2 Sleeps until the Boxset is live!

That's right! On Monday, July 31 the full Exemplar Hall story of Jesse becoming the first female Magi in history will be live and yours to claim. The boxset includes all five books as well as the prequel novella that details the split of Jesse's father, John Jackson Helm, with the Celestial Council.

It's a poly RH with MM and includes popular tropes such as she's the man, friends to lovers, fated mates, adult magic academy, hot for teacher, age gap, father's best friend, queer awakening, she doesn't know she's special, and more.

Read on and see if Exemplar Hall is the Academy RH for you.


Exemplar Hall First Chapters



A deep rumble shakes the bed and my lamp tips beneath the tent of my sheets. What the heck? Thunder? An earthquake? I click off my light and tuck Artemis Fowl under my pillow.

It’s late. Really late.

If Dad catches me up reading again, he said it’s the woodshed for me. I’m not a hundred percent on what that means, but I know it’s not good.

Emerging from the cocoon of my private sanctuary, fresh air smacks me in the face. I fold back my Hello Kitty covers and blink at the darkness of my room. The light of a fat, ivory moon streams in from the window in a long, silver beam. It looks like the blade of a warrior’s sword dividing my side of the room from Wyatt’s.

I stare over at my twin brother sleeping in his bed. Wyatt is snoring like a hibernating Yeti. Do Yetis hibernate? Is it Yetis or Yeti? Another thing to look up.

Our room rocks with another tremor, and I stare at my brother again.

Did he seriously not feel that?

“Get out of my home!” Dad shouts down the hall.

The hair on my arms stands straight up. Dad never yells—like never. Not when Wyatt sent a line-drive through the bar window downstairs, not when I unplugged the big freezer so I could try out my Easy-Bake Oven and thawed the food for the bar, not even when he threatens me with the woodshed—even then he has a little smile he tries to hide.

A terrible clamor has me bolting out of bed and listening at our bedroom door. Thuds and crashing sounds carry up the hall, and I open the door a crack to see.

Everything is dark in the hall, and I’m too afraid to go out further. I feel it, though. Something down there makes the hair on my neck stand on end. My skin tingles and I shiver.

A stranger mutters something I don’t understand in a low hiss. His voice is deep and clear, but I can’t make out the bizarre words.

Strange glowy sparks ignite in the main part of the apartment and zing through the air towards me. As they draw close, they become clearer. They are more than sparks of golden light. They are intricate gold symbols dancing in the darkness. As they float closer, they dissolve against the line of the ceiling.

Dad says stuff back, and I don’t understand his words either.

More of the glowy gold squiggles appear, floating in the darkness. My fingers tingle. I reach up to touch them, to see if I can pop them like drifting soap bubbles out in the yard.

When my finger comes close to touching them, the energy crackling around them scares me, and I pull back.

“Did you honestly think we wouldn’t find you?” the man asks.

They are in the kitchen...I’m almost sure. I ease out the door a little further. Is Mom awake? The door to my parents’ bedroom is closed, and there’s no slice of light at the bottom.

“I don’t want trouble.” Dad is gasping like he just climbed a colossal rockface and can’t catch his breath. “Griffin understands why I left. We have an understanding.”

“Griffin’s no longer in charge.”

“Since when?” Dad snaps. “No. Don’t answer that. It’s not my problem. I’m out.”

“There is no out,” the stranger says. “You are what you were born. There’s no pretending otherwise, especially now.”

The revving engine of Wyatt’s new remote-controlled race car lets loose. Why are they playing with my brother’s toy this late at night?

“I'm warning you. You will stay away from my son.” Dad's voice drawls out slow and quiet.

“Not going to happen. The boy is one of us. He belongs at Exemplar. There’s nothing you can do to change that.”

My heart pounds inside my ribs and squeezes my heart. Wyatt? What does he want with Wyatt? Another scuffle breaks out. There’s another crash and then everything goes quiet.

I wait, but there is no more glowing light.

My skin tingles again. It’s weird, but it’s my dad washing over me. I feel him. His dad-ness fills the air and surrounds me. Like when he wraps me in his muscled arms and hugs me in his lap. I breathe in and smell him.

He is warm cinnamon. He is home.

After a long time, the apartment falls creepy quiet. I wait, straining against the darkness to hear what happened.

There's nothing for a long time and then there's more heavy breathing and then quiet shuffling.

