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3.4 96
by Nancy Bush

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Cross Your Heart

In the summer before their senior year, Coby Rendell and her friends take a beach trip together. Around a campfire on a foggy June night, Coby, Rhiannon, Yvette and the others share their darkest secrets, before a tragic accident shatters the bond between them. . .

And Hope

Twelve years later Coby attends a birthday party


Cross Your Heart

In the summer before their senior year, Coby Rendell and her friends take a beach trip together. Around a campfire on a foggy June night, Coby, Rhiannon, Yvette and the others share their darkest secrets, before a tragic accident shatters the bond between them. . .

And Hope

Twelve years later Coby attends a birthday party reunion that ends in horror when Yvette's sister's lifeless body is discovered in a hot tub. Soon others in the original group of tale-tellers begin meeting similar fates-unfortunate "accidents" shrinking their numbers one by one. . .

To Die

Conflicted by her growing feelings for Danner Lockwood, the investigating detective, Coby races to unravel a mystery buried in the past. But someone is watching her every move-someone prepared to kill again and again to protect a shocking truth. . .

Praise for Nancy Bush's Blind Spot

"Engrossing. . .twists you won't see coming!" -Karen Rose, New York Times Bestselling Author

"Atmospheric. . .sure to cause shivers." -Book Page

"Bush keeps the story moving quickly and ends with an unexpected twist." -Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Coby Rendell was 17, a drunken campfire party full of secrets and lies ended with the mysterious death of classmate Lucas Moore. Twelve years later, Coby reluctantly reunites with the old gang at a birthday party. Det. Danner Lockwood, her ex-boyfriend, is the last person she expects to see, but he has realized what he lost and wants another chance. Their reunion is interrupted by another death, and the investigation leads Coby into danger as she uncovers the ugly things her friends have been hiding. Bush (Wicked Lies) provides solid writing and characters, but the huge cast, complicated intertwined relationships, and constant drama give a soap opera feel that's light on menace. The romance has a big buildup, but the payoff is small and nearly buried by the mystery, and the lack of tension and the characters' miserable lives result in a pervasive sadness instead of a happy ending. (July)

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4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.40(d)

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Copyright © 2011 Nancy Bush
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4201-0342-7

Chapter One

The night Lucas Moore died, we were all telling secrets.

Bam! Coby Rendell's front tire hit a bump and wrenched her arms as she fought her steering wheel. Her dark blue Nissan Sentra slew sideways, nearly heading into the large ditch on the right side of the highway. Her heart raced. Gripping the wheel with white knuckles, she was peering through the driving rain and wind and wondered for the billionth time why she'd agreed to this madness. Why? Why? She didn't want to go to the beach tonight, and she certainly didn't want to go to her stepmother's birthday party.

But sometimes, you just had to do what you had to do.

Setting her jaw, she felt her pulse start to slow as the car straightened out and the tires kept spinning, driving her west to the Pacific coast and the beach house where her father and stepmother and other party attendees would be. Another hour or so and she would be there. Back to the scene of the crime, so to speak.

"Were you with Lucas Moore, Miss Rendell?" the detective had asked her that day. A serious man in his late forties at the time, just beginning to develop a paunch, Detective Fred Clausen with the Tillamook County Sheriff's Department was interviewing them all in Coby's father's beach house.

We wanted to be. All of us girls. He was that guy. That surfer dude with a slow smile, lean body, great abs, and muscular legs. Long, brown, sun-bleached hair to his shoulders and a way of pulling you close and kissing you that made your knees quake.

But she didn't say that to the detective then. No, no. And she hadn't say it to anyone since. She'd been seventeen when Lucas fell from the cliff and into the ocean, seventeen when she'd witnessed his body floating in the water, his long hair drifting along the tide pools, skin cobalt blue, limbs broken. The image was burned into her brain and now, at twenty-nine, she could see him just as clearly and remember the fear and grief and horror.

"Tell me what happened, in your own words," Detective Clausen had said, as he had to several of the other girls, and Coby, sitting at one of the dining room chairs in a halo of weak June sunlight that filtered through the clouds, had looked through the picture window toward the ocean, shivering like she had ague. It was her turn to talk. Her turn to tell all. But she couldn't.

"I don't know where to start," she said, her lips quivering.

"You all went to the campfire," he reminded her.

Now the car lurched again and Coby held tight to the wheel, frowning. Something was wrong. Glancing at the fir trees lining Highway 26, she realized that Halfway There, a diner tucked in the Coast Range between the Oregon coastline and the Willamette Valley, would be on her right in about five more miles.

All she had to do was make it.

