Table of Contents
Berkley JAM titles by Serena Robar
BRACED TO BITE
FANGS FOR FREAKS
DATING FOR DEMONS
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright © 2006 by Serena Robar.
Fangs for Freaks
by Serena Robar copyright © by Serena Robar.
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Berkley JAM trade paperback edition / May 2006
Berkley trade paperback edition / June 2010
eISBN : 978-1-101-43457-4
The Library of Congress has cataloged the Berkley JAM trade paperback edition as follows:
Braced 2 bite / Serena Robar.—Berkley trade paperback ed.
Summary: When Colby Blanchard is attacked and turned into a half-vampire, her senior year of high school becomes surreal as she vacillates between trying to save her life and worrying about losing her place on the cheerleading squad.
eISBN : 978-1-101-43457-4
[1. Vampires—Fiction. 2. High schools—Fiction. 3. Schools—Fiction.] I. Title. II. Title: Braced 2 bite.
For my mom who raised me to be
an independent, creative, kick-ass chick.
I love you.
This book could not exist without the exhaustive efforts of one particular person … ME! But a few others made it possible as well, such as my personal patron of the arts, Jason Robar, who always believed in me (smart man), and my writing posse, Christina Arbini, Shannon Mc-Kelden Cave, Erin Eisenberg, Kelli Estes, Cara Kean and Barb Roberts. But mostly just ME!! Muahahahahaha …
woke up and stretched when my alarm went off at exactly 6:37 A.M. School would start at 7:45 and I needed forty-five minutes to get ready, seven minutes for breakfast and five minutes to get to school. Leaving me with eleven minutes before class started. Just enough time to casually flirt with Aidan Reynolds on my way to trigonometry.
I stood up and checked my appearance in the full-length mirror on the back of my bedroom door. I was checking for blotchy skin, or worse—
. After careful scrutiny I nodded in satisfaction. It was a game day and the last thing I needed was a huge zit on my chin.
“Today will be a great day. I, Colby Blanchard, will execute all of my dance routine perfectly. I will ace my trig exam and I will get Aidan to ask me to Homecoming.”
I smiled at myself, confident that daily affirmation was the best way to start the day. I jumped into the shower and scrubbed every inch of my body. I took extra time to loofah my feet, knees and elbows. I liked them to be super-soft.
After drying off, I was carefully detangling my hair (why was I cursed with such super-fine hair?) when my mom knocked on the bathroom door.
“Honey, I have a showing this morning and your father has to leave early because of the visiting orthodontists. Remember, he’s showing his new technique this morning so you have to take the bus to school today. Sorry.”
What?! Now my schedule was totally screwed up.
“Mom! You should have told me last night. I didn’t get up early enough to take the bus!”
“Guess you’ll have to hurry.”
I glared at the door that separated me from my mother. Would it have killed her to tell me last night? I sometimes wondered if I was switched at birth. The daughter of a real estate agent and an orthodontist was hardly the kind of stock I felt would mold me into all that I could be. I loved my parents, but I wanted much more out of life than selling homes and straightening teeth.
I decided to wear my long hair back in a French braid and tie it off with scrunchies in gold and purple to maximize my school spirit. Since it was a game day, I already had my cheerleading outfit ready. How could I shave another couple of minutes off of my morning?
I could hardly forgo makeup and I’d already modified my hairstyle, so the best I could do was take the back trail through the woods to school. It was much faster than taking the bus and really, how many sixteen-year-olds rode the bus? I would be the laughingstock of school if I did such a thing.
For the millionth time I crossed my fingers that my upcoming seventeenth birthday would result in a car, like I planned. I felt like the only licensed teenager on the Eastside who didn’t have her own transportation.
Mom and Dad were already gone when I grabbed a bagel and swabbed it with fat-free cream cheese. I wanted to lose six pounds so I could stay on top of the pyramid. I’d overheard Allison talking about a weight check so she could take my place. That was so not gonna happen. I wasn’t about to let her squeeze me out of my spot. I simply switched to diet soda and cut down on my meals. Sure, it was tough when everyone around me was munching chips and stuff, but I liked to be the smallest one on the squad, the one who got to be on top of the pyramids and do all the stunts.
I checked my watch and slowed down a bit. I was five minutes ahead of schedule. Sitting down at the kitchen table, I munched quietly, thinking about the day ahead and making a mental list of things to do:
—Update BlackBerry to include weekend plans
—Make final list of invitees to my seventeenth b-day party
—Get streamers and supplies from Mrs. Frost to decorate varsity football team’s lockers
—Check reference book in library on World War II, Battle of the Bulge, for history class
I looked around the table for my BlackBerry, deciding it was easier to input this stuff than try to commit it to memory, when the headline of theEASTSIDE ATTACKER STILL AT LARGE
caught my attention.
Great, this stupid “attacker” was still out there scaring parents half to death and keeping game attendance to a minimum. I didn’t understand the big deal. Here was some loser who liked to follow teenage girls and scare them. He hadn’t hurt any of them—well, except for the last girl a week ago. But he only pushed her down. How incompetent were the police that they couldn’t catch this guy?
I checked my watch again and decided it was time to go. I slipped on my letterman jacket (second year of varsity cheer squad, thank you very much) and slung my backpack over one shoulder. It was mid-October in the Pacific Northwest, which meant the mornings and evenings were cool but the days were still warm. I headed out the door.
I walked toward the bus stop but veered right onto a trail that was blocked off by cement posts. This was the back route to school, through a wooded area alongside a ravine that featured a seasonal creek.
Just ahead of me I noticed my neighbor, Piper Prescott. Piper and I were best friends in elementary school but we drifted apart in junior high when she discovered black eyeliner and somber clothing, and now we just exchanged nods in the hallway. Odd thing about growing up. Location creates best friends and then fashion, culture and cliques divide them again.
Piper glanced behind her and slowed down when I waved. We might not hang out in high school but we could walk together in the woods. Anyone could walk together in the shadow of trees. It was in the bright glaring sunlight that cliques stayed with their own.