By Kate Brian

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Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye.

Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?


Copyright © 2012 by Alloy Entertainment and Kieran Viola

All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. For information address Hyperion, 114 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10011-5690.

ISBN 978-1-4231-7914-6


The uneven end of a thin tree limb ripped the skin from my cheek. My lungs burned with every ragged, panicked breath. My eyes were so blurred I couldn’t see where I was going. My foot caught on a tree root, and I flew forward. I screamed as I imagined him right behind me, closing in on me, grabbing me off the ground, and dragging me to my death. I pushed myself to my knees and gasped for air. His breath was hot on my neck. His fingers grazed my shoulder. I let out another scream, my throat constricting, but when I whirled around, no one was there. I forced myself up and kept running.

I shoved aside a clawlike branch and leaped over a fallen maple trunk, almost tripping again as I hit the ground on the other side. This was not happening. It couldn’t really be happening. Mr. Nell was my teacher. He was a good guy. Funny. Everyone thought he was so cool in that retro, dorky teacher way. This had to be a nightmare, and any second I was going to wake up and laugh over the fact that I ever thought it was real.

I heard a twig snap behind me. A footfall. He was closing in. He’d looked into my eyes and licked his lips. He’d tasted my hair and moaned.

My throat filled with bile. I was not going to die this way. I was not going to let him have the satisfaction. I was supposed to go to college, become a doctor, get married and have kids, win awards, buy a beach house, and die surrounded by my loving family knowing I’d saved countless lives over the course of my storied career. Or, like my sister, Darcy, was always saying, I was supposed to die alone and surrounded by cats. Either way. But not like this.

With one desperate explosion of adrenaline I surged ahead, and suddenly, there were no trees. There were no leaves, no brambles, no underbrush. There was only asphalt tearing the fabric of my jeans at the knee and an SUV bearing down on me.

The last thing I saw before I flung my hands up was the gleaming silver grille headed right for my face. There was an awful, deafening screech, and the world filled with the scent of burned rubber.

I held my breath and braced for impact.


I blinked. Christopher’s face loomed over me. His beautiful, perfect, startled face. His dark hair was slicked back from his forehead, wet from the school showers.

“Oh my god, are you all right?”

I looked back at the woods as he grabbed both my arms and dragged me off the road. When I tried to stand, my knees gave out and I leaned into him, gripping the sleeves of his black-and-white varsity jacket with my dirt-streaked fingers. There was blood on the back of one hand, and mud soaked the cuff of my sleeve. Every single inch of me was shaking.

“Get in the car!” I yelled.

“What?” His brows knit in confusion over his warm brown eyes. “Rory, what’re you—”

“Get in the car, Chris!” I shouted again. “We have to get out of here!”

Keeping my eyes on the woods, I staggered toward the passenger-side door. The trees dipped and swirled in my vision, and the ground beneath me began to tilt. I pressed my hands against the hood to keep from going down, breathing through the dizziness. I couldn’t give up now. Not when I was so close to safety.

“I’ve got you,” Christopher said in my ear.

He helped me into the car and slammed the door. I jammed my trembling fingers down on the lock button over and over again until it finally clicked. Something moved in the corner of my vision and I seized up, but then I saw the flick of a bushy tail and realized it was just a squirrel scampering up a tree trunk.

“Rory, what’s going on?” Christopher asked, getting behind the wheel. “Why are you covered in mud?”

“Just drive, Chris. Please,” I begged. My body started quaking so violently it hurt. I tried to hold my breath, tried to control the shaking, but it wouldn’t stop. Even when I shoved my hands under my arms, clamped my knees together, and clenched my jaw. It just wouldn’t stop.

“But my house is right—”

“Please just take me home,” I begged. “And call nine-one-one.”

“Why?” Christopher asked. He looked me up and down, his face pale. “Rory,” he said, his voice tense. “What happened?”

“Mr. Nell,” I stammered through my teeth. “Mr. Nell attacked me.”

“Mr. Nell the math teacher?” he blurted, taking the turn at the end of his street too wide and nearly hitting a car waiting at the stop sign. My stomach swooped as the other driver leaned on his horn. My hands flung out and braced against the door and the side of Chris’s seat.

Chris pulled the car over onto the shoulder. He cupped one hand over his mouth, a worry line forming just above his nose. When he looked at me, my heart stopped beating. His eyes went from stunned, to resigned, to murderous in the space of five seconds. It was only then that I understood how he really felt about me. Right there, in that awful moment, with cars whizzing by fast enough to make the car shudder.


On Sale
Jan 8, 2013
Page Count
336 pages

Kate Brian

About the Author

Kate Brian is the author of the NY Times and USA Today best-selling Private series and it's spin-off series, Privilege. She has also written many other books for teens including Sweet 16 and Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys.

Learn more about this author