Excerpt - Forbidden Mind

The door to the studio hung open just a crack, and angry screams assaulted us as we approached. Luke and
Lucy looked to me as if I knew what was going on.I shrugged my shoulders in the universal I've-got-no-freaking-idea way and crept to the door. I could have just slipped into their minds, but listening to people talk both out load and mentally was hard to track and gave me a pretty big headache. At that moment, what they were saying, or rather screaming, to each other was more interesting.
We didn't want to budge the door and draw attention to ourselves, so Luke pushed his head through. He bobbed in and out so quickly I almost missed it. Being able to walk through anything was mighty handy at times.
I nudged him. "Well?""Higgins and Mr. K. They both look pretty pissed."They sounded it too. I'd never heard Headmaster Higgins yell at any of the teachers, or students for that matter.
He wasn't a pushover by any stretch, but he'd always been levelheaded—until today.Higgins shouted at Mr. K. "How could you enter her without permission from me? Do you realize what you've
done? This could ruin the school and everything we're doing here."
Was Higgins talking about me?
Mr. K replied with the same volume and anger. I could imagine the vein over his left eye bulging. "You have no idea how talented that girl is! She should be at the best art school in the world, not hidden here like a freak of nature. It's my job to make sure she has a future when she leaves this god-awful place, and I'm not letting you, or the people you work for, stand in my way. Or hers."
They must have been talking about me, but it made no sense. Why didn't Higgins want me entering the contest, and why did Mr. K hate this place so much?
"Don't you mean, the people we work for? They employ us both, and you'd do well to remember that, Mr. Krevner. Their reach extends beyond the gates of this school."
I couldn't believe it. Was the headmaster actually threatening my art teacher? What was going on?
"You will pull her from that competition and clean up the mess you've made, or your days here are numbered. Am I making myself clear?"
Something crashed into a wall, and my friends and I jumped back in surprise.
"Everything is very clear. You use her and her gifts, rent her and all these kids out to the highest bidder as spies. You make billions on these Rent-A-Kids, as they call themselves. And now you want to snuff her chance to shine doing what she truly loves? No. If you want to destroy her dreams, you can do it yourself. I'll have no part in it."
Footsteps approached the door. I tripped back, grabbed Luke and Lucy, and the three of us ducked around the corner of the building. I peeked out just as Mr. K stormed from the studio, his face bright red and contorted in anger. Not his best look.
Headmaster Higgins followed him out moments later. He adjusted his navy blue suit and plastered a calm mask over his face. His midnight black skin did not reveal his recent spike in blood pressure the same way that Mr. K's pasty complexion had, but the tight way he held his shoulders and the fists he made of his hands spoke to his anger.
Tears stung my eyes, and I swiped at them with the back of a hand still stained with splashes of paint. If they pulled me from the contest, hundreds of hours of hard work would be wasted, and my future would get flushed down the toilet. That couldn't happen!
When both men were gone, the three of us snuck into the studio and closed the door behind us. My enthusiasm had drained out of me like dirty bathtub water. I sniffled and wiped my traitorous eyes again.
Lucy put her arm around me. "Cheer up, Chica. We'll figure this out, I promise. They can't keep you from this, not after all the hard work you've done. And you'll be leaving for New York soon. Luke and I will join you there, and we'll make all of our dreams come true, just watch!"
I tried to smile, for her sake, but the smile didn't reach my eyes.Luke rubbed my head as if I were his pet dog. "Where's this painting I've been hearing so little about?"I swatted his hand and couldn't suppress a small, but genuine, smile. Luke could always cheer me: funny,
gorgeous, and so much like a brother it sucked."Over here." The canvas draped over my painting appeared undisturbed. A sigh of relief escaped me. At least
nothing had happened to it. "Close your eyes."They both groaned but did as told.Fear and nervousness buzzed through me as I pulled the canvas off. What if they hated it? What if everyone
hated it and my dreams of being a real artist died before they could even be born? My lungs clenched with stale breath and I exhaled before I got too dizzy. "Okay, you can look."
They stood there, jaws dropped, stunned into silence. They either hated it or totally loved it."Um, is this a bad or good silence?"Lucy pulled her mouth closed and swallowed before she spoke. "O.M.G. Sam, this is the most incredible,
unbelievable thing I've ever seen in my life. You painted this?" "You like it?"
Her mental voice slammed into me. 'Would I lie to you? It's amazing!'
Relief flooded me even as I laughed at her joke. I could read minds, sure, but she was the human lie detector. No one dared lie to her.
Luke hugged me and whispered into my ear, "I'm so proud of you, Sam. This is truly epic!"
We stood there staring for several minutes. This painting represented so much about me, my life, my future... everything. I hated to leave it even for a minute, but my stomach protested its neglect with a loud rumble.
Luke grabbed my hand. "Come on, let's feed you. My treat."
With the buzz of success filling me, and Luke's hand in mind, I entertained a what-if. What if I could get past the whole brother thing with Luke? I took in his tall, well-defined frame, his dark hair and bright blue eyes. Gorgeous inside and out, but... nothing. No spark at all. Such a pity. Of all the guys at school, he was the only one I could even imagine being with, but I couldn't force the chemistry and neither could he.
We walked to dinner hand in hand, and I consoled myself with the fact that I had the best friends a girl could want. Not a bad consolation prize after all, and worth a hundred boyfriends.

