Finding Hunter is Book 2 in my Riverbend series. It follows Swamp Ghosts, and can be read as a standalone, but since most of the characters were introduced in Swamp Ghosts, it makes more sense to read that one first.
At the beginning of Chapters 1 through 20, there is a “snippet” at the top of the page. I’ve included the one from Chapter 2 here, even though the excerpt is actually from the middle of Chapter 1. This is Willow Greene thinking back to meeting Hunter Painter when they were in the 11th grade at the small town high school. Enjoy!
CH 2 Snippet First:
Before, I never thought about taking a life. Not once.
Now, the thought fills my mind day and night, and
I wonder how I’ll hide that terrible need,
As an old car swings to the shoulder,
~ Traveling Man ~
CH 1 Excerpt:
He had been a quiet, thoughtful boy, cut from completely different cloth than his brothers. Forrest, a senior that year, and the oldest brother, Jackson, were like peas in a pod. Outgoing, popular, and always up to something. But not Hunter. He marched to that different drummer we’ve all heard tell of, always present, but never quite in the moment.
Willow was very popular with both girls and boys, but the more the other boys came calling, the more Willow had thought about Hunter. He never seemed to be dating anyone, and he always greeted her with a smile and a quiet word or two, but then he would turn away, ambling off to find a quiet spot by himself.
The only class they shared that first year was English, and even though Willow had chosen the seat directly behind Hunter, he never turned to talk to her before the final bell. In fact, he usually waited until the last minute to enter the room and take his seat, leaving Willow to stare at the soft, brown hair curling against his neck, fascinated by the slight bump of each vertebra marching along under his pale skin.
It was his neck that did it. I never would have loved him so much if I hadn’t fixated on that one bit of skin, right in front of my eyes, five days a week. Who falls in love with a neck? And who still remembers it sixteen years later?
All that junior year, Willow had longed for Hunter to call her, to ask her out, or at least to sit by her at lunch. But he never did, and she never told anyone—not even her best friend, Maggie—that out of all of the boys they knew, only Hunter Painter touched her heart.