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Dirt Daughter

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Elena Black holds the secret to a missing girl, but letting it go could ruin her life…or end it.
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Author: Michele Shaw
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Dirt Daughter

by Michele Shaw

Genre YA Drama with suspense/romance elements

Tags Romance, suspense, mystery, murder, Dirt Daughter, Elena Black, teens, high school, love, lies, family, drugs, siblings, cold case, friendships, dysfunctional family, first love, secrets

Release June 9, 2015

Editor Christine I. Speakman

Line Editor Val Haley

Cover Designer Celairen

Words 78469

Pages 269

ISBN 978-1-77127-714-3

Price $5.95


Back Cover

In Dirt Daughter, seventeen-year-old Elena Black has concealed the secret to her childhood friend’s murder for eight years. With the possibility of a college scholarship looming, she plans to keep that secret and flee her dysfunctional home; one with a drug-addicted mother, a stepsister she just met, and a bitter, abusive uncle. But, when a detective reopens the cold case and a friend sets her up on a date with the new boy at school, the past and present collide, threatening Elena’s future plans…and her life. 


  Excerpt

My hair was greasy, my jeans dirty. I hadn’t slept in days. As bad as I looked, I felt worse, drowning in myself. In the pictures. The others in the room stared, waiting for me to say something. To say anything. They’d spent eight years waiting for the truth instead of the smoothed and polished lies I’d repeated to them again and again.

Mom sat in the corner, sniffling with her shoulders hunched. I bit my thumbnail, popping it between my teeth. The “on” light blinked at the side of the camera; they’d already tested for sound. “Start from the beginning,” they’d said when I sat down.

What was the beginning anyway? I didn’t know, because I could only remember back so far, and the real beginning happened sometime before I was born. I wanted to believe that anyway. That made it easier; thinking a murder had nothing to do with me. I’d made so many mistakes though, and I was the one in front of the camera, so, obviously, it had something to do with me.

“Whenever you’re ready, Miss Black,” said Detective Carver. The label of “Miss” made me feel old, and I didn’t like it. Lizzy would never be old. I also didn’t like Detective Carver being so formal after our many talks where she’d called me Elena, endlessly repeating my name as if by reminding me I couldn’t run from who I was, she would shame me into telling the truth. I wanted to say her tactic worked because then I might be able to count myself as a halfway decent person. But really, I still wasn’t sure I could do it, and if I did, it was only because my life had collapsed; a total cave in. I couldn’t breathe.

Her pacing and constant checking of notes weren’t helping my nerves. They paralyzed all the words waiting to jump from my lips. I sipped the pop they provided at my request and wiped sweat from my hands onto my jeans. Stalling. Searching for where to start.

I needed to pick a box. I thought of my mind as having shelves with boxes full of memories. Lizzy’s was covered in hot pink sequins, her favorite. After years of shuffling it around, I had to take it down and open it, but hers only held half the story. There was another box shoved way in the back, covered in dirt and nailed shut. It had to come down too.

I’d been a coward for so long. Afraid of what would happen to me, to my family, what everyone would think; I had to decide what to say right then.

I prayed if there was a God, he’d forgive me.

I finally told the five sets of staring eyes that I needed to start, not at the beginning, but at the outside and work my way in. Once I got there, I thought maybe the words would somehow come. That I could finally tell the entire true story. They said to take my time; they’d listen for as long as it took.

I wasn’t sure what words were about to come out of my mouth, but I looked straight into the camera, and I began.

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