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Drake inhaled the cool, salty beach air and sank his toes into the warm sand. The crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean always calmed his mind, but not this time. He dropped his shoes onto the sand and rolled his cargo pants up past his calves, so he could feel the sharp bite of the cold water over his feet.
The sun hovered over the ocean, ushering in another day. Surfers dotted the watery landscape; Drake longed to be one of them, lost in the Zen of the wave, no other care or concern but that one moment of bliss.
His life had changed too much for surfing to bring him any peace. That day so many months ago changed everything. He'd been primed to win the regional Venice Beach Surfing Competition—next stop, Hawaii. Brad had warned him to keep a low profile, but surfing was too important to him, so Drake competed.
And he'd paid.
***In a perfect moment of synchronicity and connection, the wave broke and wrapped around him in a watery cocoon from which he would emerge reborn. In that state of bliss he didn't notice Max cutting him off, didn't feel the
pull of the current until his board threatened to spill him into the depths of the ocean.With paranormal strength he steadied himself and kept his feet under him. A look of surprise flashed across
Max's face before he directed his attention to the wave that also threatened to engulf him.The men rode their boards to shore and were greeted by hundreds of voices cheering their success.To anyone watching, they had both just scored a serious victory. Even the judges wouldn't be able to tell that
Max had cheated and tried to sabotage Drake.Words mattered little to him, but Max had just declared war.Drake shoved Max to the sand using a touch more than normal strength, just enough to sting. "What the hell,
man? Are you so desperate to win, and so afraid of me, that you would cheat?"Max's eyes turned cold, but he pushed himself up and stared at Drake. "I don't know what you're talking about,
but do that again and I'll make sure you're disqualified from the final round."A group had formed, drawn into the drama. Drake passed his board to Brad and stormed off toward the
showers to cool down before he blew it for good.The warm sand squished under his feet, and the hot sun blazed down on his head.He stripped off his wetsuit and stood under the showers, letting the warm water wash away the sand, salt and
anger. Today could change his life forever; he just needed to keep his cool and ignore Max.He'd been so absorbed in his rage, he hadn't noticed the buzz of warning under his skin that someone was
watching him.By the time he felt it, it was too late.Something stung his shoulder.He reached around and pulled out a dart. His thoughts swirled around in his head and his recent clarity gave
way to a jumble of incoherent ramblings.
"Dude, are you all right?"
A voice spoke to him, but male or female, he couldn't tell. His vision blurred and he slumped onto the wet cement, the now cold water spraying over him until it ran out of time and stopped.
"Drake, you'll be okay. Come on, boy."
Another voice he didn't recognize. He reached out with his mind to stop whoever was touching him, but nothing happened. His power didn't work. Then he felt it, the compulsion to obey directed at him as someone siphoned his powers from him.
When hands pulled him away from the familiar noises, he tried to fight with his muscle."Damn it, he's still too strong. Get him to the van, quick.""Don't worry," one voice said to the other. "Drake, you will relax and walk quietly to the van with us. You will
not put up a fight or make any noise."He nodded, stood and walked forward.Before Drake could process anything more, a painful whack to his head sent him tumbling into darkness. The leader yelled at whoever had hit him, and then Drake lost consciousness.
***That day had been life-changing, just not the way he'd hoped or imagined.
Drake wondered if his blood still stained the block of cement his attackers had used to bash in his head that day, after hitting him with a tranquilizer gun from afar. Overkill, much? They hadn't underestimated his strength, at least.
Still, not all was lost. The priest's words gave him hope. They could form a plan. They had help. They were not alone.
But how did the priest know so much? Was he really psychic? A shout from behind pulled him out of his thoughts. "Drake!"Kylie the Beach Bunny, as she liked to be called, hadn't changed a bit. Bits of a silver string bikini hugged her curvaceous form as if it were painted on. Her bleach blonde hair cascaded down her shoulders in artificial curls. Pretty much everything about Kylie was artificial, actually. Drake could not for the life of him remember why he'd ever hooked up with such a shallow creature.
Drake hadn't turned around all the way when Kylie slipped her slender arm around his waist and pressed her body against his back.
His skin crawled at her touch.
She leaned in close to his ear, her voice a contrived throaty whisper. "I've been missing you, Drakey boy. Nobody has ever had the stamina you do."
Oh, shit.
Drake turned to face the last person he wanted to see in that moment. Sam.

About The Author-
Kimberly Kinrade was born with ink in her veins and magic in her heart. She writes fantasy and paranormal stories for children, YA and adults and still believes in magic worlds. Check out her YA paranormal novels Forbidden Mind and Forbidden Fire and her illustrated children's fantasy chapter books Lexie World, and Bella World, all on Amazon.

She lives with her three little girls who think they're ninja princesses with super powers, her two dogs who think they're humans and her husband, also known as the sexy Russian Prince, who is the love of her life and writing partner.

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