Mae Nickson: Monster Hunter
Mae Nickson has been hunting monsters her whole life--her whole eighty-plus years, and she still only looks 17. And most of those eighty years she's pushed away every one, until she meets Porter Heyward, the boy who won't quit. When the ultimate bad-guy Cirraco targets a small town, Mae is forced to team up with Porter to figure out why.
Mae couldn’t explain why she still bothered going to school. The kids who believed her CIA story thought she worked for the government. She couldn’t fathom what the ones who didn’t thought. When Heath and Vesper left that morning to investigate some “animal mauling” reports, she had half a mind to go with them. But someone had to stay behind and keep an eye on Lovell.
She regretted her decision as soon as she saw Zack and Jonathan waiting at her locker.
“Good morning, Mae,” Zack said, rather cheerfully for him.
Mae reached between them to open her locker. “Friday night didn’t make us friends. Porter is a bad example. I don’t even like him.”
“That’s okay,” Jonathan said.
“Mae,” said Zack in a serious voice that caused Mae to look up. “We got a closer look at those ‘robots’ Friday night—”
“You did what?”
Both boys flinched and Zack leaned back a little. He continued, only looking slightly bothered by Mae’s extreme reaction. “Yes, and well, they’re a little too fleshy to be classified as ‘robots.’”
“So apparently you two have changed your mind from ‘silent’ to ‘dead.’” Porter walked up behind Mae. When she turned to look at him, she noticed the look in his eyes seemed almost dangerous.
“N-no,” Jonathan said. “W-we just w-won’t be f-fooled by M-mae’s blatant c-cover-up. We know they were z-z-zombies.”
Mae could have given Porter an Oscar for his excellent performance. He rolled his eyes and pushed Zack backward a little so he could stand next to Mae’s locker. “Do you two ever listen to the things coming out of your mouths? You’d be laughing too.”
“We’re not stupid,” Zack said.
Mae raised her eyebrows. “That’s debatable.”
Porter folded his arms over his English book. “It’s your choice to act how you want. Mae won’t be responsible for what happens.” He reached for Mae’s hand and pulled her past the two boys.
Glaring, Mae yanked her hand away from Porter, but followed him down the hall to their classroom. “Thanks.” She pulled her vibrating phone from her pocket.
Porter beamed at her and she rolled her eyes. “That’s enough for me,” he said.
“Well, it’s your lucky day. Jude has a couple leads he wants to check out this afternoon on possible Cirraco hideouts. Want to come?”
Porter’s jaw tightened and Mae tried not to show her amusement as his obvious jealousy. “I don’t think he’s inviting me.”
“Well, I am. Don’t push it.” Mae paused at the door of the English classroom.
“Worried about going out alone with a vampire? I don’t blame you.” Porter’s expression loosened and he smiled as he walked past her into the room.
“Just don’t forget that I can take care of myself.”
Porter pulled out her chair before sliding casually into his. “Why did you guys break up? Did he try to suck your blood?”
“No.” Mae folded her arms and leaned sideways against her desk.
“Killed your werewolf best friend in a jealous rage?”
Mae sighed. “No.”
“He made out with a witch who worked for Cirraco.” Mae pulled out her notebook to copy down the grammar exercises on the board.
Porter laughed. “Seriously?”
“Yes. And a nymph, another vampire—girl—and a cheerleader.”
“A nymph? Really? Went for him? Aren’t they all about nature and stuff? Vampires seem a little anti-nature if you ask me.” Porter leaned closer.
“He’s pretty charming.” Mae turned to her notebook.
“So he never tried to suck your blood or anything?” Porter looked disappointed.
She shook her head. “Nope. Jude had been starving himself for a while when I met him, trying to prove his loyalty to the Council.”
Porter stopped copying the grammar sentences. “Why’d he have to prove his loyalty?”
Mae hesitated. “He used to work for Cirraco. The Council tried him but he made a deal and changed sides.”
“Sounds trustworthy.” Porter returned to his work.
“Maybe he is. He’s got worthwhile contacts for fighting his old boss.”
“I bet.” He ripped out his paper and closed his notebook. “I’m in for today.”
Mae smirked. “I figured you would be.”