Release Date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Sadie steers clear of most of it, terrified someone will find out her secret. She isn’t the least bit perfect. In fact, she suffers from PTSD stemming from the murder of her mother right before her eyes when she was a child. She can barely cope from day-to-day, hiding her truth and trying to fit in. But she knows it’s only a matter of time.
Hayden is a “Waverly,” a kid with the misfortune of living in the small farming town of Waverly that borders the very affluent Lexington Parrish. The AE doesn’t mix with “Waverlies.” Ever.
Desperate to get away from her oppressive friends, Sadie crashes into Hayden at a bonfire and the attraction that sparks between them is nothing short of electric. But Hayden’s an outsider and when things heat up, Sadie will be forced to choose between her friends and her new boyfriend.
Only Queen Bee Britt isn’t having it. She will not allow Sadie to cross her. Sadie can either do what Britt wants her to do or she will reveal Sadie for the PTSD freak that she is.
Sadie does some soul searching about who she is and who she wants to be. She can’t live her life like this. Not any more. One fateful night will help her see how much things have to change.
She’s determined to no longer allow the AE to rule her life. She will be strong, stand up for Ian and love who she wants in Hayden. Determined and invigorated, Sadie goes to school feeling hopeful for the first time in forever.
But, the unthinkable happens.
Shooters attack dozens of students before the two eventually take their own lives, leaving the school a decimated shadow of what it once was.
Suddenly who lives where, wears what or loves whom seems like the least of Lexington Parish’s problems as everyone and everything changes forever in the after.
IN THE AFTER by Elisa Dane is a hard-hitting and heart-warming story of tragedy, love, loss and redemption. It is recommended for readers 14+.
The pungent stench of vomit and black licorice floated up from the brushy base of the large pine tree. I held Jenna’s hair away from her face with one hand and covered my mouth and nose with the other, dangerously close to losing the contents of my own stomach. I didn’t do barf well. If the smell didn’t get me first, the horrible retching sound usually did me in.
I pulled a tissue out of my cross-body bag and thrust it in front of Jenna’s face once her gagging stopped.
She took the tissue from me with an agonized groan. “Ugh … kill me now, please.” She braced a hand against the rough bark and stood up, the light from the full moon making her already pale skin appear ghostly. Mascara ringed her eyes, which were still glossy with tears. “God, Sadie. I feel like I was just shit out of a fat man’s crusty ass.”
I wrinkled my nose and jerked my head back. “Your breath pretty much smells like it, too.” I shoved my hand into my bag again and procured a pack of gum. “Here.” I waved the half-eaten pack of wintergreen at her. “I told you not to drink that last Jaeger bomb.” Truthfully, I didn’t understand how she, or anyone else for that matter, stomached the nasty stuff. I hated the taste of black licorice.
Jenna swiped her hand over her face and moaned. “Ugh. I need to … ” She lurched a few feet to the left and sank to the ground, resting her back against the base of a fallen tree. “There,” she said with a breathy sigh. She let her head fall back against the tree and closed her eyes. “Much better.”
I eased down onto the ground beside her and tilted my head toward the sky. Away from the glowing lights pulsating from every nook and cranny of Lexington Parrish, the dark skies above Woodland Reservoir were shockingly clear. The stars shone so bright and big I gave into temptation and reached a hand up, feeling as though I could pluck one from the sky and hold it in my palm. But then, you’d have to have enormous power to hold a star—and I was anything but powerful. Petulant? Yes. Perturbed? Definitely. Powerful? Not so much.
Britt Kennedy held all the power in Lexington Parrish. No, wait. I amend that. Britt’s dad held all the power in town. A Supreme Court judge who came from old money, when he said jump, the entire town yelled, “How high?” His daughter, Britt, ruled Atwood High. If anyone were capable of wrangling a star out of the sky, it would be her. Girlfriend could probably snap her fingers and sneer at the sky and the damn thing would fall to her feet.
God, I sound bitter. But then, Britt had dictated every aspect of my life over the past three years. She dictated everyone’s lives at Atwood. Regina George looked like a soft, huggable bunny next to the sheer evilness that was Britt Kennedy. And it was that evil that had supplied my best friend with the last shot of alcohol that tipped the scales from sloppy drunk to full out shit-faced and stupid.
I wrapped my arms around my knees and pulled them in toward my chest. “Wanna talk about it?”
I knew exactly what, or rather, who, was bothering her, but didn’t want to push. She’d open up when she was comfortable, and I’d be there for her.
Jenna laughed once. “Guys are dicks. What more is there to say?”
Not much. I placed a hand on her shoulder and squeezed. “I’m sorry about Jason.”
She swiped at her tearstained cheeks and cast me a wry look. “You’re sorry I caught him shoving his tongue down Madison’s throat, or that you were right about him?”
My shoulders fell as I let out a deep sigh. “Both.” Jason was an asshat, and I wasn’t sorry she caught on to his cheating ways. I was, however, sorry that she was hurting, and that there was nothing I could do to take the pain from her. “Jason is a douche nozzle. Just like Wes was. I know you don’t want to hear this, but you’re better off without him.” I knew I was better off without my dick-faced ex, regardless of what the rest of our friends thought.
Jenna scrubbed her hands over her face and groaned. “You’re right. I just … I need … ” She looked toward the raging bonfire our friends were gathered around not too far from where we sat, her face twisting as if deep in thought. “I really just need to—”
“Listen to me more often?” I said, cutting her off with a sarcastic huff. There weren’t many people I could share my true thoughts and feelings with in Lexington Parrish, and Jenna was one of those precious few. I could get away with a little ribbing and an “I told you so” and know she’d still love me afterward.
Jenna cast me a wry smile and lumbered to her feet with all the grace of a newborn giraffe on roller skates. “Actually,” she cast me a rather urgent glance, “what I really need is a bathroom.” She nodded her head in the direction of the very public, very dirty, and very dark bathrooms that sat a small distance to the left of the bonfire. “Go with me?”
Panic whirled inside my chest like a flock of angry bees. It had been over three years since it happened, and my fear hadn’t lessened any. She knew … She knew what my reaction would be. She knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable. Why? Why did she have to drink so much? Why did I have to be such a freak?
I pulled my cell out of my bag as I stood up, clumsily swiping at the screen. “Yeah. Sure,” I said, my pulse suddenly starting to hammer inside my veins. “Let me just turn on the—”
Jenna’s hand gripped my wrist as bright, blinding light cascaded out of the camera window of my phone. “You don’t have to go into the bathroom with me, Sadie. I know how you feel about the dark. I just need you nearby. In case I fall. Or puke again.” She eyed me warily. “Okay?”
About the Author
ELISA DANE is a self-proclaimed book junkie. A lover of handbags, chocolate, and reality television, she’s a proud mother to three All- Star cheerleaders. Writing is her absolute passion, and it’s her mission to create stories that will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but help you find a new respect and interest in the sport of All-Star cheerleading.
Elisa is no stranger to the publishing world. She writes steamy paranormal romance under her real name, Lisa Sanchez. Her adult works include the Hanford Park series (Eve Of Samhain, Pleasures Untold, and Faythe Reclaimed), Obsessed (an erotic suspense), and a paranormal novella, Cursing Athena. Elisa lives in Northern California with her husband, three daughters, and a feisty Chihuahua who stubbornly believes she’s human.