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Here is an excerpt from The Gathering:
Channie wished she’d thought this through a little better and thrown a pair of jeans on under her gown or at least brushed the tangles out of her hair. She combed her fingers through the worst of it as she walked towards the privy. When she was certain Momma couldn’t see her, Channie gathered the loose fabric of her gown into her arms and left the path.
Bluestem grass, heavy with dew, tickled the backs of her knees. A mosquito buzzed past her ear. Channie swatted at it then cast a bug-be-gone spell on herself. She should’ve done that before ever stepping outside. Hopefully, the chiggers weren’t out yet. Channie’s legs itched just thinking about it.
When she found Hunter leaning against the sycamore tree, one bare foot propped against the trunk, Channie’s stomach muscles tightened. And it had nothing to do with dried apricots.
Hunter’d grown since the last time she’d seen him. A lot. His shoulders were broader too.
Channie wanted to ask him how he’d learned to bounce across a protection spell on his shield; but he was cocky enough without her acting all googley-eyed.
She let go of her gown and jammed her fists on her hips, trying her best to look annoyed instead of impressed. “What’s so important it couldn’t wait ‘till morning?”
“What happened?” Hunter pushed away from the tree and traced the bruise on Channie’s forehead.
Startled by the tenderness of his touch, Channie turned her head. “It’s nothing. Just a bruise.”
“I thought you were apprenticed to Ms. Wisdom. How come you didn’t heal it?”
“I’m not allowed to use healing magic until I pass my herbology exams.”
“You better get someone to heal it for you soon or it’ll leave a scar.”
This time, when Hunter touched her, Channie held perfectly still. She didn’t even breathe.
He brushed his fingertips across her brow and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Are you gonna be at Spring Gathering?”
Hunter edged closer. He trailed the back of his fingers down Channie’s jaw, leaving behind a path of fire and goosebumps.
Channie’s pulse thundered behind her ears as Hunter leaned in. He whispered her name — her real name. “Enchantment.”
She gasped and jerked away from Hunter when she realized her power-name was influencing him. She pulled her magic back inside her body and hoped he hadn’t noticed.
Hunter blinked and shook his head, as if coming out of a trance. He rocked back on his heels and jammed his fists in his pockets.
Most of the time, Channie loved her power-name, and the sound of it on Hunter’s lips warmed her heart. But right now, she didn’t know which was more embarrassing — the fact that she wasn’t in control of it; or that Hunter thought she was trying to enchant him.
Channie squirmed as Hunter chewed on his bottom lip and studied her. She wished she knew what he was thinking. Should she try to explain and apologize or just keep her mouth shut?
Hunter lowered his gaze to his feet and flicked a pebble across the ground with his big toe. “When you get to The Gathering, tell Lovie Schmidt that you want to talk to her in private — and do it in front of her momma.”
“What?” Lovie Schmidt was not supposed to be a part of this conversation.
“Once you’re outta sight, tell her to meet me inside O’Riley’s barn.”
Anger lit up Channie’s energy field like a hay field on fire. “You’ve got some nerve dragging me out here in the middle of the night! If you think I’m gonna cover for you so you can sneak off with somebody else you better think again!”
“Whoa.” Hunter’s eyes widened as his jaw dropped. After a moment, a grin spread across his face. “You’re jealous.”
“I am not!”
“You’re mad because I asked you to help me sneak off with somebody else. So, that means—”
“It don’t mean a damn thing!” Channie whirled around and stomped back to the cabin with Hunter’s laughter ringing in her ears.
Here is an excerpt from Down the Rabbit Hole:
The sound of bell-like laughter floated up from the trail.
Franklin froze then started backing away before the girls were even in view. “I’m gonna puke.”
He bolted into the bushes like a frightened deer.
Heather squinted her eyes and leaned forward. “Was that Franklin McKnight? Is he drunk?”
Time to intervene. “H-h-hey H-Heather, I’d like t-to talk to you as s-soon as I m-make sure J-Jonathan’s okay. He’s had a little too m-m-much to drink.”
Jonathan held his breath to make his face turn red and hoped that would convince Heather that she had the boys mixed up.
“Of course, do you need any help?”
Tyler smacked Jonathan on the back. “I’ve got it covered. You go talk to Heather while I make sure your drunken brother doesn’t fall down a mine shaft or something.”
“Um … okay.” Jonathan swallowed loudly and rubbed his palms on his jeans as if they were sweaty. Franklin wasn’t the only one that could act. “D-do you w-wanna g-g-go somewhere t-to talk?”
