Four guys. One girl. Dangerous truths.
Now that I maneuvered my parents into giving me the future I wanted, life seems easy. I finally have some freedom to enjoy my senior year without feeling like I’m slowly suffocating under the twisted morals and warped expectations of my parents.
But it’s not long until everything starts to fall apart. The pretty lies that kept my world tied up in a pretty red bow? They’re starting to unravel.
And not just for me. Something’s wrong with Jonah. No matter how I push, he’s not letting me or the guys in to help.
Then there’s the tension between Thatcher and Beck. Not to mention the sudden change in my friendship with Rhys.
How do you stay afloat when the ugly truths emerge from the pretty lies?
After the events at the end of the last book, Astrid can finally do things like a normal teenager, but her life is truly anything but normal.
Thatcher wants to spend time with Astrid like the others do, he’s been hesitant because of his role as her art tutor. He does manage not to put his foot in asking her out too badly.
Now Astrid has effectively eliminated the threat of the cheerleaders that they started because of Trey. However, Trey becomes even more of a problem when he corners Astrid. That puts Rhys’ plans for his future in jeopardy. The thing is while it does matter so does Astrid’s safety and he quickly moves to get Beck, Thatcher and Jonah involved in doing just that.
Jonah becomes somewhat distant due to his aunt’s manipulative boyfriend. He feels he’s between a rock and a hard place with nowhere to turn. Things take an unexpected turn when a couple of goons show up at Beck’s show.
Of course, Astrid isn’t about to let things go and all of them get involved. Including Beck and he isn’t going to be happy about it.
This is a favorite scene.
Thatcher crossed his arms and readjusted his stance. It looked casual, but after spending so much time with him during class and watching him paint, there was a slightly noticeable tenseness along the lines of his shoulders and spine. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You see, Rhys is the golden boy of Silver Ranch. Not only can he skin your asses like a blanched tomato, his father practically owns this town. That would be a bad enemy to make, don’t you think?”
Although I couldn’t see his face, Rhys turned toward Thatcher and I imagined he was thinking, really? Rhys hated the connection to his father, and even more when people acknowledged it as if it made him untouchable.
Thatcher shrugged as if to say, it’s working.
Both men had already started backing away, then ran to the end of the alley where two black motorcycles roared to life. In a blink, they were gone and we were alone. That was close. If either of them tipped even a little bit more into the crazy side of the scale, they’d have tried their hand in a fight.
I ran to Jonah, who was holding his head in his hand, moaning quietly.
“Jonah, are you okay?” I smoothed sweaty hair away from his forehead, but he wouldn’t look at me.
“I need to go.” He mumbled through his fingers.
“Like hell you will.” Thatcher yelled. “What was that? Don’t tell me it was a misunderstanding or a mistake. They were giving you a message. What was it?”
“How do you know it was a message?” I glanced up at Thatcher towering over us, but stayed glued to Jonah’s side. Since coming through the door, maybe three minutes had passed, tops. And we hadn’t really witnessed anything, unless you counted Jonah landing on the door.
“Come on, Astrid.” Rhys crouched down on Jonah’s other side. “They were a motorcycle gang. Did you see their patched vests? The only reason they would pull Jonah, specifically, out of the club was if they were making a point. Delivering a message. And the only way Jonah,” he paused and sent an indecipherable look his way before continuing, “would have left with them, was if he understood what was going on. Or knew them at the very least.”
I gulped. My gut had been telling me for days Jonah was in trouble. But outright knowing it, versus lazily suspecting it, were two completely different things. “Jonah?” I waited until he raised his head and I couldn’t have stifled my gasp if Jesus had commanded it.
One eye was already swollen shut and even under the gritty yellow light illuminating the alley, the whole left side of his face was beginning to darken and swell. It would be one nasty bruise by morning. I lifted my fingers to touch the side of his face, to convince myself tonight had really happened, but he jerked his head away.
“Why were those men out here with you?” I kept my questioning short, on the off chance he actually answered, I didn’t want him to be bombarded and answer only what he chose to.
His jaw flexed but he remained eerily silent.
“Dude, it’s not like you can pretend we didn’t just save your ass. Talk to us.” Rhys demanded.
“Fuck you all. Fuck. You.” He jumped up, swaying to the right and bracing himself against the rough brick wall.
“Come back inside and we can clean you up and go home. My parents are gone for the weekend so you can stay at my place.” I touched his arm and he blindly stumbled away.
