Read Chapter 1 of Between the Raindrops!
Posted on May 19th, 2018

You guys are amazing! Between the Raindrops went up for pre-order last Friday, and within hours, it was the #1 New Release in Teen/YA in its category! To thank you, I'm offering you a sneak peek at the very first chapter! My newsletter subscribers got the exclusive first look, and now I'm thrilled to share it on my blog.

If you haven't pre-ordered, you still have your chance to buy it for just .99¢. The price will increase on release day, so grab it today while it's super cheap! Buy links are below the chapter sneak peek.

Happy reading!


Chapter 1 - Scout

Is this what freezing to death feels like?

Shivering violently, I creep across the hardwood floor. Despite my three layers of clothes, it’s impossible to get warm. That’s what happens when the electric bill doesn’t get paid.


It’s not so bad when it happens in June. Or September. Or even March. But when it’s turned off in December? It makes for a long, cold winter.

While I search through the hall closet for yet another blanket to throw on my bed, I hear Mom downstairs, talking to some guy she brought home. She’s always bringing guys home. This one seems different, although I can’t really explain why. Maybe because he didn’t look at me like most of Mom’s boyfriends look at me. Or maybe because I overheard her asking him for money, and I’m secretly hoping she’ll use it to pay the electric company.

But I know she won’t.

Mom’s first priority isn’t paying the bills. It’s not even to buy groceries to put in our empty fridge. What money she’s given—whether it’s from her boyfriends or from the nice people down at the church—goes straight to her drug dealer.

She loves her dealer more than she loves me.

With a tired sigh, I grab an old paisley blanket and head back to my room. Just as I’m about to climb into bed, I hear a scream echo from downstairs.


When she doesn’t answer, I reach under my bed and find the metal bat I keep close by my side at night. It’s kind of necessary, thanks to our crappy neighborhood and because of Mom’s parade of boyfriends who sometimes find their way into my room.

Accidentally, of course.

Screaming her name, I sprint down the stairs. The only light in the room is from the reflection of the moon through the dirty windows and the few stumpy candles that flicker from atop the mantle.

“Mom! What’s—”

I stop running when I see my mother on her knees. Standing over her, holding a pair of handcuffs, is the new boyfriend.

“Lana Ramsey, you have the right to remain silent.”

But Mom is anything but quiet. She’s shouting. Crying. Praying.

I raise the bat. “Get away from her!”

He slaps the cuffs on her wrists, and Mom crumbles against the cold wooden floor.

“My name is Officer Calhoun,” the man says, before reaching into his pocket. He pulls out his badge for me to see.

“You’re a cop?”

He nods.

“Why . . . why are you arresting my mom?”

“Are there any other kids in the house?”

“No. Why are you arresting her?”

Before he can answer, two more cops rush through the front door, guns raised in the air. Mom wails as the cops help her to her feet. She doesn’t even look at me, but she doesn’t have to. I know she’s high. I knew it when she came home tonight.
I watch helplessly as the policemen all but drag her out of the house.

“What’s your name?” Officer Calhoun asks gently.

“Scout. Scout Ramsey.”

“How old are you, Scout?”


He writes it down. “Do you have any family members who live close by?”

I only need three fingers to count my family. Besides my junkie mom, I have a grandma I haven’t seen in years and an uncle who’s a doctor in some hick town about two hours away. Neither of them are really an option, so I lie.

“There’s nobody. She’s all I’ve got. Look, she’s a good person. Honestly, she is. She’s just really messed up right now.”

“You’re right, Scout. Your mother is very messed up. But we’re gonna help her.”

“By taking her to jail? That’s not how you help somebody. You help them by taking them to rehab! Ever hear of it? That’s where you take junkies. You don’t drag them off to jail!”

“I have to, honey.”

“Don’t call me honey. And why do you have to?”

The policeman sighs heavily before reaching into his pocket. He pulls out a little plastic baggie filled with tiny rocks. Even in the dim living room light, they shimmer like crystals. But I know they’re not really crystals. There are probably thousands of those little bags all over our house. And all of them are empty.

I stare at the baggie. “What did she do?”

Officer Calhoun takes a deep breath and closes his eyes. When he opens them again, he looks at me with so much pity it almost makes me cry.

“She just offered to sell her seventeen-year-old daughter to me . . . in exchange for this.”

I drop the bat.

My vision blurs.

Just then, a female officer walks through the door. The two cops whisper to each other and exchange a look before the woman turns her wide, sympathetic eyes toward me.

“Scout? My name’s Officer Darla Welch. We’re going to take you to a safe place, okay? Do you want to pack a bag? Maybe get some clothes? You probably won’t be back, so I’d grab anything that’s important to you. Pictures, books . . .”

