It’s been two years since my YA novel I’m With You came out, and though I hope to have my next YA/Fantasy novel out soon, I feel like I haven’t shared anything about my next project other than some vague comments. So, here’s an excerpt from the MS in its current state – obviously, since I’m querying and going through the next phases, nothing is set in stone and it is subject to change.
Not providing any context, though. Enjoy this little glimpse!
“Okay.” I draw a deep breath and stand. “Let’s go.”
Vigo grins, but Lark’s mouth falls open. “You can’t be serious, Evie!” she shrieks, following me out of the room and down the hall. Vigo pads along behind us, his claws clicking on the hardwood. “You can’t go off to some other world—the otter just said it’s dangerous!”
“Which is why I can’t leave Becca there.” I throw the door to my bedroom open. Vigo scampers between my legs while I dump the contents of my schoolbag on my bed and start dashing between my bedroom and bathroom, grabbing whatever items might be useful on an expedition to another world. Somehow, I doubt I’ll need my hairdryer…
“But…but…” Lark watches as I fling drawers open, yanking clothes out and chucking them in the direction of my bed, though most miss the mark. “You wouldn’t even go camping with Reo and me when we were kids! This is like, a thousand times riskier!”
“Far greater than that, I would wager,” Vigo says, which is comforting.
Lark sticks her chin out. “Then I’m coming too.”
Vigo grimaces. “I cannot allow it, Miss Lark. Otherworlders are mistrusted where I come from—even more than mages. The fewer who pass through the portal, the better.”
Lark grants him a death glare that sends him scuttling beneath my desk.
“But… how am I going to know if you’re okay?” Lark’s tough-girl façade begins to crack, revealing genuine concern. “You can barely navigate your way around a mall!”
In my defense, it was only one time, and Victoria’s Secret was difficult to find.
“Lark, what choice do I have? Becca is my sister!” Storming emotions rattle my voice, but my resolve is galvanized. I shove some toiletries into my bag, which is now so bloated I doubt I’ll be able to carry it for long. “Besides—it’s my fault she got taken in the first place.”
“Evie, this is ridiculous! You can’t do this by yourself. What if you need help?”
“I’ll call if I get into trouble, Lark.”
“You think you’re going to have reception in an alternate world?”
Vigo emerges from his safe haven. “I will ensure that Evie is able to contact you. I have never attempted inter-world magic, but a sertio spell should work.”
“A serti-what?” Lark asks.
“A communication spell,” Vigo elaborates, as though the answer is obvious. “Quite simple. Even a novice can perform one.”
“Yeah, Lark. Even a novice can perform one.” My pitiful attempt at humor inspires no laughs.
“But…” Lark’s insistence flounders. “But…”
I take a break from my frantic packing to place firm hands on Lark’s shoulders. If the roles were reversed, and she was the one barreling down some unknown and unsafe path, I’d feel the same way. Although, I’m not sure she’d even attempt to save Reo from otherworldly peril.
“Lark, you need to trust me. Please.”
She stares at me, hard, determining whether or not to believe my bravado. After a moment of strained silence, her shoulders sag. I must look more confident than I feel.
“Fine, I get it—but swear to me, Princess.” Lark’s voice is steel. “The next time you go off on an adventure to another world, I get to come along.”
“Deal,” I agree, only because I assume one “adventure” will last me a lifetime.
Her eyes narrow. “Swear it.”
“Swear it on Lea Salonga’s voice!”
I raise one hand. “I swear on Lea Salonga’s voice.”
“Good.” She sticks her nose in the air. “You have my blessing.”
I throw my arms around her, and she squeezes me with an urgency that nearly brings me to tears, partly because she’s crushing my spleen.
“Cover for me?” At least with fall break, we don’t have to worry about school for the time being. This little sojourn to another world likely won’t qualify as an excused absence in the eyes of school administration.
“Give me some credit, Evie.” Lark snorts. “What are best friends for?”
“I mean it, Lark—you can’t tell anybody. Especially not Reo.”
“Oh, please. Reo is the last person I’d tell. I’ll cook up a story, don’t worry.”
It’s reassuring to know that I can always depend on Lark, no matter how absurd the request is. This one has definitely rocketed to number one on the top ten list, and I doubt anything will ever top it.
Thanks for reading!