The Forsaken is now Live on Kindle!

With all of these teasers I am happy to announce that The Forsaken is now live on Kindle!

The Forsaken (Kindle)

Also, don’t forget to stop by My Book Addiction’s Facebook page today at 4:00 pm EST. I’ll be taking over her page for an hour. With just a limited time there is no telling what I might do…or giveaway!!!

My Book Addiction

Have a GREAT day of reading, writing or whatever you’re into!

God bless!

~A

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Chapter 3 of The Forsaken! (Last Teaser)

Word of caution: All of my posts today on my social media sites are under the influence of fever and Nyquil. If for any reason you wonder why something sounds as if I’m out of my mind…that is why! 🙂

So, this is going to be the last teaser chapter for The Forsaken! That’s because it will be ready for purchase tomorrow!!! Yay!

Chapter 3 

Jayce

 I wasn’t sure what she had done to me. Sure, she broke my heart, but that wasn’t it. It was that kiss. I enjoyed it, way more than I should have. I knew that she was only using me. I deserved it. I had used plenty of girls in the past. But this girl had done a number on my heart and it wasn’t easy to get over.

Not only couldn’t I get her out my head, it was like I couldn’t get her out of my…senses. I felt her everywhere I went. She was in my blood. I could feel her swimming around my brain. When I was asleep, talking, eating, or whatever else I was doing, I felt her deep in my soul.

At first I thought maybe this was what love felt like, you know? I had heard about people not being able to eat or sleep because they were so consumed by the thought of someone else. That was what it felt like at first, but then things started to change.

The first night that I knew something really crazy weird was going on was when I had this wild dream about her. I could see her at The Landing. She looked as beautiful as ever in the moonlight. I watched as she took a step onto a dock and then turned to look at me. She waved me on so I followed.

For a minute, I thought this dream was real, it felt that way. It felt completely normal to just follow her on to that dock, but when I did she was gone. I looked everywhere for her. There was some feeling; some sinking feeling that she had fallen off. It’s silly to think of this now, but I wondered in that moment if she could swim.

Without really thinking about what I was doing I jumped into the lake. I called out for her and then dove under the water, searching for her. It was dark, too dark for me to see anything so I felt around for her. After a few attempts I felt her. She was under the water. I grabbed her around the waist and pulled her to the surface.

After what seemed like forever I got her on the dock. Her dark hair was covering her face so I hurriedly shoved it to the side and then started giving her mouth-to-mouth.

“Come on Rayna!” I screamed at her as I pushed down on her chest. “Breathe, please, breathe!”

Then she did. Rayna began to cough up water so I rolled her onto her side. The water didn’t stop. I watched as water and more water came pouring out of her mouth. She was retching, unable to breathe. I watched in sheer terror as the water rushed forth, choking her.

Then, there wasn’t water coming out anymore; it was an inky blackness. Some dark shiny liquid crashed out of her mouth, running down the front her shirt. Slowly that same liquid began seeping from her nose and the corner of her eyes. She was drowning in it. I didn’t know what else to do, but shake her. Maybe I thought I could shake that filth out of her, but it was no use.

Without warning, something grabbed me from behind and threw me along the dock. I nearly fell into the lake, but managed to stay on the wooden pier. My head suddenly felt heavy and my legs where shaky. Before I could stand up an intense pressure pinned me down. I was being choked, but it wasn’t by the same substance that was encircling Rayna. It was a smell; a sickly sweet smell, like really sweet chocolate.

It was someone. Someone was holding me down on the pier, but I couldn’t make out who it was. The only thing I could see was smoke, thick black smoke. It would enclose me in the darkness, seeping into my pores and burning me up from the inside. My entire body would feel like it was on fire, but at the same time I would feel so cold.

Just when I thought that the pain would kill me I would wake up. For months I was plagued by this dream. I would wake up screaming and thrashing my arms out in front me; ready to fight whoever I needed to. My parents were really starting to worry about me. My mom even sent me to a shrink. The doc gave me a prescription for anxiety, claiming I was just under a lot of stress because I was about to graduate high school.

He was wrong though. It wasn’t high school. It was something else. I don’t know why, but deep down I felt like these dreams meant something. Deep down, even though I was even trying to deny it, I felt like the person in my dream holding me down was someone made of flesh and bone. What was worse, I knew that Rayna truly was in danger and I had to help her.

Chapter 2 of The Forsaken!

Chapter 2 of The Forsaken is now up for your reading pleasure! If you want to leave a comment, please feel free to do so!

 

Chapter 2

 

Liam

I woke again thinking of her. This feeling welled up inside my heart until a slight moan of anguish passed my lips. It felt as though that sound was earsplitting, able to shatter glass, but it was only a whisper. My body was tense and rigid. I must have had that dream again.

There were two distinct dreams that I had of Rayna. One of them was on a beach in my hometown of Australia. It was sunny and the wind was crisp and cool. In the distance I would see her. She would wave to me with a smile on her face. I knew that she was beckoning me to join her as if nothing between us had changed. For a moment, in those dreams, we were happy. There was no Gift and there was no Jayce. It was only she and I.

