Authors: Imogen Rose
Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Fantasy & Magic
(Portal Chronicles Book Four)
Text copyright © 2011 by Imogen Rose
Cover photograph and design by Imogen Rose
Cover photo copyright © 2011 by Imogen Rose
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author.
First Kindle Edition: July 2011
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
As always, my younger daughter, Lauren, continues to be my inspiration. You started me off on this journey and you keep me on it.
Thank you for putting up with me spending so many hours on the computer.
My friend and editor, Sue Bernstein, is my rock. Thank you so much for having my back.
Once again, it was an absolute pleasure to work with Lynn O’Dell and her editing team.
I want to thank my beta readers, Al Kunz, Allirea Brumley, Frankie Sutton, Vickie Boehnlein, and Laura Price for their valuable criticisms and suggestions.
I am very lucky and grateful to be surrounded by an incredible support network. I would especially like to mention Steve Windwalker, Misty Baker, Candy Beauchamp, Al Kunz, Leilani Lopez, and all the amazing book bloggers who have taken the time to read and review my books. And I want to thank all my friends for their support.
Most of all, I am indebted to my readers. I wish I could thank each and every one of you in person for taking a chance on a completely unknown author. I am blown away by the enthusiastic support from all of you.
A dreamer must dream
A storyteller must tell
I dream to tell
A STORY FOR LAUREN
s he unlocked his front door, Kevin noticed an envelope hanging from the doorknob. It was beige and crumpled, with Dr. Sanderson scrawled untidily across the front in black ink. He ripped it off, went inside, and placed the envelope on the yellow, wooden hall table while dropping his briefcase down beside it. He peered at it again. A wave of nausea washed over him, and he could feel his chest tightening. Why was he suddenly feeling so anxious? It was just an envelope.
He reached for it with his right hand, a sharp twinge in his arm making him flinch–fallout from his misadventure with Raj Sen. A hot bath was what he needed, and a glass of wine. He picked up the envelope and, grabbing a bottle of wine from the kitchen on the way, walked into the living room. Once comfortably seated on his couch, he tore open the edges. The sick feeling before hadn’t been for nothing.
We need your help getting back home. We know about the two Arizonas, but will keep that to ourselves in return for your help. We’ll contact you this evening.
Sophie & Dan
. Kevin took a sip of his wine, and then threw his head back on the couch. It was evening already; the call would come anytime.
So they knew about the two Arizonas. So what? Who could they tell? Who would believe them anyway? They could potentially try to talk to Arizona Stevens and her father, Dillard, in Princeton. There was no way either of them would believe those two. In fact, they were likely to call the FBI and have Dan and Sophie carted off for kidnapping Arizona. Arizona Stevens would have no trouble remembering them. He had nothing to worry about. Anything Dan or Sophie said would only get them thrown in jail or have them committed to a psychiatric unit. So far, they had managed to avoid being apprehended by the police. Bringing any attention to themselves would change all that.
y skin burned with anticipation. His cheek lightly brushed mine as he moved his lips toward my forehead and gently kissed it. I moved against him, willing him to move his lips down, down to mine. I turned my face upward and drowned in his blue eyes. I felt his hand firmly grasping the back of my head, bringing it closer to his. I closed my eyes and brought my lips forward to meet his.
Stupid alarm clock! I reached to turn off my iPhone alarm without bothering to open my eyes. Gah! I was still tingling from my dream. No big deal, though. Today was going to be the day that I would kiss him
. Well, not today, maybe, but at the Ball, for sure. Time to get up and set things in motion. I sat up, stretched my legs, and studied my toenails. I knew that I had last polished them with a pink rose shade, not the dark purple I seemed to have on. Not that it was hideous in any way. I kind of liked it. I wriggled my toes, letting the light play off the purple, wondering how on earth they’d turned this color. I had definitely polished them pink. Could it have been one of those color-changing polishes? I’d better check the bottle.
Eeeeek, what was that? A mouse? Could it have been a rat? Something had definitely scurried by the side of my bed. I held my breath and stood on my bed hoping that whatever it was wouldn’t leap up at me.
“Dad!” I made sure to clamber to the very middle of my queen-sized bed. “Dad! Harry! Hurry!”
“What is it, Arizona?” Dad rushed into the room, his eyes wide.
“A mouse, or even worse–a rat!”
“Calm down. We don’t have mice or rats. Let me have a look.” He bent down and picked up something that squirmed in his hands. “Is this what you mean?” He held up a small dog.
“I guess. Where did that come from?” I didn’t know a lot about dogs, but I guessed it was a Chihuahua. It was a puppy, a cute one.
“Tallulah! Come back to my room right now.” Ella ran into my room and sighed. She took the puppy from Dad’s hands and rushed out shaking her head. She looked a bit different. New clothes, no doubt.
“Panic over. Get ready and come down for breakfast, Arizona.” Dad turned and left, leaving me on my own.
What on earth was that thing? Were we babysitting someone’s dog again? Well, as long as it didn’t have any nasty accidents in my room, I guessed it was okay. It did smell a bit weird in here, must have been the dog. Anyhow, what to wear? I took a quick look through my window. I was thinking my cute blue Marc Jacobs dress for today.
I would have to change into my cheer outfit later, but the blue would be perfect. It would match the gorgeous blue sky. The blue would clash with the deep purple on my toes... whatever had possessed me? Oh well, nothing I could do about it now, no time. I’d better hurry. I went to grab the dress from my closet, immediately noticing that it had been rearranged. Why would Mom rearrange my clothes? I didn’t like the new setup, but there was nothing I could do about it just at that moment. It took a bit of hunting to find the dress; it had been stuck in the back with the rest of the dresses. Same with the shoes. I would have to ask Mom about this and get my stuff put back to normal. This reorganization had already cost me ten minutes that I didn’t have.
I had promised David that I would have breakfast with him this morning. He’d said that there was something important he needed to talk to me about. As if I didn’t know! He wanted to take me to the Ball. And I wanted him to take me. He was finally ready to make a move; it seemed like I had waited for this forever. It was finally going to happen.