Wednesday, April 18, 2018

MALICIOUS MISCHIEF : A Hannah and Tamar Mystery



Social media, smoke bombs, and a secret society.

When a popular jock senses something’s up with his younger sister, he turns to local teen sleuths, Hannah and Tamar, for help. At the same time, a rash of smoke bombs attacks across Rosedale has the community on edge. Are these events connected and could someone at Rosedale High be involved?

Join Hannah and Tamar as they uncover malicious mischief and forge new friendships in this mystery for teens and young adults.

Read an excerpt:

It was the end of the day and as the bell rang, the halls erupted with students and noise. Hannah rushed through the crowd to her locker and grabbed her jacket. Her sister, Tamar, waited on her in the parking lot and she was not known for her patience.

Hannah felt someone collide with her and tried to keep going to no avail. She turned to see what the problem was and faced a very tall, stocky male. His hand was hooked through the strap of her backpack. He yelled to someone, “I know. I’ll see you there, Jake.”

He turned to Hannah. “You’re Hannah Bertolet, right?”

Hannah nodded.

“This way. I need to talk to you.”

When Hannah held her ground, he looked around and whispered, “Honest, I’m not gonna hurt you. I need your help.” He pleaded, “Please, this way.”

Her curiosity won out over her better judgment, and she allowed him to guide her in the direction of the gym and into an empty classroom. Once inside, he let go of her backpack and slid into a chair. Seated and slumped over, he was a lot less threatening than when he was towering over her. He had a baby face and dark hair that stuck out in tufts, reminding her of a bear. She sat down next to him and waited for him to speak.
“I’m Miles Rothstein. My grandmother told us all about how you and your sister solved a mystery for one of her pals at Parkview Heights. That’s why I need your help.” His voice was low and quiet, like he shared a secret.

Hannah racked her brain and it finally clicked. Stella Rothstein, the gossip at Parkview Heights. “What’s wrong? Is Mrs. Rothstein alright?”

“She’s fine – well, at least as fine as ever. I’m the one who needs your help. You’ll help me, right?”
“What? I don’t know if I can.”

“You just have to help me. I… I don’t know who else can.”

The door to the classroom opened and students started walking in, along with Coach Summer.
Miles straightened up and extended his hand. In a louder voice, he dismissed her. “Thanks for agreeing to tutor me. I need to keep my grades up to play. I’ll call you to set up times.”

With a quick glance, Hannah realized the whole football team was pouring into the room. She nodded and left. She still didn’t have a clue what Miles needed help with though she was sure he’d be in touch.
Hannah looked at her watch and ran to the parking lot. The Bertolet’s green Subaru Outback was nowhere to be seen. She checked her phone to see if there was a message. No message. She clicked on Tamar’s name and waited for her to answer.

“Tamar, where are you? I’m in the parking lot.”

“You didn’t come out so I figured you must have made other plans.”

“Right. Well, you can come right back here and get me. I wasn’t that late so you can’t be all that far from here.”

“Alright, alright. I’ll be there in about five minutes.”

Hannah waited impatiently and tried to imagine what Miles might want. She was pretty sure it wasn’t tutoring. She shook her head as Tamar pulled up.

“What are you shaking your head about? Why were you late? Studying with Scott?” she teased.

“If only. One of the football players grabbed me – he wanted to talk to me about something, but then the rest of the team showed up.” Hannah shrugged. “No idea what the problem was, I only know Mrs. Rothstein is his grandmother.”

“Oh, gosh. If he’s anything like her…” She groaned.

“I know. I also know he wasn’t trying to ask me for a date. When the team showed up he made comments about tutoring him in math. Only before that, he made a point of mentioning our solving the mystery at Parkview. He said he needed our help.”

“Was he cute? Not that the jocks would be interested in dating nerds.”

“What about Matt? Or Dylan?”

Matt and Dylan were friends from Vermont. The sisters hung out with them when they visited their grandparents for the holidays. The foursome would go skiing or skating or out for a movie or dinner. More recently, Matt and Hannah or Dylan and Tamar might do something on their own.

“Hannah, people in VT – even Matt and Dylan – don’t see us every day or in school. They don’t know you’ve been taking college level classes for two years and I’m taking some now. All they know is we’re the granddaughters of one of their own. Besides when we’re there, it’s all about the holidays or vacation – not how smart we are or our grades.”

“Are we really not nerdy or geeky when we aren’t in school?”

“I don’t think we’re labeled that way. Besides, thanks to Gramps, Matt, and Dylan, we actually know about sports and stuff other than school subjects. Most girls don’t even understand the games.”

“You realize you just admitted we’re even geeks about sports.” Hannah chuckled.

Tamar rolled her eyes. “But was this guy cute? Another quarterback for you? You never answered me.”

“Miles? Definitely not a quarterback. I don’t know for sure what position he plays. We can look it up later. He’s tall and big. Not just because I’m on the short side. Taller than Matt. And stocky. I’m not sure he’d have to do much more than hold his position to block someone. I’d guess he plays defense or maybe he’s a linebacker. Okay looking, I guess.”

“Oh, well. I still bet Scott will be jealous if you start hanging out with him.”

“I keep telling you, Tamar, Scott and I are just friends. We’re study buddies. Yes, we went out on one date. That’s it.” Hannah shook her head. “I could say the same thing about you and Kyle you know. You eat lunch together every day and he took you to homecoming last fall.”

“Okay, okay. Kyle and I aren’t even study buddies. Miles may not want you to tutor him, but that’s the motivation for Kyle. He wants to stay on my good side so I can help him with his English lit. He and Bella are on again, off again – that’s the only reason he asked me to Homecoming.”

Tamar sighed. Kyle was awesome. His blonde hair, blue eyes, and easy smile got to her every time. No chance with him though. Bella had his heart or at least his hormones. On the dance team, she was athletic with curves in all the right places and very social. An attractive girl of average height with straight, dark brown hair and hazel eyes, Tamar’s slim figure couldn’t compete with Bella’s curves.

Tamar pulled the car into the driveway of their home in Rosedale, Virginia. The sisters exchanged worried glances when they parked next to their father’s silver Lexus.

“What’s dad doing home so early? Or are we that late?”

Hannah looked at her watch. “He’s early. I wonder what’s going on?”

Excerpt from Malicious Mischief by Christa Nardi & Cassidy Salem. Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

To celebrate the release, both Malicious Mischief and The Mysterious Package are on sale through April 24th for $0.99!   

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