When I had those there was a part of me that was vaguely aware that it was just a dream. However, there was a part of me that was oblivious to that very important fact. Upon waking, when reality settled in, it felt like something was ripped from my chest. My emotions were raw and vulnerable. A piece of my heart seemed to die each time.
Then there was the nightmare. Rayna and I were always inside some old structure, something made of stone. It was cold and the floor was wet with freezing water. When I looked at her she would always be crying. Her soft purple dress would be covered in blood. She would always have this purplish light on her skin. When I would look behind me I saw moonlight shining brightly through a stained-glass window.
Then we were suddenly transported to The Landing. Rayna would still be crying, but there would be this eerie smile on her face. It was as if she were still behind those soft, brown eyes, but something else or someone else was controlling her body. That would be when she would jab a long, sharp blade into my chest.
When I woke up from this nightmare I always felt sick. There was this sickly sweet smell that always filled my senses. It was no different this morning. I had to run for the window and open it up, letting in the fresh salty sea air. Inhaling deeply, I let the wind wash through me. I rested my arms on the windowsill, bowing my head as the nightmare played in my memories.
There was a sound of a bird chirping and I looked up. The sun was peaking over the horizon, bringing memories back that I wanted to stay buried. Sleep was still clinging to my senses and I could tell it would be for a while.

