Release Day-Excerpt: Those Girls by Chevy Stevens
We’d only been on the road for an hour but we were almost out of gas. The white line of the highway blurred in front of my eyes, my lids drooping. It was three in the morning and we’d barely slept for days. Dani was driving, her face pale, her long dirty-blond hair pulled under a baseball cap and out the back in a makeshift ponytail, her eyes staring straight ahead. Her namewas Danielle, but we just called her Dani. The oldest at almost eighteen, she was the only one who had her license. She’d barely said a word since we left Littlefield.
On my right, Courtney was also staring out the window. When her favorite country song,“Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks, came on the radio, she turned it off, then stared back out into the dark night. She brushed at her cheeks and I could tell she was crying. I gave her hand a squeeze, she gripped it back. Her hair was down, one side pushed forward, trying to hidethe burn that had left an angry red mark along her jaw line.
None of us had ever traveled this far from home before. We’d found a map at the hardware store—Dani had stolen it while we kept watch—and carefully planned our route to Vancouver. We figured we could make the drive in about eight hours if the truck held up. But wehad to stop in Cash Creek first and borrow some money from one of Courtney’s old boyfriends.
It was the middle of July and so hot you couldn’t walk outside without feeling your skin cook. We were golden brown, freckles covering our faces and upper arms—a family trait. Forest fire warnings had been out for a month, a few towns had already been evacuated. Everything was dried out, the fields pale yellow, the weeds in the ditches covered in gray dust. We were in jeans shorts and T-shirts, our skin sweaty even this late at night, and the air smelled hot.
touched the camera hanging around my neck. My mom had given it to me when I was ten, just before she died. Dani hated it when I took her photo, but Courtney loved it— used to love it. I didn’t know now. I glanced over at her again, then down at my chewed nails. Sometimes I imagined that I could still see the blood under them, as if it had soaked into my skin like it had our floors.
“We’re going to need gas soon,” Dani said suddenly, making me jump. Courtney turned back from the window.
“How much money do we have?”
Before we left town we’d siphoned a little gas from a neighbor’s truck andgathered what food we could, picking fruit and vegetables from the farm’s fields, taking eggs from underneath the hens and storing them in our cooler. Our cupboards were empty by then—we’d been living on soup, Kraft dinners, rice, and the last few pounds of ground deer meet in the freezer from the buck Dad had shot that spring. We pooled our money—I had a few dollars from babysitting, and Dani had a little money left from when she helped during hay season, but she’d used a lot of it already that year, trying to keep us afloat.
“We could get some money for your camera,” she’d said. “No way!”
“Courtney sold her guitar.”
“You know why she really sold it,” I said. Dani had gotten quiet then. I’d felt bad but I couldn’t do it, couldn’t give away my one good thing.
“What are we going to do?” I said now.
“We’re going to steal some gas,” Dani said, angry.
Dani always sounded pissed off, but I didn’t pay any attention to it unless she was really mad. Then I got the hell out of her way.
She had a right to be angry. We all did.
From Those Girls by Chevy Stevens, on sale July 7, 2015, from St. Martin’s Press, LLC. Copyright © 2015 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.
About Chevy Stevens:
CHEVY STEVENS grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still calls the island home. For most of her adult life she worked in sales, first as a rep for a giftware company and then as a Realtor. While holding an open house one afternoon, she had a terrifying idea that became the inspiration for Still Missing.
Chevy eventually sold her house and left real estate so she could finish the book. Still Missing went on to become a New York Times bestseller and win the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel. Chevy’s books have been optioned for movies and are published in more than thirty countries. Please visit her at www.chevystevens.com.
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