He was being ridiculous. The idiot was hurt, and we might even need to take him to the hospital to make sure he didn’t have a concussion.
“No. I’m going home.”
“We need answers, Jonah. How else are we supposed to help you?” Thatcher blocked his way and we essentially had him boxed in on every side.
“Don’t you get it? I don’t want your help. I’m done with this farcical friendship. It was never going to last anyway. Don’t follow me. Don’t call me. Fuck off.” He stormed passed us and disappeared around the side of the building.
None of us moved. I was so shocked and even a little hurt.
“He didn’t mean that.” I whispered. I hoped he hadn’t meant it. But what did I know? It wasn’t like we had this deep bond tying us together.
No one responded, we just continued to stand there in silence.
I tried again. “He’s trying to push us away on purpose. But we can’t let him deal with… whatever is going on, all on his own.” “What about his other friends? Would he lean on them?” Thatcher sounded genuinely curious.
I hadn’t really thought about it, but they each had their own set of friends outside of our little group. Didn’t they? Thinking back, I’d seen him chat to people in the hallways, and work in study groups and other similar settings, but I couldn’t pinpoint a single friend he talked to on a regular basis. He always had lunch alone before me. Alone, alone, alone. He was always alone.
I looked at Rhys, wondering if he was thinking the same thing.
“He has acquaintances at school he runs the debate team and student body government with, but I’ve never actually witnessed him with a real friend.”
“Then he needs us.” I nodded. The decision was made. We’d go after him, show him he couldn’t be a dick and push us away. Then we’d get the details and work out how to solve his problem. And then I’d have a good long lecture with him on how to never again get into this brand of trouble again.
Jonah was insanely smart. What was he doing with those types of people? My mind wandered back to the conversation where Beck tried to tell me what a bad person he was. But he hadn’t had any proof, only biased speculation because of where he grew up. I shuddered to imagine what he would say when he found out about this. No doubt, he knew there was something incredibly wrong.
“I don’t know, Astrid.” Thatcher came to stand directly in front of me, maneuvering Rhys out of the way with his shoulders and hips. “If the local gangs are after him for some reason, you shouldn’t barge into his life right now. They’ll see you and not see an innocent person. They’ll see leverage and a way to make Jonah do whatever it is they want. Or if they don’t want anything, they’ll hurt you just to hurt him. I’m not okay with that.”
He wasn’t, was he? That wasn’t his call to make.
“If I was in trouble, would you leave me to swing on my own because you were afraid of getting targeted?” I raised my brows in challenge. I expected him to say no, but what would I say if he said yes? It would prove just how superficial our friendship actually was. And I would be heart broken. Utterly devastated.
Thatcher’s mouth popped open and Rhys chuckled under his breath.
“She got you there. I’ll help you, Astrid. Jonah’s a good person and if he needs my help, I’ll give it to him.”
Thatcher spun around and squinted at Rhys.“Really? You will help her go against those crackheads, with the possibility that something would happen?” He expected Rhys to agree with him.
Rhys shrugged uncomfortably. “I’m not saying I would put her out there, but there has to be something we can do. She’s right. We wouldn’t abandon her, and we shouldn’t abandon Jonah.”
My heart warmed from his words and some of the adrenaline left my system. There was still a healthy dose of fear for Jonah lingering, but I was comforted that at least Rhys would help me.
“That’s settled. Let’s go grab Beck and get a game plan together. He’s not going to let us interfere easily.”
The door cracked against the wall, and Beck stood in the open doorway, every inch the avenging angel. It was a good look for him. He didn’t know it yet, but he was about to be Jonah’s guardian angel. He had the most information after all.
Blessing, Blake. Ugly Truths: A Contemporary YA Romance (Astrid Scott Series Book 2). Kindle Locations(1184-1245). Kindle Edition.
That turn of events means they aren’t letting Astrid be alone, since her parents are away they stay the night.
Now there’s a rude awakening as we see Astrid’s mother in her true form.
So many OMG moments in this book as the guys become closer and Astrid finds herself falling for all of them.
I am already reading the next book, I can’t seem to stop.
5 Contented Purrs for Blake!
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Blake Blessing is no longer new on the Indie scene, but she’s still ecstatic about this chapter in life. She is a mom, wife, art enthusiast, and author.
She attended ten different schools growing up, so books became her constant friend. Escaping into books of all different genres made life fun and exciting. Blake was also raised on music and still blasts it through the house and car at every opportunity.
She has a weird sense of humor and a penchant for chocolate milk. It only makes sense she would one day go on to write her own stories.