It actually surprised me that I was sleeping more these days. I don’t know what the change was, but I couldn’t say it was good. I think I would rather not sleep than sleep and dream of her. Then again, it was the only way I could see her face. The only way to feel close to her was to see her in times of slumber. It wasn’t real, it wasn’t healthy, but it was all I had.
I wasn’t sure what the dreams meant. I knew without a doubt that Rayna would never hurt me like that. She may have torn my heart out of my chest, figuratively, but she wasn’t capable of physically hurting me.
I knew that she thought that’s what would happen to me if I stuck around. Try as I might, she wouldn’t believe me when I told her that we could find a way to work around it. There was nothing I wouldn’t do to make sure that she was safe just as there was nothing she would do for me. Yet, she pushed me away and how can you help someone who doesn’t want help? How can you be there for someone who doesn’t want you around?
There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that Rayna loved me. She had made it clear when we were together. The way she smiled at me, how she held my hand, I could feel her love the way I felt the sun upon my skin at this moment, warm and pure.
It was hard to think about that right now. Honestly, I just couldn’t afford to think of it. If I allowed myself to begin to wallow I would never stop. Rayna had taken so much out of me. It wasn’t hard for me to let her in and once I did it was hard to come back.
“Dude, close that window,” my roommate, Henry, said to me. “It’s bloody cold.”
“Sorry,” I said and shut the window.
“I was sleeping so well,” he mumbled into his pillow. “And was having the best dream. I was on an island, finished with school, touring the world in my rock band, surrounded by beautiful women.”
“You’ll get over it,” I said and tossed a pillow over at him. “You need to get up anyway. We’re going to be late for class.”
“What time is it?” he jumped up. “I thought I set my alarm.”
“It didn’t go off,” I informed him.
“Great!” Henry exclaimed and then started moving around the room like a tornado, finding something clean to wear.
I liked Henry. I had gotten to know him fairly well since starting classes at the University in Australia. He was in most of the same classes as me. He was a music major as well and could play the bass guitar like nobody’s business. We had a few jam sessions outside of class too and I was filling in as lead guitar in his band while his buddy, Abe, was recovering from a terrible car wreck.
“If we’re late again Professor Krimble is going to murder us,” he told me.
“Well we wouldn’t want that now would we?” I asked sarcastically at his overdramatic reaction.
“No, definitely not,” he answered seriously.
This made me laugh. Henry was one of those people who was perpetually nervous. He was also very scattered. There were times I wondered how he was able to function. Then when I saw him play the guitar all of that nervousness seemed to wash away. He was an entirely different person; he was very calm and smooth.
The girls loved him. His voice was smooth and I had seen him on many occasions giving out winks, which made the girls in the audience swoon. He wasn’t a vile person, but he took advantage of his charms. Henry came home with numbers and more than a few kisses. I didn’t envy him. There was only one person whose kiss I desired.
“Aren’t you going to get ready?” he asked running a very pale hand through his light red hair.
“I’ll meet you there,” I told him and lay back down.
“You know Professor Krimble isn’t going to let you forget it if you’re late again,” Henry said as he rushed around picking up things he needed. “Even if you are Dr. Jackson Cole’s son.”
“I didn’t think anyone cared about that fact,” I rolled my eyes.
“Your father donated a large sum of money to this school when you enrolled,” Henry pointed out. “Everyone cares about that.”
“Well, I don’t,” I said, hearing the irritation in my voice.
I wondered if I would ever be able to go somewhere without people knowing who I was or who my father was. It was the same story and had been my entire life. It always seemed that my father had to have his presence on everything. I couldn’t just have something for me. The only way my father would even agree to allow me to attend the arts-minded university was if he could put his stamp of approval on it and that stamp was a donation.
It actually was a shock that he agreed so quickly. A part of me wondered if it wasn’t because he knew that something had happened to me after Rayna and I broke up. He wanted to send me as far away from her as possible I suppose. It wasn’t because he was concerned for my broken heart; he just wanted me to finish college.
In a way I understood where my father was coming from. If I had a 19-year-old kid I would want him to go to college instead of following after a girl who didn’t want him. It’s just that Rayna wasn’t just any girl; she was more than that. I wanted to scream at him because he didn’t seem to understand or care about that fact. He would never understand the things that she had to go through and still goes through.
Again, I had to get that out of my head. I couldn’t be there for her if she didn’t let me. I had to just go on with life until she realized that we could be together. I just wasn’t sure how long it would take.
I took a longer shower than I really needed after Henry left. Grabbing my bag I headed out of the door into the cold January air. Pulling my leather jacket tighter around myself I walked toward Dr. Krimble’s class. I would be late, I was sure, and I knew he would threaten me, but I honestly didn’t care.
Dr. Krimble taught music history. While I enjoyed the subject matter I didn’t necessarily enjoy his teaching of it. He was dry, humorless and pompous. He abused his knowledge by treating those he taught with disdain. It was as if he expected all of us to know everything before having the chance to study and if we didn’t then we were treated like idiots.
I gratefully entered the hall, my shoes echoing all around me, escaping the cold wind. The heat greeted me but still somehow I felt chilled to the core. It could be because I knew I’d be entering the Ice King’s dimension soon.
Opening the door to the class Dr. Krimble looked up and narrowed his eyes at me. As I made my way to my seat next to Henry I tried my best to avoid eye contact with him.
“Ah, Mr. Cole,” he began. “So nice of you to join us. I hope my class didn’t interrupt your beauty rest.”
“Not at all, sir,” I said as I sat down, shrugging my bag off of my shoulder.
“Mr. Cole, you might not care to come to class on time because your father paid for your entire tuition, but there are those of us who have had to pay our own way,” he snarled at me. “Considering the fact that there are students here who have had to pay for this class and want to get their money’s worth, without being interrupted by spoiled, rich brats, it would be in your best interests to get here on time.”
And there it was, laid out there for my entire class to hear. Of course, I had brought this on myself by being late more than once. I could sit here and say it really wasn’t my fault since I had felt so sluggish lately, but that would be cowardly of me. Yet, he wasn’t as concerned with his other students as he claimed. He was just ready to jump on the chance to call me out because he viewed me just as he said. Spoiled. Rich. Brat.
He wanted me to back down. I guess he thought by insulting me the way he did I was supposed to crawl back into my shell and hide away from him. Instead, I merely smirked at him. Dr. Krimble sneered at me.
“I can see my words of truth mean nothing to you, Mr. Cole,” he walked toward the bottom of the platform he stood on. “If that is the case, then you can leave my class until you learn how to get here on time, otherwise I’ll kick you out of my class.”
“If that is the case, Dr. Krimble,” I said before realizing it. “How will you ever know if I have learned my lesson if you never let me come back?”
There were snickers from all around me. Henry snorted until he was choked on his own breath. When Dr. Krimble’s face turned an unnatural shade of red I knew I was in big trouble. He walked right up to me and looked me square in the face.
“Get…out…” he whispered, but it was worse than a yell.
I realized what I had just done and felt terrible for it. My anger and torment had provoked me to publicly insult and disrespect him. This wasn’t in my nature. I was the easy going one, the calm one. Yet, here I was, acting like a spoiled, rich brat.
“Sorry,” I said in a low voice, grabbed my stuff and left the room.
I huffed as I walked out the door and down the hall. There was no doubt that my father would hear about this and would be giving me a call. As my feet echoed across the long, empty hall I silently chided myself for playing into Dr. Krimble’s game.
Suddenly, there was a chill at my back as if a breeze had found its way in from the outside. Turning around I looked to see if…if what? If I was being honest with myself I halfway thought there was someone standing behind me. I looked from left to right, but there was nothing and no one.
I furrowed my brows, wondering why I had suddenly become so paranoid. Pulling my bag higher up on my shoulder I turned back around and continued walking. I rounded the corner and nearly screamed like a girl. There was a girl standing in front of me who actually screamed, well, you know, like a girl.
“Oh no!” she yelped, dropping her belongs on the floor.
Her instrument case had busted open and her violin had slid across the concrete floor. I watched in horror as it hit up against the other side of the hall and cracked down the middle. The girl went over to it hurriedly, as if that might reverse time and save the instrument. She kneeled down and picked the violin up in her hands.
“I am so sorry,” I said, picking up her other belongings as I spoke.
She didn’t say anything as she stood up. The girl turned and looked at me with tears in her soft brown eyes. One fell down a slightly freckled cheek. There was so much pain and despair in that tear. Her light red hair fell in her eyes as she looked back down at the mangled violin in her hands, which she held like a wounded child.
“I…I don’t know what…I’m so sorry,” she stammered.
“You’re sorry?” I asked, confused.
“I should’ve watched where I was going,” she said, as more tears fell down her face. “I’m sorry. Oh great, what am I going to do? I don’t know what to do.”
“About what?” I asked. “Your instrument? I’m sure you can get it fixed.”
“I don’t know how,” she said. “I’m sorry.”
She shoved the violin back into the case, grabbed her things from me and stormed off down the hall. I could hear her whimpering all the way as I stood there watching her. She seemed so lost. It hit me all of sudden why she was so distraught. She had said that she didn’t know how to fix her instrument and I knew why.
“Hey! Hey! Wait up!” I called after. “Hey!”
She had already made her way outside. I ran after her into the cold winter air, not paying attention to the fact that it had begun to lightly rain. She turned to look at me as I came to a stop in front of her.
“Hey, listen,” I started, out of breath. “I think I can help you. It was my fault that you dropped your violin. The least I can do is pay for it to be fixed.”
“What?” she sniffled. “No, don’t be absurd, really.”
“Don’t be prideful,” I said back.
She stopped short, taken aback by my frankness.
“I don’t know what to say,” she remarked, still sniffling.
“Just say that you’ll agree to me taking you to the repair shop tomorrow,” I smiled at her.
“Yeah, sure, thank you so much…” she said.
“Liam Cole,” I said shaking her hand. “And you are?”
“Angel,” she smiled. “Angel Rodchester.”

