Authors: Lilian Carmine
About the Book
Fate has brought them together. But will it also keep them apart?
Having moved to a strange town, seventeen-year-old Joey Gray is feeling a little lost, until she meets a cute, mysterious boy near her new home.
But there’s a very good reason why Tristan Halloway is always to be found roaming in the local graveyard...
Perfect for fans of Stephenie Meyer and Lauren Kate,
The Lost Boys
is a magical, romantic tale of girl meets ghost.
About the Author
Lilian Carmine is a writer and freelance artist, living in São Paulo Brazil.
She is currently working on illustrated children’s books, animation, comic books, character design and creation, and digital painting – as well as the next book in
The Lost Boys
I dedicate this book to Gillian Green, for believing in me and my story.
To my parents, Joao and Nise, for showing how important books are and for giving me all the support I ever needed and letting me be free to pursue my dreams.
To my second mother Selma and my second father Paulo, for always being there for me and for cheering me all the way.
I dedicate it to Eva Lau and everybody at Wattpad, for all their support; to Tamsin Jupp, my darling Dandelion girl, Robyn Williams and Hannah Rose, my first and most beloved Lost Girls.
I dedicate this book to the love of my life, my husband, my Tristan, for the encouragement, for showing me in example to always strive for excellence in whatever you choose to do; for being my unwavering arm in every storm; for being there for me and loving me no matter what, until the end and from the start.
To Tom, Doug, Danny and Harry, for teaching me what real friendship is all about, and to the amazing musicians with their beautiful songs which inspired me throughout each chapter of the book.
But most of all, I dedicate this book to the Lost Boys Army.
This book wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for your immense love and support.
Keep on rocking,
Flowers for the Dead
I really was lost.
I had been wandering in this old cemetery for about twenty minutes, trying to find my way out, but every time I thought I was getting near the exit I found myself even further in.
The deeper I went, the older everything seemed. The statues were more broken and the tombs were mossier and less cared for. Snow slumped over the graves, but the main path was surprisingly clear. I was seriously tempted to start shouting for help, like a pathetic child that had got lost from its mommy. I could already feel an embarrassed blush creeping up my cheeks at the mere thought.
And to think this whole misadventure had actually started with me and my good intentions.
It began when I suggested to my mother that I could go grocery shopping for her, since she was so busy at our new home, unpacking and getting a head start on her new job. She had been offered this new fancy position, with an astronomical salary and a bunch of amazing benefits, at a branch of a renowned law firm. It had resulted in a rushed move to this small town called Esperanza, just a couple of weeks before Christmas. It was all very sudden but the job offer had been so good that she’d had no choice but to accept.
We’d always struggled with our finances, but now finally we wouldn’t have to. Mom was so happy with this surprising turn in her career; and if my mom was happy, I was happy.
Even if it had meant I’d had to quit my school and enroll somewhere new just so I could complete my final year and graduate.
As well as school, I’d had to leave all my friends, but somehow I hadn’t been that upset. It had made me realise I wasn’t that close to anyone anyway, and I supposed – hoped – that I would make new friends here.
Anyway, I’d left my mom in her new home office, buried under a huge pile of folders, but as soon as I headed out the door I bumped into this crazy-looking old lady with bright purple hair and big thick glasses, asking me to help her carry this humongous vase of flowers that she said she had to take to her husband. Of course, I had to help her. My mother had brought me up to always be respectful of my elders – and she was really old! What harm could it do if I gave her a hand?
I’d regretted my goodwill as soon as she handed me the vase of flowers. It was huge! And so, so heavy. I hadn’t even walked half a block before my back was killing me. I also had dirt all over my face and at the top of my sweater.
The old lady, who was called Miss Violet, had kept up a constant stream of chatter all the way to wherever we were going to meet her husband, asking me all kinds of inappropriate questions, like where I was from, whether I had a boyfriend, what my name was … OK, fine, the name question had been appropriate enough, but the rest had been just plain nosy.
