MY DARK VANESSA meets DARK PLACES in this lyrical, unsettling crime novel about forbidden desires and family secrets that won’t stay buried. Sam thinks she’s come to terms with her past trauma and the masochistic sexuality it sparked. But when her stepbrother is accused of murdering their mutual abuser, her obsession with clearing his name plunges her back into her hellish Oklahoma childhood.
Sam twisted her old yellow ducky blanket, the one her grandma said she was swathed in at birth, and wrapped it tight around her throat until she couldn’t breathe.
Slowly, she counted. She thought of Arrow’s lanky body stretched out in the next bedroom, the one that had been the untouched guest room for so many years. She moved her fingers between her legs, found the spot until the familiar tickle grew. She made it to seventy-three, but the May evening was too warm and muggy, the covers clammy beneath her. She couldn’t concentrate enough for the tickle to explode heat throughout her body, so she removed her blanket from her neck and nuzzled it instead, trying not to cry again.
Sam wished for rain and thunder, for the windows of the decaying farmhouse to shake from it, the glass rattling in tune to her pulse. She wasn’t scared of storms, but Arrow was. He’d make any excuse to come to her room if there was the tiniest burst of lightning. She’d see his little jump after each flash outside her window and smile knowing she’d always have that over him, no matter how tall he got. He might be almost sixteen, but she was a year older and taller than most guys at her school. Sometimes she’d forget his age because he was strong and hard like a grown man. Like his father, Isaac.