Chapter 1 of The Forsaken!!

Yesterday I promised to post the first chapter of The Forsaken. You know what? I keep my promises! Come back tomorrow for Chapter 2! 

Image

 

Chapter 1

     Six months had passed since my life had nearly been cut short at 18. I came face to face with a murderer and I had killed him. I was nearly crushed in a car wreck by his accomplice, who got away, but I managed to survive. Surviving was something I needed to be really good at lately. By doing that I had realized what that word actually meant.  
     I had faced so much, too much, and I did it all without completely losing my sanity. That was, from what I could tell. No one had shipped me away to a mental hospital yet, so I guess that means I was doing pretty well.
     I had to learn to confront fear and then kick it in the face. If I wasn’t able to do that then there is no telling where C.J. and I would have ended up. I heard somewhere that a little fear is good for you. It is a reminder to hold tight to the things you care about and the people you love. I don’t know about it being good for you, but I did know that I had come out on the other side of fear and was pretty lucky to be somewhat unscathed. I had to be brave.
     Still, here I sat, in the parking lot of my high school, scared out of my mind. I couldn’t believe myself. I had known these people my entire life. They were no more threatening than a marshmallow. But I knew it wasn’t them I was actually afraid of. It was their thoughts and their emotions that frightened me. What had happened to their fellow classmate was well-known to them and the rest of the town.
    I had recently been cleared to return to school last Thursday. I had to wait; I couldn’t bring myself to start back on a Friday. Those few extra days were supposed to help me prepare for my reentry into the world. That’s what I had told myself. I was just being a chicken.
     During my recovery I had been holed up in my room, safe and secure from the overwhelming emotions of the outside world. When I did manage to get out I wanted to run back in. I was a little ashamed of myself. My mind was a prison and I allowed myself to give my sanity and peace a life sentence.
     I would have continued down this path if not for my family and friends, especially Leslie and Sara. They struggled and fought with me almost every day. If I wanted to stay in bed and not brush my hair Sara would make me put on decent clothes while Leslie dolled me up so we could go out.
     They weren’t the only ones to try and “save” me. Mom and Mimi didn’t go easy on me either. Austin was just as tough and would forcibly make me go somewhere with him. Most of the time it was to my dad’s favorite fishing hole or to the shooting range so I never complained.
     My mom said that the best way to face this was “head on.” Mimi was in the same mind set. After I was able to get out, Mimi had something for me to do almost every day, which consisted of me taking her all over God’s green Earth. I loved the time I spent with her, but she sure did make me spend a lot on gas.
     If they only knew I wasn’t moping, I was trying to preserve my sanity. I didn’t want to go out. My Gift had been on steroids since getting back with C.J. in tow. I could feel everything from everyone. I had been fully charged and had just now gotten back to a neutral setting.
     When I could finally manage to keep everyone’s emotions out of my head I knew there were a lot of things I needed to consider. There were several open-ended questions.
     Where was Ron? Who was he really? Was he still coming after C.J.? Was he coming after me? Why hadn’t I dreamed about him since our last encounter?
     Nick said that those answers would come when I was ready for them. He was right. They were all right. Right now I just needed to live. So, as soon as I found out I could go back to school I also asked Mom if I could get a job. It just so happened that Mr. Wu was looking for an assistant. At first I nearly refused because I was afraid of seeing Liam, but from what I understood he would be staying in Australia until further notice. I tried not to pay attention to the pain that bit of information caused.
     My first day was next week. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was going to be. Maybe because it was Mr. Wu or maybe it was because I was eager to get back to The Landing. That place held something for me; I could feel it. I guess because there, a lot of firsts had happened for me. My Gift and my love for Liam had started there. I had grown so much and had faced things I didn’t think I would have been able to handle.
     Still, here I was, unsure of how my first day back would be. Had I really taken back control of my Gift? What if I lost it during class or when I stepped through the doors? What would it do to me to have all of these thoughts and emotions come rushing in at once? Would I crumble right there? Would I be so overwhelmed that I would just let out the most horrific scream that anyone had ever screamed right there in front of everyone?
“Hello?” Leslie called out to me, tapping on my car window.
     She was bundled up in her fashionable winter coat, toboggan, scarf, and mittens. She was looking at me with concern as Sara came walking up, dressed in a similar fashion.
“You can’t sit in there all day,” Leslie said. “Let’s go, it’s freezing out here.”
“I’m coming,” I told her switching off the ignition and grabbing my book bag.
“Is that all you’re wearing?” Leslie asked, taking in my light jacket.
“I can’t wear all that,” I said, pointing to her attire. “Looking at you makes me sweat. Besides, it isn’t that cold.”
“Yeah, it’s only 27 degrees,” Sara rolled her eyes, laughing.
“Sometimes I wonder if you’ll make it in New York,” I said to Leslie. “It’s like a million times colder there.”
     Sara laughed and Leslie’s lips were chattering too much to formulate a response. A few students getting out of their cars spotted us. Instantly I felt their emotions hit me in the chest. I stopped short and inhaled deeply. I had to get myself together or I’d never make it. I could feel their emotions eating away at the shield I had been practicing on for the past six months. Tiny pieces started to chip away; I could feel the pressure start to build, getting stronger and stronger.
