Summary

Nikki Phillips, a professional photographer for a magazine in New York City, learns through the two ghosts of her best friends back home in California that they have died in a car accident. She also learns that their deaths may not have been an accident after all, and that there may be a murderer in their mists. She goes back home to beautiful SoCal, only to find that things aren't the way she left them seven years ago, except for one of her dead friends' older brother, Logan Walker, whom she has hated with a passion (and vice versa). With two friends dead and another a wreck, an old flame giving her mixed signals, a new friend whom she doesn't know whether or not to trust, a familiar town full of unfamiliar secrets, and Logan, whom she just can't seem to ever get along with, Nikki's got quite a case on her hands. The worst part? Only Logan seems to believe in her murder idea, while everyone else seems to just wave the thought away. Can Nikki and Logan put aside their differences and catch the killer together, or will Nikki find herself in the killer's clutches with no one to save her? And...can that killer possibly be...Logan himself? Rated for language and situations.


Prologue

"Okay, call us when you get there," Meg said, her eyes brimming with tears as she smiled at her friend.

"Don't worry," Nikki promised, hugging Megan and Lynna. "I will."

"Okay, and promise that you'll call, like, everyday!" Allie said as Nikki turned to her and gave her a hug.

"Oh my God! What are you guys, in the 4th grade or something?" Meg's older brother, Logan, said sarcastically, clearly annoyed. "Hurry up with the sob fest so we can leave!"

"Shut up," Meg said over the clatter of the airport, glaring at him.

"Yeah," Nikki smirked, looking at the tall surfer she had known for so long. "Shut up. You'll make it in time for your party tonight."

Their other friend, Johnny, came up and gave Nikki a strong hug. "We'll miss ya, Nik," he said, holding her tightly. "I'll wait for you…I promise," he whispered so that only she could hear him.

As she hugged him back, Nikki felt a tear roll down her cheek. "I'll miss you guys too." So much more than you'll ever know, she thought.

"Don't forget about us little people when you're a big bad photographer in New York," Lynna laughed, wiping away her tears.

Nikki smiled. Lynna always was the emotional one of the group. "I won't," she said.

"And come back home every once in a while!" Allie said.

"When I can afford it," Nikki promised.

"And bring me back an "I heart NY" mug," Logan mocked. "Can we go now?"

"Ah… Logan," Nikki said with the same sarcasm Logan had. "What ever shall I do if I don't hear your voice or, God forbid, see your face everyday?"

"I'm sure you'll live somehow," he said.

"Oh, lighten up you two!" Meg exclaimed. "Can't you two put aside your differences for a few minutes? Nikki's moving to New York! As in out of California? As in the other side of the country?"

"As in three thousand miles away!" Allie said.

"Exactly my point!" Logan said irritably. "She's movin' to New York, not China."

"Well, it's clear you don't wanna be here," Nikki said coldly. "Why don't you just go warm up the car then? The others will meet you out there once I board my plane."

Logan looked away guiltily, then went up to Nikki and gave her a tight hug. One with a warmth she had only felt one other time from him. "Fly safe, Nik. Take care of yourself out there."

She hugged him back, her cheek rubbing against the cool surface of his white puka shell necklace. "Thanks."

As they parted, he added, "Now, um…don't think we'll be all buddy-buddy 'cause of this. It's only 'cause it's the right thing to do and we've grown up together…and plus, these guys have some sort of obsession with you and I don't need them all depressed because their friend died in some sorta freak accident or something."

"Aw, I'm heartbroken," Nikki said, rolling her large brown eyes. "I'd better go return those B.F.F. necklaces I bought for us."

Logan smiled, then reached up and messed up Nikki's long dark hair. "See ya around, kid."

Nikki smirked and fixed her hair. "See ya."

"Now why can't you guys be like that normally?" Meg asked.

"Yeah, isn't that so much better than having stupid little arguments and your own little battle of the wits everytime you guys talk?" Johnny asked.

"Yeah…it ain't so bad," Nikki said, sighing.

"Shining Sea Airways, Flight 71 from LAX to New York City, now boarding…"

Logan looked away, rubbing one of his eyes. "Well…uh…" He cleared his throat, then said, "I'll wait for you guys in the car." He turned and walked off towards the front door.

Nikki watched him leave. As Logan reached the automatic doors, he turned to look at them as a group one final time before walking out of the airport and onto the sunlit path leading to the parking garage.

"You know what they say," Lynna smiled.

"What's that?" Nikki asked.

"Always have hope for the guy who turns around as he's walkin' away," Lynna said.

"Ha," Nikki said sarcastically. "Yeah, 'cause how can I live without knowing he cares for me!"

"Yeah," Allie laughed.

"Come on," Meg said. "We all know she only has eyes for you, Johnny!"

"Shut up," Nikki laughed.

"Well, you all know that I am just too damn irresistible!" Johnny laughed. "How can she keep her hands off me? I'm amazed the rest of you do!" They all laughed.

"Shining Sea Airways, Flight 71 from LAX to New York City, now boarding…"

"Well, that's me," Nikki said sadly.

Meg hugged her again. "Don't forget us."

As she let go of Meg and hugged the other three, Nikki said, "I could never."

"Safe trip, Nik," Johnny said, putting his hands in his jean pockets.

"Thanks," Nikki said.

"Goodbye, Nik," Lynna said, her eyes watering again.

Nikki nodded, then took a deep breath. "Bye…I promise I'll be back." She picked up her backpack and looked at them once more. "I promise…I'll come home soon."

And with that, she turned towards the direction of her departure gate and never looked back.