I’ve heard of Pintip Dunn so much and haven’t yet been able to read her work. When I heard she wrote Girl on the Verge, this mysterious #ownvoices thriller, I just had to sign up.
“Hey. Look at me, please.” I nudge her shoulder, and she lifts her tear-stained face. “I messed up tonight. But it won’t happen again. No boy is going to come between us. I promised.”
She widens her eyes. “You still plan to keep your word?”
“Of course. I don’t make promises just for the hell of it, you know.”
A smile ghosts across her lips, but I can tell she’s still hurt. My heart contracts even more. “I’m here for you, Shelly. How can I prove that?”
“Well, there is one thing. . . .” She glances over her shoulder, although no one else is here. “Never mind. You’re going to think it’s silly. Forget I said anything.”
“I won’t. We’re friends, right? You can tell me anything, and I won’t think you’re silly.”
She takes a deep breath. “Okay. Fine.” The words tumble out. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, ever since I was a kid. Problem was, I never had anyone to do it with.”
“What is it?”
“I want us to be blood sisters.”
A chill creeps up my spine. Blood sisters? As in, my blood mixed with hers? This is unsanitary at best, deadly at worst.
“You hate the idea, don’t you?” she moans. “Forget it. I knew it was silly. . . .”
“No, no. You just surprised me, that’s all.” My mind spins, as I try to think of how to respond. “I don’t have anything against the idea, in theory. But you know all that stuff we’ve heard, about AIDS and other diseases and infections. Maybe I’m just being silly. . . .”
“Hey, it’s a valid concern. And I could tell you I’m clean, but you can never be too sure, right?” She wrinkles her forehead. “I’ve got it! We can do our own modified version. We’ll drop our blood onto a clean surface and let the liquid mix there. That way, we’ve performed the ceremony, but we’re still protecting ourselves. What do you think?”
“Um . . .” NO! my mind screams. Every cell in my body rebels against the thought. Mixing our blood is just gross. And weird. There’s nothing in me that wants any part of this. I rack my brain, searching for a reason, any reason at all that won’t offend her.
“Look, I know we only met a couple weeks ago,” Shelly says in a small voice, “but I feel this connection with you. Like we were always meant to be friends. This ceremony represents that. You’re my sister, through and through.”
I take a deep breath. This idea she’s suggesting is more than a little creepy. But Shelly’s been through such a rough time lately. It’s not going to kill me to drop a little blood on a cutting board. If it makes her happy, I should just say yes. It’s not that big a deal . . . even if it makes all the hair stand up on my neck.
“Okay, fine,” I say, before I can change my mind. “Let’s do it.”
I hope you enjoyed that excerpt and good luck in the giveaway! There’s more excerpts and reviews if you follow the tour.
Have you read Dunn before? Let me know what you think below!