No Way Back (Mia's Way, #1) - By Chloe Adams

Chapter One

I can hardly hear my bestie’s voice over the techno music filling the backyard of the party. I press the phone against my ear. She’s talking, but I have no idea what she’s complaining about this time.

“Wait, Ari!” I shout then step carefully around the glowing pool in my stilettos. It’s almost too dark to see the ground, and I’m not exactly steady on my feet after a few drinks. Only when I make it to the side of the house opposite the pool can I hear her whining. “Okay, back.”

“How could you wear that dress?” she demands. “You promised we’d wear our new ones on the same night! It’s not fair, Mia!”

“You were supposed to be here,” I remind her. I roll my eyes as she bitches and pick at a flake of crimson lipstick irritating my lip. When she’s done, I egg her on. “I wore my new heels, too.”

“Bitch!” Arianna Stevens – my best friend and daughter of Daddy’s biggest financial supporter – gives a noisy sigh. “Is it fun at least?”

“It’s okay. It’s more fun when you’re here,” I tell her. “There’s no dancing and they card me every time I get a drink.”

“Oohhh, well … spill!” Her voice lowers, as if someone might hear her words. Knowing what she’s about to ask, I look around to make sure I’m totally alone. “How is the ID working?”

“Like a charm. Just call me …” I dig it out of my wristlet “Judy Davis.”

“Omigod, what an awful name!”

“Wait, Julie Davis.” The pic is of me, but the age listed is twenty-nine, while I’m seventeen.

Arianna laughs. “How much did you drink already?”

“I don’t know. A few. All the guys here came with dates. This is no fun without you,” I complain.

“Did anyone from school show?”


“Lame. I so wish I was there. You have no idea how boring this is.”

“Um, yeah, I do. I went to that awful one on the Fourth of July, two weekends ago.”

Ari’s dad forced her to go to a fundraiser tonight, which is where I should be, since it’s for Daddy. But I hate those things, and I hate being displayed like one of Daddy’s army medals. Especially tonight, after my half-sister announced she’s getting married - to the man Daddy told her to. She’s always been his favorite, like a dog who fetches a newspaper.

I’m not his pet. I’m not wasting my Saturday night smiling for the press or making small talk with fake people who use me to get to Daddy. They can have Daddy for all I care, especially after how he shipped Mom away.

My mind is buzzing from the alcohol, and the cool summer night does nothing to chill my body despite my tight mini-dress. It isn’t something Daddy would approve of, which is why I bought it and why I’m wearing it tonight. The only time he pays attention to me is when I screw something up.

I realize Ari’s been talking and I’ve heard none of it. I’m too angry at him again.

“… when it’s over, okay?” she says.

“Wait, what?”

“I said, call me when the party’s over. Your daddy doesn’t care if you make it back alive, but I do!”

“You just want to make sure I give you back your purse!” I retort and look down at the red snakeskin wristlet she lent me.

“Omigod, I’m so not like your fashionista mama, who’s holed up in rehab right now!”

“I know. I wish I was there with her.” I frown. Daddy told the press Mom is on an extended vacay then distracted them with the news of my half-sister’s engagement. Not one of them would notice Mom and I aren’t at the fundraiser tonight, after that news.

“Go have another round of drinks. This is soooo painful. It won’t be over soon,” Ari says. “Call me when you leave, k?”

“K.” I hang up without saying good-bye then consider calling her back to end the conversation like normal.

My head is buzzing too much to think twice, and I walk back to the pool area. It’s packed with guests, mostly the college-aged kids of diplomats and politicians. A foreign diplomat left for a trip, and his son, Sven, invited Ari to party with him for the weekend. Ari got ordered to the fundraiser, and I decided to come on my own.

I’m bored already an hour after arriving. Without Ari, most parties are lame. Besides, this isn’t our kind of party. None of our friends are here, and it’s too big.

I go to the bartender by