|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.47(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By Kaylyn Gabbert
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2015 Kaylyn Gabbert
All rights reserved.
"I'm going to tell the school I'm a boy," Mitzi announced as we reached our dorm.
"Hon, we've been going here forever. They know you're a girl." I laughed as I slid my messenger bag off my shoulder and dropped it on my bed.
"Nope! I'm a boy!"
I laughed and looked at her disbelieving. "And you've been hiding it this whole time?! From me?! Um ... why would you NOT tell me?! I'm your best friend!"
"Well, I had to keep it a secret! I'm sorry!"
There was a knock on our door, and I got it immediately. It was Fang, one of our best friends.
"What's up?" he greeted.
I smiled letting him in. "Not much. Mitzi was just telling me how she's a boy."
He looked confused then laughed. "What?"
Mitzi looked at us straight faced. "It's true."
"Okay," I said going along with it. "So why did you decide now to tell us and the school?"
"Have you seen the new skirts?! They've gotten shorter since last year! I swear!"
I rolled my eyes and tuned them out as I got my work out of my bag.
So my name's Angel, and me and friends go to a private school for the more than human. We've been here forever. Or since we were five. See, none of us are human. Mitzi's an angel, Fang's a werewolf, and I'm a music nymph. We're supposed to be learning to control our powers and well, normal human stuff. We have to blend in or some shit. Not my preference but whatever.
"Angel!" both my friends called out loudly.
"You were right, Mitzi. She was daydreaming as usual."
Mitzi was smiling triumphantly.
"What were you saying?"
"There's this guy I think you should meet."
"His name's Stryker. He totally seems like your type."
I was confused. Did I even have a type?
"I-I have a type?"
Mitzi nodded biting back laughter.
"Just say you'll meet him."
I smiled. "Okay."
Fang, Mitzi, and I went out to dinner at a nearby Panda Express. We were in our normal day clothes. I was wearing ripped drawn on jeans from Hot Topic, a loose black top with a purple fairy on it, and a light blue plaid button up shirt that I left open. I was wearing fingerless gloves that were mainly black but on the back had hot pink stripes with animal shaped wristbands and two silver bracelets my dad gave me for strength. I had my golden hair was clipped up, I had two necklaces hanging from my neck; one with a decorative heart-shaped lock on it and a loose fitting chain with spikes on it, and I was wearing athletic looking formal shoes.
I loved when we were able to wear normal clothes. It showed our individuality.
We were sitting in a booth, and as all of us were talking and eating I saw this guy for a second and I felt like I really needed to get to know him. He was beautiful. Bleached blond hair. Amazing brown eyes.
Mitzi caught me staring.
"Oh Angel, you want to meet Stryker? Hey Stryker! Over here!" she called before I could answer.
The beautiful boy walked over and slipped in beside Mitzi.
I blushed at the sound of his voice. "Hey, I'm Angel. Nice to meet you," I said extending a hand toward him.
I thought I saw him blush, but it disappeared too quickly, if it was an actual blush.
After dinner, I headed straight back to my dorm. Fang and Mitzi went to hang more. Stryker had some things to do, so he left while we were at the restaurant. I had my music as loud as possible. I was homesick which was kind of odd because my home was less than to be desired.
My dad was an honorable man, and I loved him. Had no issues with him. His wife, aka my biological mom wasn't so kind to me. She'd verbally abuse me, and when she could get away with it she'd beat me.
I lived at my private school, but we were allowed to go home for holidays and such. School was my safe haven, but I hadn't talked to Dad in a while.
I felt someone tap my shoulder. I spun around after pulling my bulky headphones around my neck. Stryker was standing there smiling.
"Hey," I greeted smiling back.
"Hey. Heading back to the dorms?"
"Mind if I walk with you?"
"Not at all." I smiled at him.
"So what were you thinking about?"
"Just about my dad. I was thinking of calling him tonight. I miss him."
"What's he like?"
"He's an amazing, honorable man," I replied beaming.
"When's the last time you saw him?"
