Published by Sourcebooks Fire Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
The pulse-pounding sequel to Follow Me Back—the perfect thriller for the online generation.
No one knows what happened to pop icon Eric Thorn. His Twitter account? Frozen. His cell phone? Cracked and bloody, buried in the snow.
Tessa Hart knows the truth, but she’s finally left her #EricThornObsessed days behind. She has no intention of ever touching her Twitter app again. But SnapChat…That’s safer, right?
Agoraphobic fangirl Tessa Hart has finally left her house—only to trade one hiding place for another. But she can only stay out of sight for so long before she’s forced to face the deadly consequences of the past.
Back in an interrogation room, answers only lead to more questions in the pulse-pounding conclusion to the Follow Me Back duology.
|I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.
At the end of the first book, FOLLOW ME BACK, I was screaming because I wanted more. This book delivered and I love it as much as I did the first one.
Eric and Tessa’s were forced to come out of hiding and had to reestablish themselves. Eric and Tessa had their individual challenges that they had to overcome which flowed into their relationship as well. These characters are relatable and I really liked their growth throughout the book.
This book kept my attention and the pacing was spot on. I really loved that the author continued to write in both Tessa and Eric’s perspectives.
I was completely taken off guard by who was creating the friction between Tessa and Eric but totally loved the ending.
If you haven’t read the first book, FOLLOW ME BACK, you have to and then you have to immediately read this book. You will not be disappointed.
FEBRUARY 1, 2017 (THREE MONTHS EARLIER)
“And this just in. We’re getting word now from sources in Switzerland that the Facebook Live video has been authenticated. The man in the video is, in fact, Dorian Cromwell—”
Tessa squinted at the tiny image on her phone, straining to make out the facial features of the blurry figure. The thirty-second clip showed a lone man making his way down an icy slope. He had his face tipped down, eyes on the uneven terrain, but he glanced up and raised a ski pole in greeting as the clip ended.
Dorian Cromwell, for real? How could they be so certain? To Tessa, the man looked more like a cross between a hippie and a homeless person, with a scraggly beard and a mop of unwashed hair that hung down below his shoulders. She supposed she could see a passing resemblance to the formerly clean-cut boy band leader, but it was hard to say. A bush of facial hair concealed the whole bottom half of his face. The video was shot from too far away to make out his age or eye color.
Someone had streamed it on Facebook two days ago with a geotag in Munster, Switzerland, and a clickbaiting caption:
Guten Tag, Dorian. #DorianCromwell #VeryMuchAlive
Tessa had noticed the story on TMZ the other day, but she hadn’t given it much thought. Just another rumor started by some attention seeker. It happened with Eric all the time too. In the month since Eric’s disappearance from Texas, he’d been “spotted” dozens of times by fans around the world. All fake, of course. Those pics were old shots doctored in Photoshop, easily recognizable to anyone who followed Eric’s social media half as closely as Tessa always had.
Still, the mere thought of dead celebrities made Tessa’s pulse rate jump. She shifted position inside the back of the van, sitting up straight. The thin, fold-down cushion that served as her sleeping surface creaked beneath her weight. At the noise, her eyes flicked to the tinted van window beside her. She’d propped it open a few minutes ago to let in a whiff of the cool mountain air. It was after dusk, and the long shadows of the pine trees cloaked the van’s interior in darkness. No one could see her inside. The rational part of her mind knew that—and yet she fought the urge to pull the window closed.
“No,” Tessa muttered. She’d suffocate in here without fresh air. She closed her eyes and pulled in a deep breath, counting the beats inside her head.
Eric one…Eric two…Eric three…
There was no one out there watching her. Tessa had learned to view the lingering sense of dread with clinical detachment. It was anxiety creeping up on her. A quirk of her brain chemistry. Nothing more. Nothing real. The van was parked at the far end of a densely wooded campground in the foothills of a Mexican mountain range. It was quiet here, with only a couple other cars parked near the cabins at the other end of the unpaved lot.
No one was watching. No one cared about some beat-up, old VW camper with Texas plates.
