Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

 The ferry rocked over the crystal blue waves, splashing and spraying the salty water up the sides of the big white boat. My stomach rolled with the waves, and I could feel my face turn an unflattering shade of green, like split pea soup. Gross. The sea and I, we didn’t mesh. But who did I have to impress? The captain? Hardly. 

Impressing anyone was the furthest thing from my mind. My current problems were monumental. Before my father announced that TJ and I would be “taking a trip,” I had gotten my nose pierced at a less-than-reputable establishment. That got me tons of brownie points with the pops—not. He had looked me over with sad brown eyes and a scruffy face, shook his head, and then went back into his painting cave, shutting out the world—including me. No sweat off my back, because that was how I preferred it lately. 

The less we saw of each other, the better. 

I guess he felt the same. 

And here I was, miles and miles away from Chicago with the wind in my face, on my way to what I considered my summer of doom. I was sure plenty of seventeen-year-old girls would probably kill for the chance to spend their summer vacation on an island off the New England coast. Maybe even have a summer fling. 

I wasn’t like most girls—not by a long shot. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was that made me different. I just knew, like I knew my favorite color was purple or my favorite food was Chinese. 

Sighing, I stared into the clear blue, watching the fish jump in the wake left behind by the boat, and immediately I missed my cramped, dusty apartment in Chicago. I missed my best friend, Parker. And most of all, I missed my mom’s vibrant presence, the smell of her perfume, and her laugh. A sound I would never hear again, no matter how much I willed it. The hurt was still an open wound, so much so that tears stung my eyes. 

“You got a bug in your eye, Piper?” my younger brother TJ sneered, seeing my eyes well up. 

There were only two years separating us, but most days it felt like twenty. He made my life a living hell. What else were little brothers good for? I screwed up my face as I stared up at him. It still burned my butt that he had surpassed me in height this year. I hated having to crane my neck to look at him. “It’s the wind, snotnose.” 

He snorted, his messy, sandy hair blowing in the wind. “If you say so.” 

Using the back of my free hand, I wiped my eyes. We both knew it wasn’t the salty air that was bothering me. It was everything. 

The loss of our mom. 

Being shipped off to a grandma we’d never met. 

Constantly feeling pissed off at the world. 

The list went on and on. 

This was going to be our first summer without her, and I didn’t think any of us had a clue how to move on, least of all Dad. 

Hence, here I was, on my way to the remote island of Raven Hallow, courtesy of my grandma, a woman I barely remembered. Grandma Rose was Mom’s mother, and let it be noted that she was a filthy rich. Money meant nothing to me, especially since I spent most of my life without it, and I had been happy—before. My whole life, Rose had been nothing but a check in the mail during holidays and birthdays. Big whoopee. Not precisely a doting grandma. If it wasn’t for that photo Mom framed on the wall, I wouldn’t know what the woman looked like. 

She looked like Mom. 

And that depressed me. 

After the…umm…accident, as I liked to refer to it, Rose had finally been able to break my father down and convince him that we should stay with her, at least for the summer. 

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