Meet Kitten MacLean! (Plus a giveaway!)

GirlIncredible-Teaser8-FreeAgent-Countdown2Yesterday I shared the first chapter of Girl Incredible, the fabulous beginning to my new adventure, The Kit MacLean Series. I hope you enjoyed meeting Kitalia Ore, psychic assassin, in chapter one. Today, meet her alter ego and the heroine of these books…

Chapter Three

My phone alarm chirps at me at exactly 7:15 AM. I love the sound of it, programmed it especially to mimic the song of a sparrow, my favorite.

It’s a super cheerful way to wake up. I’m already leaping out of bed, the new day bright, sunny, beckoning. A copy of my favorite book, Grace Grant and the Silver Brigade, slips to the floor with a thud. I scoop it from the floor, her knowing smile shining back from the cover and hug her to my chest. The girl detective’s never-fail attitude makes me feel like I can do anything. With careful hands, I replace her on the shelf over my computer before embracing the day.

First day of grade eleven calls, and I’m ready to answer. So ready. Sure, summer was fun and everything, but this is junior year we’re talking about.

Lifelong memories are made of days like this.

I pull open the closet door, my prepared outfit swinging on a hanger, waiting for me. Took me hours yesterday to figure out just the right combination of skirt, tights, kitten sweater and scarf. I’m still humming and hawing over the beret I might or might not wear when I step out of the shower.

I’m almost too late for breakfast, but a girl’s bangs take priority, yo. My tiny scissors do a fabulous job, and after several back and forth swings of my head, I’m satisfied. If only that crooked front tooth wasn’t such a bummer. I run my tongue over it, wondering if Mom will let me have a diamond inset. At least then it would have a purpose. I could be proud of a tooth like that.

My big, heavy black boots thud with great satisfaction over the hardwood floor hallway on my way to the stairs. The shining silver buckles catch the morning sunlight as I descend, the weight of them always giving me a rush. Sometimes it’s hard being under five feet and a little on the skinny side—not that I’m complaining or anything. But my boots give me that certain presence I’ve always seemed to be missing.

Look out, grade eleven—Kit MacLean is coming, and her boots are taking her there.

It’s hard to walk soft or stop grinning when you have the best life ever. Though, it’s sad to see that there are two empty places at the kitchen table this morning, as there have been the last two mornings since my older siblings left for college. I wave to Calvin and Clare as though they are still there and blow them kisses, knowing they are probably having a blast where they are.

College life. Two more years. I can’t wait. Who am I kidding? Every day is a “can’t wait” event. How awesome is that?

Mom smiles at me from behind the island, her blonde hair and blue eyes a mimic of my sister and brother. She’s so beautiful to me, I rush to hug her, stepping on her toe in the process.

She just laughs and hands me a plate with my perfect breakfast, sparkles in her blue eyes. “You’ll be late, silly.”

I twirl, my flounced skirt spinning around the tiger stripes of my new tights. I love how they make me look all exotic and furry. My butt barely settles on the edge of my chair, the one facing the back yard patio with the view of the spinning, glittering sun catcher. The prism rays dance over my plate while I munch poached egg on toast and hum softly in happiness over how yumtastic it tastes.

Dad is gone to work, I guess, his knife and fork missing, napkin used and crumpled in their place. Mom doesn’t sit, hurrying around behind me. I’m not the only one who’s late.

“Love you.” She kisses the top of my head as I second guess my decision to leave the beret I found in a second hand shop upstairs in my closet. The color just didn’t go with my outfit. Mom seems nervous for some reason. But, she smiles anyway and touches my cheek. “Have a great first day, Kit.”

I mumble the same to her around the last of my toast, wondering at her attitude. Her baby is growing up, I guess. Can’t blame her for feeling sad. I take a moment to dump my dishes in the dishwasher, hesitating at the bottom of the steps as the sun streams in through the kitchen windows, heating my cheeks. Hat or no hat? One glance at my giant faced watch and I have my answer.

The bus will be here any second now and I don’t want to miss my ride.

