Amy Lynn Armstrong, author
Brooke, 16, arrived back in Rockdale recently, only to leave yet another foster home. On the day she was supposed to go live with her dad, she finds out he’s been arrested, again. Starving and roaming the streets, she resorts to snatching a guy’s wallet…only he catches her and that’s when she realizes he’s her ex-boyfriend, Ace. A former heroin addict and drug dealer. She pushes him away to focus on finding a family that she wants and that will choose her. Cole, 17, aka, Ace, has spent the past year torturing himself with guilt over his brother’s death. With zero direction in life, he attempts to act like he’s glad to be alive, for his dad’s sake. But, whether it’s life or school, he simply doesn’t care. He’s stuck in summer school and his dad won’t even let him have a girlfriend until he gets his grades up. When he’s brought face-to-face with Brooke, the girl he’s thought about every day since she abruptly left town last year, something sparks inside him. He feels foolish for thinking that she would still like him, but he holds onto the smallest amount of hope that maybe he has something to live for. Someone who accepts him and his colorful past. Only she won’t give him the time to show her he’s changed. Brooke is placed with her aunt and cousin for a short time until a new foster home opens up. Here, she discovers her aunt is dating Cole’s dad, Dexter. But at a charity event, Brooke meets a woman, Jenna, who could be a new foster mom for her. Brooke can clearly see Dexter and Jenna have feelings for each other but have never admitted them until she plays cupid, thus ending Dexter’s relationship with her aunt. Jenna takes Brooke into her home and they seem to hit it off until Jenna and Dexter advance their romance, and soon move in together. Brooke has mixed feelings about this since she and Cole aren’t talking much after a few misunderstandings, so she decides she’ll leave and go back with her dad, once he’s out of jail. Only, to her disappointment, he skips town and Brooke is left devastated. Reluctantly, she lets Cole talk her into coming back home. As Cole’s past starts to catch up to him when his old drug-dealing boss demands he join their team again, he knows Brooke will have nothing to do with him if he chooses to start dealing. Except, once they’ve threatened Cole, as they know Brooke is his weakness, he has no choice but to join and keep her safe. Brooke tries going on a date with another boy, but realizes she still wants to be with Cole. They soon start up a passionate romance until Dexter learns they are dating and kicks Brooke out. She is placed in another foster home, until that family cannot house foster kids and she is forced to head back to the streets. Here, her dad finally finds her and she decides to live with him, only to find the house has no lights, heat, barely any food, and he occasionally hits her. Cole saves her and brings her back to his home, where Dexter and Jenna want to take legal guardianship over her. Dexter feels guilty for Brooke’s abuse and allows her to stay with them if she and Cole follow strict rules about dating.