I mean, why had she needed to know about my relationship status? So what if I didn’t have a boyfriend? That was none of her business! I hadn’t been much into dating back in my old town anyway. I’ve never seen what was so great about it. Boys were so often annoying and bossy, trying to tell me what to do or that I should act more like a girl. I didn’t need anyone telling me what to do or how to behave or that I should wear dresses instead of my baggy jeans. I was fine without a boyfriend, thank you very much.
The topic of boys had already put me in a sour mood, and then I had to try to be polite while I endured the conversation that always followed when I told a stranger my name. Miss Violet, for all her purple hair, was no different: she’d frowned at me from behind her big glasses. “Did you just say your name was Joe?” I could easily have bet my mom’s swanky new salary on her next sentence. Come rain or shine, a certainty of life was always: “But Joe is a boy’s name!”
Every freaking single time!
As usual, I had sighed loudly in response. It’s not like I don’t know that I’m a girl and Joe is a boy’s name, people! You could at least try to be more creative with that clever observation!
Miss Violet, to her credit, had made an attempt to cover up her surprise. “I guess it’s all right. Kids nowadays have all kinds of weird things going on: boys with earrings, girls with tattoos. A girl with a boy’s name isn’t all that bad,” the old lady had said after a minute mulling over the weirdness of my name.
And then, finally, we had arrived at our destination, where Miss Violet’s husband was apparently waiting for his flowers. I had been so shocked at the sight that I hadn’t been able to make any witty comebacks. Because Miss Violet had led me straight into Esperanza’s old cemetery, and then to her dead husband’s grave, where she’d asked me to put the flowers down beside his gravestone. I’d felt so guilty for complaining about the heavy vase and the dirt that I’d quickly apologized and excused myself, to let the old lady chat with her “husband” in private.
It was one of those cold but crisp December days and I’d decided to go for a stroll around the cemetery. The pale sun had even peeked out from behind gray clouds, and the snow had stopped falling earlier that morning. It felt like winter was giving me a break today, letting me enjoy this little walk in almost pleasant weather, for a change.
At least, it
been enjoyable until the point when I’d got lost. And now here I was, aimlessly walking around an old graveyard, trying to find my way back to Miss Violet or, better still, the way out. A gentle breeze brushed over my face and the air suddenly smelled vaguely of carnations, even though I couldn’t see any flowers around.
And that’s when I saw him.
A boy, just a few feet away. And he was beautiful.
He was sitting on a small mossy tomb and swinging his long legs up and down distractedly, his gaze fixed on some distant point on the horizon. He clearly didn’t notice me standing there, watching him.
He looked about my age. And did I mention he was beautiful? He had smooth black hair, the same color as mine, but styled kind of funny – it was way too tidy for my taste. He had the neatest side parting I’d ever seen on a boy. I wondered what product he was using to keep it so slick and glossy.
He was wearing a white shirt tucked tidily into smart black trousers. I would have thought he was dressed for a funeral were it not for the well-worn black leather jacket that gave his more formal clothes a cooler edge. He looked sad, though. Maybe he’d lost someone too, like Miss Violet, and wanted to be alone.
In the end I decided to approach him. At the very least, he could show me the way out. I gathered some courage and closed the distance between us, stopping right by his side, thinking my proximity would cause him to notice me, but I still had to clear my throat to get his attention.
He jumped, startled, looking at me for the first time with wide eyes. Only now could I see his eyes clearly, and they took me completely by surprise. He had extraordinary gray eyes! But not the sort of gray we use to describe a pale tone of blue. His eyes were really, truly gray. As in the-absence-of-all-color gray.
He almost looked like an old photograph. And his monochrome clothes further enhanced the lack of color of his eyes. But his gaze wasn’t dull; his eyes hinted at a sharp intelligence. They glinted with the wintry sun, flaring and piercing bright. And I swear to God that, for a split second, I saw them lighting up from the inside. Or perhaps it was just a trick of the light. The whole encounter was so eerie; it caused goosebumps to rise all over my skin.