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Phantom Boyfriend

Kelly and Justin are perfect for each other--if they could just meet! Kelly believes in fate, luck and love. But fate hasn't been lucky for her in the love department--until her best friend sets her up on a blind date with the perfect guy. Too bad Justin doesn't show. At least Kelly's school life is exciting--She's the mystery horoscope writer K.I.D. Justin can't wait to meet Kelly--But mistaken identity, mixed messages and the appearance of his long-lost father complicate things. It'll take miracle--and a twist of magic--to bring the star-crossed couple together. When stars collide and magic shines, anything can happen ... even love.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

Linda Joy Singleton

     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.

Coming Soon...

Chapter 1

"CHECK OUT this contest!" Kelly Donnelly exclaimed as she pointed excitedly at an open magazine on the kitchen table. "Draw Loopy the Lizard and win a thousand dollars!"

"That's the biggest prize you've found yet," her best friend, Lesa Johnson declared, leaning over to look at the magazine. Her long black braid tumbled down and brushed across the table. "A thousand dollars! That'd be great--except you can't even draw a straight line."

"Details, details," Kelly said with a wave of her hand as if pushing the problem aside.

Every week she entered at least one new contest or sweepstakes, always hoping for a huge cash prize. She felt it in her soul; someday she would win something BIG. But so far her winnings had been small: six magazine subscriptions, a free pass to a fantasy-adventure movie, a Night-Fright glow-in-the-dark wristwatch, and fifty bags of kitty litter. At least, that prize helped her convince her parents to get a cat.

"I won't give up that easily. I know a sure-fire way to win that thousand dollars." Kelly's hazel eyes sparkled. "But I'll need your help."

"My help?" Lesa turned sideways in her chair and gave Kelly a suspicious look. "I can't draw any better than you can."

"You may not be an artist, but you know a very talented one." Kelly smiled sweetly. "All you have to do is ask your sweet, considerate, artistic boyfriend to draw Loopy for us."

"Forget it. Carlos may be sweet, but he takes his painting too seriously to draw lizards."

"Did I hear my name mentioned?" a tall, thin boy with a stubby black ponytail said as he breezed into the kitchen. "And what's this about a lizard?"

"Carlos, you're early," Lesa said, her face lighting up with pleasure.

Kelly couldn't help but feel envious. Her own love life was a big zero, but her best friend was doing great. Lesa and Carlos were still wild about each other after two years. Carlos was out-going, talkative, and ambitious, while Lesa was shy, quiet, and cautious. They were opposites, and yet they were perfect together.

I wish I could find someone perfect for me, Kelly thought for a brief minute. Then she shook off her self-pity and flashed a huge grin at Carlos. "You're just the guy I wanted to see. How would you like to draw Loopy the Lizard?"

"Sounds like a loopy idea to me," he joked, sharing a warm look with Lesa.

Kelly rolled her eyes, knowing it was hopeless to get a serious answer from Carlos. He was such a clown. "So who let you in the house, anyway? I didn't hear the doorbell."

Carlos folded his lanky frame into a chair next to Lesa. "I came in with Brad. Then I spent at least ten minutes trying to convince your dear brother that I didn't want to join the Junior Varsity basketball team."

Kelly ran her fingers through her wavy dark-red hair and chuckled. "Brad thinks it's a crime that a six foot four inch guy like you would rather draw pictures than shoot baskets," she said, trying to think of a way to get Carlos back into thinking about drawing Loopy. "But ignore Brad. Sometimes, my big brother can be a real jerk."

"Spoken like a true sister." Carlos pointed to the magazines on the table. "So what's happening here? Don't tell me. More contests."

"Okay, we won't tell you," Lesa teased, tugging playfully on Carlos's ponytail.

He tugged her braid and the two started playfully tickling each other.

Kelly watched her friends, and felt a tug of her own... on her heart. Why can't I meet a nice guy like Carlos? she thought, fighting off another wave of envy. I've gone on dozensof dates, but I'm still waiting that special guy. I can sense he's out there, waiting for me, too. I just don't know what he looks like, where he lives, or when I'll meet him. But someday, when we finally meet, we'll recognize each other right away, and it will be like magic. It's our fate.

As Lesa and Carlos continued to kid around with each other, Kelly sighed and flipped through a computer magazine. While she waited for her fate to take over, she'd just have to keep on entering contests. One-fourth Irish, she'd grown up on her grandpa's vivid tales of gold at the end of a rainbow, leprechauns, and blarney stones. With parents who fought a lot and no boyfriend to show her that love can be wonderful, she could really use some good luck. Never stop hoping, wishing, and dreaming, was her motto, and she was determined to stick by it until her fate finally kicked in.

Suddenly, something in the magazine nearly jumped out at her.

"Here's one!" Kelly held out the magazine to Lesa and Carlos. "Fifty dollars if I can come up with the name for a new computer game!"

Lesa nodded as she looked at the page Kelly pointed out. "Sounds like your kind of contest," Lesa said with a grin. "You're getting an A in English and you write for the school newspaper. Let's face it, Kelly, you're a major whiz with words. I say, go for it."

"I will," Kelly decided, tearing out the page.

Carlos rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Fifty dollars is an okay prize, but it's just money. What if I told you I could offer you something even better."

Kelly and Lesa stared in surprise at Carlos.

"What are you talking about?" Lesa demanded.

Kelly's face lit up. "Maybe Carlos has decided to draw Loopy the Lizard for us."

"No. This is something different... sort of like a new contest." Carlos grinned at Kelly. "And you're the grand prize winner."

"Of what?" she asked suspiciously.

Carlos leaned forward on the table. There was a mischievous gleam in his dark eyes as he began to speak in a TV announcer tone: "You, Miss Kelly Donnelly have just won an expense paid evening of dining and a movie with a handsome and intelligent sophomore. Get set for great food, good friends, and romance -- this Saturday night. And it's all yours for free!"

Lesa giggled. "You're such a crack-up, Carlos. What am I going to do with you?"

"Tell him to stop fixing me up with blind dates." Kelly frowned as she set the computer magazine down. "That's what you can do with him."

"It isn't exactly a blind date. It's a double-date." Carlos paused and put on a puppy dog face. "Come on, Kelly. You'll really like my friend, Justin. He's new at Leighton High and could use some friends. when Justin told me he's into astronomy, I figured you two would have a lot in common."

"Astronomy? But I'm not interested in that. I don't even have a telescope. I just write the horoscope column for the school newspaper."

"Astrology, astronomy. You both study stars and stuff," Carlos said with a shrug. "Same thing."

"No, it's not," Kelly insisted.

"Who cares?" Lesa cut in. "I think doubling on Saturday would be fun. Kelly, say you'll go. Please!"

"But I hate blind dates and I don't even like Milky Way candy bars. Justin will be bored with me -- if I'm not bored with him first."

Lesa tossed her braid behind her back. "You're always telling me you want to meet a special guy. How do you know Justin isn't him? He could be your dream guy and you won't meet him unless you take the chance." She paused, glancing down at the magazines. "I thought you loved taking chances. Come on, Kelly. Take one now."