Seventeen-year-old Aly Bennett has been in love with her friend Luke for years. She hasn’t told him how she feels for two reasons. 1) She’s the girl with HIV. 2) She lied about how she got it.
Aly never meant to lie. The words just slipped out on her first day of a support group for kids living with life-threatening conditions. It was the day she met Luke and Caroline, who would become her best friends and the closest thing she has to a family. After so many years, Aly doesn’t know how to tell her friends the truth. So she paints and she runs and she tries not to think about the future she can’t have.
But when a Boston prosecutor asks Aly to testify in a trial—and her relationship with Luke intensifies—things become complicated. If she testifies, Luke and Caroline will learn the truth—that Aly has been lying to them for most of a decade. If she doesn’t, a monster could go free, again.
I love Luke’s smile. It’s warm and steady and reaches all the way up to his eyes. I love that he has no idea how gorgeous he is when he smiles. I love how much time he spends making other people smile.
My life would be considerably simpler if I loved fewer things about him. Because falling in love with your best friend, who looks at you like you’re his sister, is a terrible idea. In my defense, I didn’t plan it. It just happened.
“So what’s wrong?” he said.
“I didn’t sleep much last night.”
“Meds or Mrs. Miller’s cooking?”
“Both.” It wasn’t a lie. My drug protocol can cause insomnia and dinner was awful, the way it always is when Mrs. Miller is in a bad mood.
“Someday, they’re going to come up with an HIV med that doesn’t have side effects,” Luke said.
“And Mrs. Miller’s cooking?”
“I don’t think science can fix that one.”
I smiled at him.
Luke stood up and offered me a hand. “Come on. I’ll walk you home.”
I let him pull me up to my feet. But I didn’t want to go home and stand in the shower and think.
“Aly, you’re exhausted.”
He was right. But I started running anyway. It took him two driveways to catch up.
We’ve run together for so long that falling into step is almost second nature. I’m typically faster than he is. But today, he was rested, and I wasn’t. I had to work to keep up with him. Which was good. I needed the distraction.
When we made it back to the Millers’ house, Luke walked up the porch steps with me, the way he always does. But today, he didn’t just tell me goodbye and walk away. He stood there, studying me. Usually, I do a pretty good job of covering my emotions. But this morning, I was exhausted, and he knows my face too well.
“You know you can talk to me about anything,” Luke said.
And I nodded, wishing so hard that it was true.
Thank you, Heather Mullaly and Lola’s Blog Tours
About the author
Heather Mullaly is a passionate believer in the power of story. When she isn’t writing them, reading them, or listening to them, she can usually be found baking something that involves chocolate, thinking up new story ideas before she’s finished the two she’s currently writing, or hanging out with her family, who happen to be even more fantastic than the characters in her head. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their three teenagers.
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