“Are you alright?” Sara asked, reaching out to touch me, then pulled back.
     While I didn’t explain why, they knew I “panicked” from being touched when I was already upset.
“I just needed a second,” I sort of laughed and then cleared my throat. “OK, I’m ready.”
     When we climbed the steps one of my teachers was standing there, on hallway duty, and gave me a surprised smile. They knew I was coming back, but I didn’t begrudge them the reaction. I would still be surprised to see someone too when I knew they had nearly been murdered.
“Welcome back, Miss Stone,” Mrs. Holiday said to me.
“Thanks,” I said and hurried in the door.
     Walking down the main hall was quite an experience. Minus cameras flashing I suspected this is what celebrities felt like walking down the red carpet; a hundred eyes watching their every move. Oh yeah, and minus the millions.
     Every person had their eyes on me, even though I know for a fact most of my classmates were taught it wasn’t polite to stare. Their emotions were running at me full speed and I felt my heartbeat quicken. My steps felt heavy with the weight of their thoughts.
     I could pick up certain things as my Converses hit the wood floors of the halls. Some people wondered if I had been abused when I was taken. Others suspected more vile things had happened to me. There were thoughts of sympathy, but it was mostly fear. They feared that I was somehow cursed and I was bringing that curse with me, tainting our halls.
     Suddenly I saw Nick and Jasmine. For a split second I had forgotten they had transferred here. Nick came bounding down the hall toward me and put his hand in mine. Leslie gave him a surprised look and was about to tell him to back off, but she saw that I had thoroughly relaxed.
“Thank you,” I said as he squeezed my hand.
     Nick gave me a slight smile and then walked away without a word.
“He is so…weird,” Leslie commented looking after him. “Cute, but really, really weird.”
“And he has a crush on Rayna,” Sara laughed.
“Ha!” I laughed sarcastically and then made my way to the locker Leslie and I always shared.
     The three of us were practically sisters. We fought, made up, teased, and picked. Normally our go-to reaction to stress was to tease and pick and that’s what Sara was doing. She was nervous for me and afraid so she teased to make me smile. I honestly didn’t feel like smiling or getting picked on. Thankfully she realized this and dropped the whole “crush” thing.
     Nick and I did have a unique relationship, but only because we were both Gifted. So was Jasmine, but she hated my guts so we hadn’t quite bonded yet. I was waiting for her to get past the hating my guts part. Despite what Nick might feel for me, my heart would always be Liam’s. Just the thought of him pained me, my ever-distant star, so bright among all the darkness.
     If the hunt for Ron or The Shadow ever ended, would we be able to pick up where we left off? It was highly unlikely. I had hurt him in the worst possible way. Not with a weapon that inflicted physical pain; I had claimed my heart belonged to someone else.
     I did this to save him. The Shadow made it clear that Liam would die if he stayed. So I hurt him, made him hate me by fabricating a love I didn’t feel. I let him see me; I let him watch me kiss…Jayce.
     Jayce, he had been hurt too. He had truly cared for me and I used that to my advantage. I had manipulated him into believing I cared for him, but it was only to save Liam.
     As these thoughts circled my mind I knew I was somewhat lying to myself. While I didn’t love Jayce, deep down he moved me. For a while I thought it was because his emotions intertwined so easily with me; that his emotions were just so intoxicating. Now, after six months of trying to reason away his effect on me, I came to the conclusion that I liked him. It wasn’t love really, but I had very strong feelings for him.
     I felt the reason for this was because there was something that we needed from each other. It didn’t make any sense to me at all. I’m not denying the fact that Jayce had captured a piece of my heart, but it wasn’t a relationship I wanted from him. Sure, I could easily be his friend, he was a charmer, but there was some connection we shared that went beyond friendship, but not quite love. It was a bond that was very hard to watch shatter, wither and die.
“Where are you going?” Sara asked.
“I have to get my class schedule,” I said turning around. “Y’all don’t have to come with me. I promise, I’ll be fine.”
     They gave each other a worried glance then walked away. It was reasonable to worry, I was worried about me, but I had to keep living. Mimi said to let my past be a guide, a lesson, and let it explain the scars, but to never let it be a crutch. If Dad were here he would say, “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on chugging along, Honey Bee.”
     So I put one foot in front of the other this morning. While I was bound to be overwhelmed with the emotions from my classmates, I was going to enjoy what was left of my Senior year, really enjoy it.
     If there was one thing that I learned from this past summer it was to just live. Granted I couldn’t have everything or everyone (that would be Liam) that I wanted, but I could make do with what I had.  
“Mrs. Harper,” I said to my guidance counselor when she handed me my class schedule. “Can I change my Art class to Theatre?”
“Let’s see,” she made a few clicks on her keyboard. “You’ll be a little behind on the Spring show, but I’m sure Mr. Nolan will be thrilled to have you back. Here you go and welcome back!”
     I thanked her and took my schedule to my first class. Thankfully I found a seat before the bell rang. My classmates tried their best not to stare at me, but every now and then their eyes would wander.
     Those same emotions tried to break down the wall of my mind. I placed my fingers on the bridge of my nose, pinching it as a throbbing pain began to make its way up to my forehead. Feeling an emotion different from the others, a feeling of pure concern and kindness, I looked over and noticed I was sitting beside one of my old theatre buddies, Mitchell. I gave him a smile and he gladly returned it.
“Welcome back,” he said. “We missed you.”
“Thanks, hey, what play does Mr. Nolan have prepared for the Spring?” I asked.
