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A shocking, heartbreaking story of taboo romance that’s as compelling as it is controversial.
Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As de facto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: A love this devastating has no happy ending.
she’s only five. Right now she isn’t thinking about herself and her own grief, but about Lochie, about what she can do for him. The least I can do is ask myself the same question: if Lochie could see me now, what would he be asking for? But of course I know the answer already. I’ve known the answer all along. Which is why I’ve carefully avoided thinking about it until now . . . I watch the eyes of the girl in the mirror fill with tears. No, Lochie, I tell him desperately. No! Please, please. You
not think. Back at school, Maya is busy with coursework. If she notices a difference in my behaviour towards her, she doesn’t mention it. Perhaps she too feels uncomfortable about that afternoon. Perhaps she too realizes that there needs to be more distance between us. We negotiate each other with the caution of a bare foot avoiding shards of glass, confining our brief exchanges to practicalities: the school run, the weekly shop, ways to persuade Kit to take over the laundry, the likelihood of
Mum’s lap, Tiffin’s face is smeared with chocolate ice cream, Kit is hanging upside down off the bench, and Maya is trying to yank him back up. The only faces clearly visible are Dad’s and mine – we have our arms slung across each other’s shoulders, grinning broadly at the camera. I rarely look at the photo, despite having rescued it from Mum’s bonfire. But I like the feel of it being close by: a reminder that those happier times were not simply a figment of my imagination. CHAPTER TWO
exhausted, and admire the new iPods, mobiles, designer clothes and laptops that surround us. At lunch, Lochan walks past my table. ‘Meet me on the stairs,’ he whispers. Francie lets out a loud wolf-whistle as he moves away and I swing round in time to see his face turn crimson. Up here the wind is almost a gale, cutting right through you like slivers of ice. I have no idea how Lochan can bear it, day after day. He is hugging himself against the cold, his teeth chattering, his lips tinged with
recognize the distant beat of Kit’s music and the sound of Tiffin and Willa arguing in their room above us. We begin to laugh. ‘Christ, we’re jumpy!’ I exclaim softly. ‘It’ll be so great not to have to be like this for a bit,’ Maya breathes. ‘Even if it’s just for a couple of days. The constant paranoia – worried about even touching hands!’ ‘Two days of freedom,’ I whisper with a smile, pulling her close. As the big day approaches, I find myself counting down the hours. Kit will set off for