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Jenessa’s a thrill seeker by nature. Anything fast, she’s all over it. Angry and blaming herself for her best friend’s death, Jenessa escapes to the sanctuary of her car, where she can outrun her memories. But when Jenessa falls in with a group of street racers, she finds herself caught up in a web of escalating danger. When her need for risk taking spirals out of control, Jenessa has to find a way to break the self-destructive patterns she’s built, before anyone else gets hurt.
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Alex Van Tol
Copyright ©2011Alex Van Tol
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
Van Tol, Alex Redline / Alex Van Tol. (Orca soundings)
Issued also in electronic format. isbn 9781554698943(bound).isbn 9781554698936(pbk.)
 I. Title. II. Series: Orca soundings ps8643.a63r43 2011 jc813’.6 c20119034301
First published in the United States,2011 Library of Congress Control Number:2011929394
Summary:Jenessa uses the thrill of illegal street racing to deal with the tragic death of her best friend.
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 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.
For Mum and Dad, who watched me crash my cars...and trusted me enough to keep giving me the keys to theirs.
C h a p t e r O n e
Time for a change. I spin my thumb around on my iPod, looking for a different playlist.I glance up at the road, then back down. The highway is quiet tonight. Must be because it’s a Monday. Everyone’s back in town. Back from a weekend in the mountains, getting those last few runs in before the hills close down for the spring.
Alex Van Tol
I used to like driving west, toward the mountains. Sometimes, if I was out late enough after work, I would see the aurora borealis. The northern lights. Usually they’re just a green fringe moving slowly across the sky. This one time they were a brilliant, crazy violet. No matter the color, they always take my breath away. But tonight, instead of heading west, I point my car south, toward McCandless Creek. The mountains hold too many painful memories. I drive through ranch country. Sometimes I take the hilly back roads through the huge, barn-studded acreages. Sometimes. Usually I just take it out the six-lane and punch it. It helps me outrun the pain. I reach for a cigarette, then pause. Maybe not. Maybe that’s one thing
I should let go of. I punish my mind enough by reliving that awful day on Mount Watson. I don’t need to punish my body too. Without my permission, my mind drifts back. To a day that will forever be burned into my brain. Every detail of it. It was November, just before midterms. Adrienne and I had been about to wrap a primo day of boarding. The sun was out. Conditions had been perfect. We’d been chatted up by some sweet boys in the lift lineup and had plans to meet up with them later, back at the resort. It was almost four o’clock. Ade was tired. I could see that. I was too. We’d just come off what we had agreed would be our last run of the day. Swooping to a stop at the end of thelift line, I glanced at the clock overthe lodge. Still enough time. If we went now, we could catch justonemore run.
Alex Van Tol
I was feeling pretty flush, ready for another crack at the Terminator 2.A triple black diamond. I’d smoke it this time. I was sure of it. But Adrienne hadn’t wanted to. She was cold and hungry, and she wanted to go in. “Just one more, Ade,” I said, hoping the energy in my voice would somehow Low into her and make this possible. “Let’s run T2.” The look on her face told me she didn’t want to do it. “Come on,” I said as she started to shake her head. “You did it this morning. You killed it!” Adrienne snorted. “Isodidn’t kill it, Jenessa. It almost killedme.” I shrugged. “You’ll ride it better this time. You’ve already done it. Your brain’s mapped it now.” Adrienne sighed. “I don’t know.” She squinted at the sun, low on the peaks.
“Don’t they say that ski accidents increase by something like two hundred percent in the late afternoon? When people are tired?” I bent down to fiddle with my binding, pissed that she was holding out on me. “You go on in then,” I said. “I’ll catch up with you in a few.” I knew I was laying on the guilt. “You can’t go up there alone, Ness,” she said. “What if you get hurt?” I stood up and leveled my gaze at her. “You forget, my friend,” I said. Idon’t get hurt.Lesser boarders get hurt.” I tucked an escaped strand of hair back under my helmet. “I’mno lightweight,” I added. I couldn’t help myself. So she came. How could she not? I’d thrown down the gauntlet, daring her not to join me. I’d done it so many times before with Adrienne. And she always pulled it out
Alex Van Tol
for me. Taking that one step outside her comfort zone. To keep the peace. We caught the lift up, our chair bobbing on the wire, high over the quickly emptying hill. The patrols were getting ready to do their sweep runs. Ade was jittery. “Don’t worry,” I told her. “I got your back.” We w e r e h a l f w a y d o w n t h e Terminator when an out-of-control skier smashed into Adrienne. She was ahead of me. I saw the whole thing. His scarecrow scramble as he tried to avoid her. Her helmet whiplashing backward on impact. Her board, sliced clean off its leash, bolting down the hill. Her body, thrown into the spruce tree at the side of the run. Her neck bending impossibly. Lesser boarders get hurt. The redness of the snow as I held her in my arms and screamed for help. I’m no lightweight.