I started fidgeting with the bracelets my dad had given me as I replied, "I saw him about a year and a half ago."
"Why so long ago?"
I kept playing with the bracelets. "I-I'm scared t-to go home ..."
"Why would you be afraid to go home?"
I bit my lip. "I-it's nothing ..."
Stryker took hold of my arm causing me to stop. I looked at him, a little shocked. His eyes were full of concern.
He repeated, "Why are you afraid to go home?"
I felt compelled to answer and before I could stop myself I replied, "I g-get abused a-at home ..."
"B-by your dad?"
"N-no ... My mom."
"What's your mom do to you?"
"I'll tell you when we're somewhere private ..."CHAPTER 2
I was cuddled in Stryker's arms half asleep when Mitzi and Fang walked in.
"What's going on here, Ange?" Fang asked.
I rubbed my eyes sleepily. I couldn't really wake up though.
"I was just comforting her."
"Why? Twin, what's wrong?"
I mumbled, "It's nothing ... I'm fine ..."
Twin sat on in front of Stryker and me. She looked concerned. That's the last thing I remember before I fell asleep.
I woke up tucked into my bed. I heard Mitzi at her desk working on something. I sat up sleepily.
"Hey Mitzi, what's up?"
"Just doing homework. What was wrong earlier, Twin?"
"Why won't you tell me what's going on?"
"It's nothing. Where's Stryker?" I asked.
"He went back to his room, but he wrote his number down for you. He really wanted to talk to you when you got up. He's really worried about you. Twin, please tell me why he's worried about you. He offered to tell me, but I want to hear it from you."
"I just miss my dad ..."
"Twin," Mitzi said attentively.
"I haven't seen Dad in a year and a half."
"Why?! You love your dad."
"Moma-abuses me ... e-everytime I-I goh-home ..."
Mitzi rushed over to me and hugged me tight.
"Why didn't you tell us?"
"I was embarrassed and thought I deserved it. I haven't told Dad ..."
"Why Twin?! You shouldn't get hurt at home especially with how little we actually go home."
"What if it makes things worse?"
"It won't. Your dad will protect you."
I looked at my phone. I had a half hour till my next class.
"Gotta get ready, Twin."
She let go and frowned at me.
As I was on my way to class, I saw Fang. I wanted to apologize for falling asleep on him. He looked really pissed though. I walked over to him.
He glared at me. "Why didn't you tell me?!"
"Tell you what?"
"That your mom abuses you?" he said in a questioning way.
I immediately looked down feeling really uncomfortable. "W-who told you?"
"Stryker did. Angel, look at me." I looked up cautiously, eyes watering. "Why'd you tell him before you told me?"
I kept quiet biting my lip nervously and blinking away tears.
"I just want to protect you, Ange."
"I-I was just scared ... I-I guess. S-sorry ... I-I have to go to cl-class."
"Ange, will you be okay in your class?"
A few tears fell down my face, and Fang pulled me into a hug.
"I-I" I mumbled, "should be fine."
"You can be a few minutes late. It wouldn't kill you."
It took me about fifteen minutes to calm down then Fang walked me to class. Mr. Martin didn't mind. He took my homework then gave me a study guide. My eyes flickered over it. I knew most of the information on it. I went to my desk as soon as I scanned the study guide.
While I was filling out the study guide for my upcoming English test Mr. Martin walked over to me.
"Hey Angel, Ms. Clearwater wanted you to stay after class today, so I can see how your powers are coming in," he whispered.
Ms. Clearwater was the principal.
I nodded. My powers had barely been coming in and there was talk that if my powers didn't start coming in soon I'd be kicked out of the school.
After class everyone but me left.
Mr. Martin explained, "Ms. Clearwater wants to be here for your test since we don't actually know that much about what Music Nymphs can do."
There were very few music nymphs that went to this school. For the most part music nymphs wanted to keep to themselves in our hidden world, and no one quite knew why.
Ms. Clearwater cleared her throat. I turned my attention toward her. She was a plump woman with long straight ebony hair. She was one of the kindest principals in existence.
