Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (August 28, 2018)
Embry Woods has secrets. Small ones about her past. Bigger ones about her relationship with town hero Luke and her feelings for someone new. But the biggest secret she carries with her is about what happened that night at the Sea Cliff Inn. The fire. The homeless guy. Everyone thinks Embry is a hero, too, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Embry thinks she’ll have to take the secret to her grave, until she receives an anonymous note—someone else knows the truth. Next comes a series of threatening messages, asking Embry to make impossible choices, forcing her to put her loved ones at risk. Someone is playing a high stakes game where no one in Embry’s life is safe. And their last move...is murder.
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY
*EXCLUSIVE PRE-ORDER INCENTIVE*
Paula is running a pre-order incentive for HIDDEN PIECES from now until 11:59PM (PST) on August 28th. Paula will also honor any orders through the Nerd Blast until August 31st.
Praise for HIDDEN PIECES
“Stokes makes the landscape an integral part of the story. Characters, even minor ones, are well developed, as are the subplots. With overtones of Lois Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973), this has the OMG quality that makes you afraid to wonder what will happen next.” ―Booklist (starred review)
“A character-driven mystery perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti.” ―School Library Journal
CHAPTER ONE - EXCERPT
There has always been this gap between the person I am and the person people think I am. It’s not that I’m fake—I don’t mislead people and I don’t lie (too often). But I keep a lot of secrets. I hold back parts of me so you can see the outline of the puzzle and make a guess about the picture, but that’s all it is—a guess. My inner pieces? I don’t show those to hardly anyone.
One of those pieces is Holden Hassler. Holden is why I’m out in the frigid air right now, trudging up the winding road that leads to the top of Puffin Hill, icy gravel slick beneath the soles of my hiking boots. No one knows I’m meeting Holden tonight. No one knows I’ve been meeting him for months. Well, except for Betsy. She’s the eight-year-old golden retriever by my side. I’ve had her since she was a puppy. Right now she’s tugging at her leash with at least half of her considerable strength. I give her some slack, and she trots over to the nearest mailbox and sniffs around the base of it.
“Smell someone you know, girl?” I bend down to run my fingers through Betsy’s soft fur.
Movement on my left startles me. A door opens across the street and a woman exits onto the porch, a broom in her hand. Mrs. Roche. Her husband is a plastic surgeon in Tillamook, the nearest town big enough to have specialized medical services. Mrs. Roche sweeps bits of dead leaves and debris out into her yard. Our eyes meet for a moment. I force a half smile that is not returned. As she disappears back into her house, I wonder if she wants to sweep me away too. I’m one of the few poor kids lucky enough to live in this town.
My mom and I live in Three Rocks, a small town along the Oregon Coast. There are only about three hundred residents who live here year-round. The rest of the people own fancy beach bungalows they use as summer homes or rent out to tourists. Many of the houses on this street sit empty right now, because almost no one wants to hang out at the beach in December. It doesn’t snow much in Three Rocks, but the damp air cuts you to the bone, and the wind sometimes blows strong enough to uproot bushes and shatter windows.
“Come on, Bets.” I tug the dog away from the mailbox and she trots up the hill at a steady pace, passing by the next few houses with no interest in stopping. This block appears to be deserted. It’s a little like being the only person on a movie set after all the crew has gone home. There are signs of life—frosted-over flower gardens, walls of trimmed ivy, wind chimes clanking out an angry music—but no people.
The steady crunch of gravel under my boots is punctuated by the occasional whistling cry of a seagull. A gust of wind rustles through the trees, chilling my face. Pulling my scarf up to cover my nose and mouth, I pause in a clearing to look out toward the Pacific Ocean. It’s too dark to see anything except a wide swath of black, a yawning nothingness on the horizon. But I know what’s out there—I can practically feel the relentless push and pull of the waves.
My phone buzzes in my purse. It’s probably Holden wondering where I am. Right now he’s waiting for me in the lobby of the Sea Cliff Inn, a quaint, three-story hotel located at the top of Puffin Hill. The Sea Cliff is one of the town’s most famous historic buildings, and up until the end of summer it was the place to stay for visitors to Three Rocks. But then Mr. Murray, the elderly man who owned it, passed away, and his adult children who live in different states haven’t decided whether they want to sell the property or run the hotel themselves. Which means that right now it’s a really nice place that’s for all purposes abandoned. Holden and I meet there on nights when he doesn’t have to work at the gas station.
My phone buzzes again and I realize it’s a call, not a text. Definitely not Holden—he’s a texting kind of guy. When I pull my phone out of my purse, I’m surprised to see Luke’s number on the display. Luke and I broke up—well, we agreed to “take a break”—when his army unit got deployed to Afghanistan a few months ago. We email a lot, though, and I know he’s hoping we’ll get back together someday.
Winding Betsy’s leash around my palm a couple of times, I veer to the side of the road so I can take the call without having to worry about dodging any cars. “Stay,” I tell her, my voice muffled by my scarf.
She cocks her head to the side and then smiles at me as if to acknowledge the absurdity of the request. Betsy is great at “fetch” and “roll over,” but she responds to “stay” much like a two-year-old responds to “no.”
I tug the scarf back down under my chin. “I mean it.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paula Stokes is the author of several novels, most recently Vicarious and Girl Against the Universe. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at authorpaulastokes.com or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.
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