All she wants to do is fit in. Standing out is going to get her killed. But when the hottest dragon shifter in school notices her, the last thing Ozelle wants to be is a troll.
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My Impossible Journey, book 2. Family drama precedes a magical journey that is not nearly as wonderful as those dragons made it out to be. Failure is not an option.
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My Impossible Option: book 3. With their enemies prepared to eliminate all Shifters from existence, Ozelle must reveal her true form to the world or watch everyone she cares about die.
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There are worse things in life than being the new kid in high school: Like having a weird name. Or having a major secret that you can’t share with your BFF because she’s totally human and would freak if she saw your true form. Or having a date with the hottest guy in school, but your parents will ground you for life because he’s a dragon shapeshifter, and historically your two races are at war. Or being hunted to extinction by a radical group of humans who have almost destroyed your entire gene pool.
Or you could be a troll.
I’m Ozelle Bandercock, and I happen to be all of these.
Let the school year begin.
My best friend, Nila, adjusts in her seat to face me. “Where do you want him to take you for your first date?”
My heart is fluttering, fluttering, and now that I’m not looking into Pierce's killer blue eyes, I recall all the warnings about dragons. “I don’t know. Mrs. Baker said I should stay away from... them. Same with Lyon.”
“They know Pierce?”
Dang, I really want to tell her about why I- a troll-cannot date a dragon, but I can't. Not here, on the bus, where Shapeshifters Anonymous is confined in such close quarters. “Well, no, not him, but, um, my family knows of his family. It’s a Montague/Capulet thing. They’d freak out.”
“A what/what thing?”
“Romeo and Juliet.”
Nila grins and falls back into the padded cushion. “See? You even compare yourselves to the most romantic story of all time.”
I flip out at that. “Romantic? Are you crazy? They both die at the end!”
She sits up. “They do?”
I grab handfuls of my hair. “Tell me you failed tests on every Shakespearean book we had to read last year.”
We look at each other and then start to giggle. Nothing like a good friend to help one forget all about forbidden fruit. We fall into our regular chatter as I try to decide A: what I'm going to wear and B: how to explain to my parents that I have a date with a dragon.
My enemies have found me.
Riding a dragon to a mystical island. A cross-country road trip with your amazingly-perfect destined mate. A hero’s quest to help your best friend. Sounds amazing, right?
But what if the quest is doomed to fail, the road trip leaves a trail of tears, and those stupid dragons who started this impossible mission have an ulterior motive?
My life as a troll has not improved.
And now, I can never return home.
Dad looks at me then, his eyes serious. “You never told us we had a dwarf for a neighbor.”
“I didn’t know.”
“She wouldn’t,” Mr. Kravitz, our newly-revealed dwarf neighbor supplies, “because a lot of that part of me is gone.”
“Gone?” I ask. “How is that even possible?”
His bleary eyes scan our faces for a moment, and I can tell he’s sizing us up. “Why, by marrying a human, of course. It depletes our other halves, more’s the pity.”
“Depletes?” Now he’s certainly caught my attention. I tried eliminating my troll gene with a spell before, and it worked for a hot minute, granting me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have the asbestos kicked out of me. “How does it deplete?”
He shrugs his bony shoulders. “It just does. Historically, we’ve all had to marry into human families if we wanted to survive. But with me, I did it willingly. One look at Georgette and I fell in love.”
Well, this is certainly a tale I want to hear. Not only because it’ll make Mr. Kravitz less of a grouch, but also if there’s any chance I can lose this troll part of me, I want to know. Giving up Varian, though... I’m honestly not sure how I feel about that. I get so fluttery and excited when I see him, even when I don’t want to. Mom says it’s a destiny thing— that we belong together— but if I wind up with him, I’ll be a troll forever.
Meaning, I’ll look like a scruffy rat-dog for the rest of my life.
I don’t even care if Varian likes my arctic fox looks; a dog is a dog is a dog, and I hate how I look when I Shift.
But if I can turn into a human....
I’ll have to consider this.
Maybe I should start searching for an oh-so-human date for the Christmas dance.
It’s time for Trollmageddon.
The Scythe has finally done it: they’ve destroyed everything that made me Ozelle Bandercock. My family is AWOL. My friends are lost to me. I don’t trust myself around Varian. I’m no longer the kind, caring human I used to be, and now I’m too unpredictable to Shift into a troll. The Scythe has turned me into the monster they always thought I was.
The Scythe may have started this war, but now, I’m going to end it.
The clanking of my cell door has me snapping open my eyes. Everything is blurry, and I try to focus on the round man blocking the entrance. It takes a hot second for me to realize Shaggy Sumo Wrestler himself stands before me. I’m so weak and terrified I’ve lost all the rock in my spine to resist, and when he yanks me upright by my arm, it’s all I can do to keep my terror from spilling out of my mouth as well as maintain my footing.
The train is coming. Fear slides thick up my throat, lava hot, choking me. Every time they drag us out here when a train approaches, it’s a new torture. The chugging of boxcars, the bells as the bars come down... those sounds block out the noise of their torture and our resulting screams. That lightning rope torture was the first time, burning and scarring my skin in both forms, since something about it makes Demis Shift unintentionally, revealing our true form in the process. The second time was straight, ongoing pummeling. I learned that the matching collars they stuck on us not only melds our two forms, it weakens us, which leaves me stuck in this mutant mess of a form. Varian’s true form— being half nymph— looks far more human than troll, but his human-y looks haven’t tempered their abuse in the least. Honestly, the last time I got this beat up was the night I’d renounced my troll gene, and I almost died because of it.
The third time they’d tortured us? I shudder at the memory. That was the day they put a gun to Varian’s head, threatening to blow his brains out in front of me if I didn’t tell them where the stones are. They’d pulled the trigger and I’d screamed.
So had Varian.
But nothing happened.
It was an empty gun.
They’d put us back in our cells, traumatized.
Today, I catch Varian’s eyes for only a second before they drop black pillowcases over our heads. My arms are cinched behind me, and then we’re shoved back against a brick wall. I hear a slow train rattling across the road and brace for a litany of sucker punches.
“Ready?” A man asks.
I turn to Varian at my side, though I can’t see him. Are they talking to us?
Holy schist, this is where we die.