this summer storm
THIS SUMMER STORM is a collection of some of the best young adult stories out there today! In this exciting group of tales, it seems “one of everything” happens. Tornadoes, comets, hurricanes and raging river waters are all set to wreak havoc. But just when things can't get any worse, along comes a life-changing experience in each story that is just as unsettling as the threatening weather.
Can Jo and Frog solve the mystery of the cattle rustlers, or will Halley's Comet evaporate the earth first? Will Cassie be able to undo her father's terrible mistake by getting rid of his new wife? If Adria hadn't saved Kai, would she have ever had her first kiss? When a tornado threatens, rookie police officer Steve Cooper tries to save his new neighbor Christy—but gang warfare erupts in the apartment stairwell below them. Amy's a heroine when she saves her rafting group—but Sawyer's sudden interest keeps her from wearing her familiar cloak of invisibility. Panic attacks have ruled Angela's life—until she faces something far worse than she ever could have imagined. Cassie's family life is on the verge of disaster, but when a tornado strikes, everything changes—again!
A CURRENT SO SWIFT—KRISTY MCCAFFREY
A wilderness course on the Green River in Utah has sixteen-year-old Amy Whittaker stuck on a raft with football players and cheerleaders from her high school. When a torrential rainstorm flips the boats and strands everyone, Amy is forced to take charge.
TO MAKE THE MAGIC LAST—CHERYL PIERSON
When a tornado approaches, Steve Cooper and Christy Reed both run for cover—straight into the blazing guns of gang warfare in their apartment stairwell. Will they survive? What a way to start a relationship!
WAITING FOR A COMET—RICHARD PROSCH
The papers promised death from the skies, but will wild west legend Abby Drake’s secret prove even more explosive for Jo Harper and her 1910 Wyoming town?
WEEKEND WHIRLWIND—ANGEL DREW
Cassie is excited to attend her first party at popular Lyndsey Stapleton’s house, but will her mother’s recent changes get in her way?
TAKEN BY STORM—DIANA STUART
Starting a new job turns into a life-changing summer for Angela Spencer, who learns who she really is and just what she is capable of.
ATLANTIS TWISTING TIDES—ALLIE BURTON
When unrest threatens her kingdom, a mermaid princess must choose between loyalty and love.
THE LAST OF HER KIND—CHERYL PIERSON
When Cassie’s new stepmother threatens their family’s well-being, Cassie enlists the help of her dying grandmother and the secret of an old Victrola—the last of her kind, as Cassie’s father says, to try make things right again.
Read AN EXCERPT
Before dawn I awake and, unable to sleep further, slip away to brush my teeth and knot my long, sandy-colored hair at the base of my neck. The bonus of all the stress from being near my new companions is that I’m able to enjoy some amazing solitude by the river.
There’s no doubt in my mind—I love it here.
My parents knew I would. It was likely why they insisted I come. But why couldn’t I just have taken another trip with Uncle Tim?
I think they thought this was a fitting reward for saving my brother a few months ago at the lake. Couldn’t they have just given me a new iPad? Sometimes I didn’t understand parental thinking.
The camp slowly came to life as light illuminated the morning mist. Soon, everyone was eating yogurt, fruit and bagels, and trying their best to greet the coming day with sleepy, stupefied expressions. Who knew that all the popular kids weren’t morning people? This included Sawyer. Never in all my dreams could I conjure a situation where I would see him first thing in the morning. It felt as if I was in some sort of alternate universe. Missy would laugh at my science-mind going into overdrive.
Since I appeared to be uber-alert, Henry enlisted my aid in loading dry bags as the others dismantled the tarp.
As we settled into the raft—everyone wearing life-jackets and wielding a paddle—I checked my waterproof watch. It was 7:35 a.m.
I was on the right side, behind burly Aaron, with Kim behind me.
Aaron turned over his shoulder. “You’re so prepared, Amy. I didn’t even think to bring a hat.” His blond crew-cut blended into his pale skin. He definitely needed to protect himself from the sun.