“Daddy?” I whisper. I want to run out and make sure the stranger hasn’t hurt him, but I’m stuck in place. “Daddy, are you okay?”

A moment later, Daddy strides up the hall and scoops me into his arms. He’s shaking and sweaty and looks sad.

“Your lip.” I touch the blood on his mouth.

“Did something wake you, Jesse?” He brushes my hair from my face and kisses my cheek. He’s squeezing me tight—too tight. I can barely breathe. “Come, June Bug. Let’s get you back to bed.”

I glance toward the front of the apartment. “Is that man gone?”

He looks at me for a moment and then nods. “Yes. He’s gone. Everything is fine.”

I hear the lie in his words and know it’s one of those parent lies where they tell you what they think you need to hear because you’re eight and too young to understand the truth—but I understand.

Something big happened, something bad. It scares my daddy, and he’s not scared of anything.

“Daddy? What were those glowy squiggles? Why did I feel all tingly when I looked at them?”

His gaze narrows as he lays me back in bed and fixes my sheets. That little smile he hides is back. He shakes his head and bends to kiss my forehead. “Well, now, aren’t you the most special girl in the whole universe? You saw the runes, did you?”

I nod, but his smile fades. “Is that wrong, Daddy?”

“No, June Bug. It’s just unexpected. Now, enough chatting for tonight. You need to get some sleep.”

His hands cup my cheeks and grow warm. My skin tingles again and tickles something deep in my tummy. “Close your eyes, sweet girl, and dream happy dreams. Daddy will take all the scary stuff away, and you and Wyatt will be safe, I promise.”

I do as I am told and fall into the fog of a comfy sleep. Through closed eyelids, I see a golden glow spreading all around me. I’m too tired to open my eyes. I don't think I could even if I wanted to. They are so heavy.

“I love you. Jesse—both of you—forever and always. Never forget that.”

I yawn as the tingling intensifies, and I’m wrapped in the feeling of him again. I breathe deep and smile. Warm cinnamon. “I love you too, Daddy. Forever and always.”




A fist-bouncing knock rattles the metal delivery door at the back, and I jump. I've been crouching behind the main beer cooler for the last hour and managed to resurrect the thing from totally dead to an unhealthy wheeze. I set down my tools, pull myself up, and stretch. The vertebrae in my back pop, and the muscles in my legs protest, seriously asleep.

Grabbing an old bar towel for the grime on my hands, I hobble across the worn parquet of the dance floor. I curse each step. Pins and needles shoot tiny demon shards up my long legs, and they hurt like hell.

Another round of heavy-handed thumping rattles off and I hobble a little faster. “Yeah. Yeah. Hold your horses, Clyde. I'm coming.”

With the top layer of grease wiped off my hands, I toss the dirty rag onto a high-top table near the back door. My nails are shot—big surprise. I keep them clipped short anyway, but the grime-factor isn’t attractive.

I unlock the door, let in our liquor distributor, and shield my eyes from the bombardment of the August midday sun.

“How's it going, Wyatt?” Clyde squints at me, and I chuckle as his bushy eyebrows rise in recognition. “Oh, sorry, Jesse. You and your brother are the spit of one another, I swear. Especially when you stick your hair up in a ball cap like that.”

“S'all good, Clyde. Today, you could tell me I look like your wolfhound before its bath, and I'd still be glad to see you.” I gesture to the dolly of stacked beer cases in front of him and smile. “Thanks for the save. We owe you one.”

He chuffs. “You know I'm here for you, Jesse, but I can't keep doing this. You two kids—”

“—Appreciate your help soooo much.” I regret the stress in Clyde's soft, brown eyes, and hate that I put it there. But sometimes rules need bending to keep things running around here. “Wyatt and I would never jam you up, Clyde—you know that—and anyway, we’ll be twenty-one sooner than you think.”

He frowns and hands me a clipboard with a four-color pen pinched under the metal tab. “You’re barely twenty.”

I choose green ink, forge my mother’s signature, and shrug. “Hey, close enough. We've been doing this since we were eighteen. By comparison, we're almost there.”

“But you're not of age and I'm selling you alcohol.”

“Technically, you're selling my mother alcohol, and in dog years, we’re like eighty-four or something, amirite?”

Clyde accepts the paperwork and the three-fifty large. As he counts it, I flash him my sweet and innocent face, and he fights not to smile. “I'll get the rest of your order.”

“I love you, man. Seriously. Mad love.” I press my fist to my heart, and he rolls his eyes at me.