My lime green messenger bag waits for me on the back of one of the island stools, packed carefully with everything I think I’ll need for the day. One glance inside and I grin at the neatly folded top of a paper bag—Mom remembered my lunch. I spend the next few minutes as I exit and lock up the house, tossing my keys with the pink hammer keychain and fuzzy dice my sister and brother gave me last birthday into my bag while pondering what my mother might have put in my sandwich.

So many delicious possibilities, I can barely stand it.

The sunlight makes me blink, wish I’d brought my giant sunglasses, but like my hat it’s far too late to go back to the house now. I can hear the rumble of the bus engine approaching the corner. I pause one moment to wave with enthusiasm at Mrs. Mingle, the neighbor next door. She scowls at me, pulling at the wrinkles around her almond eyes, her little dog clutched to her chest, but she doesn’t yell any profanities or tell me to get lost in her native language, something Asian.

Awesome. I think she’s developing a soft spot for me after all these years.

No time to explore the possibility. My boots thud on the sidewalk, messenger bag bouncing at my side. I’m already hot inside my fuzzy leggings and file a note to put them away for winter, maybe. By the time I reach the corner, I’m out of breath, but how fun was that? I grin at Clancy Parker and Abigail Simmons, both waiting as the bus pulls up.

“Hey, guys!” I wave and bounce on my toes while the lights on the bus turn from amber to red, flashing overhead, the hiss of the bus door releasing that familiar scent combination of teenager B.O. and chemical cleaners. Ah, school. It’s going to be great to be back.

Clancy and Abigail both smile, but they are chattering away to each other and turn their backs on me, hustling up the steps into the bus. I’ll catch up with them later. Funny, I hadn’t seen much of either of them all summer, though they both live on my block. I shrug away the conundrum of their absence from my life, forgetting as quickly as the question pops into my head, and make my way, grinning and waving with excitement, to sit with my bus buddy.

More than that, Jimmy Jones is my closest friend and I can’t wait to fill him in on my summer. Third from the front, on the left, the place next to Jimmy on the cracked green vinyl is always saved for me.

“Hey, Jimmy!” I plop down next to him, giggling at the fart noise the seat makes as I do. Same old seat. “How was your summer?” He looks out the window, like always, as the bus pulls away from the stop. White earbuds sit in his ears, the strings hanging down into the collar of his faded black hoodie, connected to the iPod I gave him last Christmas, I assume. He’s grown a lot since I saw him last, the faint stubble of hair on his cheeks. Wow, is Jimmy getting a beard? We used to be the same size, but now he’s almost a head taller than me just sitting down. “Holy, you’re growing like a weed.” Mom’s favorite saying. Cracks me up. “Wow, the summer flew by, didn’t it? We made it to the beach this year, for a whole week.” Ohio in July can be brutally hot, so the vacation was awesome. Though, the local pool is a fun place to hang out with all the other kids.

Jimmy doesn’t comment. Jimmy never does. In fact, I don’t think he’s ever said a word to me, not since first grade. But, he’s my best buddy. Always saves me a seat on the bus. That’s how I know he adores me.

Besides, he likes to listen, which is great, because I love to talk. Which I do, the entire ten blocks to school. I know what you’re thinking. Why take the bus if I could walk? Duh. I’d think that would be obvious.

I love the bus. And, it gives me and Jimmy time to hang.

My suburb turns to the edge of town, Rimtree barely a city, really, but it’s home. Born and raised here, I know my part of it, from park, movie theater and mall like the back of my hand. Sure, it’s nice to drive to Cleveland every once in a while—two hours of adventure? I’ll take it—but there’s no place like home, as the saying goes.

Rimtree High comes into view around the corner and I find it harder and harder to restrain my excitement.

“This year,” I say to Jimmy who huddles with his forehead pressed to the glass, “is going to be epic. I just know it.”

Jimmy’s silence is all the affirmation I need.

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Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada I am a YA and Middle Grade novelist on the East Coast of Canada. Look for The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, (Acorn Press); The Hunted series, plus many, many more as I fulfill my dream of world literary domination.

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