She should have left work earlier. It was a Saturday, not even a regular workday at Jacoby, Jacoby, and Rosenthal. But she'd met with a client, a woman in the throes of a divorce who didn't see the money pit she was about to fall into, as Coby's job was to guide JJ&R clients to their new financial reality. This woman hadn't taken the news well, as most didn't, and she'd been late in leaving, the November daylight disappearing by four thirty P.M.

Now, with a feeling of intense relief, she saw the lights of Halfway There appear before her, the diner's logo of a half-empty, half-full glass flashing away against the darkening sky in neon green, beckoning travelers to their door as its "water" filled and emptied, filled and emptied.

Coby turned into the lot and managed to avoid the worst of the potholes, pulling up beside an older, once-red Chrysler sedan, its now faded pink exterior being pummeled by the drowning rain. Stuffing her rain hat on her head, she stepped out in cowboy boots and jeans; she'd managed to change at work before she took off for the coast, which should have been two hours away in decent weather, at least three in this.

Her right front tire looked okay from what she could see. It wasn't completely dark, but the cloud cover made everything seem later than it was. She tried to see the axle and thought it looked bent a little, but who could tell? The rain was torrential.

Mumbling invectives to herself, she pushed into the diner, dripping water from her raincoat onto the well-worn indoor/outdoor carpeting of the vestibule between the outside and inside doors. Sweeping off her hat, she shook the rain from it, then pushed through the inner door, catching the eye of a wise-eyed waitress who was stacking empty plates onto a large tray from one of the tables.

"Sit anywhere," she said. "Someone'll be right with ya."

Coby looked around and chose a booth in the corner with a window to the parking lot and road. She watched a semi rush by, its headlights cutting a swath through the gathering twilight, water shooting from its tires in a flat stream, spraying into Halfway There's parking lot.

"Nice night, huh." The waitress, her name tag reading Helen, appeared with her notepad and poised pencil.

"Just coffee," Coby said.

"Honey, you sure? Look at that weather. Wherever you're goin', it's gonna be a while. I can't interest you in a nice piece of apple pie?"

"I'm trying to make dinner at the beach," she said with a shake of her head.

"What part?"

"Just north of Deception Bay."

She snorted. "Better take somethin'to go, then. 'Cause you're gonna be hungry before you get there."

Stuffing her pad into a pocket, Helen headed behind the bar to grab the glass coffeepot and a mug and, as she was returning with both, a man behind the counter looked up and yelled, "Hell!"

"Yeah, Gary. That's my name, don't wear it out," she called over her shoulder.

"This order's been here for ten minutes!"

"Now, that's a darn lie," she said calmly. "Let me get this lady her coffee and then I'll take the order. Don't have a hemorrhage, for God's sake."

She shook her head as she placed the mug and a small pitcher of cream in front of Coby, pointing to the sugar packets with one hand as she poured the coffee with the other. She left, muttering under her breath.

Coby used the cream and stirred it into her drink. She wasn't worried about the weather. She was worried about her car but was going to give it the old college try. She wanted to get there, if for no other reason than to get out of this weather and into somewhere warm.

But she didn't want to stay the night. Please, God, no. Her father and stepmother were having a party—her stepmother's birthday party—and there would be lots of people. Coby planned to stay for an hour or so and then head home.

She glanced at the rain squiggling down the windows. Well, at least that had been the plan. Maybe she would be looking for a motel, if she ever got to the beach.

The beach ...

Tell me what happened, in your own words.

She didn't want to think back. She didn't want to relive a past she was trying really, really hard to put aside forever. But it was not to be, apparently, and giving in, Coby closed her eyes and thought back to the night that had changed the lives of everyone there....

June 14: Just after school was out at the end of junior year

Coby had been seventeen—well, at the time all the girls were either seventeen or eighteen. None of them had wanted to be at the beach party where it had all started. They weren't even really friends, and they never had been. It was just that their dads had formed friendships back when the girls were all in grade school and they'd never gotten the memo that their daughters didn't care whether they hung out together or not.

But the beach trip happened anyway. And so there they were, sitting in a circle on the sand around the sputtering flames of a campfire that was feeding on driftwood and the pilfered sticks from a broken-down laurel hedge near Coby's dad's beachfront home. They'd added some leftover brown paper grocery bags that they'd discovered stacked on shelves in the garage to use as kindling, and now the fire smoked and crackled and burned their eyes.

They were seated directly on the sand. June sand. Coby could feel the damp and chilling cold seep through the bottom of her capris. She wished she'd worn jeans. Even with the fire's warmth she shivered—they all shivered—and they stared at each other through drifting smoke that the wind occasionally, gleefully, snatched away and then tossed back into their faces, rife with sand. Several of the girls had pulled their sleeping bags around themselves like blankets, and the collective thought on their minds was whether they really, really, really wanted to spend the night on the beach or go back to the house where it was warm and light.

