The time has finally come for Sang Sorenson to be formally introduced to the Academy. Protocol dictates the boys keep the details of Sang’s official introduction to the Academy a secret from her. The only thing they can advise her to do is to work on what will become her mantra: She is determined to stay with her team, no matter what.
Despite her wishes, however, the boys are second-guessing her place with them, concerned for her safety. With dangers all around and threats closing in, some of the boys are questioning if this is the right time to bring her to meet the Academy at all.
Sang is challenged with being the brave face among them and instilling the confidence needed to keep her with them. However, in order to appear compliant with the Academy’s rules, she has to be willing to listen and try their suggestions. As the boys have suspected and feared, the council wants to see how she’ll work with a different team. An all-girl team. She has no choice but to go along with the proposal or risk losing a shot at the Academy.
But when the Academy’s inner world is revealed to her, Sang knows that she’s finally found her place—somewhere she belongs—and she sees a future with them. The deeper she gets, the more she sees how she can make a difference. Learning what she is capable of and the impact she can have, she feels obligated to help. There’s so few girls, and they need her.
The guys try to stick to their plan, but every team must pay their debts, and the cost of keeping her might be more than any of them can afford.
It’s up to Sang alone to prove to the Academy where she truly belongs—but can she resist the call of a new team that needs her?
The Academy, InsideKindle Edition, 377 pagesPublished April 25th 2016 by Arcato Publishing
Kota Lee brushed strands of my dirty blond hair away from my forehead and then pressed the back of his palm against it. “You feel warm still.” He sat next to me on his bed, wearing green and white plaid flannel pajama pants and a green T-shirt. He studied my face.
Dr. Green stood in front of us, eyeballing me and waiting for the thermometer in my mouth to finish reading my temperature. His arms were folded over his chest, making creases in the untucked, unbuttoned yellow shirt, and the white T-shirt underneath. He wore jeans, too, so I guessed he wasn’t going to work at the hospital today. “Let’s let the gadget thingie tell us if she has a fever.”
“The thermometer?” Kota asked.
Dr. Green dropped his hands, stuffed them into his pockets and shrugged. “I get so many gadget thingies. That’s what they all are.”
I smiled with the thermometer in my mouth. Strands of my hair fell over my cheeks, and while I tried to brush it back, Kota knocked my hands away from my face and gave me the eye to tell me not to move so they could get an accurate reading. I breathed out through my nose and waited, the loose hair tickling my forehead and cheeks. My hair was a mess after sleeping over; I must have thrashed around a lot in my sleep.
After about a week of being sick, the other guys had slowly started to get back to normal, returning home. I’d stayed at Kota’s house, at first because I was sick, and later because I was helping the others to recover. There were times when I’d run over to Nathan’s house to take care of things while he was sick. I’d also or occasionally gone to the diner to help while Luke and North were recovering.
My home base had shifted to Kota’s house because that was where everyone else usually ended up. Kota’s mother checked on us on occasion, too.
Apparently everyone taking over Kota’s upstairs bedroom while being sick was normal for them, and she didn’t say a word about me joining the guys.
We had all just starting to feel right again when my temperature had jumped in an odd spike last night. I was feeling a little run-down but had assumed I was only tired. Kota checked my forehead, said I must have overworked myself into being sick again and sent me to bed early.
Dr. Green hovered over us with a soft smile and a few curls of his dirty blond hair hanging around his forehead as he waited. He and Kota had such worried, concerned shadows behind their happy demeanors.
I was going to say I was fine, but kept my mouth closed, hoping the thermometer would tell them for me.
When it beeped, he pulled it out and looked at the digital screen. “According to this, she’s dead.”
I giggled, sure he either was reading it upside down or just making a joke. “I’m fine,” I said, probably for the hundredth time that week. “I feel normal.”
Dr. Green held his smile but looked at the thermometer again. He pushed the button once, to turn it off, and then again to turn it on. “One more time, though. Seriously. I think you opened your mouth.”
I hadn’t but was willing to sit through it again just to prove I wasn’t sick...or dead.
Dr. Green put the thing under my tongue and then looked at Kota. “It’s not like we should be in a hurry. Right now, your schedules are all changed. You’ll go to homeroom and then to Music Room B while we figure out our next steps.”
“Sang, too?” Kota asked.
Dr. Green nodded. “She’s already pinned as one of us by most of the staff and her schedule is out of whack. Despite our efforts, she has been missing a lot of school. She might be getting straight A grades, but we weren’t able to totally mark her as in attendance as we thought we could. We might get away with it with a fake Academy record that she’s been at the other school on days off. Might as well officially enroll her with us full time so we can have control of her schedule.” His green eyes sparked with amusement. “Did you hear that? You’re stuck with us now.”
I grinned, although it was more like barring teeth to keep the thermometer in and then closed my mouth quickly.
“What about Mr. Hendricks?” Kota asked, seeming to read my mind. “What happens when he wants something from her and tries to call her parents?”
“We’re going to face it sooner or later,” Dr. Green said. “What happens if we find this missing money? Hendricks will point fingers, including at her. The people he keeps close are ones with a lot of skeletons they want to keep in the closet. She’s not a threat to involve any police, but he could change that in a few seconds with a phone call. Based on who he is and his status, he could make things escalate very quickly and he’s not above lying. If we kick his beehive enough, he might do it.”
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