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Max and the Spice Thieves (Secrets of the Twilight Djinn #1)By John Peragine YA Fantasy Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 271 Pages April 20, 2021 by Crumblebee Books
When his mother goes missing, Max Daybreaker’s world is turned upside down. Luckily, a crew of Spice Pirates, led by the mysterious Captain Cinn, help Max on his dangerous mission across the three seas.
Along the way, an unlikely alliance aids in his search—a teenage warrior queen, a three-eyed seer, and an assassin spy.
Their journey takes them through treacherous lands while facing shapeshifting bears, an ancient witch, harpies, and the nightmarish Djinn, who will stop at nothing to enslave the world.
With every new challenge, Max unlocks the secrets of his unsettling past. Powers awaken within, forcing him to question everything he knows.
Is Max who he thinks he is? Only time and destiny will tell…
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Tully’s neighing shocked me from slumber. My book was lying open beside me to the page I was reading.
“Come on, ye old nag,” said a voice near the front of the wagon. “Ye be a good girl and come with me.”
The wagon lurched, and I banged my head on the back of the bench. Even though my mom had told me not to talk to strangers, she’d also told me to protect the wagon.
“Let me just release this buckle, and then ye can come home with me.”
I stood up from my bed with my fists on my hips. “You get away from Tully! She’s my horse. You better back off.”
I picked up a leather crop from the bench since it was the only weapon handy. I waved it at the two men standing before the wagon, but they stared at me, unimpressed. I was tall for a twelve-year-old, and my arms and legs looked like sticks. I was strong but not muscular.
The two men were filthy and wore tattered clothing. The taller of the two held Tully’s reins, and the smaller, portly man was unhooking Tully from the wagon.
“Look at what we have here,” said the taller man. “It’s a young cub.”
Both men laughed, showing their rotten, black teeth.
“You get away from her right now. My mom and . . . and . . . dad will be back any minute. You better leave before they get back, or you’ll get a whipping!” Standing tall with my arms crossed, I glared down at the men.
“Is that so?” said the portly man as he loosened the buckle on Tully’s yoke. “I very much doubt we will be troubled, cub. Your mum’s not comin’ back.”
Tully bucked in an attempt to get away from the men, and the movement made me plop down hard on the bench.
“What do you mean, my mom’s not coming back? How do you know my mom?” I asked, scrambling to stand.
The portly man grinned with his broken, black teeth. Something was wrong—very wrong. Seagulls cawed high above in the blue sky, signaling morning was well underway. Had I been reading for that long? My heart pounded hard in my chest. Where was Mom? She should have been back already.
Tully was loose from her yoke, and the tall man pulled her reins hard. Tully tried to rear back, but she was too old and weak to make much of a fuss.
“Ah, ye old nag,” the tall man said. “Ye won’t be worth much at market, but maybe a butcher will take ye and sell ye fer dog food.” Both men cackled.
“Listen,” the portly man said, “be a good lad and hand us yer bags from the wagon there. Yer coming with us. We may make some coin, after all.”
“I’m not some dull boy—you can’t boss me around. You need to hook Tully back up this instant . . . or . . . or . . .”
“Or what?” mocked the portly man. “Listen here, ye whelp, ye don’t understand what I’m sayin’. Either ye come down here with yer bags, or I’ll come up there, and then we’ll see how well ye swim.”
The tall man led Tully away in the same direction mom had gone hours before. The portly man grunted as he pulled himself onto the bench and reached for me. But I was a wild animal on fire. I rushed the short, round man while swinging with my crop, catching him by surprise. He toppled but then regained his balance. He grabbed the crop with one hand, tugging hard, then he drew back his other hand to hit me. But there was a loud crack, and he slumped over the bench.
Standing behind the unconscious thief was a man dressed all in black. His beard had a braid in the center held by a gold ring pushed up to his chin, and he wore a gold-and-red sash as a belt tied around his long coat, which was trimmed with silver buttons. On his head was a tri-corner hat with a single white plume. He clutched the handle of a busted oar.
About the Author
John Peragine is an author of over fourteen books. The Secrets of the Twilight Djinn series was written as a bedtime story for his son Max to cope with medical issues he was facing as a little boy. John is a full-time ghostwriter who lives with his son, wife, and a menagerie of animals on his vineyard overlooking the Mississippi River.
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