I grab two cases of beer and carry them to the back. Who needs the gym, right? I may not be as buff as Wyatt, but I grew up working hard and can hold my own wrestling out handsy patrons and drunken losers on Saturday nights.

It takes the better part of an hour to stack and refrigerate the new cases and hook up the kegs. By the time everything is squared away, it's five to three, and I need to unlock the door and open for what passes as business around here.

At least we have alcohol to serve.

After all, what's our bar without alcohol? Just a dingy dive in the middle of rural Utah filled with upset locals.

I'm making my way back to grab my tools and clean up when my steps falter. Mom is waiting next to the cooler. With her hands gripping her hips and a frown etched across her weathered face, I know how this will play out before it begins.

I plaster a smile on my face and try anyway. “So, yeah, the cooler's fixed.”

Mom glances from the tools lying on the pitted, wooden bar top and then back to me. There's no life left in her washed-out blue eyes. The glitter of hope and happiness she once possessed extinguished a decade ago. “I'm pretty damned sure I told you to call the technician in.”

I don't take the bait. Instead, I slide in and start sorting and stashing my tools away. “Didn't need to. It was an easy fix, nothing worth paying someone to come in and look at.”

She doesn't look convinced, which I don’t get because fixing things is my jam. Given time, tools, and a few parts, I can MacGyver anything back to life.

Wyatt says it's my superpower.

“It sounds as bad as it did before.”

Actually, no. The thing is older than Wyatt and me and is once again chilling beer. That ought to be worth something. Sadly, with mom, it's not. "It's running, and once I get a couple of parts, it'll be purring like a kitten getting a belly rub."

Yeah, I get no love on that. Just the usual scowl of disappointment. “What did you do with the cash I set aside to pay for the repairs?”

Okay, big finish. Give it all you got, girl.

“I called in an emergency order and used the money to restock. Here's the invoice and the receipt. It's all stocked and put away ready to roll for the weekend rush.” I keep my voice calm and my head down as I clean up my gear.

“Why the hell would you do that?”

“We were down to our last bottle of vodka, and the taps were coughing up foam by last call yesterday.”

Mom stiffens beside me. “So, what? Do you think you know how to run this bar better than me? Is that it?”

Abso-freakin-lutely. Wyatt and I have run the bar for years. Without us, the place would've been boarded up and repossessed long ago.

Most days, Mom doesn't bother to show up, and the days she does, she's perched on the wrong side of the counter with a firm grip on the neck of a bottle.

“Of course not, Mom,” I lie, zipping up my tool case. There is no point in riling her up any more than she is.

I run this business,” she says, jabbing a thumb against her sternum. “I'm the adult here.”

Yeah right. I roll my eyes before I catch myself.

Her knuckles crack against my cheek, and the noise echoes off the walls of the empty bar. “Don't you dare disrespect me, young lady. Smarten up and do as you're told. For once in your goddamn life, I wish you and your brother would realize what I deal with to keep a roof over your heads.”

Bent at the waist, I grit my teeth and fight to hold back retaliation. Energy builds in my cells and buzzes in my thundering blood. It's weird, but when I get blindsided like this, something inside me wakes up and fights to get free.

It's hot and powerful. It's like a physical force that wants to be let loose.

I want to let it loose—I soooo want to—but opening that door scares the crap outta me. I feel like, if I release whatever it is that wants out, it'll expand in size and strength, and I'll never be able to stuff it back inside my lockbox again.

With the side of my face throbbing, I straighten and stand in silence. My blunt, greasy fingernails dig into the meat of my palms as I rein in my emotions. The backhand to the face is no surprise—still, her reaction to me hurts as much as the contact.

Mom grabs a bottle of Big Bad from the little cooler and, with a practiced motion, twists off the metal cap and sends it flying down the bar. Then, she claims her usual bar stool and commences the pity party. “You're just like him, you know? He thought he knew everything too. Look where that got us.”

She tips the bottle up and takes a long swig.

My cheek burns and I blink back the tears of fury and betrayal that sting the corners of my eyes. There's no need to ask who he is. Dad’s sudden departure from our lives ten years ago is her excuse for everything.

I’m glad I take after him and not you. That's what I want to say, but I don’t. I know better.

Lips clamped tight, I turn on my heel and retreat to our apartment above the bar.

For spite's sake, I saunter slowly, chin up until I’m out of sight. Then I take the stairs two at a time and put as much distance as I can between me and my Mommie Dearest.


