In case you missed the news in the newsletter, I’m writing a 6th Mindspeak book! I know, right???

I’m in the process of rereading the Mindspeak series (all FIVE books). And because it’s been a while since I’ve written inside the Mindspeak world, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite scenes and see if you agree.

If you’ve never read Mindspeak, you can use this as a sample of the book and decide if you want to give the book a try. If you have read Mindspeak, this will bring back memories.

First up? This scene gives us major insight into who Jack is and tells us what makes Lexi want to steer clear of the guy who has mysteriously slipped into her life and her boarding school. This scene is from Chapter 3. If you haven’t read Mindspeak yet, it is currently free everywhere.

I pulled a headphone from my ear and listened. I heard only the drip of a leaky faucet, so I shook off any paranoia. The sound must have been a locker closing. Another swimmer getting in an evening swim.

Shrugging, I started toward the exit again. The lights went out. I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. My body froze, muscles tightened. Swallowing hard, I removed my ear buds and stuffed them in the pocket of my hoodie. “Hello?”

Nothing. The door to the pool area creaked opened and closed. The only light shone from an exit sign above the door to the hallway.

I stood, unmoving. Listening for footsteps. Anything. Maybe a custodian who didn’t realize someone was in here. I took another step.

The crashing of lockers cracked the silence, like a sudden clap of thunder in the dead of night. I flinched. My heart raced as if I had just finished a fifty-yard sprint. Paralyzing fear never won races. With my eyes finally adjusted to the dim light, I ran.

I swung open the door and almost pulled it from its hinges. I flew into the hallway, plowing into someone walking by. The person grabbed my arms and attempted to stop my forward motion, but it was too late. I knocked into the figure so hard that we both tumbled to the ground, tapping heads along the way.

I reached out a hand to break the fall and my arm got trapped beneath both bodies.

“Ow,” I moaned. “I’m so sorry.” I raised my head and met stormy blue eyes. “Jack?” Of all the people… A lightning bolt of pain shot through my arm, and my head ached.

“What is wrong with you?” Irritation wove through each word. He lifted his head, our faces only inches apart. The annoyance slowly faded, replaced by a bemused smile.

I breathed hard. Rolling off, I held my arm close to my body. “Ow,” I groaned again. The pain was enough to make me lightheaded. Had I just broken my wrist? Heat spread upwards to my cheeks.

Jack pushed himself up and then lifted me easily. “Why are you in such a hurry?” he asked.

“Someone was in there.” I inhaled and let the breath out slowly. Embarrassed, I pretended to cross my arms, while in actuality, I cushioned my arm against my ribs. I didn’t want Jack to know I might have just broken it.

Concern blanketed Jack’s face. “What do you mean? In there?” He thumbed toward the locker room. “Who?”

“If I knew, do you really think I would have bulldozed you?”

“Well, let’s just have a look, shall we?” His voice was calm. He pushed through the door to the girls’ locker room.

I followed close behind him. A cold sweat broke out across my forehead and down my arms.

He flipped on the lights. “Is anyone in here?” We searched around every corner until we reached the opposite side of the showers and through the door to the pool.

“No one’s here.” He turned his eyes on me. “Why don’t you tell me exactly what happened?”

By then, my heart had slowed. Whoever had been in the locker room was long gone. Then it dawned on me. “I’m such an idiot.” I laughed. “Great. That’s just perfect.”

“What’s perfect?” he asked. A line formed between his eyes.

Briana. Exactly the sort of thing she would do. Put me on edge; try to knock me off my game. “Nothing. I’m sorry. Someone was just playing a bad joke on me. And I think I know exactly who.”

“Who?” he asked, not convinced.

I shook my head. “Not your problem. Really. I think someone was just trying to scare me. Do you mind if we just forget this?”

He seemed to let it go. We walked back the same way we came. “You missed dinner,” he said when we reached the door to the hallway again.

“I’ll live.” I hated my aloof tone. But what? He was tracking my eating habits now?

I entered the hallway, followed by Jack.

“Well, well, well. What do we have here?” Kyle Jones, captain of the swim team, stopped in the middle of the hallway. A smirk spread across his face.

“Hi,” I said, cringing. Though Kyle was a friend, he was also friends with Briana, and I didn’t really need anyone knowing I had paranoid fears of that girl. “Have you met Jack?”

“I don’t believe so. Hey, man. You’re the new guy, right? How’s it going?” Kyle shook Jack’s hand.

“Great. Nice to meet you.” Jack stuffed both hands in the front pockets of his khakis.

“Kyle is on the swim team with me.” As I’m sure Jack could tell by the Wellington Swim Team sweatshirt he had on. “And my really good friend.”

