Excerpt: Dangerous Reflections by Shay West
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Alexis Davenport wants to go home. She hates her new school, her mother for moving her away from her friends, and her father for walking out.
To make matters worse, Alex is haunted by images of strange girls reflected in her mirror. It’s bad enough juggling homework, a relentless bully, boys, and a deadbeat dad; now, she must save the world from an evil presence hell-bent on changing the past – and our futures. Who knew her A+ in history was going to be this important?
“Let’s go, Alex! We can’t start the party without the birthday girl, ya know.” Jennifer said, knowing exactly why Alex was holding back. She knew the only reason Beau was nice to Alex was so she would do his homework. He would flash his pearly whites and Alex would sigh and tell him the answers. She also knew he would never in a million years come to Alex’s party, but she didn’t have the heart to say so. She figured the only way for Alex to find out was for him to just not show up.
Alex heard footsteps coming from behind and whirled, ready to tease Beau for keeping her waiting, and her breath caught in her throat.
It was Catelyn and a group of the cheerleaders, holding a piece of paper and laughing hysterically. When Catelyn spotted Alex and her friends her eyes narrowed and she whispered conspiratorially with the other girls.
“Oh, look! If it isn’t little miss birthday girl,” Catelyn looked Alex up and down, a look of disgust on her face. “Apparently your parents can’t afford to even get you decent clothes for your birthday. Lame.”
Alex was in fact wearing a new outfit she had just purchased with the money she had earned from working at her aunt’s store.
Catelyn widened her eyes. “Oh, sorry! I said parents. I meant to say mother. Must be tough, having a father just up and leave, and having to rely on the pity of your aunt to get by.”
Alex couldn’t breathe. Catelyn’s words were like slaps to the face. Alex could feel them like actual physical blows. “You shut up about my family.” How did she find out about my dad leaving?
“I wouldn’t exactly call you and your mom a “family”, but whatever.” Catelyn waved her hand dismissively. She beckoned to the other girls who were laughing and texting on their touch-screen phones.
Alex’s friends had formed a circle around her, as if trying to protect her. Jennifer and Amy stood to either side of her. Jennifer looked like she was going to cry.
“Just leave us alone,” Amy said.
Catelyn turned and glanced at the piece of paper in her hand. “Beau wanted me to give this to you,” She tossed the paper at Alex’s feet. She laughed and said loud enough for Alex to hear her: “She actually thought he would come. I don’t think I have seen anything more sad and ridiculous.”
Alex couldn’t breathe, even after the girls had left, the door closing off the sound their laughter. She didn’t make a move to pick up the paper. She knew it was her invitation, crumpled up like it was garbage.
Guess he thinks I am nothing but garbage too. Alex hugged herself as she turned to go.
“I don’t feel like having a party. Sorry guys.” Alex cried as she ran for the door.
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Shay West was born in Longmont, CO and earned a doctorate degree in Human Medical Genetics from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical. Dr. West currently lives in Grand Junction, CO with her two cats. When not writing novels, she plays with plushie microbes and teaches biology classes at Colorado Mesa University.
She is the author of the Portals of Destiny series and the Adventures of Alexis Davenport series. She has also been published in several anthologies: Battlespace (military scifi), Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior (fundraiser), and Ancient New (steampunk/fantasy).
You can find Dr. West and more of her work at Shay-West.com.