I’m going to do something I’m a little nervous about. I’m posting an excerpt from my second draft of the super secret WIP. This one comes with a disclaimer. Everything is subject to change, including character personalities, names, plots, and sentences. This scene may very well end up on the cutting room floor, especially since my agent hasn’t even seen it yet. But for now, here is a short taste from the middle of chapter 1.
A little set up, in the previous scene my protagonist caught her dad selling something to rebellious high-school student Kayla. My protagonist expects the worst, but doesn’t have proof. Her geeky sister was there too and seemed to be in on the whole thing. Feeling like her entire world turned upside down and desperate to get some answers, she follows Kayla into the woods.
| I didn’t glance back, just charged for the opening in the trees Kayla disappeared into. The branches scraped against my shoulders and tried to pin me down like football linebackers. When I cleared the entrance, I knew Dad would need hedge clippers to force his broad shoulders through the tight squeeze. When my sister didn’t pass through after a few seconds, I realized she wasn’t going to, probably engaging in damage control pow wow with Dad.
The crunching of feet up ahead of me announced that Kayla kept weaving through the thick brush. It seemed like such an inefficient route to take, harder than the road but more secretive. That seemed to be the essence of her. What would it be like to always take the crooked road?
When I cleared the next set of trees, I paused in a spacious clearing, my heart pounding in my chest. I tried to control my breathing so I could hear Kayla’s footsteps. Silence. My dad didn’t follow and Kayla didn’t wait for me. Disappointment washed over me, and I was hyper aware of how quickly things changed.
“Psst. Over here.”
I twirled around, searching. Trees blurred by me, velocity streaking their solid forms.
Kayla lowered herself from a branch of a tree, her arms extended like a monkey’s. She held her weight there for a few seconds, swinging back and forth to gain momentum before letting go and launching herself into a single somersault and landing a perfect dismount.
She stepped toward me, her icy blue eyes piercing mine, like she was trying to figure me out and all her previous assumptions were now wrong. “Isn’t it past your curfew?”
I didn’t want to tell her I didn’t have a curfew. Curfews implied parents didn’t trust their kids, and mine knew if I stayed out late, it was because my best friend Di and I had stumbled upon a High School Musical marathon, not because I was doing…something like this.
“I think I’ve just been granted diplomatic immunity. Based on the information I now have.”
“Blackmail. The best way to get ahead!” She glanced at her watch and let out an exasperated sigh. “I’m freaking late.” Kayla changed directions and headed through a small path of trees. She didn’t pause as she called back, “You coming?”