Attaching Book Two, Young Apprentice, to avoid confusion- I have a lot of stuff posted for copyright purposes. At least this way, the series remains in tact.

TEASER:

Shields whispered into her ear, "Stay right here."

She gripped his shoulders and gasped. "No. You stay here until we're sure-"

"I'm just going to ease around and-" He'd just slid back when he stilled. His mouth fell ajar. His eyes bulged.

Shivering in a rush of cold sweat, she shook him harshly. "Dan! Dan, what is it?"

He collapsed. Right on top of her. Orange light from the nearby fire licked the plastic surroundings of a syringe stuck in the back of his neck.

Bekah blinked, her scream caught in her mounting disbelief. Hovering over them was Goggle-Man hovering, shaking his head.

"I'm sorry, Rebekah. We couldn't let him take you. Not yet."

Her face now hot and teeth on the verge of cracking as she snarled at her instructor, Bekah's demand came out in a feral-sounding growl.

"Damn you, what did you do to him? Who the hell do you think you are?"

YOUNG APPRENTICE

(sequel to Young Teacher, though I believe it can stand alone)

PROLOGUE

The drugs must have induced her overwhelming thirst, which had settled to a mild annoyance after she'd drank as much well water as she could tolerate. If these quacks didn't give her some unopened Coca-Cola or Pepsi soon, she'd whack out. Besides, she needed the caffeine and sugar to rebuild her ability to fight.

She'd already scouted her room for any loopholes. No window in the bathroom, so that left her with one barred way of escape. Unless God granted her super-powers or rained tools down from the ceiling, she wouldn't be escaping soon.

At some point, she'd pressed her ear to her door to hear muffled laughing and bit of what sounded like debate. Based on the varying tones of voice, she'd guessed three or four men had been wandering in and out of here, making this kidnapping much more intriguing than she'd thought. Next time one of those Bumbles came in, she'd hit him on the head, no matter how much her bandaged wrists protested, and sneak out of this well-kept forest home.

She'd noticed the lack of rust stains in the sink and in the bathtub, which meant someone had been using a tough enough cleanser to scrub away any residue left by the hard water. The linoleum floor shined, as well as the floorboards in her temporary sleeping quarters, and not a speck of dust coated any of the furniture. To her chagrin, she'd found changes of clothes inside a tall dresser- clothes her size, which meant these rodents intended to keep her for some time. If they'd no intention of hurting her, as the man with the fluffy hair had claimed, then why had they grabbed her?

Vaguely, she recalled being questioned about Towers. Had he hired someone to interrogate her while under the influence of some psychedelic serum? Stupid as that theory struck her, she guessed stranger things had happened on this cursed planet.

She grabbed the cold bars at the window. The surrounding trees swayed under the wind and gorgeous leaves went fluttering around the cabin, joining heaps of their friends on the ground. Talk about jealousy. At least they were free. On a clear, crisp day like today, no one besides the greatest of criminals deserved to be bottled inside a prison, no matter how well her captors intended to care for her.

Speaking of those goons, time to find something to whack 'em with. Her stomach gurgled and her legs quivered as she paced the horrid pink room. The walls were void of any pictures or hangings, the only mirror attached to the bathroom medicine cabinet. The lamp might have made a perfect weapon. But someone, God kick their rears, had bolted the effing thing to the nightstand.

A knock sounded and she squared her shoulders. When she failed to speak, the door opened about an inch and a southern drawl greeted her.

"Miss, are you decent?"

"Depends, Mister. What do you consider decent?"

With a nice, idiotic guffaw, he pushed the door fully open, closing it behind him. His plaid flannel reminded her of John and she ached inside. Not for John specifically but for her friends and her parents.

The beefy man across from her, one she doubted she'd easily overcome, folded his arms and smiled flatly. The sandy blond hair looked familiar but the accent- no.

"Hey, there, just wandering if I can get you anything."

"Are you serious?"

He shook his head matter-of-factly. "I know this is strange, but like we've told you before, no one intends to hurt you."

"Then why am I here?"

"That's a mystery, indeed."

"You don't know why I'm here?" She gave him a purposeful look of bemusement, but he simply rubbed the stubble on his chin.

Scanning the room, his gaze landed near the window and the bed. "Not thirsty?"

She glanced back at the full glass of water, returned his sly grin and copied his southern speech. "Yes I am, but I don't care to be drugged. So if you'd like to fetch me a an unopened can of soda, I'd be much appreciative."

Amusement sparkled in eyes the color of honey. "You're a riot all right."

"Excuse me?"

"We've heard bits about you."

"From Mr. Towers?"

He raised a brow. "No, ma'am. He's not a part of this."

"Then who?"

He held up his finger. "All in good time. Let me fetch you that pop." Again he laughed. He must have been the giggly, red-sweatered dude from last night, but she didn't recall him having a southern accent.

His words still riddled with chuckles, he added before stepping out of the room, "You're welcome to shower and change into some of those clothes. I 'magine you've already searched this room thoroughly. Tough girl like you and all."

Bekah frowned. He stared at her a few moments and then shrugged. "Just thought I'd mention it."

"Ya'll can take your girly clothes and your pink walls and stick 'em where the sun doesn't shine."

Not to her surprise, this only sent him into another round of laughter, and she cringed when he locked her in and she heard him exclaim down the hall, "That little lady is a piece of work all right."

The others hooted and tossed back muffled comments as she formed a fist. They'd see just how funny she could be. Especially if she discovered they'd touched her in a very un-gentlemanly manner while she'd been in la-la land. She didn't seem to have been violated. She still dunned the black shorts and baggy, red T-shirt she'd been wearing when they'd grabbed her and she didn't feel anything- out of place.

But still. She shuddered. She'd need a thorough examination as soon as she broke out of this joint.

And her captors? They'd regret messing with someone Dan Shields cared for. If her instincts served her right, Dan's aggressive side easily sprang into action when someone messed with his loved ones.