From the #1 New York Times- and USA Today-bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach and The Vincent Boys series, Abbi Glines delivers another smoldering, compulsively readable YA romance with As She Fades.
On the night of her high school graduation, Vale McKinley and her boyfriend Crawford are in a terrible car accident that leaves Crawford in a coma. They were supposed to spend the summer planning for college, for a bright future full of possibility. Together. Instead, Vale spends long days in the hospital, hoping Crawford will awaken.
Slate Allen, a college friend of Vale’s brother, has been visiting his dying uncle at the same hospital. When he and Vale meet, she can’t deny the flutter of an illicit attraction. She tries to ignore her feelings, but she’s not immune to Slate’s charm. Slowly, they form a cautious friendship.
Then, Crawford wakes up . . . with no memory of Vale or their relationship. Heartbroken, Vale opts to leave for college and move on with her life. Except now, she’s in Slate’s territory, and their story is about to take a very strange turn.Books by Author:Abbi Glines Books
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow"
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone"
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
"Edgar Allan Poe, "A Dream Within a Dream"
SINCE I WAS a little girl, I"ve loved fairy tales. And I"ve believed in true love. It was easy for me, though, because I fell in love at six years old. Not many people find love so young. Crawford and I believed we were special. That fate shined on us and gave us each other early so we"d have a lifetime together. He was my very own Prince Charming. Not one day of my childhood was he not there with me. Making me smile and enjoying the life we were both born into. But what we didn"t expect were the sharp turns in life you don"t see coming. The ones that knock you off course. The things that come along and change it all forever. We hadn"t been prepared for that.
* * *
OUR STORY ISN"T an easy one. The charmed life we had grown up with was pulled away from us so quickly, we didn"t have time to prepare for it. But no one ever does. That"s the dark side of life.
THE SMELL OF summer evenings always made me feel happy. Since I was a girl, it was the reminder that school was over and adventure awaited. Swimming in the lake, playing basketball with my older brothers, and of course our annual family vacation. However, this year it meant freedom. A new life, a new beginning. For me and Crawford.
I glanced over at him driving and the warmth in my chest grew at the sight of him. We had been together since we were kids. First as friends, and then it grew into more as we got older. Today we had walked across the large stage set in the center of our high school football field and received our diplomas. We were graduates. Finally.
"Still seems hard to believe it"s over. High school," I added for clarification. Although I was sure he would understand what I meant.
He cut his eyes toward me and the corner of his lips curved up just enough for his eyes to sparkle the way they did when he was amused or pleased. "It"s not over. It"s just beginning, V. Our life will be exactly like we planned it."
I wanted to believe that. We were going to the same college. Crawford had a scholarship for football. A full ride. It wasn"t my first choice for school but I wanted to be where he was. We had never been apart.
"Everyone seemed almost scared tonight. Like they were drinking and partying to forget the fact we"re adults now. This is it."
Crawford shrugged. "I bet most of them are terrified. They don"t all have plans like we do. They have to decide what"s next."
He was right, of course. He always was. One of the things I loved about Crawford was his confidence. He didn"t worry and back away from a problem. He faced it head-on and took control. I felt safe with him, like he would always have the answer I needed.
His hand reached over and covered mine. "Our life is going to be amazing. College is going to be just what we need. To get out of this town but not too far away. We can spread our wings and still come home to visit easily enough. You"re going to love it."
And I believed him. My mind was playing through all the fun things we would see and do. Excitement for what was to come bubbled up in me and I was so ready for August to arrive.
Our favorite song came on the radio and Crawford turned it up and began to sing along with his off-key voice. He was a terrible singer, but he knew it made me laugh so he did it often. Joy swelled up in me for the life I had, so strong it was hard to contain it. I began to laugh as he hit another bad note. This was my life and I loved it.
It was then that Crawford slammed on the brakes and the world began spinning. The smell of burning rubber and the violent screeching of wheels took away all my other thoughts. Dreams vanished in that instant. Completely.
* * *
ONE MONTH. TODAY was the one-month anniversary of the car accident that turned our graduation night into a nightmare. I sat in the waiting room"now more familiar to me than my own bedroom"and stared at the white walls. The smell of stale coffee didn"t overpower the sterile surroundings. Those things didn"t matter, though. Nothing other than Crawford opening his eyes mattered.