BENEATH THE VOID by Elisa Dane
Sadie Reynolds is drowning.
Months have passed since Ian Daniels and Newton Daily opened fire at Atwood High school, killing dozens of students before turning the guns on themselves.
Determined to pay tribute to her fallen classmates and teachers, Sadie’s thrown herself into the memorial project at the newly rebuilt school. But it’s not enough. Horrific dreams of the shooting intertwined with memories of the night her mother was murdered keep her up at night and haunt her during the day.
The constant stream of hate raining down on her from faceless social media trolls only make matters worse. Her boyfriend, Hayden brings the only source of relief when he sneaks in to sleep next to her on nights her dad is at work.
Desperate for normalcy, Sadie fills every waking moment of her day with anything to take her mind off her pain. If she’s exhausted, she’ll be too tired to acknowledge the new threat gunning for her.
BENEATH the VOID is book 2 in Elisa Dane's Fighting Chance series, a hard-hitting and unapologetically raw look at teen violence in schools and the aftermath of learning to pick up the pieces and heal.
The smell hit me every time. Stony Glen smelled just like a hospital. Antiseptic and a little bit sickly. It made my stomach sour and my heart race. For as pretty and picturesque as the outside of the facility was, the inside was clinical and cold. I couldn’t wait for Jenna to get healthy and get out.
They hit me every time I walked into the building: flashbacks, from the shooting, from the night my mom died. My chest tightened, my throat felt like it was closing, and a cold sweat broke out over my skin as I struggled to draw breath. My hands went numb and my heart hammered against my ribs as I remember the feel of Doug Kingman’s body laying on top of mine after Ian and Newton shot him. The weight of his body had smothered me. Just like the gruesome memory of his blown off skull smothered me now.
I choked for air, and Hayden, bless his heart, tugged me over to the seating area nearby and sat me down. This seemed to be our ritual every time we came to visit Jenna. I broke down. I gathered myself enough to visit my friend, and then I went home and broke down again. The cycle sucked and I needed to break it.
Once I’d managed to calm myself, we went through the usual routine of signing in and getting visitor badges. I was busy clipping mine to the edge of my zip up when Dawnna, one of Jenna’s nurses stopped me in the hallway. Her expression was not at all encouraging. She looked downright grim.
“I’m glad you’re here today, sweetie. Jenna could use a little dose of sunlight right about now.”
I narrowed my brows in confusion, but said nothing. I wouldn’t consider myself anyone’s sunlight. A quiet source of support? Maybe.
Dawnna shifted on her feet, her blond hair brushing against the collar of her baby blue scrubs. “She started restricting her eating again, so Dr. Palmer made good on his promise.”
I sucked in a quick breath and grimaced. “They gave her a feeding tube?” I wanted to be sick, wanted to sink down onto the floor and melt into the tile. Any hope I had for Jenna getting out of this place in the near future swirled down the drain the moment Dawnna nodded her affirmation.
Sick. My best friend was sick and she wasn’t getting any better. The hollow ache in my chest doubled in size and intensity, and the narrow hallway walls suddenly felt as though they were closing in on me. I closed my eyes and sucked in a slow, deep breath. It was happening again. The panic was returning.
“Are you okay, Sadie?” Dawnna’s voice was filled with concern.
Hayden placed a hand on my shoulder and leaned in close. “Breathe, baby. Just breathe.”
I could feel Dawnna staring at me, but I ignored the sensation and focused on readjusting my armor. Keeping my emotions on lockdown was the only way I was able to cope, so I squashed my feelings down and told myself that none of this was real. I was living in a dream world. A world I’d eventually wake up from.
Elisa Dane loves books, chocolate, reality television, her family, and All Star Cheerleading. Not necessarily in that order! She writes contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. She writes what she knows, and it's her hope that her
stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you'll find a new respect for the sport of All Star Cheerleading you may not have had before. She's represented by Brittany Booker of the Booker/Albert Agency, and has published a NA paranormal series under her real name, Lisa Sanchez.
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