by Abbi Glines


Available from Atria Books in eBook and trade paperback in May 2014



They say that children have the purest hearts. That children don’t truly hate because they don’t fully understand the emotion. They forgive and forget easily.

They say a lot of bullshit like that because it helps them sleep at night. Such sayings make for good, heart-warming clichés to hang on the walls, to bring out a smile in people passing by.

​I know differently. Children love like no other. They have the capacity to love more fiercely than anyone else. That much is true. That much I know. Because I lived it. By the age of ten I knew hate and I knew love. Both all-consuming. Both life-altering. And both completely blinding.

​Looking back now I wish someone had been there to see how my mother had sown the seed of hate inside of me. Inside of my sister. If someone had been there to save us from the lies and bitterness she allowed to fester within us, then maybe things would have been different. For everyone involved.

​I never would have acted so foolishly. It wouldn’t have been my fault that a girl was left alone to take care of her ailing mother. It wouldn’t have been my fault that the same girl stood at her mother’s graveside, believing that the last person on earth who loved her was dead. It wouldn’t have been my fault that a man destroyed himself after his life became a broken, hollow shell.

​But no one saved me.

​No one saved us.

​We believed the lies. We held onto our hate, and I alone destroyed an innocent girl’s life.

​They say you reap what you sow. That’s bullshit, too. Because I should be burning in hell for my sins. I shouldn’t be allowed to wake up every morning with this beautiful woman in my arms, who loves me unconditionally. I shouldn’t get to hold my son and know such a pure joy.

​But I do.

​Because, eventually, someone did save me. I didn’t deserve it. Hell, more than anyone it was my sister who needed saving. She hadn’t acted on her hate. She hadn’t manipulated the lives of our family members, not caring about the outcome. But her bitterness still controlled her while I had been delivered. By a girl…

No, she wasn’t just a girl. She was an angel. My angel. A beautiful, strong, fierce, loyal angel who had entered my life in a pick-up truck, carrying a gun.