card and a beach basket! CLICK HERE to enter!