Release Date: January 25th 2016
Three years ago, Samantha Gray killed her parents.
Haunted by their deaths, she hides her scars behind sarcasm and vintage t-shirts, counting the days until she can escape her foster home in Alegria, Arizona. Then she meets Ben, a California boy whose filmmaker parents constructed a big cat sanctuary outside of town. She's hesitant to get close, terrified he'll learn her secret.
When Ben introduces Sam to Solomon, a Bengal tiger on borrowed time whose gruesome history eerily mirrors her own, she must decide whether she’s strong enough to overcome her past and save not only Solomon’s life, but her own. And to do that, she'll need to tell Ben the truth.
“I didn’t think you’d come.” A low voice murmurs over my shoulder, and I spin around.Ben leans against the wall, dressed in all black, from his button up shirt to his dress slacks. He’s slicked his hair back in a ponytail at the nape of his neck and a shiny black Batman mask fails at obscuring his identity. He appraises my dress silently, his eyes darkening with some emotion I imagine is reflected in my own. Gently, he reaches out and runs his fingers along the shawl’s feathery edges.
“Some disguise, huh?”
He leans closer, tugging a stray curl fanning the side of my face. “It doesn’t matter. I’d know it was you anywhere.”
A nervous giggle bubbles up from my lips. His proximity unnerves me, makes me want to both collapse into his arms and run away at the same time. I scan the room for his parents and when I don’t see them, I shove my mask up on top of my head, like a feathery pair of sunglasses.
“Yeah well, I still don’t want to get arrested.” I tighten the shawl around my shoulders. He reaches up and caresses my cheek, his hand lingering on the side of my neck. “I’m glad you decided it was worth the risk.”
Chanda Stafford teaches middle and high school English. She loves traveling and currently lives in Michigan with her husband and a menagerie of rescued dogs and cats.
When she’s not reading or writing, Chanda enjoys old zombie movies, authentic Italian food, and comic books.