Seventeen Magazine Summer Club author Amalie Howard spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 22 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn't entirely convinced which takes more guts. Amalie lives in New York with her husband and three children. Visit her at www.amaliehoward.com.
Excerpt from book:
"Run!" the voices scream. "RUN, RISSA!"
I can barely hear them over the pounding of blood in my ears as my feet skim over the grass. I'm winded but can sense the others on my left flank, already closing in. I push my feet fasterI must get there before they do or we are lost. In the past few seconds, white netting looms in front of me like a spidery haze, just as a heavy shoulder jolts like a ton of bricks into my side. The breath is knocked out of me as over a hundred pounds of muscle collides into my side with the force of a speeding train. Adrenaline jerks along my limbs and I kick out, blindly swinging the wooden pole in my hand with all the force I can muster. There's nowhere to run, nowhere to go.
It's now or never. I have to strike first or the moment's gone.
The silence stretches into eternity as the momentum of the assault makes me keel backward, my shoulder dangling limply, and then there is nothing but the feeling of falling until the ground rushes up to meet me with an unforgiving crunch. The only sound around me is the rasp of my own labored groans combining with the wheeze of my opponent's. Her eyes are as fierce as mine.
Either way, it's over.
"GOAL!" the crowd cheers wildly just as the buzzer goes off, signaling that it's halftime. It's been one of the most intense games we've played all season. Bishop's is the top-seeded field hockey team in Southern California and if they beat us, we're out. Going into the second half of the game one goal up on them means everything. I roll to my knees, gasping as my cocaptain, center midfielder and best friend, Jenna Pearce, throws herself on top of me, screaming in unbridled delight.
"I don't know how but you did it!" she shouts in my ear. "Getting us ahead at the last minute like that. I love you so hard right now."
"Nice goal, Riss!" someone else yells. "Way to bring the fire!"
The ten-minute halftime in the guest locker room goes quickly. Coach Fenton is pleased that we're ahead, but things can change on a dime especially with a team as aggressive as Bishop's.
Coach clears his throat. "Okay, listen up. First off, great teamwork out there! Offense, follow your striker. Marin's calls on the field and her shot on goal got us here. Let's keep that drive going. Defense, you've been like a vise, let's keep that up. Pearce," he says, glancing at Jenna, "outstanding job manning the midfield line. Smith," he snaps at a tired-looking brunette. "You've been letting your opponent get ahead of you the entire first half. Get your head in the game."
"She's too fast, Coach."
He studies her, frowning. "Then Andrews is in."
Jenna pokes me in the side and raises an eyebrow. Cara Andrewssecond-string right forward, former friend and my current archnemesishas been warming the bench the entire game. She used to be starting striker on the JV team freshman year until I got bumped up from right forward sophomore year. Now she's been relegated to second string on the varsity team. I'd prefer to keep it that way, but it's the coach's call even if Jenna and I are the captains. I grit my teNerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthrightthe undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weaponuntil her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa's upcoming birthdaythe day she comes of age.
Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa's mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?