Wyatt finds me in our room not long after. I'm packing my climbing gear and he takes one look at my face and dissolves into a familiar mask of fury. “I’ll fucking kill her.”

“No, you won’t.”

“No, I won’t,” Wyatt agrees, red in the face, “but I will make this right.”

He storms out to the kitchen and comes back a moment later with the old bag of frozen peas we keep for just such an occasion. "What was it this time?"

I shrug. "I fixed the cooler myself and used the cash to put in an order with Clyde."

"Which makes more sense than having empty kegs and no booze for the weekend crowd."

"She doesn't seem to agree."

"I'll talk to her."

"Nah, leave it alone. You know it won’t do any good. She’ll get wasted tonight and apologize tomorrow or the next day.” The entire left side of my face screams in protest when I press the ice-cold package against my skin.

Wyatt scans the packing in progress and gets the gist of what I’m up to. He pulls his pack out from under his bed and joins the cause.

Time for a few hours of escape.

Whispering Creek might not have a lot to offer, but Dad taught us that the love of nature and spectacular rock climbing goes a long way.

Whether it’s a short scramble over a boulder field or an intense day on a super technical route, Wyatt and I have an endless playground of shale, sandstone, granite, and red rock to work off the stresses of life.

We finish pulling things together and Wyatt grabs both packs. “How bad is your eye? Are you gonna be able to see to climb?”

I peel back the makeshift cold compress for him to have a look. “What do you think?”

He tilts his head to get a closer look. “It's bruising. You'll likely get a shiner, but you should be good.”

“That’s all I need to hear." I set down the peas and take a moment to braid my hair and pull it up into my hat so it's out of my way for climbing. "Let's get out of here."

Wyatt leads the way through our apartment and sets our stuff on the floor by the door. I head into the kitchen to pack us a go-bag of drinks and snacks.

A knock at the side door sends Wyatt down the stairs to the ground floor to answer it. He comes back a minute later joined by a thirty-something military man dressed head-to-toe in black.

I frown. Door-knocking drop-ins aren't a thing in our lives, and certainly not a drop-in whose presence consumes our entire crappy apartment.

“Who is this guy”




Dark, shoulder-length hair frames the stranger’s face and accents a stubbled jaw. He’s five foot ten—a solid half-foot shorter than Wyatt and me—with a lean, muscled build. The way he holds his stance suggests he’s trying to downplay his undeniable badassery. It isn’t working. I feel the coiled threat he holds in reserve from across the room.

My self-preservation instincts kick in and I dislike him immediately.

He steps into the kitchen, his smooth movement causing his oversized trench to brush the tops of his tall, lace-up boots. Okay, those are killer cool. He trails his fingers over the items cluttering our pock-marked kitchen table: a ring of keys, some loose change, a pair of Mom’s sunglasses.

He pauses his fingertips on the head of a clay horse—Wyatt’s fifth-grade Mother’s Day gift. It looks more like a lumpy dog than a horse, but I love it.

“A drink, if you wouldn’t mind.” The man’s voice is deeply graveled and rumbles when he speaks.

“Yeah, of course,” Wyatt says, shuffling toward the fridge. “We haven’t got much. Grocery day and all. Tap water or half a glass of milk. I’d strongly advise the water.”

He nods and Wyatt promptly pours him a glass.

He takes it without a word of thanks and lifts it to his lips. Tipping it back, I watch his throat flex as he swallows it down in one shot. Glug, glug, glug.

Man, the dude is thirsty.

“My name is Floyd.” He sets the drained glass onto the counter and digs a large Manilla envelope out from the inner pocket of his jacket. “I’ve come to formally invite you to attend our university.”

He thrusts the envelope towards Wyatt and my brother stares at it hanging in the air between them. “I think my window for post-secondary has closed. You're about two years too late on that front."

"Exemplar Hall enrollment begins at twenty. You are twenty this school term, aren't you?"

"Well, yeah, but regardless of what it says on my driver's license, the college and university ship has sailed. Maybe you missed it because of the elegant decor of our home and our fancy attire, but we currently aren't in a position to further our education."

I snort. We're barely keeping our bar out of foreclosure.

Floyd pushes the envelope closer until Wyatt caves and takes it. “Exemplar Hall isn’t like most schools. It's the best school. What I'm offering you is more than an education. It's life-changing.”

