Palace Hills. The very name struck shivers down the spine of the affluent city of Goldendale.
Unfortunately, eighteen-year-old Nina Sharman has no choice but to call the poverty-stricken neighborhood her new home.
Life seems bleak until a chance meeting with Conner Hale changes her mind and captures her heart, leading her to believe that maybe Palace Hills wasn’t so bad after all.
However, one tragic case of mistaken identity changes everything and leads to an event so horrifying that Nina believes she could never recover.
Choosing to leave Conner behind, Nina vows never to return to Palace Hills again.
Five years later, Nina has a new home, a new boyfriend and a new life. Yet, still haunted by the ghosts of her past, Nina finds she must return to Palace Hills to put an end to a nightmare, which has haunted her for years.
Upon her return, one vital slip in judgement threatens to bring the life she had worked so hard to build to come crashing down.
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Thanks to her Mom’s unwavering devotion to read a childhood bedtime story to her every single night, S. BRIONES LIM’s love for books began before she could even speak.
Raised in Southern California, Lim initially dreamt of becoming an artist. After a Psychology Degree (Summa cum Laude), a stint in Art School, and a career in Advertising/Media she is finally diving back into her first love – books. As a self-renowned bookworm, Lim’s love for reading has inspired her to pen her own novels and hopes her readers will fall in love with her stories as much as she enjoys writing them.
Her obsessions include time with family, Cherry Coke, popcorn with jalapeños, watching movies and her dogs, Tobi and Roscoe. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband.
The blazing sun hit my pale skin, warming me to my core. I stayed seated on the low steps to our (old) new two bedroom ranch, and propped my elbows against the splintered wooden steps. The navy blue paint had faded and chipped away in some parts, creating a dirtied look. It was a far cry from our penthouse in the city, but I guess it could have been worse.
With closed eyes, I leaned my head back and drank in the sun’s rays, trying to forget everything for once, when I heard, “Hey!”
I opened my eyes and noticed a boy about my age motioning to me. He was pretty tall and nicely built, with the most striking blue eyes. Even from where I sat I could make out the iciness of his irises. They were the prettiest eyes I’d ever seen and looked like two circles of frost beneath a border of dark lashes. I gazed at him, probably looking extremely stupid. I didn’t move and quietly took in the clenching of his jaw muscles and the flexing of his biceps as he waved his arms, trying to get my attention. He took a baseball cap off his head and rubbed his hand over his buzzed hair, looking exasperated.
“What?” I yelled back, finally finding my voice. I shook my head slightly, feeling embarrassed for checking him out.
“Can you get me my ball?” There was a bossy edge to his tone that I didn’t like. It reminded me of the boys I went to school with at Goldendale Prep. They always felt entitled to things they didn’t deserve—those arrogant bastards.
The boy leaned against our fence looking completely bored. I blinked and looked around, noticing a bright orange basketball sitting a few feet away from me. It was nestled in the browning grass that surrounded our little abode. I pushed myself from the rickety steps and walked over to the ball. I stopped a few inches in front of it and in melodramatic flair, bent over and slowly picked it up. Smirking, I called out, “What’s the magic word?”
The boy rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Just give me the ball. I’m late!”
“I’m not giving it to you until you say the magic word!” I shot back.
“Fine!” he groaned. Through gritted teeth he said, “Stop being a bitch! Now give it to me!” He grinned at me as if he was oh so pleased with himself.
My mouth dropped open in shock. Angrily, I dropped the ball and placed my right foot on top. I grabbed for the pocket of my pastel yellow shorts and pulled out a black pocket knife. As the boy watched in horror, I flipped the knife open and leaned over, stabbing the ball with the pointed edge. The orange ball quickly deflated, looking like a blob underneath my foot.