But nobody wanted to be the one to wuss out first. There was some strange need to prove something to each other that no one was copping to. They'd told themselves they were here to have fun. F.U.N. So, maybe they weren't the best of friends. So, maybe they didn't even really like or know each other. It didn't matter. They'd been on soccer teams and softball teams and participated in student body functions and pep rallies together and they'd weathered the years of grade school, junior high, and now high school together. And though it was their fathers who'd bonded in those early years, forming a group of Dads and Daughters, organizing trips and functions for them all, clinging to their male-bonding while the girls drifted further and further away from their second-grade selves, the girls let it all happen and went along with it. They had determined, by tacit understanding, that they could keep up the facade for their dads' sakes by handling this beach trip and even pretending they were having a good time. Maybe they even would.

The fact was they were facing their senior year. The last year of high school before they would all be launched into adulthood where a whole new horizon awaited them. For some, it might be a tragedy, but for Coby it was all she'd been waiting for: the beginning of a welcome future where she could shake off the sticky remnants of her youth and run toward something totally new and fabulous.

She was lost in happy thoughts about this unwritten future when Genevieve Knapp slowly stood up across the campfire from Coby, her right hand cupping the flame of a candle that she held in her left. Coby regarded her suspiciously. What the hell was this? Genevieve was cool, blond, and one of the most outspoken of their group, and the way she was standing regally, chin jutted out, did not inspire confidence. Coby glanced to her left, to petite Ellen Marshall, and they exchanged a worried look.

"It's time to play Pass the Candle," Genevieve intoned. She gazed in turn at each of them seated in the circle around the ragged campfire that had been dug into a pit in the sand. With the wind snatching at her hair and the smoke funneling around her, she looked like some kind of spectral being arisen from the ashes.

Pass the Candle? Coby didn't much like the sound of that.

One of the girls, Dana Sainer, a small, birdlike brunette, coughed several times and waved away the smoke. She blinked up at Genevieve. "What?" she asked.

"Yeah, what?" Rhiannon Gallworth cut in. "What does that mean?" Rhiannon had dark eyes and pale skin and a doelike look about her that was belied by her sharp chin and faintly militant manner.

"Yeah," Coby said, not to be outdone.

"We've all known each other since forever, but do we really know each other?" Genevieve asked, in lieu of answering directly. "Everyone has secrets. Some we can't wait to tell. Some we never want anyone to know. This is about those secrets that are buried deep. Each of us needs to tell one now. Our deepest, darkest secret. And once told, it never leaves the circle of this group."

"Like, oh, sure," Coby sputtered, half laughing. She expected all the others to go along with her on this, but no one said a word. They all looked at each other, or the fire, or the ground, or the ocean, its dull roar a constant background noise.

Overhead there was a crescent moon and stars glimmered, as if offering their own comments. Coby looked skyward herself, thinking, Good God, before the wind tossed more sand into her eyes, forcing her to turn away.

She didn't want to do this. She wanted to run away screaming, right now. Surreptitiously, she threw a glance at her watch and wondered when she could legitimately leave, but it was too dark to read the tiny clock face.

Rhiannon's brows were lifted in disbelief, but it was Wynona Greer, whose dishwater brown pageboy locks fell across her cheeks, obscuring her features except for the tip of her sharp nose, who demanded belligerently, "Oh, yeah? Well, who's going to start? You?"

"I'll be last," Genevieve answered, and there was something about the way she said it that made Coby think she possessed some big secret, or at least thought she did, and wanted to wait to spring it on all of them. But that was kind of Genevieve's way. High drama, even when there was none. Especially when there was none, actually.

Wynona repeated, "So, who's going to start, then?"

"I will."

They all looked in the direction of the determined voice of Yvette Deneuve. Yvette was one of five sisters dubbed the "Ette sisters" by their friends and classmates because the sisters'first names all ended with ette: Nicholette, Annette, Yvette, Juliet, and Suzette, in that order. All of them were dark-haired and dark-eyed with mocha-colored smooth skin, a gift from their French father, Jean-Claude Deneuve, one of the dads currently back at the beach house and best friend to Coby's own dad, Dave Rendell. They were all staying at Coby's family's beach house—now her father's house, since the divorce—and back at that house Coby's sister, Faith, and Yvette's sister Annette Deneuve, both a year older than the group on the beach, were hanging out together. In fact, Jean-Claude had brought all of his daughters, except Nicholette, the eldest, and Coby suddenly, fervently wished she'd stayed back at the house with the rest of the Ettes.

But Genevieve had been insistent, so here they were.

Now Yvette took the candle. Her dark hair was held back in a ponytail and the candle's uncertain light cast deep shadows, hollowing out her cheeks. "I've kept this secret for years. I've never told anyone." She inhaled and exhaled several times, as if seriously considering backing down, then said quickly, "I had sex with a nineteen-year-old neighborhood friend when I was thirteen."

