This is an example of a snippet that patrons will receive.
It is from the sequel of The Black Wolves of Boston (not yet titled). Seth Tatterskein is an "alpha" werewolf, the Prince of Boston. Still a teenager in high school, he lives with his foster father, the Wolf King, in New York City. His brother Joshua lives in Boston. He attends Blackridge, a private school that the Tatterskeins' own. Seth is at school in New York when he gets a text from Joshua.
“What kind of penguin talks?”
Seth frowned at his phone. Texts from his brother were always odd. They were often total random insanity in minimum number of words. This was a joke.
What kind of penguin talks? Was it like the newspaper joke? What was black and white and “red” all over? Black and white and talked?
A nun, Seth typed back. He added a “?” to indicate that he wasn’t sure. Certainly he didn’t recognize the joke. If it was a joke.
“I think it was male,” Joshua texted. “It sounded male. How do you tell the sex of penguins?”
Oh, God, that was a serious question.
Seth cursed as he realized that they were three hundred miles apart. If Joshua was in danger from something dangerous, it would take hours for anyone to reach him. Seth mentally reached out through the Source to check on his brother.
It had snowed heavily the night before and the streets of Boston were still a mess. Joshua sat in a school bus stuck in gridlocked traffic. The other people on the vehicle were all human.
His brother looked up as if startled, and then leaned over the phone again. “Yeah, yeah, I’m on a bus coming back from a field trip with my class. I’m fine. You don’t have to worry.”
How did Joshua always seem to know that Seth was checking on him? Their cousin never seemed to notice or was Jack just too used to the surveillance? Jack served the Wolf King for years before Seth became the Prince of Boston.
“It was a rockhopper,” Joshua texted.
A what? Seth frowned at his phone. What in God’s name happened to his brother? There didn’t seem to be any weird monsters near Joshua. What was this evil grasshopper penguin cross-breed that he was asking about?
“Do all rockhoppers talk or is this some kind of we’re --- we’re – we’re – damn autocorrect -- were-penguin?” Joshua texted.
“No.” Seth closed opened a browser on his laptop. A quick search on “rockhopper” pulled up the smallest of penguin species. Apparently DNA testing was the only way to tell the difference between the males and females. The picture showed a penguin with beady red eyes and bright yellow spikey feathers on its head.
“No w. penguins?” Joshua texted. “W. penguins” apparently was so he didn’t need to fight with autocorrect over the word “werepenguin.”
“No.” Seth answered even as his phone asked “Are you sure?”
The crossing of messages confused Joshua.
“No, you’re not sure?” Joshua asked for clarification. “Or no w. penguins?”
Seth clenched his phone tight, angry that he was so helpless. He had no idea what had happened to Joshua that he was asking these questions. “NO WERE PENGUINS!” He typed back in all caps. He felt bad as soon as he hit send.
“Why?” Seth added. He refrained from using lots of ? and !
“The penguin wants to hire Decker.”
Seth stared at the screen. His brother lived to hurt his brain.
Seth glanced to the front of the classroom. His teacher hadn’t noticed yet that he’d taken out his phone. Seth didn’t really care if he was caught, but it would trigger a cascade of events that he would like to avoid.
Joshua said he was on a field trip with his class. The bus was only two blocks from the aquarium. Joshua probably had “talked” to the penguin there.
Seth scanned the building. There among the normal penguins was something very non-penguin. The tight knot of magic created a small bird-like body. It wasnt a werewolf but it certainly wasn't a normal animal either. At the moment the creature was fighting for its share of fish being handed out by the human staff.
Whatever it was, it barely stood out. Seth could easily miss it. There was no telling how long the creature had been mixed in with the normal penguins. Judging by the feeding going on, the staff hadn’t noticed the ringer.
Seth focused back on Joshua. His brother was still texting but none of the messages were to Seth. “Who are you talking to?”
“Winnie. I think. Either she’s butt texting or she’s possessed by a ghost. I think her replies are in French. I think autocorrect hates French. I think autocorrect hates everyone.”
When would the hurting stop?
Seth clenched down on a growl of impatience. Contacting the Wise Woman, Sioux Zee via her granddaughter Winnie wasn’t a bad idea. Seth had no idea what the magical creature was but the Wise Woman might know.
“Seth? Mr. Tatterskein?” His teacher had noticed that Seth had his phone out during class. “Do I need to take that from you?”
Ah, the battle of wills had started. They never ended well for the teachers. Seth was hoping to avoid any conflict; he liked Mr. Hotchkins.
“I’m sorry.” Seth stood up. “I need to be excused.”
“Sit down, Mr. Tatterskein, and put your phone away.”
Seth closed his laptop. “I can not do that, Mr. Hotchkins. This is a very important matter. I can’t ignore it.”
His phone vibrated again. He glanced at it.
“Should I go back after school to see what the penguin wants?” Joshua asked.
“Mr. Tatterskein.” Mr. Hotchkins came toward him, hand outstretched, demanding that Seth surrender his phone.
Seth lost his temper. It flared for a second, fueled by his fear for his brother. In that moment, everyone around him realized -- without truly knowing the source -- that they were in a very small room with a very large predator. There was a sudden exodus for the door.
Mr. Hotchkins backpedaled until he hit the whiteboard.
Seth struggled to get his temper in check. Last thing he needed was to be kicked out of school again because everyone was too afraid to be in the same room with him. “Don’t go near that penguin!” he texted Joshua. This time he used lots of exclamation points and capital letters.
Text sent, Seth tried for damage control. “I’m sorry, Mr. Hotchkins. You don’t have to be scared. I’m not going to hurt you. Shit!” This was because Joshua didn’t respond to his text. Mr. Hotchkins whimpered as Seth growled with frustration. Did Joshua not see the text? “I’m not angry with you, Mr. Hotchkins. My brother is being an idiot.”
Getting no reply from Joshua, Seth dialed his brother. “Joshua! Don’t go back! That thing could be dangerous!”
“Seth?" Joshua said. "Hi! What? Dangerous? It didn’t seem dangerous.” Joshua dropped his voice to a whisper. “It was a penguin.”
“That’s not what it is,” Seth said. “I don’t know what it is and you’re not to go near it alone.”
“The aquarium closes before Decker wakes up,” Joshua said.
“You. Will. Not. Go. Back.” Seth growled the words. “This is a command, not a request. If you want to stay with Decker, you will do what you’re told.”
“Are you serious?”
“Okay. Okay. I’ll stay away from it.”
Seth hung up and eyed his quivering teacher. Well, he saved Joshua from harm but he obviously toasted this school. Oh well. “I’m sorry, Mr. Hotchkins. I really am. I’ll go home now.”