Lost and Found Sisters Read online

  Out of patience, she tossed the suitcase hard to the floor and tried again.

  No go.

  “Dammit!” She kicked it a few times and that’s when it happened.

  A buzzing.

  From inside her suitcase.

  She stared at it in growing horror because it was her electric toothbrush, it had to be, but it sure sounded a whole lot like—

  “Your vibrator’s batteries are going to die.”

  This from Captain Helpful, who was leaning casually against the doorjamb of the bathroom, looking amused again.

  “It’s my toothbrush!” she said. “I swear it.”

  “You’re blushing.” He smiled. “Cute.”

  Appalled, she tried again to open the suitcase, while it just kept buzzing like her toothbrush was having a seizure. Grinding her back teeth into powder, she kicked the suitcase again for good measure.

  The buzzing got louder.

  Mick let out a low—and sexy—laugh. Damn him.

  Unbelievable. Desperate, she got on top of the suitcase and jumped up and down. This didn’t stop the buzzing but it did burst the thing open, and when she hopped off, her stuff got flung far and wide. Clothes, bathroom stuff, the birth control pills she took to control cramps since she sure as hell wasn’t having any sex . . . everything except the toothbrush.

  “Oh my God,” she said, scrambling through it all to find the damn thing—which of course, thank you, laws of Newton—was still buzzing. When she finally wrapped her fingers around it, she lifted it high and blew a strand of hair from her now-sweaty face. “See?” she asked triumphantly. “Not a vibrator.”

  Mick, still watching the Quinn Show, smiled. “Smart to pack multipurpose items.”

  She pointed at him, not in enough control of herself to speak.

  He laughed. “Bad day, huh?”

  She blew out a sigh and tossed the toothbrush back into her suitcase. “You have no idea.”

  “Try me.”

  And maybe because when she looked into his eyes she saw nothing but a genuine curiosity—among other things—she actually said it all out loud. “I had unwelcome news, a fight with my family, a long drive, and I can’t get my phone to work unless I’m hanging out the window.” She paused. “I might be more than a little unhinged.”

  “That’s allowed sometimes, you know.”

  “Yeah.” Mostly she was hurt on top of hurt, lonely, unnerved, and . . . not herself. Which really wasn’t surprising given that she literally didn’t know who she even was.

  “Well, at least the bug’s gone and the sink’s handled.” He pushed off from the doorway and started across the room to leave. “’Night. Oh, and ignore any nighttime creaking.”

  “Creaking?” she asked his broad back. “You mean like . . . ghostly creaking?”

  He flashed a grin back her way. “I mean the old building creaks as it settles.”

  Or that.

  “You could always use the toothbrush as a vibrator to help you relax enough to sleep.”

  Luckily for him, he shut the door immediately after saying this, so she didn’t get the chance to kill him. She took a deep breath and then took a long hot bath in her bug-less tub. And no, she didn’t use the toothbrush as a vibrator . . . but she thought about it. Instead, she watched some worthless TV, ate the secret stash of chocolate she kept in her purse, and then hit the sack.

  There she lay, the endless questions once again swirling around in her head.

  Why hadn’t Carolyn said something to her sooner?

  How many other secrets had she taken with her to her grave?

  Acutely and painfully aware that all of it was more than likely to remain a mystery, she sighed, flipped over, and tried to go to sleep.

  It was a long time coming . . .

  Chapter 5

  Whenever I used to feel powerless, Mom would say to remind myself that a single one of my turds could shut down an entire water park.

  —from “The Mixed-Up Files of Tilly Adams’s Journal”

  Psst. Quinn, wake up.”

  Quinn stretched, opened her eyes, and then gasped at the sight of Beth sitting crossed-legged at the foot of the bed in a cute white sundress, sipping one of her beloved iced teas. Quinn rubbed her eyes, but her sister—her dead sister—was still there. “I’m dreaming,” she said. “It was the piece of chocolate before bed.”

  “Actually, you ate all the pieces of chocolate,” Beth said.

  Quinn didn’t take her eyes off Beth, afraid she’d vanish. “I don’t understand,” she whispered. “Where did you come from?”

  “The TARDIS slash wardrobe,” Beth said and gestured over her shoulder at the innocuous piece of furniture. “Nice hair, by the way.”

  Quinn reached up and felt her hair, which was definitely not anywhere even near the vicinity of “nice.”

  “You haven’t been using that oil treatment I gave you,” Beth chided.

  “I know, I haven’t used it since you—”

  “Bit the bucket?” Beth nodded sympathetically and drank some more tea. “I hated going out like that. But let’s face it, if it had to be my time, going instantly in a car accident is the way to do it. One minute I was driving, singing along to One Direction—I really miss them, by the way—and the next I was gone.”

  “Because you took your eyes off the road to mess with your phone and wrapped yourself around a tree,” Quinn said. Maybe yelled. “And One Direction broke up!”

  “Well, that sucks.” Beth’s brown eyes, so different from Quinn’s own deep blue—how had she never questioned that before?—held hers. “But honestly? It was my time, Quinn. And do you know whose time it isn’t? Yours.”

  “Okay, that’s it.” Quinn pinched herself. “Ow!” She blinked, but Beth was still there. “If I felt that,” she said slowly, “then I’m not dreaming this, right?”

  Beth’s image shimmered as she gave a small smile. “I’ve gotta go. Get over yourself and go get what’s rightfully yours.” She began to fade away, but then came back. “Oh, and also the hot guy!”

  And then she was gone.

  “Wait!” Quinn cried and leaped forward. She fell off the bed and scrambled to her feet, turning in a circle to search every nook and cranny. But the room was empty. She moved to the wardrobe, took a deep breath, and yanked it open.

  Also empty.

  Her sister was gone.

  And it was morning.

  She dropped back to the bed and shoved her hair out of her face. “You’re losing it.”

  Her phone rang and she nearly jumped out of her skin. She had service? Since when?

  “Darling,” her mom said when she’d answered. “Where are you?”

  Barely able to hear her, Quinn moved to the window and stuck her head out for better reception. She’d texted both of her parents when she’d arrived last night, but she dutifully repeated herself. “Wildstone.”

  “Good God, Quinn.”

  “I had to do this.”

  “When are you coming back?”

  “Soon.” The parking lot was busy, but there was no sign of Mick, the hot maintenance guy. For the best because, well, her hair. “I’ll let you know.”

  There was a long pause. “Honey . . . you know we didn’t mean to hurt you.”

  “I know. I’m just confused.”

  “Well, come home so you can get unconfused.”

  “Soon,” she promised. “I’ve gotta go. Love you, Mom.” And then she disconnected.

  A minute later she got a text.


  Forgot to tell you something! Yesterday at the grocery store, I stood in line with the nicest man. Harvard. Lawyer. I showed him your picture and gave him your number.


  Mom, you can’t just give my number out to strangers!



  Annoyed and tired, but far too keyed up to go back to bed, Quinn showered—with an eye peeled for bugs—dressed, and headed out.

  Downstairs in the main