Clockwiser by Elle Strauss

CLOCKWISER by Elle Strauss

The exciting follow-up sequel to Clockwise is here!

 
The  last year has been smooth sailing for Casey Donovan. She and her  boyfriend Nate are doing better than ever, and things at home are good,  too. Everything’s been so calm, she hasn’t “tripped” back to the  nineteenth century in ages.
Then  the unthinkable happens and she accidentally takes her rebellious  brother Tim back in time. It’s 1862 with the Civil War brewing, and for  Tim this spells adventure and excitement. Finding himself stuck in the  past, he enlists in the Union army, but it doesn’t take long before he  discovers real life war is no fun and games.
Casey  and Nate race against the clock to find Tim, but the strain wears on  their relationship. It doesn’t help that the intriguing new boy next  door has his sights on Casey, and isn’t shy to let her know it.

Can Nate and Casey find Tim in time to save him? And is it too late to save their love?

 
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Sample Chapter

Chapter One

CASEY

Beginning of Summer Holidays

Sometimes  I wished I were an only child. But then I’d be walking or taking  transit instead of getting a lift from my brother Tim in his Cavalier  beater. He didn’t have air conditioning either, and the wind blowing in  from our open windows was hot and moist. The humidity made me feel like I  was wearing a warm, wet washcloth for a shirt.

“Can’t  you drop me off first?” I said, fanning myself with my hand. I was  meeting my best friend Lucinda at the mall, and she only had a thirty  minute break from her job at Forever21. Plus, the mall was air conditioned. Bonus.

“I  gotta get some cash first. Besides, I’m not your personal taxi service,  Casey.” Tim snarled, turning the volume up on his stereo. The bass beat  was so loud it rattled the trunk. “Get off your lazy butt and get your  license already.”

I  gave him a dirty look and reached over to turn the music down. I had a  very good reason for not getting my license, but I could never tell Tim  or any member of my family what it was. There were only three people currently living who knew the reason. One of them was my boyfriend Nate Mackenzie.

My heart still fluttered a bit when I thought of him in those terms. My boyfriend. Not just some out-of-reach guy I crushed hard on my whole sophomore year, but my boyfriend.

We’d  already been an official couple for an entire year, totally blowing all  the doomsday predictions that we’d never make it. No one thought a  college boy would stick it out with a junior in high school–especially  Nate’s evil former girlfriend!

But  he did, and we were still going strong. I’d be starting my senior year  in a few weeks and then I’d join him at Boston University, too.

“If you dropped me off first, you wouldn’t have to deal with me,” I tried to reason.

“If I didn’t shuttle you around at all I wouldn’t have to deal with you.”

The  only reason he did was because my parents were putting the screws in.  Tim’s bad attitude, questionable choice of friends and poor grades put  him in their bad books. Driving me around was penance.

He  pulled into the parking lot of the bank and hopped out, leaving the car  running. I reached over and turned it off. Idling the car was bad for  the environment for one, and a waste of Tim’s hard-earned minimum-wage  job gas money for another. You’d think he’d know better.

I  checked the time on my phone and grew anxious as Lucinda’s break time  grew nearer. Tim had his back to me as he stood in line at the ATM  window. I looked at my reflection in the visor mirror. Since I’d grown  out of my skinny awkwardness last year (and snagged a hot boyfriend), I  was more mindful of my looks. Instead of trying to hide behind a bush of  dark, curly hair, I used better hair products and found a great  stylist, and I liked the way my curls framed my face now. I took a tube  of lip gloss out of my purse and rolled it onto my lips.

I  tugged on my shorts and rubbed my bare legs. They were so long, my  knees almost touched the glove compartment. Height had its advantages,  but getting comfortable in a small car wasn’t one of them.

I  turned the radio on and hummed along. I daydreamed about me and Nate  and how we could relax for the rest of the summer, hopefully stretching  the lazy days out as long as possible.

I checked the time on my phone again and immediately started stressing about being late to meet Lucinda. C’mon, Tim! He was second in line now. I texted Lucinda to let her know I might be a little late.

I  heard sirens and I perked up. This wasn’t the best neighborhood. The  bank wasn’t huge, just tucked into a strip mall along with a nail place,  a dollar store, and a thrift shop. Litter overflowed from the bin and a  good amount had been blown up against the cement foundation.

I  checked on Tim. He’d finally made it to the front, the last one in  line. If I’d known it was going to take him this long, I would’ve run  into the dollar store and picked up cheap nail polish.

The  siren noise grew increasingly louder and suddenly three cop cars pulled  into the parking lot beside me. My heart jumped, and I thought  fleetingly that maybe Tim was in trouble with the law again. Only, he  was getting money out of the ATM, not robbing the bank.

But someone was.

Everything happened so fast.

A  guy with a ski mask pushed past Tim as he ran out the bank doors. A cop  shouted, “Stop or I’ll shoot,” and another masked man followed. Guns  went off. Tim stood there, stunned and frozen.

I heard myself shout, “Tim!” He was right in the middle of the cross-fire!

A  police officer ran to him, pushing him to the ground just as the second  armed man shot in their direction. The officer fell to the ground,  taking the bullet instead of Tim.

The robbers ran around the corner and out of sight, chased by police officers on foot and a cruiser down the back ally.

I sprinted to Tim where he was on the ground by the fallen cop.

“Are you okay?” I asked, my voice tight.

His face was white, and he motioned to the woman beside him. “Yeah, but I don’t think she is.”

The officer moaned, holding her hand on her chest.

“Oh, ma’am, are you okay?” I searched for blood but couldn’t see any.

“I will be,” she said gasping for breath. “I have a vest on.”

Another officer kneeled beside her. “Ambulance is on its way.”

The  woman had dark hair pulled back in a low bun. Her eyes stayed pinched  together and her pale face glistened with sweat. The impact of the  bullet was enough to do some damage. I picked up her police hat that had  fallen off her head and handed it to her.

“Thank you,” I said.

“Just doing my duty.”

The ambulance arrived. The paramedics pushed us aside and lifted the woman onto a gurney.

The cop who’d checked her pulse stepped forward from his open door cruiser. Radio dispatch noises leaked out.

I watched the ambulance pull away, siren blasting, and realized I didn’t know her name. I asked the officer standing beside me.

“That’s Officer Clarice Porter,” he said. “Now, would you two mind coming with me to the station to file a report?”

We  agreed, and I took my first ride in a police car. It was Tim’s second,  but his first was not for noble reasons. He still claimed it was his  friend Alex, and not him, who’d stolen the cigarettes from the  convenience store.

A thought like a loud banner ran through my mind as the doors of the police cruiser slammed shut and we drove away.

Clarice Porter saved my brother’s life.

Author: Stacey Wallace

Stacey Wallace is the author of The Retroact Saga, Day of Sacrifice Omnibus, Open Door Love Story series, and multiple short stories. Her latest novel, Her Other Life, is a stand-alone novel of magical realism.