Authors: Sheryl Berk & Carrie Berk
Copyright Â© 2014 by Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk
Cover and internal design Â© 2014 by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Cover design by Rose Audette
Cover illustration Â© Kristi Valiant
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The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data is on file with the publisher.
Source of Production: Versa Press, East Peoria, Illinois, USA
Date of Production: January 2014
Run Number: 5000461
To Our Sweet Mama Chickieâ
you're always in our hearts.
Kylie Carson climbed on the camp bus and took a seat in a row by herself. She was excited about her first summer at sleepaway camp, but also nervous. She'd never been away from home for six weeks.
“You'll love Camp Chicopee,” her dad insisted. “Your old man went there a few years back, and I had a blast!”
“A few years?” Her mom chuckled. “Try thirty years ago!”
“Who's counting?” her father replied. “Besides, I looked at the website and everything looks exactly the same. Right down to the giant rooster sculpture on the front lawn.”
He turned to Kylie and patted her on the back. “Just be your smiley Kylie self, and you'll make tons of new friends.”
It hadn't been easy for Kylie to make friends at Blakely Elementary when she was a new student in third grade. What she did make easily were enemies, namely one Meredith Mitchell who still couldn't stand her. But now, two years later, she had three fabulous BFFs: Lexi Poole, Jenna Medina, and Sadie Harris. Together, they'd formed Peace, Love, and Cupcakes, a cupcake club that had turned into a booming baking business. She was sad to leave the girls behind for the summer, but the club's advisor, Juliette Dubois, thought it would be good for all the girls to take some time off, relax, and regroup.
So while Lexi went to NYC to study art, Jenna went to Ecuador to visit her grandma, and Sadie headed to basketball camp in North Carolina, Kylie was on her way to Camp Chicopee in Massachusetts.
“Is this seat taken?” a voice interrupted her thoughts. A girl with strawberry blond hair pulled back in two loose braids smiled at her. “If I don't sit in the front of the bus, I get carsick.”
Kylie wrinkled her nose. “You won't puke on me, will you?”
The girl shook her head. “Nah. I only puke at midnight when there's a full moonâ¦”
Kylie giggled. “Kind of like a werewolf without the hair and claws?”
The girl raised the sleeve on her hoodie. “Yup. Fur-freeâ¦for now!” She gave an evil, mad-scientist chuckle and settled into the seat next to Kylie.
“I'm Delaney Noonan,” the girl said. Kylie glanced out the window. A mom and dad were holding up a sign that read, “We love you, Delaney! XOXO!”
“I guess those are your parents,” Kylie said, pointing. “The ones in the Camp Chicopee baseball hats?”
Delaney covered her eyes with her hand. “So embarrassing!”
“Not any more than mine!” Kylie motioned at her parents who were waving wildly at the bus window and blowing kisses. Her dad was wearing his old Chicopee T-shirt that he had dug out of a trunk in the attic. Instead of white, it was now a strange yellow-brown, but you could still see the rooster mascot and the camp slogan, “Proud, Free, Chicopee!” across the chest. “I'm Kylie, by the way,” she said.
“Nice to meet you, Kylie By-the-Way,” Delaney joked. “That's an interesting last name.”
Kylie rolled her eyes. Delaney reminded her of her friend Jenna. She was always making jokes.
“What cabin are you in?” Delaney asked. “I'm in G2.”
“G2? Me too!” Kylie answered. “Cool!”
That was how their friendship began.
Delaney remembered how she and Kylie had talked all the way on the two-hour bus ride to camp. They had so much in common! Delaney love, love, loved vampire moviesâespecially
. The spookier, the better! And Kylie knew even more about them than she did.
“Did you know that there have been more than two hundred movies made with Dracula in them?” she asked Delaney.
“Wow. That's a ton!” Delaney gasped. “Have you seen them all?”
Kylie thought hard. “Well, not allâbut a lot. I'm checking them off as I go along.”
“And did you know there are about a gazillion songs with monster names in the title?” Delaney pointed out. “I'm not even counting Lady Gaga's album. I'm talking about âMonster Mash,' âWerewolves of London,' âZombie Dance'â¦”
Kylie was wowed. “I don't think I've ever met anyone who could name monster music,” she said.
“And I don't think I ever met anyone who knew how to make fake blood out of corn syrup!” Delaney replied.
“Oh, I am a master at it,” Kylie bragged. “What's really cool is how you can make it taste good so you can use it to fill Halloween cupcakes. You take a bite and the blood oozes out.”
Delaney made a face. “Oh, that is disgusting. I have
to try it!” They both laughed.
They decided that at the first marshmallow roast, when everyone gathered around the campfire at night to tell ghost stories, their vampire tale would be the best and the creepiest in all of Camp Chicopee.
The Chicopee campfire cookout was the highlight of the summer. Besides the yummy burgers, hot dogs, and roasted s'mores, everyone looked forward to the spooky tales campers and counselors told around the fire.
Kylie and Delaney's senior counselor, Kay, was up first. “On a night just like this one, around a campfire just like this one, a group of kids heard a noise echo in the distance.”
“What was the noise?” asked Skylar, one of the G2 cabinmates.
“It sounded like thisâ¦” Kay cupped her hand over her mouth and made a strange, clucking sound.
“What is that?” Delaney asked. “Sounds like a chicken laying an egg.”
“Shh!” Skylar hushed her. “This is getting good!”
Kay continued. “The noise came closerâ¦and closerâ¦and closer, until the kids could feel a hot breath on the back of their necks.”
Skylar screamed. “I feel it! I feel it!”
“All I feel is Skylar's clammy hand grabbing me,” Delaney said, giving her a shove. “Seriously? This is not scary.”