Coby's brows lifted in spite of herself. Whoa. That sure sounds like statutory rape. Thirteen?

"You mean like sex, sex?" Wynona asked, looking scandalized. "Or just a blow job or something?"

"You want an anatomy lesson?" Yvette demanded. "Yeah, sex, sex. Like in you can get pregnant from it. That kind of sex. Jesus." With that she thrust the candle to McKenna Forrester, who was seated on Yvette's left, then sat back down, frowning, her arms wrapped around her knees, her chin resting on them.

It was clear to Coby that Yvette was already regretting her revelation, and she totally understood. Coby had no idea what she herself was going to say. What the hell! She didn't have any deep, dark secrets. But McKenna was only two people to Coby's right, so that meant that after McKenna, then Ellen, it would be Coby's turn.

Maybe I should just run away now!

Wynona threw Yvette a look. Her father, Donald Greer, was the vice principal at their high school, and Wynona had always been the goody-two-shoes type, even looking that way with her pageboy and conservative clothes. It sort of surprised Coby that Wynona seemed to think a blow job was somewhere further down the sex scale from going all the way. As far as Coby was concerned, she didn't want any part of any kind of sex unless that sex was with either Lucas Moore or Danner Lockwood. Danner was a few years older than Coby, long out of Rutherford High, and didn't know she was even alive. His brother, Jarrod Lockwood, was in Coby's class, but he was just a friend and Coby didn't feel the same way about him as Danner. But Danner was about as attainable as a movie star, where Lucas Moore, her other crush, was a classmate and kinda available. He'd made out with practically all of the girls in this group at one time or another. Currently he was hooked up with Rhiannon, but with Lucas, who knew?

McKenna stood up slowly. She wore camouflage pants and a T-shirt and her short, dark hair was covered by a baseball cap. She dressed like a boy and was androgynous enough to make them all wonder if she was gay. The fact that the issue was unaddressed showed how little they all really knew about each other. McKenna cleared her throat several times and Coby wondered if they were about to have that question finally answered. "I don't want to do this," she said.


Excerpted from Hush by NANCY BUSH Copyright © 2011 by Nancy Bush. Excerpted by permission of ZEBRA BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


Meet the Author

Nancy Bush is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 30 novels, including The Killing Game, Nowhere to Run, I'll Find You and Hush. She is the co-author of the Colony series, written with her sister, bestselling author Lisa Jackson, as well as the collaborative novels Sinister and Ominous, written with Lisa Jackson and Rosalind Noonan. A former writer for ABC's daytime drama "All My Children," Nancy now lives with her family and pug dog, The Binkster, in the Pacific Northwest. Please visit her online at nancybush.net.

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Hush 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 97 reviews.
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this wonderful book! It has a story that will keep you entertained for some hours. Very enjoyable!
BookReader50 More than 1 year ago
I've been waiting for this book and it did not disappoint! It starts out with a group of friends telling their innermost secrets and then they are overheard and bad things start to happen. I think Nancy Bush's thrillers just keep getting better and better. I read it all in one night.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The summer before their senior year at high school, the gang had a drunken camping party. However, the fun gala turned ugly when seventeen year old surfer dude hunk Lucas Moore fell from a cliff to his death. Tillamook County Sheriff's Detective Fed Clausen interrogated those at the ill fated event. Years later, Coby Rendell who attended the tragic event comes home to celebrate with her family her stepmother's birthday. Many of those who were at the campfire will gather together for the first time in years. Coby's former boyfriend, police detective Danner Lockwood wants a second chance with the woman he regrets got away. She realizes she remains attracted to him. However, a homicide occurs that leads to Coby and Danner investigating who among their friends is a killer This exhilarating twisting thriller shows hate lasts longer than friendship. The cast of a quadrillion friends can prove overwhelming with some purposely stereotyped as if the old high school crowd never fully moved on past the tragedy a dozen years ago. Although having a civilian work shotgun on an investigation seems inappropriate, fans will enjoy Hush wondering who the killer in plain sight is as the death count doesn't quite add up. Harriet Klausner
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Ms Bush keeps getting better and better. Love her books.
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One of the few books I've ever had to force myself through. I nearly gave up several times. I did finish it, but sadly, there was no payoff...
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I love this book! It was a very entertaining book! I love the author Nancy Bush. Nancy is a very creative author! Nancy’s horror stories are very good! Nancy is a very inspiring person. I love her because she puts her thoughts into her books. The book Hush is the most amazing book ever! I think Nancy Bush's thrillers just keep getting better and better. I read it all in one night! This book is recommended!!
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There are so many here that the story becomes dull and slow!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best series Ever!!!!
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What age should be reading this
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Very exciting story, a wonderful read.
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