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The Stillburrow Crush

by Linda Kage

The Wild Rose Press


Copyright ©2009 by Linda Grotheer

First published in 2010

NOTICE: This eBook is licensed to the original purchaser only. Duplication or distribution to any person via email, floppy disk, network, print out, or any other means is a violation of International copyright law and subjects the violator to severe fines and/or imprisonment. This notice overrides the Adobe Reader permissions which are erroneous. This eBook cannot be legally lent or given to others.

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The Stillburrow Crush

by Linda Kage



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

A word about the author...

Thank you for purchasing

* * * *


The Stillburrow Crush

by Linda Kage

A bead of muddy sweat trickled out of his hairline and down his temple, mixing with blood before moving on. Fascinated, I watched it drool a crooked path down his cheek and neck and then into the collar of his jersey. As if catching my entranced stare, he lifted the hand that held his helmet and wiped the sweat away with the back of his palm. "What do you want to know?" I cleared my throat and dropped my eyes. "Umm, well..." I yanked a notebook from the inside pocket of my trench coat. The wind caught a few sheets, making the lined pages flail and thrash like they were drowning in the ocean or something. I tried to get a hold of them and rein them in but only succeeded in wrinkling most of the pad.

"Sorry," I muttered, and dug deep into my outer pocket, frantically searching for my pen. I couldn't find the irritating thing there, and switched hands on the notebook to search the other pocket. I didn't dare look up. I could feel him watching and it made my cheeks hot.

He coughed, trying to get my attention, and my head flew up—long bangs falling into my eyes. He motioned toward my right ear with his index finger. I frowned, wondering if there was a twig or something in my hair and reached up, patting the area. And the pen, which had been securely tucked behind my ear, stabbed me.



The Stillburrow Crush

by Linda Kage





Linda Kage


The Stillburrow Crush

by Linda Kage

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

The Stillburrow Crush

COPYRIGHT (C) 2009 by Linda Grotheer

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: info@thewildrosepress.com Cover Art by Kimberlee Mendoza

The Wild Rose Press

PO Box 706

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0706

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First Climbing Rose Edition, 2010

Print ISBN 1-60154-651-3

Published in the United States of America


The Stillburrow Crush

by Linda Kage


For Sandra

[Back to Table of Contents]


The Stillburrow Crush

by Linda Kage

Chapter One

I couldn't believe it. Not until I was standing there along with the rest of the town in the cemetery did it really hit me. She was dead.

It'd been a drunk-driving accident and she'd been the one drinking while driving her dad's Lexus. The ironic part was her mother headed the town's MADD program. No one seemed to think the irony of it was too awfully funny, though. Her best friend, Jill, wasn't there. She was laid up in the hospital thirty miles away with a broken hipbone and other injuries. She'd been in the passenger's seat. But pretty much everyone else had shown. Even the Wallaces made an appearance, and they were the couple who'd sideswiped her when she'd run the stop sign and pulled out in front of them. They'd managed to come through the accident with only minor bumps and bruises. Mrs. Wallace held her arm in a sling and her husband, the town's dentist, sported a black eye.

I couldn't look at the closed casket with its mountain of flowers piled on top. So I stared down the street to where the school sat only a block away. From where I stood, I could see the massive brick walls rising above house and tree. The path from Fitz's Funeral Home to the cemetery went directly past the school. As I stared, I could remember when I was younger and a funeral line would pass by during recess. All the children, me included, would line the edge of the playground and count the number of cars in the procession. If 8

The Stillburrow Crush

by Linda Kage

the number was too few, we'd shrug and say, "Guess no one liked Old Man Roper much, did they?" or something to that effect. Then we'd go back to playing tag or jumping rope. When I was in second grade, my Grandfather Burke died. I was still too young to think much of death back then—or understand it—but I remember looking at my friends from the back seat of my parents' Suburban and wishing the kids at recess would count the biggest number of cars yet. Standing at Grandpa's graveside service, I could hear my friends at recess. The squeak of swing sets and the laughter of children playing echoed down the street. I tried to be still in my scratchy black wool dress but was incredibly bored. I watched Grandpa's face and wondered why he wasn't snoring like he usually did when he napped. I didn't want to be there in that dreadful dress, in those tight shoes and watch him sleep. I wanted to be down the block, playing at recess. When I grew impatient enough to ask Mom if Grandpa was going to wake up soon so I could go back to school, she clutched my fingers hard and hushed me.

"Stop it, Carrie. You're embarrassing me," she'd said. Then she dipped her hand into her pocket, pulled out a tissue, and began to cry.

But this time, I didn't ask if anyone would wake. Instead, I stared at the school building and blocked out what was being said up front. I couldn't hear the squeal of children because school had closed for the occasion. The rest of the student body stood with me, crammed into the cemetery like sardines, huddling close to their families because one of our own was being put into the earth this time. 9

The Stillburrow Crush

by Linda Kage

I stood between my parents and knew this funeral motorcade had been the biggest yet.