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Home > Crushed (Pretty Little Liars #13)(6)

Crushed (Pretty Little Liars #13)(6)
Author: Sara Shepard

Reefer stared at the floor. “I understand that this is kind of a shock. But I wanted to tell you in person. That’s why I drove all the way out here, even though I should be packing.” He checked his watch. “In fact, I should probably go.”

Spencer looked on helplessly as he headed toward the front door. There were a million things she wanted to say, but her mouth couldn’t form the words. So that’s it? And, Are you seriously trying to guilt-trip me for making you drive all the way out here? And, What about all those romantic texts? You were the one who pursued me!

She thought about how Reefer had promised to stick by her at Princeton and show her a good time. Who would do that now?

In the foyer, Reefer looked at her plaintively. “Spencer, I hope we can still be—”

“Just go,” Spencer cut him off, suddenly angry. She pushed him out the door and slammed it shut, collapsing against it and sliding to the wood floor, her legs splayed out in front of her.

What. The. Hell. Just. Happened?

She pictured the Eco Cruise in her mind’s eye. Reefer had taken her out to dinner, and they’d had their first kiss on the dance floor. It had been amazing—she knew he’d thought so, too. It was like Alien Reefer had just come over. The one good thing in her life had suddenly been ripped away.

Beep.

Her cell phone lay on the console table in the hall. Her heart sped up again as she pushed to her feet and looked at the screen. There was a new text from an unknown sender.

Poor little Spencer, doesn’t have a date

Better find another before it’s too late

Unless, of course, I happen to spill

My tale of all the folks you’ve killed.

—A

2

Hanna’s a Royal

Later that day, Hanna Marin sat at the bar at Rive Gauche, her favorite pseudo-French restaurant at the King James Mall. She was waiting for her boyfriend, Mike Montgomery, to arrive, and though the bartender wouldn’t serve her, she felt classier sitting at the bar instead of at one of the booths. Besides, the booths were packed with other kids from Rosewood Day, many of them underclassmen, which made Hanna feel melancholy and sort of old. In a few short months, she would be at FIT—she’d received her acceptance letter last week. Rive Gauche would be nothing but a place to visit during holiday breaks.

Well, hopefully she’d get to visit Rive Gauche over the holidays and not spend the rest of her life in jail, as New A wanted. Hanna didn’t like to think about that.

Her phone pinged, and she grabbed it. GOOGLE ALERT FOR THE SPLENDOR OF THE SEAS ECO CRUISE. Hanna pressed READ. She’d set up an alert for the cruise she and her friends had just gone on for any news about who had set off the bomb in the boiler room. Both Aria and a boy she’d met, Graham Pratt, had been down there, but Hanna and the others were almost positive a third figure had been, too—the bomber. They were also pretty sure that person was A. If only the police could identify whoever that third person was. Then all this would be over.

Graham Pratt, a passenger on the bombed Splendor of the Seas Eco Cruise is still in a coma after suffering multiple burns sustained in the explosion, the first line read.

Hanna looked up, staring aimlessly at a table full of senior lacrosse players, including Aria’s boyfriend, Noel Kahn, and James Freed. Graham wasn’t just a friend Aria had made on the trip—he was also Tabitha’s ex-boyfriend. For a while, the girls had thought he might be New A—especially when he’d started acting creepy and violent and chased Aria down to the boiler room, repeating over and over that he had something to tell her. Terrified that Graham was going to hurt her, Aria had shut herself in a back closet . . . and then the explosion had gone off.

Hanna kept reading. Mr. Pratt has been transferred to the William Atlantic Plastic Surgery and Burn Rehabilitation Clinic outside Rosewood, Pennsylvania, for further treatment. The burn clinic has won the prestigious Best in the Tristate Area award for four years running, and . . .

Hanna stared at her stricken expression in the mottled, old-timey mirror across the bar. Her ex-boyfriend Sean Ackard’s father ran the William Atlantic Clinic, or the “Bill Beach,” and Hanna had volunteered there last year as penance for crashing Mr. Ackard’s BMW after Sean broke up with her. Jenna Cavanaugh had been treated for burns there, and so had Hanna’s old bestie, Mona Vanderwaal, the first A. Not that Hanna liked to think about that, either.

The rest of the article didn’t say much more—only that Graham’s injuries were severe. A chill snaked up Hanna’s spine. It seemed like Graham had been caught in A’s crossfire, just like Gayle Riggs, another A suspect who’d been gunned down in her driveway right in front of the girls. But why had A wanted to hurt Graham? At first, the girls all worried that Graham was A and that he’d wanted to confront Aria about what she and the others had done to his ex in Jamaica. But when they received more messages from A after Graham was in a coma, they wondered instead if he had been trying to warn Aria that A was after her. Watching you, he’d told Aria over and over through the heavy steel door in the boiler room. Maybe he’d meant A was watching her—maybe he’d seen A spying. So did he know who A was? If only he’d wake up . . .

Another e-mail popped into her in-box. NEW MESSAGE FROM SPECIAL AGENT JASMINE FUJI. Hanna squinted at the subject line. It read, simply, TABITHA CLARK.

The phone nearly slipped from her fingers. Special Agent?

She opened the e-mail, her heart thudding hard. Jasmine Fuji was an FBI agent on Tabitha’s murder case, and Hanna’s name had come up on a roster of guests who’d been staying at The Cliffs resort in Jamaica the same time Tabitha Clark had been. I would like to ask you a few questions about what you might remember from that night, the note read. I’m sure you understand that time is of the essence, so please contact me as soon as possible.

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