Kyle nodded, his dark brown hair hung in a messy shag around his face. His grin and the way he folded his arms across his chest told me he couldn’t wait to get me alone and ask me what was going on between me and the new guy.

“Lexi was assigned to be my tour guide.” Jack gave me a sideways glance, answering the question I suspected Kyle had. His eyes drifted down to my arm that I still held close to my body. I squirmed under his scrutiny.

“And she was showing you the girls’ locker room?” Kyle asked.

Fire crept up my neck and exploded across my cheeks. “You know me. I like to be thorough.” I flashed an unspoken “thank you” to Jack for not telling Kyle what had happened. I didn’t need Kyle joining the growing list of members in the Lexi’s a Freak Club. Jack was already president. That was enough.

“Well, I’ve got a trig test to study for,” Kyle said. “I’ll catch you two later.”

I gave him a low wave with my good hand as he passed us and continued toward the boy’s dorms.

Alone again, Jack brushed his fingers along my hurt arm. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I tried to keep my tone even. The truth was my arm radiated fire. “Thanks for not revealing to Kyle that I’m an idiot.”

“What? Because someone purposely tried to scare you while you were alone in a locker room? That makes you an idiot?”

“And they were quite successful. I feel stupid, that’s all.” I looked down at my pink toenails peeking out from my sliders. When I lifted my head, Jack’s eyes burned into mine.

“How’s your arm?”

I squeezed my eyes tight. Caught. I tried to move my fingers, but pain stopped me. “Broken?” I sighed. “Which is just perfect. How am I supposed to swim with a broken arm?”

“Your face is pale.” He reached his fingers to my face. “You’re clammy. And you have a knot on your forehead where our heads hit.”

Thank you for that thorough examination.

He reached for my other arm. “Let’s go.” He glanced down the hallway in both directions before leading me back into the girls’ locker room. His eyes were wide, crazed.

“What are you doing? Where are we going?”

He said nothing as he led me around the corner close to the bathroom stalls and I let him. This guy, who showed up yesterday, was going to murder me right here inside this locker room, and no one was going to find my body until morning. By then, he’d be long gone.

I wasn’t usually one for melodrama, but…

Jack faced me. “I’m sorry. You’re not ready for this, but you’ve left me no choice.”

“Not ready for what?” My chest rose and fell.

“Sit.” Jack walked over to the sinks and splashed water on his face. He stared at himself in the mirror like he was mentally preparing for something.

“Excuse me?” I examined the tile floor. A used Band-aid littered a nearby corner. “I’m not sitting on this disgusting floor.”

He closed the distance between us. His fingers wrapped around my good arm. “Sit.”

I should fight him. Kick him in the shin. Punch him in the face. Something. Instead, I leaned against the wall, and holding my elbow, he guided me down the wall.

He knelt on one knee in front of me. “You’re going to have to trust me.”

“Trust you?” My breathing sped up. I searched his eyes and found a warmth there that I struggled to believe. “I barely know you.” I wanted to trust him, but fear wrapped itself around my heart and squeezed. My arm throbbed.

“I know.” His voice was calm. “This isn’t ideal circumstances, for sure.” There was zero humor to his voice. I sensed something, though. Regret, maybe.

“What are you going to do to me?” A tear escaped down my cheek, and he wiped it away with his thumb. His touch felt gentle.

“I want you to take a deep breath when I say ‘now.’ You are going to feel intense pain at first, but then it will be gone. Try not to scream. Okay?”

I shook my head. Try not to scream? “No, it’s not okay. Don’t—” I wanted to scoot away from him. Run. But he didn’t give me time to think.

“Now! Deep breath.”

I did as I was told and sucked in the deepest breath. My eyes locked onto his as I held it.

Jack wrapped both of his hands around my broken wrist. Pain exploded through my arm. I was paralyzed by the fire beneath his palms.

He closed his eyes. Tears escaped mine. My mouth went dry.

Almost as suddenly as the blast had shot through my arm, the ache dulled. Jack let go of my arm. I released my breath. I was close to passing out from the lightheadedness and pain. Jack’s hand supported the side of my head, lowering me to the cold floor.

He stood and darted to a bathroom stall. I wasn’t sure, but it sounded like he threw up. He returned to the sink. I heard running water. My vision was fuzzy.

Next, I felt the coolness of his fingers linger around my forehead. I tried to focus on his eyes, but couldn’t.

“You’re going to be fine.” One arm slid under my legs, the other hugged my back, and he lifted. He bent his head into my neck, his breath next to my ear. “I’m sorry.”

***********

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