Jack and The Fountain of Youth — Installment 3

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Jack Cover with border small canvas

JACK AND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
by HL Carpenter
ISBN: 978-0-9884095-1-4
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9884095-0-7
Copyright (c) 2012 by Top Drawer Ink Corp.

*****

Continued from Installment 2

 

Two

Are you okay?” Nessa Owens untangled her legs from the jumble of bike and boy and scrambled to her feet. She stretched out a hand to help him up, and gasped when she saw his nose. “You’re bleeding.”

“I’m fine.” He took her hand and half-pulled, half-pushed himself off the ground. Once on his feet, he released her as if her touch burned. He swiped at the trickle of blood. “Are you?”

“Am I what?” Her palm tingled. She stared at her hand. Had he felt it too, that little spark that was scrambling her brain? Was that why he’d let go so quickly? She lifted her gaze and looked into intense eyes the color of unsweetened cocoa. She couldn’t look away.

He said, “Are you hurt?”

“Oh. No. I’m fine.” She blinked to break the connection and to stop the direction of her thoughts. Instead of tingling skin, she’d think about something else, like the total embarrassment of having run over a really cute guy. That thought made her blurt, “Landing on you softened the impact.”

“Always glad to be of service to comely maidens.”

The unusual words suited him. In age, he looked close to her own two-weeks-shy-of-nineteen, but his bearing and manner struck her as old-worldly, and another unusual word came to mind: Chivalrous. Yes, chivalrous was exactly right, like a caballarius of old, the kind of hero she’d believed only existed in her daydreams and the romance books she loved to read. The kind of hero she’d never expected to meet in a parking lot in Everyoung, Florida. The kind of hero— she really needed to get out of the greenhouse more often.

To stem ridiculous ideas of heroes, skin contact that sparked, and instant attraction to chivalrous guys with marvelous brown eyes, she brushed dirt from her jeans, and said, “Thanks for saving me. I didn’t mean to run you down. The brakes failed.”

That was true, at least partially. The main cause of the collision had been the fear that had kept her wide awake last night, numbing her reflexes, and apparently numbing her brain too, considering her reaction to him.

She added, “It was an accident.”

He chuckled, and picked up the notebook he’d dropped right before she crashed into him. “I hope so. I’d hate to think you aimed for me on purpose. Especially since we don’t even know each other.”

His gaze met hers for the second time. Another spark flashed between them, a warm glimmer that made the humid August morning seem brighter than usual. For a moment, as they stared at each other, Nessa had the crazy idea she did know him.

Lack of sleep had definitely done a number on her remaining brain cells.

She glanced toward the grocery store porch. Mrs. Kuhn and Mr. Sterling sat frozen in place, sun-wrinkled faces turned in their direction, mouths open slightly. Then a rocker creaked and Mrs. Kuhn called, “Are you kids okay?”

*****

***** ABOUT THE AUTHOR *****

HL Carpenter is the pen name of a Florida-based mother/daughter duo who writes from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, the Carpenters enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity.

Also by HL Carpenter:

The SkyHorse.Fourteen year old Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck–until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.

The Demise of Fyne Literature. Who killed Fyne Literature? The Fictional Book Investigation Agency is on the case—and the lead investigator is closer to the culprit than he realizes.

Dream Stealer. Is stealing a dream better than losing your own?

Walled In. When her father is accused of fraud, seventeen year old Vandy Spencer discovers her entire life has been built on a heart-shattering deception.

Taxing Pecksniffery. Flying frizzles! The year is 2176, a rebellion is brewing, and the boss wants a recon report. Ichann Count is all wet as a spy, but she plunges into the fray. Will she emerge with her memory banks intact?

*****

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We write. Visit us in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue.

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