All Three Books in One
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Book One
Available FREE (ebook) at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Apple iTunes
Smashwords

Book Two
Available at
:
Amazon
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Apple iTunes
Smashwords

Book Three
Available at:
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Apple iTunes
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Sample Chapters

A Cure for Chaos (Book Two)

by Alan Tucker, ©2011

Chapter One

“Jen, how do you do it?”

Jenni leaned against her open locker door and watched the receding back of Ty Harrison move down the crowded hallway. She had to admit it was a lovely back to watch.

“Tell me,” Rissa insisted behind her. “How do you do it?”

Snatched from her reverie, Jenni turned to her — compatriot? acquaintance? hanger-on? — “friend” definitely didn’t seem the right word to describe Marissa Cowan.

“Do what?” Jenni asked.

Rissa looked at her in disbelief. “Turn down all these amazing guys that ask you out! You’re a freshman, and you just had the star of the soccer team — who’s a junior I might add — ask you to the Sweetheart Dance on Friday. And you told him, ‘No’. How do you do that?”

Being beautiful and popular was nice, but being beautiful, popular and a shapeshifter was a lot more complicated than Jenni had thought it would be.

“My, uh, foster parents, won’t let me date yet.” Jenni paused to check herself in the mirror hanging inside the door of her locker. Her shoulder length blonde hair seemed stable — as did her perfect nose, model-quality cheeks and the not-quite-Angelina-Jolie lips she had fashioned for herself. She tended to lose focus when under stress, and between rejecting Ty’s advance and being interrogated by Rissa, Jenni was beginning to feel stressed. The last thing she needed was to lose her shape in front of everyone at school.

“I suppose having a hottie exchange student around 24/7 makes it easier, but come on, girl! You’re not going to do much better than Ty in this lifetime.”

Jenni had to giggle to herself. It had taken just over a week for Crank to complete his transformation after they had returned to Earth. He had topped out at five foot ten, a far cry from the foot and a half he was when Jenni had first seen him — what? Nine months ago? So much had happened to them it seemed like much longer. He had kept his blonde hair, but it had become softer and curly. Jenni had eventually convinced him to shave his beard to fit in better, but he hadn’t been happy about it. His body was strong and athletic, though he was still adjusting to the huge difference in size. He had also kept his kind, blue eyes. Jenni smiled thinking of them.

Crank, or Frank as he was known at school, had adapted well to his new world. He learned how to read and write with similar speed as he’d picked up English when he and Jenni had first met. They had enrolled him as a foreign exchange student from Finland. It was a stretch, but helped account for his occasional odd turn of phrase and unusual mannerisms.

The bell rang, accompanied by a grunt from Rissa. “I’m gonna be late! See you later Jen.”

Jenni waved and nabbed a notebook from her locker.

“Oh, I’m glad I caught you!” Mrs. Wrightson, one of the school counselors, said from behind Jenni.

Jenni closed her locker and turned to face Mrs. Wrightson. A girl stepped out from behind the counselor and Jenni’s heart tried to climb out her throat.

“Jen, this is Alisha Hester. She’s just joined us here at Lewis High and I thought you might show her around.” A look of concern flashed across Mrs. Wrightson’s narrow face. “Jen, are you all right? You look like you saw a ghost!”

Alisha smirked and Jenni forced herself to relax. She hoped she hadn’t let any of her features slip.

“No,” she said after exhaling slowly. “I’m fine. But I have to get to English —”

Mrs. Wrightson presented her a slip of paper. “Here’s a hall pass and I’ll let Mr. Feller know where you’re at.”

“Um, okay. Thanks.” Jenni took the hall pass and stared at Alisha as Mrs. Wrightson hurried off. Alisha hadn’t changed — unless someone could become more perfect. Her blonde hair curled in ringlets over her shoulders and framed her delicate neck. Alisha’s designer top and jeans accentuated every curve flawlessly, and pedicured toes peeked out from her Italian pumps.

“Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”

Jenni blinked. “Sorry. So, um, are you new to town?”

Alisha laughed. “You’ve done all right for yourself, Kershaw.”

Blood rushed to Jenni’s face. “W-what do you —?”

“I mean you still need some major help in the fashion department. Who would wear those shoes with that outfit? But, everything else is a definite improvement.”

Jenni was speechless. Her carefully constructed world was crashing down before her eyes.

“Oh, don’t worry,” Alisha continued, “your secret is safe with me. It took me months of work to get back to a normal life. I’m not going to throw it away by blowing the whistle on you.”

“I don’t understand.”

Alisha leaned in close. “After I ran away from Brandon and the others, I was taken into custody by the Army. It took me forever to find someone who could get me released. I just want my life back.”

Jenni considered this. “So, you’re okay with me being here … like this?”

Alisha flashed a smile. “Yeah, we’re cool, Kershaw. Now, why don’t you show me around this dump?”

Jenni giggled. “Sure.” She had to admit it would be nice to have someone to talk to who knew. Even if it was Alisha. Mr. Kain and the others had brought Sara for a visit on Halloween, and she and Jenni had a great time catching up. Just to sit and be able to talk about everything and nothing in particular with her had been so nice — but that had been months ago. Jenni had Crank, of course, but he was a boy. It just wasn’t the same.

She replaced her notebook in her locker and they wandered the halls of the school.

“So tell me,” Jenni asked. “What gave me away?”

“Well, when the counselor told me ‘Jen Kershaw’ was going to show me around, I was kinda expecting it.”

Jenni laughed. “I actually have a cousin on my Dad’s side whose name is Genevieve. So we came up with this story that she, came to live with my parents for a while. Since our names are similar, it made it easy not to mess up when someone shouts my name from across the room.”

“Ah, that makes sense.”

“Yeah. Crank was a little tougher to fit in but —”

“Wait. Crank is here?”

Jenni nodded. “He started to change when we were here, chasing you guys. Then, after everything was over, he came back with me and finished turning human.”

“You followed Brandon and Mrs. Minch back to Mother?”

Jenni shuddered, recalling memories. “When I finally got back, Seren’naie was destroyed and Mogritas’ army had launched some of the barrels of waste … I was able to clean it up — make it harmless — but it almost killed me.”

“Wow. So what did Mogritas do then?”

“Actually, Mrs. Minch finally realized he was just using her and she fought him off with a bunch of the elemental spirits. Mogritas ran away, but Mrs. Minch died in the fight.”

Alisha’s eyebrows rose, but she didn’t reply.

Then Jenni asked, “Why did you guys do it anyway?”

Alisha shrugged. “It seemed like the only way to get home.”

They turned a corner and entered a long hallway with a glass wall on their left. A central courtyard, covered in a light blanket of snow lay beyond. A weak February sun did its best to penetrate a layer of misty gray clouds. Farther down the hall, the smells of what passed for lunch at the school drifted their way.

“Over there,” Jenni said, “is the site of many attempted murders: the cafeteria.”

Alisha giggled briefly. “School lunches were one thing I didn’t miss.”

“Down here,” Jenni pointed to the right, “is the gym.”

Red, pink and white streamers adorned railings and sports equipment all through the gymnasium in preparation for the dance on Friday. Jenni thought again about Ty and whether she might be able to trust herself on a date.

A sharp sting on her neck interrupted her. She reached up and felt a small object protruding from her skin. She plucked it out and saw it was a tiny dart with red feathers.

The world tilted and Jenni found herself on the hardwood floor. Dimly she saw several men in suits and dark glasses running toward her.

Darkness.

 

Chapter Two is here.