“It was on the supply list,” I said, trying not to feel self-conscious. I wore a baseball cap I’d gotten in Cabo San Lucas last summer on a family vacation, along with sunglasses secured by a neck strap. I also wore a long-sleeved quick-dry nylon shirt.
“Aaron doesn’t know how to read,” Mark said, positioned across from me, his jet black hair complementing his tan skin. He didn’t have a hat either—in fact, none of the boys did—but they had sunglasses. Tina and Kim were well prepared and much more fashionable; I was pretty sure they both had bikini tops beneath their life jackets. I held my tongue about the eventual chafing they’d experience. The guys all had t-shirts—not a bad choice, but unless the sun was out they wouldn’t dry quickly. And the dark clouds gathering above didn’t bode well for a wet-free day.
Aaron swung his paddle around and jabbed it at Mark.
“Hey, you’re going to push me out of the boat,” Mark yelled, then laughed.
I had to lean back to avoid Aaron lunging into my space. Sawyer shook his head from his position across from Aaron.
As the day progressed, Henry—in the captain position in the back right-hand side of the raft—taught us how read the flow of the river, how to identify rocks and holes within the water, and how to utilize reverse-eddies when we wanted to reach the shoreline.
Each of us took a turn at being captain, which entailed yelling commands—right paddle, left paddle, back paddle, forward, stop. It wasn’t terribly difficult, but hilarity ensued, especially with Kim in charge. She couldn’t seem to make up her mind, hesitating too long before voicing an instruction, and I’m pretty sure the guys purposely performed the wrong action just to screw her up.
We spent time spinning in circles near a sheer rock wall until Henry took pity on her flustered self and told me to take over.
While I would’ve been happy to skip being captain altogether, it was clear to me immediately that a left paddle then right paddle followed by a swift stop would straighten the boat and have us on our way.
The guys did as I said. I was glad for it, but I also suspected it meant I wasn’t on their radar for taunting. Didn’t they tease Kim because they liked her?
I didn’t want to go any further with that line of reasoning.
“How’d you do that, Amy?” Kim asked.
“Good eye,” Henry said. “And you’ve got finesse.”
His praise pleased me. I continued to yell commands, scanning the river for obstacles, and guided the raft through a small rapid. The rubber boat slipped into the whitewater slightly askew and Tina, Mark, and Sawyer got drenched by a wave.
By the time we came to shore in the late afternoon behind Missy’s boat, everyone shivered. The temperature had dropped and the sky overflowed with dark clouds. Lining up as a human chain, we unloaded the dry bags. Then, while the girls went to find camp, the guys unloaded food coolers from the third raft.
“Sorry about getting you wet,” I said to Tina.
She tried to smile, her arms folded around her. “This boat stuff is hard. It wasn’t your fault.”
We found a clearing and quickly agreed this was the camp for the night. Kim claimed she had to pee, so left the tarp to Tina and I. Unfortunately, we struggled with the unwieldy thing.
“Tina, you should get some dry clothes on,” I said. She nodded and ran off to find her dry bag.
“You must wanna be alone with me,” Sawyer said.
“What? No.” I shook my head for extra emphasis. Mortified, I certainly didn’t want him to think I actually liked him.
“You don’t have to be so certain about it.” He turned away to hammer a pole into the ground.
I had no idea what to say, because either way, I was sure to look ridiculous. I busied myself unfolding the tarp.
Sawyer probably thought I wasn’t only weird, but the b-word, too.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean it to sound that way.”
He grabbed one end of the tarp and I focused on pulling the other end.
From the corner of my eye, I saw him smile. He no longer wore his life jacket, but I did, making my motions awkward. He pounded more posts, and soon we had the tarp secured over the patch of ground that would become our sleeping accommodations.
“It’s really nice out here,” he said as we walked back to the shoreline.
“Yeah, it is,” I said, trailing behind his broad shoulders.
It was beautiful, with lots of trees and lush foliage. With the river nearby, it felt like a place that was fresh and new.
“I think we have to make dinner tonight,” he said.
“I think you’re right.”
Soon, our entire crew mixed ingredients for a taco salad made with canned chicken instead of beef. The result was rolled into individual tortillas.
