Stratagem by Christina Hagmann
English | 2020 | Children/Young Adult | ePUB | 2.7 MB
Being dragged out of a car and shoved into a darkened trunk might make a normal girl feel helpless, but Meda isn’t just any girl, and the boys who kidnapped her have no idea who or what they are dealing with.
At seventeen years old, Meda is ripped from her family to train as a shape-shifting operative for the Agency. It’s her job to seek out and discredit political figures.
While on a high stakes mission, Meda is kidnapped by three teenage boys. It’s the last thing she needs. She’s behind schedule, and if the mission fails, her family pays the price. However, the longer she spends playing hostage, the more information she gathers on her kidnappers. Fueled by revenge, the boys are gathering intel on the Agency in hopes to take them down.
Allegiance and family are tested to their limits as bullets fire from all sides. Meda finds herself caught in a political conspiracy that shakes her to her core, and it’ll take all her strength to trust her own instincts and stop following orders.
I kicked again, but the boy holding me was too strong. The blond held the trunk open as the dark-haired boy lifted my legs in. He fumbled with me as I used my legs to push off the edges of the trunk, or whatever I could get my feet on. Instead of losing his grip on me, he pushed himself forward and folded himself over me. With his weight heavy against my back, he forced me down and hopped in the trunk with me. More gunshots fired. Bullets pinged off the side of the car. The trunk closed, wrapping everything in darkness.
I tried to get away, moving towards the back of the trunk. My senses heightened. Our breathing was heavy and loud in the dark trunk. It smelled of gas. There were muted shouts and more gunshots as the vehicle pulled away. The force of the forward motion and the fact I was off balance caused me to roll back to the boy who was holding me. I tried to wiggle away again, but his grip was firm and his arm locked securely over my arm and around my stomach.
A bullet loudly ricocheted off the side of the vehicle, and I froze, listening to the muffled voices inside the car. Suddenly, the boy shifted, and his head moved down over me and closer to my ear. “Sorry for being so rough.” His voice was gentle in my ear, and a prickly sensation shot down my side. I held my breath, wondering what the Agency would do now that I hadn’t completed the assignment. What would they do now that I had gone and gotten caught?
“Are you okay?” his voice broke through. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t know what these boys wanted or what they knew about me.
Low, faint voices came from the inside of the vehicle. It was cold in the trunk, and there was no way of telling how much time had passed. The boy’s rhythmic breathing warmed my neck. His body, solid and heavy, pressed up against me. What would a bunch of teenage boys want with me? Dark motives crossed my mind, and my panicked brain circled and circled around thoughts that I kept trying to push out. I was on the verge of a freak-out, and I couldn’t afford that. After what I had been through, I should be able to handle a bunch of teenage boys.
I had come a long way from a year ago. Back then, I was living in my home in Oak Park, Illinois, with my father—the librarian—and my sisters, Ginger and Georgia. I was worrying about the girls at school accepting me and regretting what I had done to make them accept me when a group of men broke into my bedroom one night and took me. They knew what I was, and I knew it was my fault, even though my dad had warned me. And my poor father, a regular guy who had already lost his wife six years earlier, was forced to give me up without hope of ever seeing me again.