She gets our drinks before he comes back and once he does, I pick up my wine. “Thanks for the drink.”
He clinks with me and takes a sip. “I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable.” There’s something sad in his voice that makes me want to find an emotional salve, which I imagine would probably be some kind of chocolate peanut butter concoction.
“It’s nothing personal, it’s just—” I start.
“No, I get it.” His hand flip-flops a coaster between his thumbs and fingers as he stares into the line of bottles of whiskey and whatnot. “I’m Luke, by the way.” He reaches his other hand out, like we’re business partners. I go with it.
“I’m Quinn.” Those hands. They’re the kind of rough and wild hands that hold truths. And, like last night, I want more than the tactile glimpse the handshake gives me.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Quinn.” I love the way he says my name. With his southern accent it sways more toward the Q, the n’s are uphill.
“So, where have you been?” I ask.
He tilts his head, sort of like a puppy would do if you hide a tennis ball behind your back.
“Ah, you mean...your whole life?” I’m only semi-successful at stifling a girlish giggle as he watches me with playful eyes.
“No, I mean, Sally said you’re back in town. From where?” “So she told you all that?” he says.
All that? I’ll have to ask Sally about it later. He gulps down a significant amount of beer faster than you should outside of race-themed drinking games and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.
“She just said you were back.” I mirror him and take a big swig of wine that should be savored. But this is getting awkward.
Quinn is looking forward to her senior year at Poe University. She has big plans to hang out with her best friend, flirt with a certain boy genius, party at her favorite dive bar and figure out what she's going to do after graduation with her not-so-useful art major. But that's before she meets Luke, a hot townie who's moved back home to help take care of his dying sister. And it's before a weird epidemic sweeps across campus, mysteriously turning people's eyes purple.
Is it an odd side effect from a new party drug?
Is it a rogue virus developed in a campus lab?
Is it the mark of the devil?
Soon the town starts blaming the university and the student religious group becomes frighteningly aggressive in their on-campus accusations. Quinn and Luke are caught in the middle—until a tragic accident forces Luke to reveal the one part of himself he's kept carefully hidden. That he's so much more than the happy-go-lucky boy next door Quinn had believed him to be isn't a surprise…but this truth might be too dangerous for her to handle.
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"This unique read--containing a boatload of likable characters and a few spine-tingling chills--plays out like a mystery movie on the big screen. The author really keeps readers guessing with each flip of the page--and it gets more and more exciting all the way up to the last chapter, which has the potential to make jaws drop." - RT Book Reviews
"HEARTSICK is destined to become a go-to example of great, speculative NA." - Carrie Butler, author of the award-winning Mark of Nexus series
"A snappy, suspenseful plot balanced with stellar writing, brimming with chemistry and full of unique, nuanced characters. Quinn is the sort of strong, believable heroine I want to spend hundreds of pages with, and the mix of sci-fi-tinged mystery, small-town social tensions and a sweet-and-sexy love story kept me engaged until the end. Caitlin Sinead just made my auto-buy list."--A.J. Larrieu, author of Twisted Miracles
About Caitlin Sinead
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