Under A Million Stars by Rita Branches
Release Date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Can a beating heart bleed from the shattered pieces?
Her heart cracked when her best friend walked away; it completely shattered when she lost her family in a tragic accident.
Now orphaned at seventeen, Charlotte Peterson is forced to live with her former best friend, Jacob Parker. Charlie, a talented pianist, desperately wants their loving friendship back, but something is holding Jake back. The more she spirals into the darkness of depression, the more she needs him.
Jacob vowed to stay away from her—no matter how much he still loved her. Armed with secrets that would have destroyed both of their families, he chose to end their friendship and walk away, which nearly killed him. As he watches the girl he once knew begin to fade away, however, he realizes that their relationship is more important than the truth he's hiding.
Now it's up to Jacob to put the pieces of Charlie's broken heart back together—even if it means revealing the secrets he so desperately wants to protect her from.
Will Jacob find a way to bring back the carefree, talented girl he once knew, or is it too late for both of them?
What happened to Kylie this morning?”
Shrugging, I looked out the window. I was still moping about our discussion, and Kylie’s would only increase my unhappiness. “Something about a party tomorrow—Halloween.”
“You were thinking about Jamie.” It wasn’t a question, but he almost said it like one. My head jerked to him. Had I been that transparent, or was it just him?
I gulped for air and my constricted chest heaved with the effort. My hands grabbed the seat under me.
“Come on. Let’s get you inside.” He stood by my side, until I reached the couch, but he never touched me.
“Remember that Halloween we dressed like a reaper and a ghost?” he asked, sitting beside me and pulling my legs over his. I smiled at the memory, and he did, too.
They had been the best costumes the school had that year, even if we had gotten detention over them. We’d been ten, at the time, and the teacher had called our parents, claiming that some kids had actually cried over our outfits. What our parents hadn’t seen was the fake blood that we’d poured over ourselves before class had started. I had a fake gash on my neck, which I now couldn’t envision two ten-year-old kids pulling off so well. It’d looked so real.
Jacob’s clothes had been spotted with blood, like it had been splashed. His scythe had also been covered in blood. We’d left footprints from the girls’ bathroom to our classroom, which aggravated our case.
I laughed—I actually laughed. He took off my sneakers, threw them to the floor, and rubbed my feet. “Tell me about your last Halloween.” He lowered his voice, and I choked back a sob. He waited for me to talk, though, and I did. I told him everything, from the plea I’d made to my parents about letting me go to a party, instead of taking James to trick-or-treat, to the tears he’d shed because of my lack of patience.
“Your brother loved you. If he could talk about that day, now, I’m sure he wouldn’t remember the sad parts—only the fun he had. Jamie was a very happy boy, and you did everything to make him happy.”
I snorted. “You’re mistaking me with you. You did everything for him, not me. I was jealous about having a brother, remember? I had you, and it was enough.”
“You fell in love with him the moment you held him in your arms. I was there—I saw the glitter in your eyes then, and I saw it every time you looked at him after that. You can’t blame yourself for the times you were angry at him; it’s normal between siblings. Hell, it was normal for us, and we aren’t related. Do you feel guilty about the times we fought?” One of his eyebrows shot up, amused.
“For some, but not all. I had a reason, most of the times.” He pinched my foot and I kicked him. “I fought with him a lot that last month. I regret so many things, but that’s the one I regret the most. Jamie was just a baby, and he wanted to show me how he was learning how to write.” My voice faltered and a tear escaped my eye.
Jacob leaned over me and grabbed my hand. “You can’t blame yourself for that. You loved him and he loved you. You were the best sister anyone could have, and I can say that from experience.” He let go and got up, placing my legs on the couch gently.
He went to the kitchen to cook me lunch, and I stayed there, thinking about what he’d said. He had a first glimpse of my ability to be a sister, but we weren’t really related, we hadn’t lived together, as much as it seemed that way, and we had been the same age. It was different, and my guilt didn’t diminish. I just grew confused.
Rita Branches is an independent YA (young adult) author who enjoys spending every free moment (when she´s not reading) writing emotional stories. Visit: http://ritabranches.wordpress.com/
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