"Wow, not that you're biased or anything," I say, chuckling.

I don’t like the way he’s eyeing up my brother. It’s like he’s studying him and wondering if he’s worth the imposition of his time to come here.

He reaches back into his coat and pulls out a square parcel. Huh, how deep are those pockets? “This is your welcome package.”

Wyatt tucks the hefty parcel under his arm without consideration. “Welcome to what? I didn’t apply.”

“You don’t choose Exemplar Hall. Exemplar Hall chooses you. To even be eligible is an honor. Many would kill for the opportunities our training will open up for you.”

Wyatt’s brow arcs at the same time the corner of his mouth lifts in his quirky smile. “Yeah, well, my answer is still no. Thanks for the invite, but I haven't got time to flit off and go to university for four years."

"You're making a mistake by dismissing this."

He chuckles. "It's not the first mistake I've made and it damned sure won't be the last."

"What about your future? Do you truly want this to be as far as your life progresses?" Floyd gestures a hand towards our apartment, his face screwed up as if he smells something rank.

"Hey, asshole," I say, straightening to my full height. "You don't get to come here and insult us and our lives. Maybe it's not much by your standards, but we've worked hard for everything we've got. We kept our bar running, our bills paid, and we've managed to squeeze in a few community college classes here in town.”

Wyatt nods. "Yeah, Jesse's right. I don't care who you are or what this is about. You need to leave."

He arches an imperious brow. “You haven’t heard about our offer?”

“It won’t change anything.”

"A full scholarship, room and board, and all expenses paid."

All expenses paid? My mind trips on that. Wyatt was a high school track star. He broke every record at every level of competition in the midwest. Schools from all over the country sent him letters when we graduated, but he turned every one of them down without batting an eye.

He refused to leave me behind.

What if this is a real opportunity? What if this is his last chance to show the world he's so much more than our life lets him be?

Wyatt shakes his head again. "I know what you're thinking, Jesse, and the answer is no. Exemplar Hall? Seriously? It sounds like it'll be full of snobby, entitled assholes."

Floyd's expression is devoid of emotion, so there’s no way to tell if Wyatt's opinion offends him. "I assure you, Exemplar Hall is nothing like what you're imagining."

Wyatt shrugs. "My answer is the same. I won’t leave Jesse. We were born together. We live together. We'll likely die together."

I chuckle. "Falling from the top of a mountain face."

"Going out in a blaze of glory. Hell yeah."

Floyd squints at me from across the room, and the push of his focus makes my skin tingle. A cold shiver works up my spine, and I get the urge to reclaim the bag of peas to my face to shield myself. “You two are twins?”

“Yeah,” Wyatt and I answer at the same time. We do that a lot. It pisses Mom off to no end. Which, of course, makes it even funnier for us.

"Well, then, let me see what I can do about that." Floyd pulls a phone from the pocket of his coat and puts it to his ear. “It’s me. Wyatt Storme. There’s a development.”

I beckon Wyatt closer so we can speak without Floyd overhearing us. “So help me, Wyatt, if this is legit, you need to take this scholarship.”

"Legit or not. I'm not going anywhere."

“Four years all expenses paid? That’s the freaking Holy Grail of scholarships.”

“When it sounds too good to be true…” he gestures with his hand between us. “Are you filling in the blank? We don’t know this guy and I’ve never heard of Exemplar Hall. Plus, isn’t your creep-o-meter redlining about all of this?”

It is, but I've been wrong before. "It’s really freaking weird—no argument—but you’re a superstar. I’m not surprised some fancy school wants you on their roster."

"I was a superstar. Past tense. I haven't even hit the track in months. Why come for me now?"

I shrug. "Maybe he's on the level and they only take mature entry. They look around at the twenty-year-olds and pick the cream of the crop."

A flash of amusement sweeps over his face. "Can you imagine me among trust fund kids and one-percenters?”

No, I can’t but whatevs. "If this is real, you are not throwing away your chance at a future to stay here and babysit me.”

Wyatt pegs me with a look. "One, staying with you is not me throwing away my chance at a future.”

"Yes. Twins," Floyd says into his cell phone.

"And two, we both know it’s not you who needs the babysitting.”

I lean in closer. "So, what's our plan? We can stay here and work at a run-down bar for the rest of our lives or, even better, maybe we inherit this money pit someday and are saddled with everything that brings with it."

