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She can’t escape her past . . . or her future.
After Vivian Cartwright’s aunt is killed by the same mysterious man who caused her mother’s death, she flees to protect those she loves. Searching for the father she’s never seen, she spends months on the road, working her way from one rundown motel to another and trying to move on with her lonely life.
Vivian must face her past when the very people she’s trying to protect walk through the door of the diner where she works, but their bittersweet reunion is short-lived when her nemesis, the man with black eyes, kidnaps Abby and Cooper.
Forced to work for the man she’s tried so hard to escape, Vivian learns she is only one of several gifted teenagers belonging to a corrupt group called the Liaisons. She joins with Wyck, a sinfully handsome twin and computer genius. Together, she and her unlikely ally discover the truth about the organization and its strange connection to her family.
Book 2 in the Vivid Trilogy
Dang! He looks good in his khaki shorts and white t-shirt. His hair’s a little longer, but it takes nothing from his beautiful face. Abby’s voice pulls my eyes from him. She is bouncing along behind him, blonde curls pulled into pigtails and purple glasses perched on her perky nose, dragging a still super-size Cooper by the hand. She’s smiling, probably jabbering about what she wants to eat. When she glances toward the window, I slam back to reality full force.
“Yes, uh, yes, sir. I’ll be, uh, right back,” I stammer, backing into the table behind me, shaking the drinks of the couple seated there. “Sorry, I’m so sorry!” I whirl away, ram my thigh into the corner of another table, and walk-jog my way to the kitchen. When the swinging door smacks my butt and knocks me farther into the room, I squeak, snagging Mr. Lewis’s attention.
“Vivian, what’s the matter? You’re white as a sheet. You see a ghost?” Still holding his spatula like a shield in front of him, he comes toward me with real concern on his face and in his voice.
“It’s . . . it’s him, Mr. Lewis!” Mr. Lewis thinks I ran from a relationship that would never have worked, which is kind of true, just not the way he thinks. So, when I say ‘him,’ Mr. Lewis’s eyes widen, and he raises his eyebrows as he rushes to the food window that separates the kitchen and dining room. I hear the bell above the door announcing their entrance, and I close my eyes, gripping my order pad so tightly the edges bend in my sweaty hand.
“Why is he here?” I run my hand nervously over my head and nearly poke myself in the eye with the pencil stub I’m still clutching. He pries the order pad and pencil away from my hands.
“How would I know? He’s your boyfriend,” he whispers roughly as though Easton might hear him over the noise of the diner.
“Ex! Ex-boyfriend! And your burgers are burning!” I point to the grill where the patties sizzle and pop. As he curses and whips around, I ease to the opening, crouch low, and keeping my head mostly hidden, peeking over the edge.
He’s bending over a menu sitting with Coop and Abby in a booth across the room and pointing to something while Abby pokes Coop playfully in the ribs and giggles. He’s so perfect, dark hair, olive skin made darker from days spent on the baseball field no doubt, days of practice which have made his biceps and forearms firm and sculpted.
I let my eyes feast on him until he sits up straight; his brows crease as though he’s deep in thought. His eyes scan the dining room, and he begins to turn in my direction. Shit! Does he sense me somehow, like I sensed him? We’ve always had that weird connection that bound us together since the first day in the library when I tutored him in English. I duck quickly and crouch all the way to the floor.
“Where is Vivian?” Julie’s voice comes from above me where she stands at the food window. Mr. Lewis motions toward my hiding spot with his spatula. I look up and see her puzzled expression as she leans through the opening. “What are you doing? You have new customers in your section. I just seated them and gave them menus. They’re probably ready to order drinks.”
I shake my head, sweat beading on my forehead and hyperventilation quite probable. She shakes her head and looks at Mr. Lewis. “What’s wrong with her?”
He plates a burger. “It’s him,” he says, giving her a look and shaking his head as he hustles the burger to her waiting hand.
“It’s him? Him, him? The him you ran away from? Oh, Vivian, why’s he here?” She looks back over her shoulder.
“Don’t look at him!” I squeal.
Her head swivels back down to me. “You gotta go, now! I’ll cover this. Go back to your apartment.”
I look to Mr. Lewis who nods his agreement. “I’ll send Alejandro to get you when the guy leaves.”
“Thank you, Mr. Lewis, and you, too.” I glance up at Julie who gives me a sympathy smile.
“Go.” She shoos me with her hand and turns back to the dining room to deliver the burger.
Mr. Lewis reaches down his hand, and I take it, pulling myself to my feet. Then I do something incredibly stupid. I can’t help myself; I need one more look. Slow-motion-movie-style, I turn around toward the booth where Easton sits.
He’s looking right at me.
Andrea Murray has been teaching English forlonger than most of her students have been alive. She has taught everything from junior high language arts to concurrent credit freshman composition. She lives in a very small town in Arkansaswith her precocious daughter, energetic son, and racecar-driving husband. When she isn't writing or reading novels for her students, she's probably watching reality television or cheesy science fiction movies. Vicious is the second book in the Vivid Trilogy.
If you missed the first book, VIVID, you can find the purchase links and my review here.
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