a novel by
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Copyright© 2013 by K.A. Linde
Coverphoto © Jacqueline BarklaPhotography
CoverDesign by Okay Creations
Editedby Unforeseen Editing
Formatted by JTFormatting
Nopart of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by anyinformation storage and retrieval system without the written permission of theauthor, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, andincidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are usedfictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, orlocales is entirely coincidental.
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Table of Contents
Chapter One - ChicagoBound
Chapter Two - HomeSweet Home
Chapter Three - TheBean Thing
Chapter Four - Square
Chapter Five - School
Chapter Six - SignatureRoom at the 95th
Chapter Seven - Highsof Life
Chapter Eight - MirrorImage
Chapter Nine - Everythingfor a Price
Chapter Ten - Rebellion
Chapter Eleven - GettingThrough to You
Chapter Twelve - TheRunaway
Chapter Thirteen- Filling the Darkness
Chapter Fourteen- Moving Forward
Chapter Fifteen -It’s Going Around
Chapter Sixteen -When It Rains, It Pours
ChapterSeventeen - Obsession
Chapter Eighteen- The Only Option
Chapter Nineteen- Strawberries
Chapter Twenty - ComingClean
ChapterTwenty-One - Out of the Gutter
ChapterTwenty-Two - Fool
ChapterTwenty-Three - Natural and Easy
ChapterTwenty-Four - The Right Option
ChapterTwenty-Five - Coiled
ChapterTwenty-Six - Adrenaline
ChapterTwenty-Seven - Finding Your Way
ChapterTwenty-Eight - Following Me
ChapterTwenty-Nine - Filling in the Light
About the Author
DEVON SAWYER SKIPPED to the nextsong on her iPod and adjusted the small earbuds to fit more comfortably. Shebobbed her head to the ’90s punk rock blasting through her headphones, herblonde hair falling around her face. She was thankful that no one else wasclued in to her choice of music. She wanted to listen to something that feltcomfortable to her, and her older brother’s music always did the trick.
The train rattled along on itscourse. It had pulled out of the countryside and moved into the suburbs untilit would finally reach the heart of Chicago. During the six-hour train ridefrom St. Louis into the city, Devon couldn’t quit biting her nails. Theyweren’t particularly long to start out with, but they were quickly turning intostubs.
Her feet tapped softly againstthe carpeted floor as she stared out the closed window at the passing flatlandsand cornfields prominent in the Midwest. Since stepping onto the first trainwith nothing more than her purse and carry-on suitcase, she hadn’t paid muchattention to anything. Although she was still focused on the end of term andher immediate departure, she couldn’t stop thinking about the one thing shedidn’t want to think about.
But she had made her decision. For better or for worse, she had left St. Louis.
“Next stop, Chicago UnionStation,” the conductor called over the intercom.
Devon popped up from herdaydream. One of her earbuds fell out as she straightened in her seat. Shelooked down at the open notebook sitting in her lap. Words filled the pages,but she couldn’t remember writing them down. Reading the first few lines onlyintensified her despair, and she decided not to continue with the rest at themoment.
A stewardess walked through thecabin, smiling at the passengers as she stamped their tickets. Devon had thelast seat on the train, and the woman was fast approaching her. She avertedher eyes, hoping the woman would just leave her be. The last thing she wantedwas to talk to a peppy stewardess.
Devon was out of luck.
“Miss,” the stewardess said,leaning into her chair.
Devon ignored her.
“Miss. Excuse me, miss?”
Devon pulled out the otherearbud, shut her notebook, and turned to face the woman. “Yes?”
“Did you want anything else fromthe cart before we enter the station?”
“No, thank you,” Devon answered.
“Here, let me stamp your ticket,”she said, reaching out her hand.
Devon bent down to retrieve herbag, and then she began rifling through it to locate the ticket.
“So, why are you traveling toChicago?” the woman asked, making polite conversation.
“Just meeting a friend,” Devonsaid.
“That sounds fun,” she said.
When Devon glanced up at her, thewoman gave her an even bigger smile.
“How long are you staying?”
“Uh…” Devon murmured, trailingoff as if looking into her bag distracted her. “As long as I want, I guess. Haven’t really thought that far.”
“Wow! You’re just picking up andgoing?” the stewardess asked, surprised.
“It’s my summer break, and I havesome friends in the city,” Devon told her, not sure why she felt like she hadto justify it.
“Neat. Are you at a school inSt. Louis then?”
She finally located her ticketand handed it to the woman. Devon was ready for the woman to leave. “Yep. Washington University.”
“That’s a great school! My sonalways wanted to go there, but we just couldn’t afford a private school, youknow?” She placed a stamp on the ticket and returned it to Devon.
“Sure,” Devon said, not reallyunderstanding.
Her parents had told her shecould go to whatever school she wanted. They were songwriters in Nashville,and business was good. Devon had wanted to start over and move far away fromthe South into a new city. Her parents would have preferred an Ivy Leagueeducation if she were going to leave, but Devon hadn’t gotten into the BigThree.
Wash U was close enough to Ivyanyway. Plus, as soon as she had stepped onto campus, she had fallen in lovewith the school. Everything from the brick castle-like edifices to the large opengrounds to the people she had met on her tour had pulled her in completely. She had spent the last three years there, and now, she didn’t know if she wouldever go back.
Swallowing down the lump in herthroat, Devon reminded herself that she had made the right decision byleaving. She had to get away. She just needed to keep telling herself that.
The train began to slow ashigh-rises flew past the surrounding windows.
“That’s my cue!” The stewardessjumped up. “Have a fun trip in Chicago,” she called before bustling aboutthrough the cabin.
Devon stood and collected herbags. The passengers were cast into darkness as they rolled into Chicago UnionStation. As the train rattled to a stop on the tracks, she pushed her waythrough the crowd. She was more than ready to be off the train. A man swunghis bag backward, catching her in the ribs, and she