Wyatt cringes. We are both painfully aware of exactly how much debt Mom racked up, trying to keep the bar open before we were old enough to intervene.

Floyd clears his throat. “What if we offer you both a place at Exemplar Hall?”

We stop our hushed argument, and both of our heads crank around toward him. Exsqueeze me?

Wyatt’s mouth falls open. "You mean a full scholarship for Jesse and me? Four years. Full boat. Far away from here?”

Man in black tilts his head to the side, and I can’t decide if he looks bored or annoyed. "I'll need to take a photo of Jesse's identification to send to our administration office. They'll need to pull your transcripts in order to put together your enrollment package."

“I'll get it.” Wyatt practically vaults over the couch to get to our backpacks by the door. He can pretend all he wants, but I know how desperately he wants out of this shitty life.

I know because I want it too.

He tosses me my pack and I unzip the side pocket and pull out my license. "I never had the grades Wyatt had," I say, handing over my identification. "Between working at the bar most nights and missing classes or falling asleep during lessons, I don’t look great on paper, but there were… circumstances.”

“That might be true,” Wyatt says, watching Floyd. “But grades aren’t your true talents. Jesse can fix anything that’s broken. With a set of tools, things get taken apart and rebuilt better than ever: motors, computers, lawnmowers, you name it. It’s incredible. Like magic.”

Floyd examines my license and looks up at me. “Jesse James Storme?” He peers over the top of the paper, and his gaze shifts from me to Wyatt. “And you’re Wyatt Earp Storme?”

I roll my eyes. Who the hell is he to judge our names when he’s walking around with a name like Floyd?

Wyatt scowls. “Yeah, well, our dad was an asshole with an old west gunslinger fixation. We had no say in that.”

Floyd goes back to studying my ID. “Is this right?” He looks up at me, his brow furrowed. “It says here you are a girl.”

Hey, why does he seem so shocked?

Sure, I’m taller than most girls and am a bit of a tomboy, but I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to see I’m not a dude. Well, when I’m not wearing a ball cap, and I don’t have one of Wyatt’s old t-shirts on. Okay, I see where the line got blurry.

“Yeah, I’m a girl. Does that matter?”

Floyd nods, his frown deepening. “Exemplar is an all-boys academy, so yes, it matters. We’re back to it being solely Wyatt we’re interested in.”

Wyatt snorts. “Okay, not only are you pushy and rude but you totally just dissed my twin sister based on her having boobs. Sexist much?”

Floyd shrugs and tosses my license onto the table. “I can’t change the fact that Exemplar Hall is a male academy. Your father is an Alumnus. That entitles his male heirs to an education.”

Dad went there?” My entire body tingles to life.

 Wyatt throws up his hands. “Well, that settles that. Now, I’m definitely not going. There is nothing I want from that man. End. Of. Story.”

A dark cloud settles over me and the ache of loss—old but unhealed—churns in my gut. I don’t say anything. There is nothing to say—Wyatt’s right.

One day, we were a family, the next, we woke up, and our world turned upside down.

Dad was gone, and none of us had a clue why.

Wyatt gestures toward the stairs. “Thanks for stopping by, Floyd. It’s been a treat. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out—or do—I don’t give a shit.”

Floyd starts past me toward the door but turns back to my brother. Soft vibrations run through my body and niggle at my insides. It’s invasive and creepy and triggers that locked up energy inside my chest.

I stare him down. Is he doing that?

If he is, it doesn’t show in that cocky glare on his face. “Don’t say no, just yet, Wyatt. Our academy is unlike any other. I have a strong feeling you’ll be joining us this fall. Exemplar recruiters can be quite convincing.”

Floyd lets himself out of the apartment, leaving Wyatt and me staring after him.

“What the hell does that mean?” I ask once I hear the door shut downstairs. “Exemplar recruiters can be quite convincing?”

“Doesn’t matter,” Wyatt says, flipping his middle finger toward the door. He grabs the dirty glass, puts it in the sink and then shakes his head. “Over and out.”

He slings his climbing pack over one shoulder and tosses mine to me. “I have no interest in following Dad’s footsteps at some fancy male academy where you aren’t welcome. Team trouble for the win.”

I slide our water bottles into my bag and meet his knuckles for a bump. My Spidey-senses are tingling, and the hair on my arms is standing straight up. I manage a smile and lead the way out of the apartment and down the stairs.

This Exemplar Hall business isn’t over.

I can feel it.


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JL Madore

Whitby, Ontario