When teenager Robyn looks up from snorkeling, she thinks she can see dolphins leaping in the distance. It is a beautiful place, a little beach just off beautiful Captiva Island, Florida. There are shells and wildlife. A swim across this natural, untamed beach is her one goal, the one plan she held on to through her whole, week-long vacation. It will be a wonderful, never-to-be forgotten experience, she is sure. And, Robyn's younger sister Rue is, like always, spoiling everything.
In a perfect piece of bad timing, a motorboat chugs up the beach, with a more than averagely cute guy preparing for a swim. Will his arrival makes things better or worse? Jump right in - the water is fine!
A ripple swept the still waters of the little bay off Captiva Island, and Robyn dipped her face into the water to peer below. The clear bay water allowed her a perfect view of her toes in the sand, but otherwise, the beach seemed empty. She straightened and glared at the boat.
“Why does everything have to start with an argument?” she asked.
Rue pretended not to hear her.
“Can't you give snorkeling a try?” Robyn pressed. She wouldn’t be permitted to snorkel around the little bay alone. She sighed. Sometimes she wished she could kick her younger sister.
She looked at her mother, hardly daring to hope. Her mother flipped rapidly through her magazine, her eyes glued to the shiny pages, letting each one slap loudly on the next. Neither her mother nor her aunt felt comfortable in the ocean. Her mother had not even wanted Robyn to start classes for her diver's certification card. Aunt Jean might have been wheedled into taking a dip, but she had dozed off in the sun.
Saddle Up, Sweetheart
What happened after their first kiss on New Years Eve?
The ‘L’s were restored, but romance keeps Lucky Lake from returning to normal. Natalie and Russ grow closer everyday, but while she looks out for their future, he only thinks of the ranch, which might close by the end of summer.
Russ's decision may be made for him. His father has given Natalie two weeks notice, placing her last day right after her birthday! Does Russ love her more than Lucky Lake? Will the loss of her job end their relationship forever?
“Russ, we need to talk about Natalie.” Tucker Kent, boss and patriarch at the Lucky Lake Ranch started the conversation. His voice carried through the open door and down the hall.
Natalie Coombs unfortunately arrived just in time. She had been searching the house for Russ and didn’t intend to snoop on a meeting between him and his father. It was wrong to spy, but hearing her name was a beacon. Life at Lucky Lake had been good to her, and falling in love with Russ Kent was an unexpected bonus.
Her mind said walk away, but her lungs withheld breath, her footsteps softened, and her tense muscles encouraged her to continue. Majority ruled. She stopped outside the office, out of sight.
“She’s done amazing work, Dad. The customers love her, she gets along with the staff…”
Russ’s enthusiastic voice caused her toes to curl in her tennis shoes. She pictured him, just taller than his father, with an intense smile. He was probably rolling up his sleeves preparing to sit down and—
Trick to Treat
Kimberlee R. Mendoza
Sarah Bradley has wanted to hang with the popular kids since her freshman year, and now she has the chance. All she has to do is survive a Halloween scavenger hunt with the "in" crowd. When the girls lock her in a haunted mansion, she feels the trick is on her. Then she meets Matt and begins to believe that maybe she got a treat after all. But what if "love" is part of the game?
Sarah Bradley stepped from her mother’s silver Mercedes and stared at the group of girls leaning against the brick wall. The popular group she’d been trying to befriend since the ninth grade had finally given her a chance. Why they’d had a problem with her, she didn’t understand. She didn’t think she was bad looking. Her family was rich, she wore all the right clothes and yet, breaking into the “club” had been almost impossible until now. She had her shot if she could get through tonight. Whatever that meant. Her palms were moist and her heart thundered in her chest. A familiar emotion whenever they were around.
Sarah’s mother beeped the horn, then drove out of the school parking lot and out of sight.
The “queen-bee” of the popular-girls, Alexis—a tall, blonde worshiped by all—strutted up to Sarah with a pasted smile. She wore a playboy bunny costume flanked by Jane, a Korean dressed in a cat suit.
Spinning the Baiji
Lin Li has no memory of a time before she loved SunLee. He is an old-fashioned sort of man, practicing tai chi and communing with the river creatures as in times of old. She knows he is promised to another, still, she secretly shares his dawns. She wishes to stop time and stay forever on the leaf-spattered trail where their lives entwine.
The day approaches when the mighty Yangtze River’s current will still, and the finest things in her life must end. Her love for SunLee, like the unimaginable beauty of the Yangtze lotus, will fall away to no more than myth. Sorrow brings her the last of the baiji. The magic of the white river dolphin offers her a lyrical world of love, but perhaps, not her one love...
A hand grasped her own. She looked up to meet the sharp gaze of SunLee. He drew her toward him. Her long hair floated out free all around her, a dark halo hiding her body beneath the surface.
Very slowly, he chanted, “White crane sings to the baiji. Tell me, baiji of dreams, stay you here in this world, in this form?” His wide eyes and hushed tone betrayed his fear.
As if a cold wave had touched her face, Lin shook her head and snatched her hand away. “I, Liu Lin have lived in the same village as my fathers, and as your fathers, all of my life. Do you not even recognize a neighbor? Do you think I am a spirit from some far shore?”
The tall man squatted there on the edge of the sandbar. He studied her carefully. Finally, he nodded. “Lin,” he said clearly. “My morning companion.”
“Neighbor, yes,” he agreed in tones both soft and deep, “and more. I know you. You stood high on the cliff, reaching out, the dawn I saw the young baiji, yet the foreigners saw only a porpoise. That young baiji I left here in these shallows. They damaged his fin, and he cannot hunt. I have been bringing him fish.”
Oh, ah. She could hardly blame him for imagining her something mystical, with her long hair floating out wide around her, and the rest of her floating, her creamy flesh no doubt standing out in the dark water and…