Heather lowered her gaze and peeked at him from under thick lashes. She was actually sort of cute. Jonathan grabbed her hand and led her back down the trail, away from the fire and the crowd. He didn’t want an audience in case this blew up in his face, so he waited until they were out of everyone’s line of sight to turn his full attention to Heather.
She stared at their linked hands and grinned. “So … what’s on your mind, Franklin?”
“I… uh… yeah, well… I was w-wondering if you w-would go to H-h-homecoming with me?” Jonathan’s voice cracked when he said ‘me’ but Heather didn’t seem to notice — or maybe she just didn’t care. The way her eyes lit up when she smiled changed her whole face. Why hadn’t he noticed her before? Maybe because she’d never smiled at him. She was more than just cute. She was adorable. And perfect for Franklin.
She stepped forward and put one trembling hand on Jonathan’s chest. “I would love to go with you.”
Jonathan smiled, flashing his dimples.
Heather rose up on her toes, slipped her hand behind his neck and tugged.
For the first time in his life, Jonathan didn’t know what to do when a girl wanted to kiss him. He didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but if Franklin found out, he’d never forgive him.
Heather made the decision for both of them. Jonathan kept his mouth closed and his eyes open. The snap of a twig alerted him that someone was close.
He pulled away just as Franklin stepped around the bend. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t need to. The look of betrayal in his eyes said it all. He shook his head then stepped off the path, giving Jonathan and Heather a wide berth.
Jonathan grabbed Franklin’s shoulder as he passed. “Wait. I can explain.”
Frankie jerked out of Jonathan’s grasp then ran down the trail.
“Where do you think you’re going?” There was nothing down there but the parking lot. Franklin wouldn't leave without him. Would he? Of course he would. Jonathan didn’t like leaving Heather alone on the trail, but he needed to straighten things out with Franklin.
She should be fine as long as she went back to the group around the fire.
“Heather, sweetheart, I need you to go back to the party and find your friends. Stay together and stay away from Rich and his group. I need to see what’s up with that crazy brother of mine, but I’ll be right back.”
He’d forgotten to stutter, but Heather just nodded her head and started walking back up the trail.
Jonathan was about halfway to the parking lot when the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. Two guys were pulling a very drunk girl off the trail into the bushes. Not cool. He had no idea who the guys were, but either they’d heard about the party and decided to crash it or they just stumbled on to it and decided to take advantage of the opportunity — and the intoxicated girl they were half-carrying-half-dragging between them.
Jonathan didn’t know her name, but he’d seen her at school. She was only a freshman. What sort of perv takes advantage of a drunk kid?
“Where do you guys think you’re going with the jailbait?”
“None of your business, punk.”
Since there were two of them and only one of him, Jonathan struck without warning or mercy. A gut-busting sidekick dropped the big guy on his right to his knees. Before he hit the ground, Jonathan threw a right cross to the jaw of his scrawny companion. It snapped the creep’s head back a good six inches. But it only made him mad. Never judge a book by its cover — or a potential rapist by his size.
The guy danced around with his elbows tucked in and his fists in front of his face like a boxer. He obviously knew how to fight. Jonathan didn’t mess around. He knocked the guy out cold with a round-house kick to the side of his head.
The perv was lucky Jonathan and Franklin had switched identities. If he’d been wearing his hiking boots instead of Franklin’s running shoes, the blow might have killed him.
The girl he’d just rescued was too drunk to walk. Jonathan wanted to get to Franklin, but he couldn’t just leave her lying by the side of the trail. He picked her up, tossed her over his shoulder and carried her back to the bonfire. She thanked him by puking down the back of Franklin’s parka.
When he got back to the party, Jonathan lowered the girl to the ground, yanked his arms out of Franklin’s ruined parka and turned it inside out. He used it to position the girls head so she wouldn’t drown in her own puke if she threw up again. He grabbed the first halfway sober girl he saw and enlisted her help.
“Hey, Carrie, do you know this chick?”
“She’s just a freshman. What’s she doing here?”
“Getting herself raped.”
Carrie’s eyes widened and her mouth formed a little “O” before she frowned.
“A couple of guys were hauling her into the bushes. I roughed ‘em up pretty good, so I don’t think they’re going to be a problem, but can you keep an eye on her? Make sure she doesn’t wander off. I gotta go find my brother.”
Jonathan suddenly felt light-headed as the last of the adrenaline from the fight left his body. He sagged onto the log next to Carrie and grinned when his car keys poked him in the butt. Franklin wasn’t going anywhere without him.