Excerpt: 'Best Friends Forever'

Summer reading roundup - Best Friends Forever

Addie Downs believes she and Valerie Adler will be best friends forever. But after a betrayal, Valerie becomes part of the popular crowd and Addie becomes the scapegoat.

Fifteen years later, Valerie is working at a local TV station as a weathergirl while Addie lives alone in her parents' house in their small hometown of Pleasant Ridge, Ill. Out of nowhere, Valerie shows up on Addie's doorstep, frightened and in bloodstained clothes, pleading for Addie's help.

"Best Friends Forever" is about secrets, history, and the bonds that can never be broken.

Read an excerpt of the book below and head to the "GMA" Library for more good reads.

CLICK HERE for the audio excerpt of "Best Friends Forever."

Part One

Reunion

Chapter One

Dan Swansea came awake in the darkness, not knowing for a minute who he was or where. He lifted one hand to his head and groaned when it came away sticky with blood. Slowly (or at least it felt that way), things returned to him. His name. That he was outside in a parking lot, on his back in the gravel, and he was freezing. Also, except for his shoes and socks, he was naked.

He sat up, his stomach roiling as a wave of pain swept through him, and wiped his head again, flicking drops of blood onto the gravel. He'd followed a girl out here. A girl—her name was on the tip of his tongue, but he couldn't quite get it. A high school girl, an old classmate, with flashing white teeth and red soles on her shoes. Come to my car, she'd whispered. It's warm. They'd kissed for a while, with the girl backed against the driver's-side door, her mouth fiery underneath his, their breath steaming in the blackness, until she pushed him away. Take off your clothes, she'd said. I want to see you. It's freezing! he'd protested, but his hands were already working at the buttons of his shirt and the clasp of his belt, because it was cold but she was hot, and he wasn't passing this up. No way. He'd squirmed out of his clothes, kicking his pants off over his shoes, dropping each garment in a pile on the gravel, and when he looked up, naked and shivering in the cold, one hand cupping his cock, she was pointing something at him. His heart stopped—a gun?—but almost before he'd thought the word, he saw that it wasn't a gun but a cell phone. The flash was brilliant, blinding him as she snapped a picture. Hey! he shouted. What the fuck? See how you like it, she'd snarled. See how you like it when they're laughing at you.

He'd lunged for her, trying to snatch the phone. What is your problem?

What's my problem? she'd answered, dancing backward on her red-soled shoes. You're my problem. You ruined my life!

She dived into the car, slamming the door before he could grab the handle. The engine roared to life. He'd jumped in front of her, thinking she'd stop, but judging from the cuts on his side and the terrible sick throbbing in his head, maybe she hadn't.

He groaned again, pushed himself upright, and peered at the country club, which was empty and locked. Through the darkness, he could see the tennis courts off to one side, the golf course behind the building, the sheds and outbuildings underneath a stand of pine trees a discreet distance from the club proper. Clothes first, he decided, and stumbled painfully toward the nearest building. Clothes first . . . and then revenge.

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