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It's bad enough to spy on the guy your neighbor's ex-wife is dating. It's even worse to get caught . . .

17-year-old Joe Panza thinks he has it all: a beautiful new girlfriend, a starting position on the school’s basketball team, and a dog who really is man’s best friend.

That is, until his neighbors get a divorce and he is asked by the ex-husband to spy on the new guy his ex-wife is dating. Little does Joe know that the boyfriend is a deranged psychopath who will devote his every waking moment to making Joe’s life a living nightmare. And little does Joe know that everything he has ever taken for granted will soon come to a horrible end.

In a novel filled with romance, deception, and betrayal, Joe Panza must face his worst fears as he struggles to protect the love of his life, his family, and himself from his deranged new neighbor before it’s too late.

Chapter 1

That’s what neighbors are for.

It’s amazing how five simple words could change someone’s life forever. Joe Panza had been lying on his bed, debating whether or not he should go to the track and get in shape for spring tryouts, when the phone rang. He could tell who the man on the other end was without even looking at the caller ID—the way the caller spoke his name, enunciating each syllable, was as identifying as a fingerprint: Joe-seph. 

The voice brought a smile to Joe’s face. He’d been so busy, he hadn’t realized how fast time could pass you by. He supposed part of it was Amanda. When you had a girlfriend, it was easy to spend your days with her rather than do anything else. 

Joe reasoned that was why he hadn’t seen Luke since the time he brought the movie over to his apartment. Sometimes, time just got away. Therefore, he was glad that Luke had made the effort to call him.

“Hey, Luke,” Joe said, eager to hear what his old neighbor had to say. “What’s up?”

“Not much,” Luke said. “Are you home right now?”

“Yeah, I’m in my room.” 

“Good. I need to ask you for a favor. Go to your window.”

Joe did, curious as to what he might find. He almost expected to see Luke standing in the street, waving to him. Instead, the only thing he saw when he peeked out his blinds was the sun and the normal scenery of a dull suburban block. 

“I’m there,” Joe said, half disappointed. “What am I supposed to be looking for?” 

“Look at my house.” 

My house, Joe thought. Luke was still referring to it as his. 

“Okay . . . ?” 

“Is there a car in the driveway?”

There wasn’t. Joe was about to say so when Luke added: “A white car?”

Suddenly, everything began to piece together: the white Mercedes. He was talking about the white Mercedes. Joe still felt a bit guilty that he’d had dinner with Bryce, and decided to play dumb. “No, there’s no car in the driveway. What’s this about?”

There was a pause on the other end of the line, and then: “I think it belongs to the guy Crystal’s seeing.” 

Joe could understand how Luke must feel. It couldn’t have been more than a few months since the separation. Luke had a right to be pissed. Anyone in his situation did. But as much as Joe disliked what had happened to Luke, he had to admit that he thought Bryce was a pretty nice guy. 

 When Joe didn’t say anything, Luke interpreted his silence as surprise. “I know,” he said. “Fast, right? Almost too fast. Makes me think this guy might have been in the picture before I was out of it, if you know what I mean.”

“Luke, I—”

“Don’t worry about it. There’s no way you could have known about him. But there is a way you can help me.” 

Joe bit his lip, unsure if he wanted to hear what it was. 

“I need you to look out your window every half hour and call me if that car shows up, okay? He’ll most likely park in the driveway.” 

Now Joe was sure he didn’t want to get involved. The only thing stopping him was that he couldn’t just say no, not after all the times Luke had helped him out with his car. And not just any car, either: his first car. Every teenager’s vessel into freedom. He also remembered what Luke had said when he’d tried to thank him for his help: That’s what neighbors are for. 

Those five words echoed in Joe’s head now. Therefore, instead of saying no like he wanted to, Joe knew he had to pay his old neighbor back.

“Sure,” he said. “No problem.”