Author: Linda Budzinski
Publisher by: Swoon Romance
Published on: September 15, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult Romance
The last thing sixteen-year-old Emily Slovkowski wants is to move away from her home at the Jersey shore, gorgeous surfer boyfriend Zach, and her entire identity. But that’s kind of how Witness Protection works, and Em must prepare herself for an epic do-over as she starts a new life in the Midwest.
Even as she pines for sandy beaches and the night life of the shore, the newly-named Ember O’Malley finds herself making new friends, taking photos for the high school newspaper, and thinking an awful lot about the paper’s editor, an oddly cute cowboy named Charles.
When Em stumbles upon a shady beneath-the-bleachers exchange between one of the school’s football coaches and a student, she refuses to get involved. The last thing she needs is to be witness to another crime or call attention to herself. Besides, she finally has some real friends – well, real except for the fact that they don’t know a single thing about her – and she prefers to keep it that way until the trial.
But as her day in court approaches, Em begins piecing together what she saw that day beneath the bleachers. And, as her own past secrets start to catch up with her, Em needs to figure out who she really is – Em or Em.
Ember hesitated. She should keep her mouth shut. She didn’t need to be a witness to another crime, and she certainly didn’t need to be nark-ing out the one person in Boyd County who knew her real identity and could expose her at any time. Still, a part of her wanted to confide in Claire. She was so sick of lying, of pretending, of keeping secrets.
“Ember, are you okay?” Claire reached out and touched her arm.
Ember grabbed her hand and held it. “If I tell you something, will you promise not to tell anyone?”
Claire nodded, her eyes wide. “Of course.”
“During the homecoming game, I saw something I shouldn’t have. Under the bleachers.”
Claire drew back. “You mean … Tommy Walker?”
Claire jumped up and plugged her ears. “Ew, gross. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to hear it. Ew, ew, ew.” She grabbed Ember’s shoulders. “I realize you can never un-see that, but you have to try to forget. Understand?”
Ember laughed and nodded. Claire had the wrong idea—a very, very wrong idea—but something about her reaction, her sweetness, her innocence, snapped Ember back to reality. No way could she confide in this girl. That huge ball of lies, pretending, and secrets she was living formed the entire basis of their friendship.