Series: Spirit Warriors #1
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, & Young Adult
Published: November 24th, 2013 by BookTrope
Sixteen-year-old Emme Belrose has it all: four best friends, a horse of her own, a hidden tepee hangout, and a blossoming romance with tall and handsome Charlie. These friends also have a secret. They can move their spirits into animal bodies: an osprey, a mustang, a grizzly, a mountain lion and a coyote. But when Charlie, who has a gift for seeing the future, has a vision of Emme drowning in the icy Yellowstone River, the Spirit Warriors must train their animal bodies to kill an enemy they know is coming… but know nothing about. Suspenseful, romantic, and awash in Native American magic, Spirit Warriors captures the tragic enchantment of the American West—and confirms the power of friendship.
EXCERPT from The Concealing by D.E.L Connor
We all talked about the prom and decided that I would ask Mr. Martin “theoretically” if same-sex couples could attend the prom, since I was the only one who had him for a class, and he was the teacher in charge of the prom. The next day, Mr. Martin was talking about the plans for the prom and I raised my hand and asked him if a same-sex couple could attend the prom. Mr. Martin looked at me. “No same-sex students may come together as a date. They can come stag, but not together.”
Lizzie snickered behind me. “Always knew you were a lesbo,” she mocked. I ignored her then, and later, I ignored her and Lilly’s bully brother Joe when they came behind me and laughed about me being a “fag.”
“Hey, is Lilly your dyke girlfriend?” Joe taunted. I kept walking.
That night in Bets’s basement, we talked about how to handle the prom. Ollie and Raymond were devastated that they couldn’t attend the prom together. Lilly looked up and said, “I have an idea, a brilliant idea at that! What if all seven of us wore tuxes to the prom? We could each wear a different color of shirt and that way Ollie and Raymond could be together and no one would know.” We all joined in telling Lilly it was a wonderful idea. Bets was initially sad that she couldn’t wear a dress, but we reminded her that we had next year to wear a dress.
We talked to our parents about wanting to wear tuxes, and while they weren’t excited about it, they said it was okay. We didn’t tell them about Ollie and Raymond.
Ollie told his parents. His mother gave him the standard talk about how this is a hard thing to see your son being different from what they had planned for him. But while they weren’t crazy about it, and his Dad felt he would “grow out of it,” they weren’t wildly angry or bitter. We were all thankful for that. Ollie was our friend and we didn’t care who he dated.
We planned the colors and flowers we would wear. Lilly chose a pink shirt, Ollie would wear a red shirt, and Raymond would be in black. Bets would be in green, Jack would be in turquoise, I would be in navy, and Charlie would be in white. We all planned to wear white lilies.
The people who worked at the tuxedo shop thought we were all crazy. They charged us extra to fit the suits for us girls. I told them that was asinine, but they were the only business in town, and we were forced to do business with them. Nana paid for our lilies. We were excited about prom, and as May loomed, prom was only a week away.
The day of prom, Lilly, Bets and I went to have our hair done. Nana came with us and we all had a manicure and pedicure. We laughed over the smallest of things. Lilly’s wild choice of “smoking hot red” nails. Bets’s choice of leopard print toenails. Go figure on that one. Me, I liked the plain simple just pink. Boring, but me.
Nana joked that the only reason I agreed to wear a tux was so I could wear a sports bra. We all laughed at that. “So true, Nana,” I said. Bets didn’t think I needed to wear a bra at all and we all started giggling again.
“Well, you and Lilly definitely need one, and I don’t need them, they would just get in my way!” I smiled.
Lilly impishly looked at me. “Well, Charlie seems to like that you are a member of the tiny titty committee.”
“Just saying,” she chirped. I looked down, knowing my ears and face were bright red.
Nana laughed the hardest. “It’s not what’s on the outside that matters, girls, although I must admit it helps.”
That night Uncle Zach rented us a limousine. We had never seen one before, and he seemed proud to show us what all the limousine has to offer. We went to each house and took pictures with each set of parents, except for Lilly’s. She took pictures with each family, and her smile was infectious. My dad was upset that his daughter “dressed like a boy.” He got over it, though, and we took a picture with us and Ben and Lilly.
When we arrived at prom, the limo driver opened the door and we got out one at a time. Everyone stopped to look at us. Before long, we had a crowd looking at the limo and talking to us about our tuxes. We walked hand in hand into the prom. I was between Charlie and Jack, Bets was on the other side of Charlie, and Lilly was on the other side of Jack next to Ollie and Raymond. We stopped and took pictures, all of us together, arms draped over each other. For that one moment in time with our arms all intertwined, I felt truly happy. I didn’t care about the future or what would happen. It was just all of us, with Charlie’s arm around my waist drawing me close to him. I looked over at Lilly and she winked at me. I didn’t want this night to ever end.
The seven of us danced as a group and then individually with each other. As the night wore on, someone yelled for Jack to come play guitar. Jack and Charlie decided to play Ben’s “Friends” song with Raymond singing the words Lilly wrote. While they played it acoustically and Raymond sang, the other kids just swayed to the music with their arms up in the air. We yelled encore, but they were through for the evening.
Charlie came to me and wrapped his arms around me, and we danced off. I loved everything about him: his smell, his strength, and his kindness. He breathed in my ear and I whispered in his ear, “Charlie, when will we ever be together?” I blushed when I said it.
“We are together now, Em.”
I swatted him. “You know what I mean.”
“Patience, my beauty, patience,” Charlie breathed. “Everything must happen as it is destined.” I stopped dancing.
“Seriously, we have to ask the spirits if we can be together?”
“Not exactly like that, Em, but something similar.” He looked in my eyes. “Em, you have to trust me. My whole and only purpose in life is to protect you. I cannot screw that up.” I looked into his eyes, and I finally realized how it must feel to be put on this earth only to protect someone else. Charlie would never have a destiny that was different from mine. He would never have a life that was centered on what he wanted to do. He would never live his life with abandon or freedom. As if sensing my thoughts, Charlie smiled and drew me closer and swayed to the music. He whispered in my ear, “My sweet flower, long after this life is over, I will still love you and protect you.”
Lilly floated by with Ollie and Raymond and demanded a cut. As Lilly and Charlie danced off, I heard her asking Charlie if we were ever going to have sex or if I was going to die a virgin. Leave it to Lilly!
Jack wandered up and we started dancing. “You smell nice,” I said, and then cringed. What a weird thing to say, as if he didn’t always smell nice.
He laughed. “Just good old soap and deodorant. What do you think Charlie and Lilly are talking about?”
“Beats me,” I answered, blushing. Jack looked at me strangely and then changed the subject and pointed to Ollie and Raymond. “I’m glad we did this for them,” he said.
“Me too,” I whispered.
Della was born in South Dakota and raised in the vastness and beauty of Montana on a farm. When she longed for the big city life, she moved to Texas, where she attended college and received a PhD in nursing. When not nursing people back to health you can find Della huddled over her Mac writing the stories that have occupied her mind for so many years, or traveling with her best friends, the NOLA’s, riding bikes across the Golden Gate bridge or exploring botanical gardens. She is the proud mother of a champion triathlete, two aging dogs and one grand-cat. Della has admittedly confessed to her coffee addiction and swears that her two hour coffee crawl while on vacation in Seattle was the best two hours of her life!
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