by Cookie O'Gorman
Genre: YA Romance/Murder Mystery
Release Date: April 5th 2018
In the south, everyone has a secret--and murder is served with sweet tea.
The word's out: Ethan Wilder’s coming back to town, and the people of Bowie, Georgia are in a southern tizzy. Everyone knows the story. He shot and killed his sister four years ago, and people say his father, Jim Wilder, the biggest holy roller this side of the Mississippi, sent him packing for just that reason. Even if her death was unofficially ruled a suicide, Ethan’s return has everybody talking.
Seventeen-year-old Delilah Doherty can’t go anywhere without hearing his name. Born and raised in Bowie, Delilah knows firsthand about the gossipmongers and how they love a good scandal. The daughter of a wild child and niece of the local psychic, she’s also the only one who doubts Ethan’s guilt.
After Ethan saves her life, the two start a slow and steady burn neither can deny. But when Bowie's spiritual leader is nearly murdered, it rocks the small southern town to its core. Delilah and Ethan are caught in the crossfire, their relationship threatened before it's even begun. Someone has it out for Ethan's family. With everyone convinced of Ethan's guilt, it's up to Delilah to unravel the mystery before someone else gets hurt or worse...dead.
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“Hey, Wilder,” I said, hoping to break the ice.
All that came back was a muted “Hey.”
He didn’t call me Doherty, didn’t even look at me.
I couldn’t help but be disappointed. It was the first time I’d seen him since George’s party, since our kiss. And yes, even with all that happened afterward, the kiss was what stood out in my mind, a brilliant spark before all that darkness. I wasn’t sure what I’d thought. I knew he probably hadn’t considered it as earth shattering as I did. But his indifference, his absolute silence, I wasn’t prepared for. Was I supposed to just let it go? Try and talk to him again? In this situation, I wasn’t sure what to do.
Then I noticed something.
His book was open. He was looking down, but he hadn’t turned the page in a while.
I looked at his face. There was nothing to see; he was blank as usual. But his eyes weren’t moving. He was studiously avoiding looking at anything in particular. I ducked trying to catch his gaze, but nothing. A second later a small note landed on our table, right in front of him. Glancing up, I saw the backs of my classmates. Every now and then someone would look back, but I couldn’t tell who’d thrown it. Wilder didn’t move. Cautiously, I unfolded the paper.
There were four words: BURN IN HELL MURDERER.
I balled the paper up in my fist.
Whispers. They were still whispering.
Wilder sat immobile beside me, but his silence suddenly made sense. He thought this was his cross to bear, his battle to fight. He thought he was alone.
But he was wrong.
At the first touch of my fingers, his head snapped in my direction, but he didn’t pull away. I kept my eyes on his the entire time, as my palm came to rest against his under the table, as I laced our fingers together, gave a gentle squeeze. He didn’t have to feel the same. I just wanted him to know. In this one, he wasn’t alone. There were people who knew the truth, people who believed it wasn’t his fault.
Holding on a moment longer, making sure he got the message, I gave him a small smile and started to take back my hand.
But he caught me. His hand tightened on mine and didn’t let go until the end of the period.Like an absolute girl, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. How his skin had felt, rough yet reassuring. How his fingers were so much longer. Most of all how he’d stopped me from letting go. That was my favorite part.
About the Author
Cookie O'Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her debut novel ADORKABLE is out now! Her second book NINJA GIRL was released March 30,2017!
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