When a steamy incident in the back seat of a borrowed car plunges sixteen-year-old Beatrice Malcolm smack in the middle of a global manhunt, she discovers that the search for her fugitive father has more to do with her than she could ever imagine.
With her mother gone, Bea’s life is unraveling in the worst possible way as she’s thrust into a world of government conspiracy, insanity, and mind-altering experimentation that forces her to make a life or death decision on who to believe—the FBI or her father.
In Twist, Roni Teson has crafted a suspenseful tale of love, betrayal and intrigue with a cast of characters who will leap off the pages and stay in your heart long after the last page has been turned.
Excerpt Chapter 1
I’d seen him at school before, the kid who came in with Mr. Drake. I didn’t know his name was Lucas. When he brushed his blond hair away from his forehead and his blue eyes met mine, my insides liquefied. I thought I saw a flicker of recognition on his face, but how would he know me?
“Do you go to Sage Creek High?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, as I looked down at my tennis shoes and wished I’d dressed better. But I didn’t know a cute boy would be standing in front of me tonight.
“I thought so,” he said. “Aren’t you new?”
We were at Aunt Charlotte and Uncle George’s house, me sitting in the living room and the boy hanging around the threshold.
Only a few seconds earlier, my uncle’s plumber, Mr. Drake, had said, “Stay here, Lucas. Talk to Beatrice for a minute while I work on George’s sink.” And then he followed my uncle into the kitchen.
“Did you hear me?” Lucas said.
“What?” I answered.
A tiny chuckle puffed off of his lips. “I didn’t think you were listening. Call me Luke.”
His voice was so smooth my belly did backflips. “Bea,” I said, because a single syllable was all I could manage under the gaze of such a magnificent creature as Luke.
“So, Bea.” His eyes wandered around the living room and stopped on me. “What’s your story? Where you been hiding?”
I stared at his perfectly straight, white teeth and froze.
“Dad makes me tag along on some of his jobs,” Luke said, as he sat down on the edge of the couch. “I’ve been to this house a lot, but I’ve never seen you here.”
“You weren’t here last week when the kitchen flooded.” I flicked a piece of lint off of my leg, acting disinterested. “I’m staying with my aunt and uncle for a while”—and then I stopped short, before the darkness of the last twelve months could creep into our conversation. I picked up the remote and channel surfed, looking for something he could grab on to instead of me.
“Where’d that frown come from?” he asked. Then when I didn’t answer, after a pause, he posed another question. “Do you have a boyfriend?”
And that was all I needed to hear. I lost interest. He was way too nosy, and far too comfortable asking me about my personal life. I kept my eyes on the TV and said, “Do you always talk so much?”
“Hey, a cute girl shows up at school and I want to know.”
“Now you’re way too flirty.”
“I like the tomboy thing you’re rocking. What can I say?”
In my peripheral vision I saw him wink at me. That was so cheesy, I thought I was being played. “Really?” I rolled my eyes.
“I’m just being friendly. Geez, Beatrice.”
And the timber of his voice, mixed with a playful tone, hit the right note—it softened me. “Call me, Bea,” I said.
“Can’t anyone be nice to you?” he asked.
When his lower lip protruded, exaggerating a pout, I must have been like a swinging mood tree because my entire being thawed. “Yeah, I’m just having a bad day,” I said.
More like a bad year.
We stared at each other and he smiled again, so I smiled, too.
“See,” Luke said. “I knew you had it in you.”
He moved closer to me on the couch and put his hand on mine. “My official name is Lucas Drake.” With that, he squeezed my fingers, lifted my hand, and kissed my knuckles.
An unfamiliar feeling of warmth ran down my spine and into my toes. I jerked my arm away and stood up in a curtsy. “Beatrice Malcolm.” I plopped down again, tucking my right leg under my butt.
Luke glided even closer and whispered, “I’m glad you moved to Cali. I think you’re cute.”
I wondered if his head had begun to swirl, the way mine had. I’d never experienced anything like this before, ever. But suddenly, Uncle George and Luke’s dad were standing at the front door, about fifteen feet from where we sat. And thank goodness Mr. Drake broke the spell with his gruff voice. “Lucas, let’s go!”
Luke seemed to become abruptly aware of his surroundings and even looked puzzled when he saw how close we were sitting. He flexed his hand and wiggled his fingers—I ran my thumb across my knuckles and glanced at him. We both blushed and quickly looked away. I was relieved to stand up and walk the few steps to the entryway with Lucas Drake behind me.