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Last Ride

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136 pages
He killed his best friend, Logan, in a street-racing accident a year ago. As he tries to make amends to Logan's girlfriend and keep his promise to never race again, Tom is haunted by his dead friend. He thinks Logan is trying to tell him something. Not only that, since he faces huge medical bills from the accident and may have to give up his car, the pressure to race is almost unbearable.
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I killed my best friend. Thirteen months and six days ago. Not on purpose. It was an accident.
is struggling with guilt and a ghost. He killed his best friend, Logan, in a street-racing accident a year ago. As he tries to make amends to Logan’s girlfriend and keep his promise to never race again, Tom is haunted by his dead friend. He thinks Logan is trying to tell him something. Not only that, since he faces huge medical bills from the accident and may have to give up his car, the pressure to race is almost unbearable.
$9.95 RL 2.4
LAST RIDE
L AURA L ANGSTON
I killed my best friend. Thirteen months and six days ago. Not on purpose. It was an accident.
SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD TOM SHIELDS is struggling with guilt and a ghost. He killed his best friend, Logan, in a street-racing accident a year ago. As he tries to make amends to Logan’s girlfriend and keep his promise to never race again, Tom is haunted by his dead friend. He thinks Logan is trying to tell him something. Not only that, since he faces huge medical bills from the accident and may have to give up his car, the pressure to race is almost unbearable.
$9.95 RL 2.4
Last Ride
Laura Langston
Copyright ©2011Laura Langston
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Langston, Laura Last ride / Laura Langston. (Orca soundings)
Issued also in electronic format. isbn 978-1-55469-417-4(bound).--isbn978-1-55469-416-7(pbk.)
I. Title. II. Series: Orca soundings ps8573.a5832l38 2011jc813’.54c2010-908053-x
First published in the United States,2011 Library of Congress Control Number:2010942085
Summary:Tom struggles to give up street racing after killing his best friend in a race.
Orca Book Publishers is dedicated to preserving the environment and has printed this book on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Cover design by Teresa Bubela Cover photography by Getty Images
orca book publishers po Box 5626,Stn. B Victoria, bcCanadav8r 6s4
orca book publishers po Box 468 Custerusa, wa 98240-0468
www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada.
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For Barry
Every end is a new beginning. —Proverb
C h a p t e r O n e
I killed my best friend. Thirteen months and six days ago. Not on purpose. It was an accident. Even the cops wrote it up that way. But if I hadn’t dared Logan to race, he’d still be alive. Sometimes I swear I see him. Out of the corner of my eye. Just a glimpse.
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Like he’s haunting me. Like he’s royally pissed. That accident…I think about it every day. And most nights too. I’m in Ray’s garage, flat-backing it under a 350Z and silently cursing because the hoist is taken, when I feel it. Breath on the side of my face. I bolt up too fast and hit my head on the undercarriage. “Whoa, man, I didn’t mean to spook you.” Ray’s beady squirrel eyes peer in at me. He’s a paunchy middle-aged guy in greased-up coveralls. He has thinning hair and dirty mechanic’s hands. “Get your ass out from under there. I need you to do a test drive.” My heart’s still racing as I wriggle out from under the 350Z, grab a rag from the oor and wipe my hands. Sweat trickles between my shoulder blades. I’m warm but I still shiver. I’m not sure if it’s the cold air blasting through the open garage
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door or the idea of the test drive. Maybe it’s a little of both. Ray nods his head at the car waiting outside the service bay. “I’ve installed a new turbo in that baby. She’s gonna y.” That means somebody somewhere is missing the turbo charger for his Lexus…or maybe his entire car is gone. Ray drops the keys into my palm. “Go on. Take it around the block.” I stare at the black IS300 Lexus. Logan died in his dad’s brown one. “Make sure you push it into the double digits.” Ray smirks. “You know you want to.” Of course I want to. I haven’t broken thirty since the accident. I think about racing all the time. The adrenaline rush, the power, the blur of speed. Followed by the screech of tires and the explosion of metal. This must be how an addict feels. Craving something they know is deadly.
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I toss my rag in the bin and head for the door. “I’ll be back in îfteen minutes.” “Take at least half an hour. And don’t be a wimp. Remember what I said the other day: use it or lose it.” Ray’s trying to suck me back in. He wants me to race again. Ray’s a slime-ball. And coming from me, that’s saying something. Because, in spite of what my mom believes, I’m a badass. T h e l e a t h e r s e a t c r a c k l e s w h e nI slide behind the wheel. Was it this cold when Logan slid behind the wheel of his dad’s Lexus thirteen months ago? I can’t remember. But it’s cold in Kent now. In fact, the whole Paciîc Northwest is having record lows for November. We even had snow the other day. I turn the key and the engine burbles to life. I ick on the heat, adjust the mirrors, switch on the wipers. When I pull out of the lot, the headlights sweep over my
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