I, Charisma Mansfield, do solemnly swear that... I never asked to be popular. I never asked to be voted Prom Queen. I
definitely never asked to have an invisible pixie perched on my shoulder whispering her opinions into my ear 24/7. But
of all the things I never asked for, this is the worst one yet—when brooding but gorgeous Heath Ruvelas (my next door
neighbor and the guy I used to be best friends with before jr. high) rescued me from drowning in the school pool. My
already bizarre life would never be the same.
My head had been in a fog since the near drowning episode. It now hit me how very quiet it was—in my head that is. It
was never quiet there. Dahlia constantly lambasted me with her fairy-like speech. Oh dear God! Had she drowned in
the pool? I couldn’t feel her anymore. She wasn’t perched on my shoulder like usual. She was gone!

                                                                         ₪₪₪

My mom came to get me a half an hour later. She’d brought me some dry clothes and sported an overanxious
expression. “Charisma, oh good Lord, are you okay?”

Yes, my mother had named me Charisma. Charisma Elaine Mansfield. Was it any wonder that I’d been included as one
of the popular trend-setters at school? It’s like I didn’t even have a choice with a name like that. But really, Charisma?
Other than the actress who’d starred on that TV show, Angel, have you ever heard of anyone with this unfortunate
designation? Perhaps an exotic dancer?

The nurse calmed down my mother and then released me into her care. Ironic, right? I convinced Mom to walk down to
the pool with me, having made the excuse that I’d left something behind. It was true. I had lost something: Dahlia. She
could be a great nuisance at times, but she’d been with me as far back as I could remember.

Dahlia is what my mother called my conscience when I was little. At seven years old, I tried to convince her that Dahlia
really existed. She didn’t believe me, and I’d never mentioned her since. Over time, I’ve discovered that she’s more of a
pixie than a conscience. I’ve never seen her only felt her and heard her. She’s invisible and not able to show herself to
mere mortals.

The thing about having a pixie with me 24/7 is that I’ve never been able to verbalize all the things I’m thinking and
feeling even when I’m alone because, of course, Dahlia will hear. Even then she always seems to know what I’m
thinking and at times her thoughts come out of my mouth as if I had no control. After nearly eighteen years, I wish I
could get rid of her. But not like this. Not drowned because of my stupidity.

We made it to the gate of the pool, and I cautiously walked beside my mother toward the water, my legs still feeling a bit
shaky. It’s not like I wanted to land in the drink again. “Over beside that bench, Mom. That’s where I left my book.”

It was a lie. I hadn’t left a book. It was Dahlia. I had to find her. Please, please, I prayed silently. Please let her be okay.

“Dahlia,” I whispered close to the water. “Please, don’t be dead. I’d give anything if…”

“If what?”

For a split second, I felt that odd but familiar sensation near my shoulder. She wasn’t dead!

“Dahlia, you’re okay.”

“Of course, I am. You didn’t think a little water could take me out, did you?”

“No, well, yes, I did. I was worried.”

“I told you to stay away from the pool, but you didn’t listen.”

“I know. You were right…again.”

“Yes, but at least Heath came to your rescue. I should have known that gimlet of a boyfriend of yours would be useless
in an emergency situation.”

“Dahlia…”

“Shh! Here comes your mother.”

When we couldn’t find my fictitious book, Mom took me to the car and drove me home. On the ride, I wondered what
had happened to Brett. Okay, if the truth be told, it was more than likely Dahlia who had whispered the idea into my ear.

I didn’t respond to her because Mom would find it entirely suspect if I started talking to myself. I gave that up in second
grade. Still, the thought remained. What had happened to Brett? He hadn’t followed me to the nurse’s office as far as I
knew. Did he care that I’d nearly died? I did! I nearly died and I would have if it hadn’t been for Heath.
Reviews for Struck By Conscience
Excerpt for Struck By Conscience
Fiction-Young Adult Fantasy
Whimsical Publications,
LLC/e-book, 47 pages
April 2010
$3.99

ISBN-13: 978-1-936167-12-8

Faery Guardian series
Comment/review
–Theresa Joseph
The Romance Studio
Rated: 4 stars

I enjoyed this whimsical short story with the endearingly realistic characters. I felt a solid connection with the heroine.
Charisma is someone whom most of her school mates would love to trade places with, but popularity doesn't guarantee
happiness. Heath is a fantastic hero, how can you help but fall for a guy who saves a drowning young woman? I
admired how complex he was; sensitive and explosive, angry and tender. This was a charming escape from my day. I
look forward to seeing what else this author has to offer. I think this is a great addition to any YA lover's bookshelf.

Comment/review
–Diana
Night Owl Reviews
Rated: 4 stars

I just adored this YA story by Ms. Green. I loved Charisma and found her to be a pretty, fun and smart teenager who
was going through the normal bumps of teenage life. I had hoped that she would do the right thing when it came to
Brett and realize that even though Heath and her were older now, they were still good friends. That their friendship had
never completely died. I deep down wanted her to dump Brett for all the things he did to her and see just how Heath
was always there for her when she needed someone the most. If you’re looking for an enjoyable, short YA story, look
no further!

Comment/review
– J. Thomas
LASR Reviews
Rated: 4 stars

My favorite thing about this story was the fact that what most teenage girls strive for wasn't what Risa wanted and it
made her such a strong character. Torn between life changing moments, confused feelings of love and loss from what
she's been so used to, C.K. Green makes Risa feel so real to the reader. The things people might think are important
really aren't what defines you as a person. When life takes you to a cross road which road will you take? I think Ms.
Green wrote a great heart felt story with little whimsical twists following Risa around. Hopefully, there will be more of
Risa and Dahlia to look forward to in the future. It really was an impressive coming-of-age story. It made this reader fall
into the story from the moment Risa fell into that pool.

Comment/review
Steph "Author of "The Giving Meadow"
Amazon review
Rating: 5 stars

Green's writing is crisp, giving Charisma a young, fresh voice that immediately enchants the reader. The plot is solid
and the dialogue rings true, giving the characters authenticity. Green's descriptions are "spot on." It's easy to picture
the setting.

"Struck by Conscience" has a great cast of characters that the reader can identify with. Deena and Avril offer
Charisma genuine friendship. Brett is a snobbish bore. Charisma realizes she wants something more out of her
relationships. Heath is cautious. He's known Charisma since they were children, but was hurt when she withdrew from
their friendship after becoming popular.

The story is sweet for the young adult audience as Heath and Charisma share a kiss or two. "Struck by Conscience" is
a delightful and heartwarming read about the power of young love.

Comment/review
Tracy L. Vaquez
Amazon review  
Rating: 5 stars

C.K.Green did an amazing job with this book. The storyline is flawless. It was cute, and romantic, without being too
sappy, and it had a little humor thrown in there. I loved the characters. They were all very relatable, and they had
realistic personalities. This book was great, and I would definitely recommend it.

Comment/review
-Aurora Reviews

I think Ms. Green wrote a great heart felt story with little whimsical twists following Risa around. Hopefully, there will be
more of Risa and Dahlia to look forward to in the future. It really was an impressive coming-of-age story. It made this
reader fall into the story from the moment Risa fell into that pool.
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Struck By Conscience
C.K. Green
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