“Grease,” he said to my delight. “But you know we always perform Romeo and Juliet for Valentine’s Day. Why? Are you getting back in it?”
     I felt his thoughts hoping a “yes” and I also noticed many eyes and ears on our conversation.
“Yeah,” I told him at last. “I guess so.”
     My first and second classes weren’t as bad as I thought they might be. It helped that Leslie was in my second class with me. The classroom change unsettled me for only a moment. I was brushing up against hormone-fueled teenagers and their constant emotional changes were hard to filter. Nick found me though during our first break and sat beside me on one of the bleachers in the gym.
     Jasmine came strutting up and grumpily sat next to him. She paid no attention to the fact that I was even there. Soon Leslie, Sara, and Mitchell found us. I saw that Leslie and Jasmine had gotten to know each other well during my absence. They were sharing some story about Tray Watson falling down the stairs last week with Mitchell. Apparently he was the only person in school who hadn’t heard.
“Is he OK?” I asked them while they laughed.
“What?” Jasmine asked, looking at me as though I had just blessed her out.
“Is Tray OK? Did he get hurt?” I asked again, looking straight at her.
“Oh, he’s fine,” Leslie laughed. “He’s just the butt of everyone’s joke now. Well hello to you too, Mr. Cool.”
     Leslie said this to someone behind me. I heard a raspy laugh and turned around.
“Hey, Leslie,” Mr. Cool said.
     He was tall, taller than Nick and Nick was tall. The boy had thick, dark hair and warm brown eyes. His skin was dark, like mine.
“Come on over here and let me introduce you to Rayna,” Leslie instructed.
     Mr. Cool was a few seats up in the bleachers. He came down to stand in front of me as Leslie made her promised introductions.
“Rayna, this is Mr. Cool because he wears a leather jacket and drives an Audi. Mr. Cool, this is Rayna, my other best friend.” Leslie said.
“Hey, Rayna,” he said to me smiling. “If you’re best friends with this one as she says then you know not to take her seriously. My name is Patrick, not Mr. Cool.”
“Hi,” I said in return and without skipping a beat went on with. “Where are you from?”
“Rayna!” Sara said, shocked. “What’s up with you? That’s rude.”
“It’s OK, I get that all of the time,” he looked slightly embarrassed.
    That was it, he looked it. I couldn’t tell if he felt it because I couldn’t feel anything from him at all.
“I’m from Brazil,” he told me. “My father is Afghan and married my mother, a Brazilian. We’ve lived in Brazil for most of my life, but have spent the last 3 years in Ireland.”
“No, that’s not what I meant,” I said. “I just meant…I think I know you. Have we met?”
“Um, I don’t think so,” he said, smiling. “I believe I would have no trouble remembering you.”
“OK, are y’all hitting on each other right in front of us?” Leslie asked, looking at us with an eyebrow raised.
     I was totally bluffing of course. I knew I had never met him, but I was hoping to evoke some emotion in him to see if I could read it. I looked at Nick who was busy messing with his shoelace. He was in one of his “I’m in my own little world” moods.
“Maybe I’m mistaken,” I said after trying to search him and coming up with nothing. “So how do you like America?”
“I’m finding it very nice here,” he said. “My uncle is enjoying his teaching post at UAH so I suspect we will be here for a while.”
“Your uncle?” I was confused.
“Oh yes,” he smiled. “I moved here with my uncle. My parents are still in Ireland and will soon be moving to Haiti for the next few years. They are doctors and go around the world helping set up hospitals in third world countries. Ireland is just a stop along the way while my father finishes writing his medical text book.”
“Wow,” I said, thoroughly impressed. “Sounds like you have amazing parents.”
“Thank you,” he smiled. “They really are great, but I am biased.”
     Leslie interrupted our conversation about his saint-like parents to inform me that Patrick was an amazing dancer and the new star of our drama department.
“Rayna is in drama as well,” Leslie stated. “She’s amazing so if you want to stay on top you need to stay on your toes with this one around.”
“You’re embarrassing me, Leslie,” I laughed nervously. “I’ve been out of drama for a while so I’m rusty. Today is my first day back.”
“Well that’ll be great. I suppose I’ll see you in class,” he smiled and walked away just as the bell rang.
     I grabbed Nick away from everyone before he left for his next class. Jasmine gave me a harsh look.
“What’s his story?” I questioned.
“Didn’t you just ask him his story,” Nick said this as an obvious statement, not a question. His expression had that far-away look.
“You know what I mean,” I said irritated. “I can’t read him.”
     Nick actually looked at me then. His soft eyes were still a little glazed over, but I could tell he was listening. His response confirmed my assumption.
“Are you sure?” he wondered. “I have read him plainly before, but of course that was only when we shook hands. Still, I get brief glimpses of his thoughts and they are always rather clear.”
“I could swear…I mean, I think…” I rubbed my eyes. “You only read him clearly when you shook hands? What does that mean?”
“That is how my Gift works,” he told me. “I can read people, yeah, but it’s more vivid and reliable when I touch them.”
“You’ve never told me that,” I looked at him narrowing my eyes.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
     Nick grasped my hand reassuringly and then walked away. I didn’t think I’d ever get over his flighty emotions. Besides Dr. Wayland, he was the only other person whose emotions were so jumbled and disoriented. Liam had moments when he was an emotional mess, but for the most part I could read him plainly. Nick and Dr. Wayland had emotions like tangled up Christmas lights; I didn’t know which way they went or how to find the beginning. 
     It wasn’t surprising that Mr. Nolan found out I was rejoining theatre before I actually told him. I had a feeling that Mitchell ran off to tell him the first chance he got. He was no less thrilled when I entered his class at the end of the day. The Romeo and Juliet play was well under way so I told him I’d do whatever needed to be done. I ended up being the makeup assistant, which I have to say I’m pretty good at.