You probably won’t be back.

I nod numbly, and she follows me up the stairs. The woman keeps talking, but the roaring in my ears makes it hard to understand her. I pack what few clothes I have, some books, my journal, and my bass. I never take it off, but I reach for my necklace, just to make sure it’s hanging from my neck.

It is.

Officer Darla leads me downstairs and out the front door. Snow crunches under my feet as I follow her to a black and white cruiser. I load my belongings into the back seat and climb in the front. Before she even starts the car, I bombard her with questions.

“What’s going to happen to my mom?”

“Scout, I’m really not at liberty . . .”

“I wanna know.”

She sighs heavily before turning toward me. “Your mom will be charged with child endangerment. Child neglect. Maybe human traffick—”

“She wouldn’t have sold me.”

Darla says nothing.

“Sh . . . she wouldn’t have.” My voice breaks. Mom’s capable of some pretty horrible shit, but selling me? She couldn’t. She wouldn’t.

I see the pity in Officer Darla’s eyes before she starts the engine. Seconds later, she pulls away, and we leave behind the only home I’ve ever known.

“Where am I going?”

“You’ll be staying with a temporary foster family tonight.”

“I’m seventeen. I don’t need a babysitter.”

“No, but because you’re seventeen, you need a guardian.”

“Who says?”

“The law says. You’ll stay with that family until we can find a relative.”

Officer Darla takes a right and heads toward the interstate. I have no idea where we’re going, but I know we’re driving north.

“Scout, I know you told Officer Calhoun that you don’t have any other family. I need to know if that’s true.”

I hold my duffel bag a little tighter. “What if it is?”

“Then you’ll be staying with a foster family or in a group home until you’re eighteen. When’s your birthday?”


I can see her doing the math. Eight months is a long time.

“You think . . . I mean, do you think my mom will be gone that long?”

Darla doesn’t answer. She doesn’t have to. I know it’s bad. What really pisses me off is that I’m being punished, and I didn’t even do anything wrong. Foster care? Group home? How is that even fair? But I won’t cry. I refuse, because I know it won’t matter. Tears don’t fix a thing. They never do.

“I have a grandma and an uncle. That’s it.”

“Good. Tell me about them.”

“I don’t know much. I haven’t seen my grandma since I was a kid. She and Mom didn’t really get along.”

“Does she live close by?”

“No, she’s in Florida. Or she was. She used to send me birthday cards.”

“What’s her name?”

“Sandra Kirby.”

“I can try to find her, but that doesn’t help us tonight. What about your uncle?”

“His name’s Paul. He’s a doctor in Cedar Springs.”

“That’s not too far from here. Is his last name Ramsey, too?”


Darla exits the interstate and pulls into a gas station right off the exit. Sighing heavily, she turns toward me and gives me a sympathetic smile.

“I’m sorry about all of this, Scout. I really am. But it’s my job to take care of you, and I intend to do that. However, the last thing I want to do is take you out of one shitty situation and put you in another, so if staying with your uncle isn’t an option you’re comfortable with, I need you to tell me.”

The truth is I’m really not comfortable around strange men. Any man, really, thanks to Mom’s boyfriends. I started keeping a bat in my room after one of the guys climbed into my bed. It was Halloween night, and I woke up to find some guy with bloodshot eyes and whiskey breath unbuttoning my pajama top. I screamed bloody murder until Mom staggered in and threw him out. I’ve never forgotten how terrified I felt in that moment. I’ve re-lived it over and over again, imagining what could’ve happened.

So, no, I’m not comfortable living with Uncle Paul. Not at all.

He might be family, but I’ve only met him a few times. He hadn’t said a word to me at Dad’s funeral. He’d just stared down at his brother lying in the coffin, shook a few hands, and disappeared.

Paul could be the nicest guy on the planet. He could also be a jerk.

But then I think about what I’ve heard about foster care and group homes. That’s when I realize I don’t really have a choice at all.

Besides, he is a doctor. How bad can it be?

I take a deep breath and whisper the words that I pray are true.

“Living with my uncle has to be better than a group home, right?”

Darla sighs wearily. “That’s . . . probably accurate.”


This news seems to make Officer Darla very happy. She makes a quick call to someone, giving them my uncle’s name. I don’t know his address, but she says that’s no problem. Cedar Springs is a small town. She’ll find him.

“Everything’s going to be okay, Scout.”

Her words make my blood run cold. How can she say that? Everything’s not going to be okay. Nothing will ever be okay.

Because my mom just tried to sell me for a bag of meth.


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