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The Ruthless Boys (Adamson All-Boys Academy #2)
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Psst, I know a secret.
The same secret that the Student Council—the super-rich, super handsome elite of Adamson All-Boys Academy—knows, too.
Jenica Woodruff, the only girl to ever attend the academy before I showed up, didn’t commit suicide: she was murdered.
Now, someone is after me, too, but no matter where I go, the killer follows. My new high school isn’t safe, and turns out, neither is my old one.
I’m not a member of the Student Council, but after everything we’ve been through together, after the horrible things we’ve seen, I may as well be. These ruthless boys have taken me under their wing.
Church, the fearless leader (and hopeless coffee addict). Ranger, the bada** VP (and naked baker). The identical McCarthy twins (and MMA enthusiasts). And Spencer, the boy who was willing to question everything about himself to fall for me … oh, Spencer.
Murder and romance are both in the air at Adamson; I’m just not sure which one will kill me first.
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Spencer can’t be dead.
That’s the only thought going through my mind as I drop my hands to my lap and turn my attention back up to the body in the tree. It’s just … swinging there, the rope creaking against the limb.
“You’re alive,” Tobias whispers, eyes watering as he looks at Ranger. He dashes his arm quickly across them and sniffs, trying to regain his composure. It’s such a guy thing to do, I’d make fun of him if … if …
“Why are you holding that rope?” Ranger asks as Church rushes forward to where Micah’s standing, helping him to undo the knot.
“Why do you think I’m holding it, man?!” Micah snaps back, his red-orange hair wet and plastered to his forehead. We’re all shivering, teeth chattering, and probably in serious, serious need of medical help. “I’m trying to get him down.”
Ranger moves like a zombie across the clearing and over to the rope.
Please don’t let it be Spencer, I repeat over and over in my mind, like some sort of mantra. Don’t let it be him. Even if I feel just a tad bit guilty about wishing it were someone else, I don’t care. I just want to give him a hug. Please, god, let him be alive so I can hug him.
We never really got a good, proper hug in there, like the one Ranger gave me at the Twilight Slumber Camp party. The look on Spencer’s face when he caught us was so hard. Not to mention the expression of betrayal he was wearing in the hallway yesterday …
It can’t end like that.
I won’t let it.
I stand up and rush over to help with the rope. Ranger just sits down heavily on the ground beneath the body. It’s too far up to actually see the person’s face, so I don’t look too hard. I won’t let myself look. Looking won’t change the outcome.
“I have a knife,” I whisper, pulling out the serrated blade that Ranger gave me for protection and handing it over to Church. He’s breathing so hard, and his face is as white as a ghost. He doesn’t look at all like himself. It’s interesting though, to see this sort of near-panic in his expression. He’s human, after all. “Cut him down, please. Please.” My voice starts to shake as I step back and wait for Church and the twins to take care of it.
Slowly, respectfully, they lower the boy to the ground.
That’s when I hear the sirens, and we all exchange looks.
“See if it’s Spencer, man,” Tobias groans, putting his face in his hands. “I can’t look. I just can’t. Micah …”
“It’s okay, bro, I’m on it.” Taking in a deep breath, he approaches the body, but a distant shout cuts through the moment and makes me feel so weak, I almost collapse.
It’s my dad calling.
“Over here!” I shout back, cupping my hands around my mouth and waiting as the sound of approaching footsteps draws closer. My dad appears just a few seconds later with several police officers and EMTs behind him.
“Oh thank god,” he breathes, rushing up and grabbing me in a huge hug. “Oh, Charlotte. Thank god.” He’s so happy to see me that he forgets to call me by my nickname for a moment. Archie cups me so close, I feel like I’m being choked. I push away from him, shaking like crazy. There’s an EMT trying to put a blanket over my shoulders; I take it, but honestly, I’m more concerned with Spencer than myself.
“Dad,” I start, pointing back at the body and closing my eyes. The rest of the Student Council is being dragged away, too; we still don’t know who it is yet. “Please tell me if that’s Spencer Hargrove.”
“We need to get you to the hospital,” Dad is murmuring. He’s clearly not listening to me at all. At this point, however, I’m too tired and cold to keep pushing. The chattering of my own teeth is giving me a headache. I let him herd me away, into the back of an ambulance with Ranger.
Without even thinking about it, I reach down and curl our fingers together. He squeezes mine back, and we sit that way for the rest of the drive into town.
The police are refusing to release the name of the boy from the woods. That, and Spencer Hargrove is missing. Not just him, though, a lot of boys are proving difficult to track down. Hell, it’s spring break. Nobody’s surprised that there are a few students that are unaccounted for.
“If Spencer’s dead, I’ll …” Tobias trails off, putting his fingers on the glass of my father’s living room window. His breath fogs against it as he leans his forehead against the jamb. “Well, shit, I don’t know what I’ll do, but … he can’t be dead.”