     It really all started at a young age. Dad and I had always shared a fascination for the theatre, but his specialty was the makeup part. Even when we watched movies he would critique monster prosthetics or bad paint jobs. He would use me as his model all of the time. There was hardly a time, especially around Halloween, when I wasn’t running around the house with some sort of mask or flesh wound that Dad had created.
     He had once given me a pretty nasty cut across the face when I was about 6. I came into the kitchen where Mom was cooking and pretended I had fallen outside. She freaked out for about 2 seconds until she heard Dad laughing in the hall. She threw an oven mitt at his head when he walked into the kitchen, holding his sides he was laughing so hard.
     Mom looked like she wanted to bang Dad over the head with her skillet, but she could never stay mad at him for long. As soon as he started laughing she would crack up. Oh, she tried to keep a straight face and would reprimand him for teaching me how to be deceiving, but I could see the smile playing at the corner of her mouth. Dad saw it too that’s when he would strike, tickling her until she had forgiven him.
     When I saw Patrick back stage I went over to him. He had been on my mind all day. Why couldn’t I read him? He smiled when he saw me approach.
“Have you come back to ask more rude questions?” he laughed. “Sara isn’t here to chastise you so fire away.”
“Actually, I came apologize,” I said. “I’m not normally so impolite, so, I’m sorry.”
     He searched my face with his deep, brown eyes while I tried searching his emotions. One of us came up short. Again, nothing. This was unnerving and really scared the crap out of me. Maybe I needed to touch him, like Nick does to get better readings. My reading of people through touch had been heightened as of late.
“Its fine, really,” he smiled and then looked shyly at his feet. “I need to go; Tessa and I have lines to rehearse.”
“Who are you playing?” I wondered.
“Romeo of course,” he laughed. “Remember, I’m Mr. Cool.”
Jerk, I thought.
     Nick was also in theatre to everyone’s surprise but my own. He wasn’t an aspiring actor, but he could build the heck out of sets. He was in the theatre room basement, building away. Nick came up every now and then, measured something, looked at me, and then went back down again. 
“I like it when he wears that sleeveless shirt,” I heard Annie Townsend say.
“Uh huh,” Stacy Barton agreed.
“Hey, don’t you know him, Rayna?” Annie asked. “Is he dating anyone?”
     I had just returned from a near death experience and this is the first thing these girls ask me? Annie and Stacy were never “friends” of mine, but I never had a reason to dislike them. I wasn’t sure what they thought of me before, but right now their emotions were just indifferent. I was just a means to an end. They wanted to know about Nick; they didn’t give a rat’s behind about my recent ordeal.
    Oh well, at least they were actually speaking to me. All day most of my classmates just stared. They didn’t even say “Hi” or “Drop dead” or “I’m glad that serial killer didn’t murder you.” They were somewhat frightened. I guess being nearly killed by a psychopath sort of taints you.
“Yeah, he’s a friend,” I responded. “I don’t think he does much dating, but you could ask.”
     They gave me a somewhat friendly smile and then continued with their own conversation. I shrugged and looked back up at Nick. I wondered if he knew what they thought of him. I’m sure he did, but that would mean next to nothing to him. He just wasn’t like normal guys.
     My first day back went much better than I expected. Other than the occasional burst of emotions I didn’t have a complete freak out. The only concerning factor was Patrick. There had to be a way for me to read him.
     I kept a close eye on him throughout the class period. His rehearsal with Tessa wasn’t going well because she kept mixing up the lines and getting frustrated with her costume.
     He didn’t seem irritated by her, but that was only speculation. Tessa I could plainly read. She was embarrassed by her inability to grasp the lines and was even more humiliated that Patrick was there to see it all. She had a crush.
     It seemed every girl had a crush on him, especially Leslie. She would rather die than admit that to anyone. Her mind was already set on New York. That thought saddened me. It was inevitable that all our lives would change after graduation but having her so far away would be hard. That was her dream though and no best friend or cute guy was going to stop her.
     Going to New York at the end of graduation was all she could talk about. She had even been accepted to a fashion design school. When she told me about it I pretended to be excited for her. That makes me sound like a horrible friend. I genuinely and honestly was happy for her. It’s just that I would miss the heck out of her.
     It was the same with Sara. All that ever came out of her mouth was going off the college. She had tried to convince me to apply and go with her, but I politely refused. College was something I had always planned on. I wanted to better my life by educating myself, but there were things that needed to be taken care of before I settled on when and where I wanted to attend. It didn’t stop my mom from making me fill out an endless list of applications and scholarships.
     When it was time to go home Nick found me and we walked out the door. He never said a word until we found Jasmine at their car.
“Bye,” he said then quickly got in the passenger seat.
     I got in my own car, but didn’t leave right away. Patrick came out after a while and I watched him and Tessa chat for a bit then he climbed into his sleek, black Audi.
     The whole time I watched him. It was like staring into nothingness. He was a blank page, an empty shell. If I didn’t know any better I’d think he was dead.
     I shivered at the thought then started my car. All the way home I thought about Patrick and what it was about him that prevented me from reading him. Patrick quickly left my mind when I pulled in my driveway and saw a vehicle sitting there. I knew that he would come and visit me; we had left many things unsaid. I just didn’t think it would be this soon. 

