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The small town of West Martin was barely a dot on the Illinois map—a dot trying hard to fashion a bed-and-breakfast image instead of a boring lakefront community with two high schools, ten churches, and a handful of fast food restaurants, none of which offered much entertainment. As such, most teens like us, hung out in Lucy Park. Tonight, however, a cold front had lowered the temperature to 25 degrees, and most people had stayed inside. Still, we preferred the cold and liked the way the lights barely illuminated the darkness.

"Is your mom going to kill you? It's already after 11."

She’s out with her fiancé, remember?” I lifted my hands to my mouth and blew on my fingers.

Cold?” He scooted closer.

More on the inside than the outside, I thought. The wind carried a distant burning smell--firewood--and I inhaled deeply, savoring the remembered warmth. “I don't know why she's agreed to marry the jerk.” I shook my head. “He’s going to leave her—maybe not tonight, but some time.”

Well, maybe you should lighten up.” Devin tickled me. “Maybe he'll hang around.”

Right. My dad didn’t. He left years ago, and the other guys my mom dates haven’t bothered, either. Why would this one be any different?” Cold air brushed my stomach where my shirt had pulled up. I tugged it down.

He’s a different person. Maybe you should get to know him and stop growling.”

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