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Operation Tenley by Jennifer Gooch Hummer
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Operation Tenley (The Fair City Files #1)
by Jennifer Gooch Hummer
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Meet Tenley Tylwyth, an Elemental Teen born with the power to produce weather. Cool? Not really. Elementals who can create weather make Mother Nature angry. It’s time she got rid of them. Only one thing is standing in her way—Fair Ones. These ancestors of fairies keep kids like Tenley safe, but when rookie Fair One, Pennie, fails to do so, she’s forced to travel to Earth—a place where no Fair One wants to go. Now, Pennie has forty-eight hours to convince Tenley to give up her power. It won’t be so easy. Tenley’s got a way with wind. And after falling deep into Mother Nature’s gardens, where trees grow upside down and insects attack on command, a little wind might be just what Tenley needs to survive. Even if it kills her.
Excerpts from OPERATION TENLEY
Mrs. Tylwyth stepped into Tenley’s room. “Actually, it’s a good thing you called. I forgot my catalogues anyway. Have you seen them anywhere?”
“You mean these?” Tenley looked up from the other side of the bed. Two pom-poms made of shredded paper were clutched in her hands. She clapped them together.
“Tenley. You said you had to come home because you ate a bad waffle.” Mrs. Tylwyth crossed her arms and frowned. “I left the store halfway open.”
“I’m sorry, Mom. But I didn’t think you’d let me come home if I told you the truth.”
“Which is?” Mrs. Tylwyth smoothed down the end of Tenley’s bedding before she sat.
“Cheerleading auditions. They’re today and I needed pom-poms. I didn’t want you to have to go buy me some real ones, so I made these. I might even use them in my nail tutorials.”
“Cheerleading? Why would they be holding auditions at the end of the school year?”
It was a little weird, considering it was June. “All I know is that this really cute guy was setting up auditions with Mr. Frimpy and told me I could audition too. Anyway, it’s the perfect place to get more votes.”
“Honey,” Mrs. Tylwyth started.
“Don’t worry, Mom,” Tenley brushed out a pom-pom. “I’m going to get it.”
“This is a small town, Tenley. These teens that you’re watching, the ones that actually get onto the show and win the nominations, they’re from big cities. ANMIT only takes one teen from each state. And these kids have moms and dads who work in big companies where they can get lots of votes, not at their own antique shop. I might only get one or two walk-ins a day, honey, and even though I put your signs up, well, I just don’t want you to be heartbroken.”
“I’m not going to be heartbroken; I’m going to be nominated.” Tenley clapped her pom-poms and stood. “I made these out of your Secret Antique Finds catalogues. I mean, am I inspirational or what?”
“A paper tutu, too?” Mrs. Tylwyth chuckled.
Tenley swiveled her hips. “Cool, huh?”
“How did you know how to make all that?”
“YouTube, Mom. DIY.”
Mrs. Tylwyth couldn’t help but look impressed.
“So you’re not mad at me?”
“No, I’m still mad, Tenley. And you’ll have to pay me back for those catalogues. But you are pretty clever.”
“Can you take me back to school now please?”
“Let’s go.” Mrs. Tylwyth walked to the door. “I hope this rain stops soon or I’m afraid you’ll be wearing a soggy ball of paper for a tutu.”
“It won’t rain on us,” Tenley said glancing out the window confidently. “I promise.”
Something sharp was jabbing into her side. Pennie opened her eyes.
The kind that could only be found on Earth.
Pennie jolted upright and hit the ground.
She moaned. She’d landed in a tree. The one she’d just fallen out of.
Her head felt like it was splitting down the middle. She reached for her tool belt before remembering she didn’t have it. She lifted her wrist to look at her stopwatch, before remembering she didn’t have that either.
“Gavron?” Pennie whispered. “Gavron?”
But Gavron was not there. And there weren’t any slurps or drools coming from anywhere, either.
She tried to stand, but must have forgotten about the house on her back. Or maybe it was a small meteor. Something very heavy was preventing her from standing. She pushed against the ground with all her might and got to her knees.
Gravity, she remembered. That’s what it was.
Tenley blew a quick breath. A gust of air swirled around Pennie’s hands. “Tenley! Stop!” Pennie pulled her hands back.
“It’s just wind. What are you so afraid of?” Tenley put the screen in place again.
“It’s not just wind. This is exactly why I’m here. You need to stop doing this.”
Tenley grabbed her phone. “Okay, look. I’m sorry that for some reason I can make the wind blow. It’s weird, I know. But it’s also awesome. I’m not hurting anybody. I’m just drying my nails and stuff. So I don’t know why you have to go and get all freaked out about it.”
“Because.” Pennie lowered her voice. “Every time you create wind, you’re putting yourself in danger.” She tapped on her temple, careful not to smudge her nails. The hologram form appeared in front of her. “You need to sign this.”
Above them, a gigantic pink petal, the size of a hula-hoop, was creaking downwards. Halfway to them, it jerked to a stop. Then it started again. Just as it looked like it was going to land directly on top of Tenley, the petal jerked violently, swung to the right and then to the left, and finally slammed against the tree trunk across from them, nestling itself inside a branch.
“Snail secretions!” a voice from inside yelled. “Need a filter change!”
“Yeah. Um, hello?” Holden ventured.
The same voice fell into a coughing fit.
“Lame-alarm,” Tenley whispered, rolling her eyes.
The petal shifted around until an antique-looking woman, four feet tall at most and wearing a wilted crown of purple flowers and dead branches, popped up.
“You’re so old,” Tenley said.
“Tenley,” Holden warned, except she was right. The woman’s face looked like it had been sketched in with pencil and her faded red hair was piled high under the wilting crown.
The old woman squinted back and forth at both of them. “Fair One or sipLip?” she asked in a raspy voice, pointing a crooked finger.
“Ah—” Holden hesitated.
“Wait. Did you say Fair One?” Tenley asked.
“Which one are you?” the old woman demanded.
“I’m a kid?” Holden answered.
“And you?” She pointed to Tenley.
“A more popular kid?”
The old woman considered them. “Humans. How did you get into my gardens?”
“Yeah, about that,” Holden said. “We don’t know. We were on the Log Ride in another part of the park, and she was about to fall over the edge,” he nodded to Tenley, “the next thing we knew we landed in here instead. Somewhere down there, to be specific.” He pointed through the trees.
The old woman narrowed her eyes. “What do you seek?”
“A lemonade?” Holden smiled. “I’m dying.”
“How convenient,” the old woman said.
Tenley frowned. “I don’t want some stupid lemonade. I got my hair ripped out and my Uggs muddy. I just want to get back to our bus and wait for this whole thing to be over. I have a big night tonight.” She checked on her sash and noticed the new gash in it. “No!” she cried.
Pennie pulled herself up from the ground and sat on a fallen tree trunk. “Laraby. Where are we? What happened?”
“I can’t be sure,” Laraby answered, brushing himself off and standing. He had a smear of dirt on his face and a few rips in his robes. “But I think we might be in one of her gardens.”
“Her? You mean, her her?” Pennie looked around. “We’re in Mother Nature’s garden?”
“I believe so.”
Jennifer Gooch Hummer is the award-winning author and screenwriter of her debut novel, Girl Unmoored (SparkPress). Girl Unmoored has also been published in German (Carlsen). Jennifer has worked as a script analyst for various talent agencies and film studios. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three daughters.
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Giveaway Information: Contest ends September 30, 2016
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Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Operations Tenley by Jennifer Gooch Hummer (INT)