MOONSTONE A Fictionwise Fantasy bestseller Young Adult A sickly mom. A tiny house trailer. High school bullies and snarky drama queens. Bad-guy dudes with charming smiles. Allie has problems. And then there's that whole thing about fulfilling a magical prophecy and saving the world from evil. Geez. Welcome to the sad, funny, sometimes-scary world of fifteen-year-old Allie Emerson, who's struggling to keep her and her mom's act together in the small-town world of Peacock Flats, Washington. An electrical zap from a TV antenna sets off Allie's weird psychic powers. The next thing she knows she's being visited by a hippy-dippy guardian angel, and then her mysterious neighbor, the town "witch," gives her an incredible moonstone pendant that has powers only a good-hearted "Star Seeker" is meant to command. "Who, me?" is Allie's first reaction. But as sinister events begin to unfold, Allie realizes she's got a destiny to live up to. If she can just survive everyday life, in the meantime.
Later that day, we‘d just finished responding to Mrs. Burke‘s, “Como esta?”by saying, “Bien, gracias,” when Cory Philpott burst into the room. He flipped his pass on Mrs. Burke‘s desk and headed to the back of the room where all the losers sit. His shoelaces, untied of course, dragged on the floor and he shuffled his feet to keep his gigantic clodhoppers from falling off. He stopped when he got to my desk. “Hey, Allitosis. Ding dong, the witch is dead.”
I wasn‘t in the mood for Cory. My only response was a dirty look and a dismissive flap of the hand. Not to be denied, Cory said, “Thought you‘d want to know, you being so close to her and all.’
A sudden chill shot through my body. I looked up at Cory. “What are you talking about?’
Mrs. Burke said, “Cory and Allie. I hope my lesson plan isn‘t interrupting your little chat.”
Mrs. Burke could be real sarcastic at times. I felt a flush crawl up my neck. “Sorry, Mrs. Burke.”
I ducked my head and hissed at Cory. “Tell me!’
“It‘s that Kizzy woman. Somebody beat her up real bad. I was with my dad when the 911 call came in. Man, there was blood everywhere. I think she‘s dead.”
“No!” I jumped out of my chair. “I just saw her yesterday.”
“Allie!” Mrs. Burke spoke sharply. “Sit down.”
My classmates watched in slack-jawed horror as I ran to the front of the room. Mrs. Burke‘s eyes were huge and her hands fluttered helplessly.
“I have to go, Mrs. Burke. I‘m really sorry. Please, it‘s important. I‘ll explain later.”
Without waiting for her answer, I dashed from the room and tore out of the building at a dead run, my only thought, she can‘t be dead, she can‘t be dead. I felt the moonstone hard against my chest and pulled it out of my shirt. I clutched it as I ran, hoping it‘s magic would make everything all right.
After a block, I kicked off my flip flops and pounded barefoot down the dirty concrete sidewalk. When the sidewalk ended, I moved to the narrow shoulder of the two-lane road, wincing as I ran over bits of gravel and other debris. Blood oozed up between my toes.
I‘d just slowed down to catch my breath when a car pulled up beside me. I glanced over to see Junior Martinez in his low rider. The passenger window slid down. Junior leaned toward the open window. ‘Hey Home Girl, hop in. I‘ll give you a ride.’
Gasping for breath, I leaned over, put my hands on my knees. “I‘m not your home girl. Why are you here? I just saw you in Mrs. Burke‘s class.’
“Told Burke I had to go with my mom to pay bills.”
“Liar,” I said. “Are you stalking me?”
He shot me an amused look. “Emerson, you‘re a piece of work. Get in.”
I approached the car cautiously, all of Faye‘s dire warnings flashing through my mind.
“That‘s it,” Junior said like he was coaxing a stray dog.
He reached over and opened the door. Without taking my eyes off Junior, I slid into the passenger seat. I needed to get to Kizzy‘s but could I trust Junior? Granted, I liked the way he smelled and my nose doesn‘t lie. A guy who smelled like fresh laundry couldn‘t be all that bad…I hoped.
He glanced down at my feet. His eyes widened in surprise. He cursed furiously in Spanish. “God Almighty, girl, your feet are all bloody. What happened to your shoes? And where are you going in such a hurry?”
I explained about the flip flops and my need to get to Kizzy‘s house. He made a U turn.
Still leery of Junior, I screeched, “You‘re going the wrong way. Let me out!”
“Chill, Emerson. We gotta get your shoes. You gonna walk around like that with your feet all torn up?”
He shook his head sadly. “Women.”
The flip flops were still in the middle of the sidewalk where I‘d run out of them. I started to open the door but Junior held up a hand. “Don‘t be stupid.”
He retrieved the flip flops and handed them to me along with a towel he pulled from the back seat. “I can‘t believe you. Running barefoot through all that stuff. Are you crazy?”
He was right but I didn‘t need a lecture from too-handsome-for-his-own-good Junior Martinez, former gang member, teenage father and seducer of ninth grade girls. As we drove toward Kizzy‘s house, I turned and checked out the back seat.
I clucked my tongue in disapproval. “I don‘t see a government approved, child‘s safety seat installed in your car. I hope you don‘t drive around with your baby bouncing around the car like a helium balloon.”
Junior slammed on the brakes, jerked the wheel sideways and screeched to a halt at the side of the road. “What the hell you talkin‘ about? What baby? You think I‘ve got a kid?”
“Yeah, uh, well…” I stammered. “Manny Trujillo said he said you at the mall, pushing a baby in a stroller.”
“You thought it was mine?” Junior‘s eyes were a surprising shade of gray and filled with outrage.
Mortified, I stared at the floorboards. “It probably wasn‘t you.”
“It was me all right, with my sister‘s kid.”
I knew the car wouldn‘t move until the matter was settled.
“Really, Junior. I believe you,” I said.
“All right, then. Guess we got that cleared up. Anything else?”
Oh, just the little matter of you stabbing a rival gang member but no big deal.
A former teacher, coach and school counselor, Marilee lives in Washington State and writes full time. Her books include Castle Ladyslipper, a medieval romance, The Rock and Roll Queen of Bedlam, winner of the 2010 Booksellers Best award for romantic suspense, Moonstone, Moon Rise, Moon Spun, Shadow Moon, and Midnight Moon. Marilee is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Pacific Northwest Writers Association and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
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