Miserable after losing her boyfriend Travis to a ravishing redhead, Lacy Sinclair may have discovered the secret to winning him back--a magic love potion that only boys can smell! Soon Lacey is on her way to becoming the most popular girl in school. Her old boyfriend Travis is begging her for a date and so is every other guy who used to ignore her. Then Lacey runs out of an important ingredient and she panics. She doesn't want to turn back into the ordinary girl she was before--until it hits her that maybe she possessed the ingredients for true love in herself all along. But how could she be sure if it was her own charms beguiling the boys or the potion?
A Hard Shell Word Factory Release
Linda Joy Singleton lives in Northern California with her husband and a menagerie of animals. She's written over 30 books, including MY SISTER THE GHOST #1 TWIN AGAIN, which was chosen as the Best Children's Eppie Winner in 2004. She has a blog, fun pictures, book news, short stories and more on her website www.LindaJoySingleton.com.
"WHERE IS he?" Lacey Sinclair asked herself for the zillionth time. It was almost eight o'clock, and still no sign of Travis.
Lacey crossed her bedroom and stared hard at the oval clock on her dresser, as if she could will it to magically produce her boyfriend. But it just kept ticking, reminding her that Travis was late. And he had promised to pick her up promptly at seven-thirty for the Roulsville High Fall Fiesta Dance!
Sighing, she flopped into a cushioned blue chair. Again she wondered, where was Travis?
He must have a good reason for making her wait. Travis may have disappointed her a few times in the past, but he had swore he'd take her to the dance. He wouldn't break their date unless... unless something horrible had happened.
Her imagination jumped to scary possibilities. Was he ill? Maybe dying alone and forgotten in some unknown hospital? Or had his ratty secondhand Toyota blown its engine? She could almost smell the acrid smoke of a car fire, and her heart pounded with fear. Travis just had to be all right!
The clock's big hand jumped forward another minute.
"I can't take it any longer!" she told herself. "I know Travis doesn't like to talk on the phone, but I have to call to find out what's happening." Then she almost flew out of her chair and headed for the hallway telephone.
As she passed the family room, she saw her parents sorting through papers. They owned and ran a pet supply shop, Bow Wow's, and often brought paperwork home with them. Lacey and her older sister, Amelia, worked there part-time. And sometimes their younger brother, Andy, helped give dogs and cats flea dips.
"Where ya going in such a hurry?" Eleven-year-old Andy asked as he stepped out of the kitchen. He held a delicious smelling bag of microwave popcorn in his hands.
"To use the phone."
Buzz-cut blond Andy grinned. "Too late. Amelia's still on it."
Lacey ran her fingers through her medium-length curly dark-brown hair. "Darn! I really need to use it. Maybe if I tell her this is important, she'll hang up."
"No chance of that. Amelia's got boys on the brain almost as bad as you do," Andy teased, his blue eyes twinkling. His biggest joy in life was bugging his sisters.
"I don't like boys," Lacey corrected airily. "Just one very special, wonderful, fantastic boy. I love Travis's cute smile, his deep dark brown eyes, and his tall, athletic bod. I'm so lucky he's my guy. But right now I'm worried. He was supposed to be here forty minutes ago."
Andy grabbed a handful of buttered popcorn and chuckled. "So Mr. Fantastic is late again. What was his reason last week?"
"He wasn't late," Lacey stated defensively. "Not really. We just decided to watch a basketball game on cable instead of going to a thriller movie."
"You don't even like basketball."
"I like it fine when I'm with Travis. Now I'm going to call him -- even if it means ripping the receiver out of Amelia's hand."
"Oooh! This should be even better than the wrestling match I was about to watch on TV," Andy said, rubbing his palms together eagerly. "I'm right behind you, Lace."
Lacey groaned. Just what she needed! A bratty, smart-mouthed audience! Who invented little brothers, anyway?
But as she stepped into the living room, she relaxed. Amelia wasn't talking on the phone after all. Perhaps popular, snow-blond Amelia had been talking to one of her many boyfriends, but now she sat nearby on a couch flipping through Seventeen Magazine.
Andy's shoulders slumped and he frowned. "Darn. No excitement here. Oh well, back to TV wrestling." Then he turned around and left.
Amelia lifted her head and waved her violet-polished nails. "Thought you had a big date tonight?"
"I do. With Travis... but he must be sick or something. I thought I'd call to find out." Lacey tried to act casual, even though she could feel her cheeks heating up. Boys waited for Amelia -- she never waited for them. Lacey really admired her confident and stylish older sister.
"Isn't Travis the one who was supposed to take you to that rap concert last month, but traded the tickets for a video game?"
"Yeah, but it wasn't his fault. He couldn't pass up a great deal on a video game. We can go to a concert any time," Lacey explained. Then she quickly added, "Tonight Travis and I are going to the Fall Fiesta Dance."
Amelia sat aside her magazine. "Adam and Brandon asked me to that dance, but now that I'm a senior, school dances seem dull. They don't even hire real dee-jays. That's why I'm going with Craig to a bash at his country club; live music and a professional dee-jay."
"I don't mind taped music," Lacey put in.
"Of course not," Amelia said with a gentle smile. "I enjoyed them when I was a freshmen, too. And don't forget, my offer of a make-over still goes. You look very nice, but with some blond streaks in your hair, more makeup, and colored contact lenses, you could be a whole new Lacey."
"I'm comfortable with the old Lacey," she replied lightly.
"Comfortable doesn't attract guys," Amelia pointed out, crossing her long, tanned legs. "I mean, look at me. Before I changed my image, I was a zero on the girl-rating scale. But then I dyed my dishwater blond hair to shiny flaxen blond and tinted my plain hazel eyes with violet-blue contacts and presto! I shot up the scale -- maybe not a ten, at least a nine."
Lacey considered Amelia a solid ten, but she didn't want to dye her own dark hair or wear contacts. Besides, Travis liked her the way she was. And thinking about Travis... she'd better hurry and call his house. He was now fifty-one minutes late!
There was a knock at the door.
Lacey's hopes danced with joy. "It's Travis!" she exclaimed, racing down the hall.
She paused by the ornate oval wall mirror, and wondered for a second if she should change her appearance. Was "nice" good enough? Her blue eyes weren't dazzling violet like Amelia's. Her nose turned up on the end and her lips weren't sultry and full. She was okay -- not outstanding. On the girl-rating scale she was somewhere in the middle. Probably a five.
It would take more than a make-over to make her a ten.