I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.
India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.
But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…
“You’re a great photographer, Finn.”
He leaned against the counter by the sink, seeming surprised by the compliment. “Thank you.”
Silence stretched as we could do nothing but stare at each other, and my skin started to feel tight and hot, as if I was seconds from bursting out of it.
“Uh.” I stepped back, suddenly needing more space between us. “So we should probably arrange a time to meet up for the presentation. That’s if you’re not planning to stand me up.”
He frowned. “What are you talking about?”
“You said to meet you after school today even though you work at the Chronicle.”
“I don’t always come to the meetings. I only decided to come work here because you said we couldn’t meet,” he explained, and if I wasn’t mistaken he sounded a little annoyed.
“Oh.” I refused to feel guilty for thinking badly of him. Refused. “Okay. Well, we need to meet up some time soon.”
“Yeah.” He agreed, looking at his feet now.
“I’d suggest Theo’s but it might be distracting for you with Eloise there.”
Finn looked up at me. “Theo’s?”
Confused by the question I raised an eyebrow.
“You said ‘Theo’s.’ You didn’t say ‘my place.’”
“Because it isn’t.” It was my turn to cross my arms over my chest.
Sensing I wasn’t going to elaborate on my feelings about the house I was living in and the people I was living with, Finn eventually nodded. “Okay. My place, then. Tomorrow.”
Glad we’d finally organized a time but not so glad it meant spending more alone time with Finn, I just nodded and stepped back toward the door. “Okay. I’ll meet you out front after school.”
“Do you need a ride home tonight?”
I looked back at him, surprised by the offer, but not surprised to find him staring at his feet rather than at me. “Eloise’s director has upped her rehearsals so she’s still here, too. Gil’s picking us both up in an hour.” I would’ve thought he’d be fully aware of Eloise’s schedule.
“Right.” He straightened and turned his back on me.
There was something about it that was vulnerable. Something about him that was vulnerable. I was probably insane to even think that about him—this beautiful, rich boy—but he was getting to me.
Nobody got to me.
“But thanks,” I found myself saying quietly.
He glanced over his shoulder. “You’re welcome,” he replied just as quietly.
My fingers slipped around the door handle as I tried to get out of there at superspeed.