“Clickâ¦tap-tap-tap. Clickâ¦tap-tap-tap,” Kay said. “The strange sound came closer and closer untilâ¦”
Gabby and Rhiannon, the two other G2 counselors, ran out from the woods dressed in frilly skirts, dancing and clicking castanets in their hands.
Kylie and Delaney looked at each other. “And this is supposed to scare us?” Delaney sighed. “Amateurs.” She turned to Kylie. “Let's show 'em how it's done.”
“It was a cool, dark night in Juneâ¦” Kylie began. “A lone figure made his way through the bushes in search of something to satisfy his tremendous hunger.”
Delaney continued: “He sniffed the air, until his nose caught the scent of something so delectable that nothing could prevent him from taking a bite.”
The campers leaned in closer. “What did he bite?” one girl in G3 asked.
Delaney leaned in closer and whispered, “It was something warmâ¦and sticky!”
“EEEK!” the campers squealed. “Was it blood? Did he bite someone's neck?”
Delaney and Kylie looked at each other and smiled. “Oh, noâ¦not a person or even an animal,” Kylie added. “It wasâ¦”
“What? What?” Skylar yelled. “Tell us! I can't stand the suspense!”
Delaney and Kylie shouted together:
The campers groaned and threw marshmallows at them. Delaney was delightedâeven if her hair was sticky when she went to bed that night. She loved having an audience hang on her every word.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Kylie asked her when they were lying awake in their bunks.
“Dunno. Maybe a singer like Katy Perry or Lady Gaga.”
Kylie laughed. “I think you'd look great in Gaga's Kermit the Frog coat!”
“Or maybe a stand-up comedian. My dad says I'm a natural,” Delaney added. “I always crack him up. How about you? Do you want to run a cupcake bakery?”
Kylie nodded. “I'd love to expand our business around the world. Can't you just see a Peace, Love, and Cupcakes in Parisâ¦or Londonâ¦or Australia?”
“You can come to my sold-out stadium tour if I can get a red velvet cupcake anywhere I go,” Delaney said. “Filled with fake blood, of course.” She reached down from the top bunk so they could shake hands on it.
So that's how Kylie ended up asking Delaney to join the cupcake club. At first, her fellow PLCers didn't like the ideaâespecially Lexi, who thought four members were enough. But Delaney had not only proved that she could bake and frost like a pro, but also that she was a lot of fun to have around.
“Check this out!” she said, piping a red rose on her nose. “I'm a cupcake clown!”
She also believed that baking needed a sound track. “What shall we play today?” she asked as Sadie preheated the oven to 350 degrees. “I'm kind of in a pop moodâ¦but I could definitely go for an oldie but goodie.”
She selected a song on her MP3 player and “Candy Girl” by The Archies filled Kylie's kitchen.
“Sugar, sugar!” Delaney jumped up on a chair and crooned into a wooden spoon. “Oh, honey, honey!”
Soon, they were all dancing around and tossing flour in each other's hair.
“Delaney, what would we do without you?” Sadie laughed, trying to catch her breath.
“Less laundry?” Lexi teased, wiping flour off her jeans. “But it's true. Even when we have a crazy, impossible deadline, you make it seem fun and doable.” Delaney smiled and took a bow.
Her dad said “fun” was her middle name. (It was really Miriam after her great-granny.) And her mom compared her to a duck: “Water and problems just roll right off your back.”
Delaney guessed that was why her parents decided she'd take the news well. They were having her favorite breakfast one Sunday morningâa scrambled-egg and sausage wafflewichâwhen her mom put down her coffee cup and cleared her throat.
“Laney,” she began. “Daddy and I have something very exciting to share with you. A really big surprise.”
Delaney looked up from her plate. “We're going to Disneyland?” she guessed. “Awesome!”
“No, honey,” her father added. “It's much bigger than that.”
Delaney tried to wrap her brain around what could be better than a surprise vacation to an amusement park. “Is it seats to the Katy Perry concert in May? OMG! I was dying to go!”
“No, no.” Her mom looked anxiously at her dad. “It's not a concert either.”
“Wait! Wait! Is it a new cell phone? OMG, Kylie will be so jealous!”
Delaney looked at both their faces and tried to read them. “What could be bigger than a concert or a vacation or the new iPhone?” she asked. “I give up! What's the surprise?”
Her mother took her hand and held it tight. “Honey, it's the best, biggest surprise ever.” She took a deep breath: “We're having a baby!”
Delaney's mouth hung wide open. For once, she couldn't think of anything funny to say. “A baby?” she gasped. “Is this a joke?”
“Afraid not,” her dad replied, ruffling his hair. “We thought you'd be excited.”
“I am. I think. It's just that babies, they're small. And they pee and poop, like all the time. And they cryâ¦really loudly.”
“You forgot the spitting-up part,” her mom added. “Yes, they do all those things. Which is why your little brother or sister will be so lucky to have you to help.”
“But I don't know how to change diapers,” Delaney said. “And what about burping? How do you even burp a little baby?” She pushed her chair away from the table.
“Where are you going?” her mom asked.
Delaney looked very serious, more serious than she had ever looked in her entire life. “I have a lot of studying to do,” she said.
She raced to her bedroom, speed-dialed Kylie, and didn't even wait for her to say hello.
“Kyles, remember how you taught me the crawl and butterfly stroke at Camp Chicopee in one day?” she asked.
“Um, yeah,” Kylie replied. “We needed to win the swim relay against Skylar and Ally, and all you could do was doggy paddle.”
“Right! Well, I only have a few months to learn how to be a big sister, and I need all the help I can get!”