Mysteriously Yours . . .Author and Speaker
Patricia H. Rushford
Setting: Chenoa Lake, A small tourist town on the edge of a large lake in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains . . .
You'll enjoy meeting Jesse Miller and Max Hunter, both twelve, who form a deep but unlikely friendship. Jesse is thin and frail and has leukemia. Max is wild and adventurous, with spiked hair that changes color from day to day depending on her mood.
Jesse has no real friends until Max comes along. She sees Max as being very brave and adventurous and tries to keep Max out of trouble. Then Jesse discovers Max's dark secrets and must lead Max into danger in order to set her free.
Below is an excerpt from The Trouble with Max . . .
"Look at those guys, Jess.”
Max skidded to a stop and I almost piled into her.
"What?” I managed to stop my bike and get off. The guys she was talking about were half a block away. I cringed. One guy had an open leather vest that revealed a tattoo. He had biceps the size of watermelons. Definitely not the kind of person you’d want to meet in a dark alley. The tall, skinny guy was smoking a cigarette, his face scrunched up like he was in pain.
“Can you believe it?” she said through gritted teeth. “Dealing drugs right here in the open—in a public park. Let’s get them.”
I’d never seen her that upset before and it scared me. “C’mon, Max. We need to get out of here.” My heart was thumping faster than rabbit running for its life in a fox hunt. We’d been riding our bikes and had taken a short-cut through Centennial Park and I was ready to go home for more reasons than one. “M-maybe it’s not drugs. Maybe they’re just . . ..”
“Yeah right. I can spot a druggie a mile away.”
I frowned, wondering how she could tell, but thought it best not to ask. “We should call the police.” I turned my bike toward home.
“Shh.” Max held a finger to her lips. “They’ll hear us.”
“But . . ..”
“Relax, Jess. They don’t know we’re on to them. We’ll just get the proof we need on my camera and turn them in to the police. No problem.” Max dug into her backpack and brought the camera to her face. She snapped a couple of pictures and dropped the camera back into her pack. Not a problem for her maybe, but I, being the practical type, wanted to turn these characters over to the police the minute we saw them make the drug deal. Not Max. Max was the kind of person who’d run straight into an icy lake. Even in a heated pool I had to edge in an inch at a time.
“They’re getting away.” She leaned her bike against a maple tree. “Let’s follow them.”
“No. Let’s report them to the police.” I dropped the kick stand on my own bike and settled it next to Max’s, still hoping to talk her out of going after the men.
“Humph. The cops will never believe us,” Max insisted. “We need hard evidence.” I tried to hold her back, but keeping Max from doing something she’d set her mind on was like trying to hold back the Baker River during our rainy season. So, I did the only thing I could–I followed her while she followed them into an old fishing cannery by the docks. We ducked inside the dilapidated building and scrunched down behind barrels and boxes as we crept toward the voices. When Max finally stopped, I hunkered down, squeezed my eyes shut and prayed we’d make it out of the place alive.
“I can barely hear them.” Max nudged me. “We need to get a little closer.”
I gulped back the hysteria clogging my throat. “No, we don’t. Please, Max, let’s go home.” My pleading ended when I heard a shuffle behind me and felt a heavy hand come down on my shoulder.
Copyrighted Material; Do Not Reproduce without permission.
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If you like the Max & Me Mysteries, be sure to check out the Jennie McGrady Mysteries.