"Hey M-Ms. Clearwater," I stuttered. "I'm r-ready for my test."
"There's no reason to be scared, Ms. Angel. I'm sure you'll do fine," she assured. "Now do you have your music device on you?"
"I want you to-"
Something caught my eye. Like someone was outside. My eyes flicked over to the dark outside. I swear I saw a woman a little older than me out there watching us.
Maybe it was my imagination or another student.
"Where's your head at?"
"I'm sorry, ma'am. It won't happen again."
She looked unsure for a second before speaking again. "I want you to plug yourself into your favorite song on that device then I want you to concentrate on the drums, guitar, bass, or vocals; whatever's your favorite, and I want you to try to attack the white board with it. Do you understand?"
I nodded then I plugged myself into 'Given Up' by Linkin Park. In that song, I loved the vocals the best, it was the strongest, but I had to wait till a certain part before I could concentrate on trying to destroy the whiteboard. I waited for two minutes in then opened my mouth to scream like the singer. The attack, if that's what you can call it, didn't work. At two minutes thirteen seconds, still didn't work. But then at two minutes twenty-six seconds I let out a scream like a banshee at the whiteboard. I couldn't close my jaw until two minutes and forty-four seconds. Then I opened my eyes to see I had blown through about three solid walls.
I cautiously looked at Ms. Clearwater, scared she'd kick me out for all the damage I had just done.
She looked at me and smiled. "Congrats, Ms. Angel. Your powers have come in."CHAPTER 3
I had texted Stryker apologizing for falling asleep on him like that before pocketing my phone and turning on 'Face Down in the Dirt' by Motley Crue. I was rocking out to it while walking back to my dorm. Then someone wrapped a hand over my mouth and dragged me behind a wall before letting me go.
A small voice begged, "Please don't scream."
I blinked a few times before turning off my Zune. I then looked at the woman I thought I had seen earlier. Her hair was flaming red, her eyes were emerald green. She was super skinny, small boobed. She was dressed in all black. Black baggy Tripp pant, a tight fitting cami. She had steel-toed boots and black fingerless gloves on. Honestly, she looked badass if her eyes didn't show concern and fear blatantly.
She asked, "What's your name?" in the softest voice I'd ever heard.
That was not the voice I was expecting from her. I'd been expecting a stronger, more confident voice.
"My name's Angel, and what's your name?"
"I'm Cassandra ... Angel, don't take this the wrong way, but your life's in danger."
I raised an eyebrow. "Um ... how exactly am I supposed to take that?"
"I saw your powers. You're a music nymph."
I nodded very much confused on how to handle the situation.
"Oh no. They'll definitely be after you."
"Head Hunters ..."
"And those are ...?" I prodded leaning against the brick wall behind me.
"Do you know how people kill tigers for their pelt?"
I nodded not liking where this was going.
"And how people kill elephants for their tusks?"
"Well there are people who kill angels for their wings, werewolves for their pelts, and music nymphs for their blood ..." she began to explain.
I stared at her disbelieving.
"Well ... They kill any were-creature for their pelt..."
I opened my mouth to ask a question, but nothing came out.
Cassandra looked at my expression.
"You'd be one of the ones who are in the most danger though ..."
"Why would that be?"
"Because music nymphs are almost extinct."
I had to clench my jaws together to keep myself from screaming "What?!" too loud. Once I could control my volume a bit more I also asked, "How?"
"The Head Hunters have almost killed them all- us all off."
I had to concentrate on keeping my voice down before asking, "Why would they almost kill music nymphs off?"
"Our blood's pretty powerful. It could basically-"Her voice cut off.
I kept my eyes on her expression as I saw her eyes widen in fear.
"Shit! They're here!" she hissed out.
"Who? The "Head Hunters"?" I asked as my heart rate spiked in fear.
She held a finger to her ruby red lips as she closed her eyes for a second. After what seemed like an eternity she let out a sigh of relief.