I found a spot beside Missy to eat my dinner and drink a can of Dr. Pepper. I also balanced a chocolate-chip cookie on my plate for dessert.
“Is there something going on with you and Sawyer?” Missy asked, her voice low.
I shook my head. “No. Why?”
“Have you seen the way he’s been looking at you?”
I jerked my gaze to hers. “What do you mean?”
Her voice dropped to a whisper. “I think he likes you.”
“I’m sure you’re imagining it.”
She shrugged, but her expression showed she didn’t think so.
After dinner everyone sat in a circle around the fire while Henry, along with the other three guides—Joey, Mike, and Eddie, all older and just as grizzly-looking—read more passages from Edward Abbey. I thought maybe I should get a copy of the book when I got home. This Abbey guy really liked to be by himself in the wilderness. I could relate.
Sawyer sat across from me, and I did my best to avoid looking at him. Although a part of me hoped that what Missy had said was true, deep down I just couldn’t let myself believe it. So, I stared at the orange flames and tried to ignore how seriously cute he was.
Bedtime was at 8 p.m. Missy giggled at the early hour, but the truth was, we were all exhausted. I told her goodnight, pulled a flashlight from my pocket, and made my way to Camp Home where all my new best friends waited, along with a hot new love interest.
I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer.
My sleeping bag was at the end once again, for which I was grateful. Surprisingly, all the guys, and Tina and Kim, were present and accounted for. I really thought Aaron would sneak off to get high, and the others would goof off for a while.
Beside me, Tina and Kim sat atop their sleeping bags and, with a flashlight, rustled around in a backpack.
“Do you want some sugar-free gum, Amy?” Tina asked. “I use it as a substitute for brushing my teeth.”
“No, thanks,” I said.
“You don’t brush your teeth?” Mark said. “I’m not making out with you tonight.”
“You’re not making out with me ever,” she said.
Leaving all my clothes on, I removed my old pair of tennis shoes and wriggled into my sleeping bag. I folded my fleece jacket to use as a pillow.
While Sawyer, Aaron, Tanner and Mark continued to talk and move about, and Tina brushed Kim’s hair, I tried to distance myself and go to sleep.
Impossible, of course.
“Actually, could I have some gum?” I asked Tina.
“Oh, sure.” She handed me the packet so I could punch out my own piece. “Do you want me to put your hair in a ponytail too?”
My bun-hairstyle was kind of a mess. “Sure, thanks.” I sat up and shifted so that she was behind me.
“Oh Tina,” Mark sang in high-pitched voice into the darkness. “Will you do my hair too?”
“Jackass,” she muttered under her breath.
I let my hair down and she began to brush it out.
“You know, Amy,” Mark continued, his voice normal now, “I remember you from elementary school. I always thought you were cute. You’ve been a bit quiet in high school, but we could go out sometime, if you like.”
I froze and my heart pounded. I could see the path ahead of me, and it was paved with humiliation.
“She’s out of your league, Scheesly,” Sawyer said. “She’s too smart for you.”
“I like smart girls,” he said in defense.
“Mark, quit being such a jerk,” Tina said. “Amy’s a nice girl.” She nudged me from behind. I never realized how nice Tina Walsh actually was.
I knew I should speak, but for the life of me I couldn’t think of what to say.
“Maybe you could tutor me, Amy,” Mark continued.
Tina secured my hair into a ponytail. “Thanks,” I murmured to her and crawled back into my sleeping bag.
Tina and Kim lay down also. Once again, Tina slept beside Mark. I’d thought it was because, deep down, she liked him, but now I wondered if she didn’t position herself that way to look out for Kim, and me.
“So, how about it, Amy?” Mark asked. “Will you tutor me?”
“Sure,” I answered, feeling safer with Tina guarding the gate between males and females. “I charge fifty dollars an hour.”
Mark swore while the other guys laughed and hollered. Except Sawyer.
The talking continued, then eventually died down. Finally, I slept, but during the night a steady rainfall awakened me. Being at the end of the tarp, water hit my face in waves. I rolled toward Kim and buried my head deeper into the sleeping bag.
Copyright © 2014 Kristy McCaffrey