Release Date: 06/2015
Summary from Goodreads:
Everyone at Singer, a boarding school for underprivileged kids, knows the urban legend of the Society of Seven. Decades ago, the original members of the secret guild for elite students murdered the school’s founder and then perished in the fire they lit to hide the evidence. Or so the story goes.
Talan Michaels doesn’t care about Singer’s past. He’s too focused on his future and the fact that he’ll be homeless after he graduates in May. To take his mind off it, he accepts a mysterious invitation to join a group calling itself the Sevens. He expects pranks, parties, and perks. Instead, he finds himself neck-deep in a conspiracy involving secret passages and cryptic riddles about the school’s history. Even worse, he’s now tangled in web of lies someone will kill to keep hidden.
“At the end of the day, it’s Talan and his endearing combination of bravado and vulnerability, coupled with the crackling chemistry he shares with Laney, that will keep readers turning the pages. A satisfying read for secret-society fanatics and romantics alike.” – Kirkus Reviews
Rumors spread all morning, but the announcement at lunch makes it official: “Due to recent events and widespread vandalism, The Board has canceled all remaining extracurricular events for the fall season, pending investigation of these incidents.” Moans rise up across the crowded room. “In addition, the Board of Directors is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved.”
Kane said he could make things hard for my friends. Score one for the bad guy.
So why do I feel so guilty when I’m innocent? I stare at Laney’s table and tug my ear when she glances over. She nods towards Kollin, but I shake my head. I really want to talk to her alone. My head is spinning about Marcus and the Sevens and Kane. Laney has a way of slowing the world down.
I scoop my lunch up. “Where you going now?” Marcus asks. There’s an edge to his voice.
I’m too flustered to think of an excuse. “I’ve got a meeting with my counselor. I’ll talk to you later.” I rush out and head down the hall.
I collapse in a chair in Solomon’s room, tapping my fingers to the pounding in my head. The door slowly opens and I finally exhale. But it isn’t Laney.
Marcus crosses his arms on his chest. “Meeting with your counselor, huh? Does Ms. Bennett rent space from Solomon now?”
“What are you—”
“No!” he says. “No more bullshit. I want to know what’s going on. Why are you blowing your friends off, and where do you keep sneaking off to?”
He’s pissed and he isn’t gonna let this go. I can’t tell him the truth and my mind is racing too fast to come up with a lie.
“Tell me what the hell is up, or I’m going to Boyle. I don’t care if you are my best friend. If you have anything to do with this Sevens shit, you’re screwing a lot of people. It ain’t right. You’re headed for trouble, Tal.”
I stare at him, emotionless.
“This is your last chance. Tell me who you’re sneaking around with.”
Marcus twists toward the voice in the doorway. His jaw drops lower than mine when Laney repeats herself. “Talan’s been sneaking around with me. We’re hooking up. I didn’t want Kollin to find out.”
Marcus glances between us, clearly not convinced. “Laney Shanahan—a cheat? No way. Plus, that doesn’t explain the night of the dance. He lied about why he left early. You were there the whole time; you stayed later than anyone. You weren’t hooking up that night.”
I walk around the desk to buy myself some time to think. “I was… jealous. Watching her with Kollin was bugging me, so I told Taylor I didn’t feel good so I could go home.”
“But why wouldn’t you tell me? It’s not like I’d tattle to Kollin.” Marcus has this hurt look on his face—the kind you see on abused kids who know better than to trust people. “We’ve never kept a secret from each other before. I asked you a few weeks ago if something was going on with you and Laney. You straight up told me, ‘No way.’”
“He wanted to tell you, but we didn’t have a choice,” Laney says. “We can’t risk my parents finding out. Mom already caught us once. Remember the other afternoon when she called us into her office?” Marcus nods. “Mom caught me in Talan’s bedroom. We made up an excuse, but now she’s really watching us. If they learn Talan and I are in a relationship, they’ll remove him from our group home. There aren’t any openings in any of the senior houses, so Talan would be referred out of Singer. He’s 18 now—too old for foster care placement. He’d be out on the street.”
Marcus shakes his head, then shrugs. “I don’t know. It doesn’t add up. You two sneaking around? You drive each other nuts.”
“Oh for Pete’s sake.” Laney shoves Marcus aside, grabs the collar of my shirt, and pulls me into a knee-buckling kiss. With our lips locked, her hands slowly glide up my chest and around my neck. She kisses so good, I forget to breathe. All I can think about is how great this feels. How soft her hands are running through my hair. How warm her chest is against mine. How sweet her mouth is, and how great she tastes. She must have had strawberries for lunch. It’s all better than I imagined.
Oh hell, who am I to waste an opportunity like this? I cup my hands around her bottom and scoop her body closer. Before you know it, I’ve forgotten Marcus is even there.
“Well, I’ll be damned,” he says.
Laney pulls away to catch her breath, staring up at me with her face and lips all red.
Marcus shakes his head. “I never thought I’d see the day when Talan Michaels was whipped by a girl. What the hell is going on at this school? Grave robbings. Secret societies trashing campus. And Talan Michaels and Laney Shanahan falling for each other? I’m scared to drink the water.” He plods out of the room with a stunned expression.
“Thank you,” I tell Laney. “Really. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
She yanks her arms off my neck and back pedals. “I did it for the Sevens.”
“Sure you did.” I wink.
“What’s with the tongue? And did you have to grab my butt?”
“My tongue wasn’t rolling around by itself in there.”