"They can't come onto the campus. It's like it's protected."
"What are you talking about? How'd you know there were enemies nearby? Would you please explain something to me?"
She looked at me. "I'm sorry. Is there a place where we could talk that's not out in the open?"
"We could talk at the library. It's opened all night."
"Where is it?"
"Between here and my dorm."
"Okay lead the way," she said before grabbing my hand like she was scared.
I led her to the library where Mrs. Lee looked at Cassandra and me curiously before looking back down at her book.
Mrs. Lee was the librarian, and because I was such a bookworm Mrs. Lee and I were like friends as much as staff and students could be at least.
I led Cassandra to private-ish table in the back of the front room. Cassandra tightened her grip on my hand.
"A-are you okay, Cassandra?" I asked.
"No. I'm scared ..."
"Okay ...? Of what? I thought you said we were safe on this campus."
"C-can we sit down, please?" she begged looking at me with pleading eyes.
The way she was looking at me I almost thought I was older than her for a second.
I nodded and pulled out a chair for her. She collapsed into the chair immediately with my hand still in a vice like grip. I kicked out a chair for me and sat in front of her.
"Okay, Cassandra, what's going on?"
"W-where do I start?"
"The beginning would be nice," I offered.
Cassandra nodded then took a deep breath before starting.
She told me how she was part of a small family of music nymphs. She had a father, a mother, a little sister, and a little brother. They were a close family, and none of the kids in the family were allowed to go to the private school because music nymphs were endangered. Her mom had taught the kids to look out for other music nymphs. Because Cassandra was the oldest kid her dad had showed her this school then told her the horror story of the Head Hunters.
Head Hunters were like poachers to the supernatural creatures; killing creatures for their pelt or something else.
Her father had explained to her how Ms. Clearwater had put a protective barrier around the school to keep the students and everyone at the school safe from danger. None of the students knew though, so her dad told her.
Recently, the Head Hunters had found out where her family lived, and they had attacked her family. Her dad had went to protect his son, while the mom went to keep Cassandra and her sister safe. They had protected themselves well that night, but after the attack Cassandra's mom, Taralyn, had told Cassandra it was time to protect other music nymphs. Taralyn had sent Cassandra to protect me in case the Head Hunters had found a way onto the campus.
She paused to take a breath after explaining how she found me.
I took an unopened Sunkist Orange soda and handed it to her. She cracked it open and gulped like half of it down easily before placing the bottle on the table.
I half smiled. "No problem. So can I ask a question?"
She nodded as she picked up the soda and downed the rest.
"Why- how did your mom know who I was?" I decided to start with.
"Oh, my mom's friends with your dad. So after the attack my mom was worried about you. She'd called your dad casually and asked him if he'd heard from you, and when he said no she sent me to check on you." She paused then asked, "Do you mind if I call my mom to check in?"
I shook my head.
She called her mom on a blood red cell. "Hey Mom ... I found Angel... She's fine. Her powers just kicked in ... Are you sure you want that? ... Okay ... I love you, too, Mom. Bye."
She hung up then looked up at me. "Hey ... c-can I st-stay w-with you t-tonight?"
"We're going to have to asked Mitzi, my roommate and best friend, but I'm sure it'll be alright."CHAPTER 4
"Hey Mitzi, can Cassandra stay the night?"
Mitzi looked confused. "Um ... is she like another student here?"
Cassandra piped up in her soft voice, "N-no ... I'm homeschooled. I just ran into Angel."
"Well ... Okay, I guess you can stay."
Mitzi seemed really unsure.
"What's wrong, Mitzi?" I asked as I set up a bed on the floor.
"I just don't understand why she's here. Do you trust her, Twin?" Mitzi whispered.
"Yeah," I whispered in reply.
"Cassandra, you can sleep on the bed; I'll sleep on the floor."
"C-can I-I pl-please-?"
I walked over to her.
"What was that?"
Excerpted from Head Hunters by Kaylyn Gabbert. Copyright © 2015 Kaylyn Gabbert. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.