Tessa exhaled slowly, releasing the tension from her lungs. She turned her attention back to her phone. The story about Dorian was turning into more than idle Twitter gossip. Tessa was tuned in to a live stream of U.S. network television, and they’d interrupted the evening news to cover the breaking story. She wished they would freeze the frame so she could study the face in the video. She didn’t dare hit Pause, for fear that she might lose her connection to the feed.
The show went to commercial, and Tessa glanced toward the window again. She pulled out one of her headphones to listen for the sound of approaching footsteps, swallowing against the bubble of tension that swelled inside her chest.
Her ears were greeted by the gentle sounds of nightfall. The distant hoot of an owl. The babble of the creek that ran nearby. The breeze stirring back and forth through the tree limbs. Not a human sound in the mix.
If only she could make her mind believe that…
Tessa scowled. She knew she should focus on the positive. She would always have anxiety, but she’d come a long way since December. Literally. Her phone’s GPS placed her at 543.2 miles from her childhood home in Midland. To think, only a month ago, she’d worried she would never set foot outside her front door.
So much for small steps. Tessa pursed her lips at the thought of her old therapist, Dr. Regan, and the excruciating desensitization exercises she’d prescribed. What a monumental waste of time. In the end, the small steps led nowhere. Everything had changed in one night. One giant leap.
Tessa couldn’t really blame her therapist though. She never would have attempted this trip if she hadn’t been forced by circumstances. Tessa still longed for the safe cocoon of her childhood home, but she knew she could never go back. Not after what happened there on New Year’s Eve. The house itself had become one giant trigger. The mere thought of the rotted, old back deck made Tessa’s mouth go dry.
No, her old, safe refuge was lost to her—like an empty womb, and she was the infant who’d been ripped from it and cast out into the cold, harsh world. By dawn on New Year’s Day, she’d understood that she couldn’t stay there any longer. She knew what she had to do.
A month had passed since that morning. All that blood…staining her hands, her clothes, her mother’s hallway carpet… Then easing the Ferrari down the unplowed, snowy streets, with its owner hidden in the trunk…
And then the frantic flight across the border. Tessa had rolled into this campground by nightfall on January 2, and the journey had taken every ounce of mental stamina she possessed. She’d collapsed after she got here. Taken a double dose of anxiety meds and slept in the back of the van for twenty-four hours straight. But she’d made it. When push came to shove, she was stronger than she knew.
Tessa nodded to herself. She turned her back to the open window and bent over her phone. The live stream cut back to the news studio, and Tessa slipped in her earphones to listen.
“Once again, if you’re just tuning in, a spokesperson has confirmed that Dorian Cromwell is not dead. He has been living for the past seven months in an underpopulated region of the Swiss Alps, accessible only by foot or cross-country ski…”
Tessa fought back the urge to shake her phone. The whole story made no sense! Dorian’s death couldn’t have been staged. They found his body in the Thames. They conducted a murder trial and locked up his killer in a psych hospital. How could he have faked all that?
“—still a lot of unanswered questions.” The news anchor paused and pressed in his earpiece, listening. Tessa leaned forward as she waited for new information. “Right. I’m getting word now that—”
But Tessa never heard the end of his sentence.
Out of nowhere, the sound cut out. Tessa’s head snapped up. She registered the shadow of a human arm, reaching through the window behind her. She lunged to close the curtain, but not before her gaze locked with a pair of eyes peering back at her in the darkness.
“Oh my God,” she whispered, clapping a hand to her heart. “You scared me!”
Her travel companion made no reply. He slid the van door open, with her headphone jack in his hands and a curious expression on his face.
“Sorry, sweet pea,” Eric said after he settled onto his half of the double mattress. “You looked intense. What are you watching?”
About the Author: A.V. Geiger is a popular online author and member of the elite Wattpad Stars program. Her original teen fiction has received millions of hits on Wattpad, the story-sharing website, and was ranked #1 in the Mystery/Thriller genre. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and twin boys. Learn more at avgeiger.com.