Another Raving Review for The Forsaken!

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Thank you to Stephenne (another amazing Book Blogger) for her raving review of The Forsaken

“* I received an ebook in exchange for an honest review. *

I loved the first book in the series and wasn’t sure that the second would live up to my expectations, but it did and it surpassed what I was expecting! I loved the continuation of the story, the way that the author continued to build on the characters and the complex relationships that each of the other characters shares with Rayna. I loved the way that they all banded together and the true to life fights that we all go through with our friends and family. I am still hooked on this series and cannot wait until the next book, I need to see how Liam is, where Rayna is, will Rayna’s mom and Mr. Wu get together for good, what Jayce will do next and how team good fares against team evil….the next one really can’t come quick enough for me!! I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting and of course making up stories in my mind of how I see things going…A great series that I recommend to any and all!! Enjoy!!!” ~Stephenne

I’m so thrilled that Stephenne enjoyed the book. It brings so much joy to my heart knowing that there are readers who love this book as much as I loved writing it. Us authors bare it all in our art so to have someone relate to it is just an out of this world feeling!!! 

Have a great Friday!

God bless, 

~A 

The Forsaken Gets a 5 Star Review!

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Banner by Meg Gannon: www.facebook.com/meldigitalartist

 

Today I received the first of what I hope is many reviews for The Forsaken, book two in The Darkness Trilogy. It was such a passionate review that I wanted to share it with anyone and everyone I could! 🙂 Kera (Book Blogger) was given an ARC of The Forsaken and then got back to me much quicker than I thought. She loved the book! When I read her review I was grinning from ear to ear like some kid that got everything on their Christmas list! 

I am going to post the review, but you can also read it here: 

 

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/827246918?book_show_action=true&page=1

 

“OMG I absolutely loved this book,I’m going to try to keep this review honest without saying all the parts I’m brimming with excitement to share because I don’t want to give the story away! I read book one in this series and have been anxiously awaiting book two. The Author did not disappoint. This story was filled with so many twists and turns and curve balls that I couldn’t even guess what was going to happen next. I read the whole book with a fevered obsession and my stomach had the butterflies you get right before the Roller coaster takes off because I was just that excited to see what Would happen next. Rayna is trying desperately to put her life back together after the Kidnapping and all the decisions she made after discovering her new found powers. She is entering into her last year of high school which is hard for any teenager but more so for Rayna Because everyone knows her and her Best Friend C.J. were almost victims of a serial killer and everyone is still talking about it. The Shadow is still affecting her dreams though at first he doesn’t come Rayna doesn’t know why but you will as you read the story. Rayna’s heart still belongs to Liam (Woo hoo bc I am team Liam all the way) But she is also riddled with guilt over what she did to Liam and How she used Jayce. C.J. Is struggling with how to cope with her emotions after her run in with the Killers and Rayna and Logan are trying so hard to be there for her but when the unexpected happens She runs off leaving them both frantically trying to find her. We see most of our favorite Characters from book 1 and meet a few news one along the way. The Author throws the biggest curve ball when it comes to Rayna’s friends it’s something you would never guess until you read it and it was such an unexpected surprise but one I was very happy about. I thought the Author did a Awesome Job with Book 1 in this series but The Forsaken blew it right out of the water. All my Questions from book 1 were answered and many of the things I wanted too happen did but So much more unfolded I was absolutely awed by the direction the Author is taking this story and Can not wait for book 3 I am so excited to see how this story unfolds but also saddened that since this is a Trilogy the next book will be the last 😦 These Characters and their stories have been so great I’m saddened to see it end. The Author did such a wonderful job on this story my attention was engaged from the start and I read the book cover to cover with out taking a break. I highly recommend this book To readers 16 and above it is a great Series you will not be disappointed! Congratulations A.G. Porter on yet another intriguing engaging Wonderful read. Now I will be anxiously waiting for book Three I need to know what happens and who is number 7, Can She Save him? Will Jasmine ever stop being such a b&*%h? I need to know the answers to these questions and so much more!!” ~Kera Montgomery 

The Forsaken is set to be released in just 8 days! Ahh! I can’t wait to share the second part of the trilogy with y’all. 🙂 

God bless, 

~A

Femnista: Jan / Feb 2014 – Disney

A great issue of Femnista was released today. It’s all things Disney so give it a read!

The Sacred in the Secular

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In this issue: Mulan, Cinderella, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Treasure Planet, The Lion King, The Sword in the Stone, Atlantis, The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, Tinker Bell, Pocahontas, Tangled

Read Online or Download.

If you enjoy this publication, please support our efforts by sharing it with your own blog readers, family, and friends!

We need contributors! We have many wonderful themes coming up. Check them out and contact us if you’d like to write for us!

 

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The Release Date for The Forsaken!

Happy February 1st!!! You know what? I have set a date for the release of The Forsaken. It’s going to be…February 28th! That’s right, the last day of this month! And you know what else? On top of the giveaway I’m already doing I’m going to be giving away a FREE ebook copy of The Shadow every Friday leading up the release day! That’s not all, whoever  the winner is on each day will also get a FREE ebook copy of The Forsaken once it is released! Can you tell I’m excited about this?

The Forsaken Book Two in The Darkness Trilogy

The Forsaken Book Two in The Darkness Trilogy

There will be different ways to win each Friday. The rules will be posted on my FB page on each Friday or Thursday. So pay attention! If you don’t like my FB page then give it a LIKE for your chance to win.

http://www.facebook.com/TDTAGP

Good luck!

~A