The Swap

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Book: The Swap by Megan Shull Read Free Book Online
Authors: Megan Shull
whisper.
    Freckles turns to me. “I know who that is!”
    Sammy looks around, completely confused. “Um, who who is, Jacko?” Then he nods toward me in Freckles’s body. “I see the dames are already loving your action, big dog.”
    Freckles looks back at Sammy in a complete daze.
    â€œUm, dude.” Sammy grins. “Are you feeling all right?”
    Unreal.
    I can’t watch any more of this.
    I take a step away.
    â€œMonday,” I mouth toward Freckles.

UNCORRECTED E-PROOF—NOT FOR SALE
    HarperCollins Publishers
    ..................................................................

    WHEN WE STEP OUTSIDE THROUGH the back door by the gym entrance, Sammy won’t stop talking, and he’s so gross!
    â€œDuuude, hold up.” He smiles at me, then clears his throat and spits out a big green glob of snot that spins through the air and lands on the sidewalk. “ That was a good horker, bro!”
    I look at Sammy Armstrong like he’s disgusting, because he is. “Eww!” I say, before I remember that The Prince of Thatcher probably doesn’t say eww . “I mean, um, uhhh, cool, cool.” I try again and give him a little nod like I see boys do.
    Sammy grins at me. “Dude, exactly how hard did you hit your head? You’re seriously acting weird!”
    I glance up and down the back parking area and see if I can spot my mom or Jack. But I don’t see anyone I know, and to make matters worse? Sammy hauls off and slugs me in the arm. Hard.
    â€œGunner,” he says.
    â€œGunner? What? Someone has a gun?!!!” I look all around and practically drop to the ground.
    â€œYo!” Sammy starts laughing. “Seriously, you’re kind of scaring me, Jacko!” He points to the big black pickup truck. “Your brother? Gunner?
    â€œHelloooo?” He shoves me for emphasis. “Bro’s here, broskinator!”
    I look toward the big black pickup truck pulled up to the curb . Brother? I thought Jack said it would be his dad .
    Sammy follows me to the truck. It’s huge. The truck, I mean. Like, the kind you practically need a stepladder just to climb up into the seat. The windows are down, and there’s country music blaring. I open the door and launch myself up and glance at the kid in the driver’s seat, who pretty much looks like an older, even more handsome version of Jack. If that’s possible. He’s got the same dimples, and big toothy smile, and he’s wearing jeans and a gray T-shirt that is just tight enough that his biceps pop out.
    He turns to me. “Dang! What happened to you, little man?”
    I settle into the front seat. My heart— Jack’s heart —is absolutely pounding, and my mind’s racing for what I’m supposed to say. Something about a cage and nothing about the fight, but before I manage to even get a word out, Sammy takes over. He’s wedged himself between me and the door of the truck so there is no way I can close it, even if I want to. And I want to.
    â€œBig boy dropped the mitts,” announces Sammy. “You should have seen him. He dusted the kid.”
    â€œStud,” says Gunner, shooting me a smile.
    He starts up the truck, but that doesn’t stop Sammy. He just leaps down onto the ground and runs alongside us.
    â€œJacko,” he calls out, “if you are not at Owen’s tomorrow night, I will personally deliver you a swift kick in the cashews! And, Jack—”
    I turn and look back at Sammy running after the truck. “Stick your hands out the window and squeeze. It feels like boobs!”
    Oh my god .
    â€œTry it!” he shouts. He’s bent over, laughing.
    â€œGet a load of this guy!” Gunner says, looking back over his shoulder, grinning. “Kid’s crazy!”
    We pull out of Thatcher onto the main road.
    â€œSo, you surprised?” he asks.
    â€œSurprised?” I repeat.
    Great. What am I supposed to be

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