Chapter Reveal Book of Souls

🌹Chapter Reveal Book of Souls🌹

Book of Souls releases on the 9th of February. That’s less than a month *shrieks while doing a nervous happy dance*. It’s time you guys get a look at the first chapter, isn’t it? So here you go:

Chapter 1
Shepherdstown, WV, present.
If death wants you, he’ll get you. Some cross his path sooner, others later. But we all rendezvous with the reaper at some point. He’s rarely as handsome as Joe Black, yet always as insidious as Michael Myers. No, I’m not a drama queen. I just had a dang good teacher. He’s called life, and I’m looking at him right now. Scratch that. The teacher has already left the stage, but like any good tutor, he left his lesson behind. The twenty-something-year-old woman is lying in the middle of the slippery street. Her left shinbone is sticking out. Her hip is twisted so badly; I’m not sure it’s still connected to her torso.
“Mommy,” the little boy in my arms cries. “I want my mommy.” His tiny hands are wrapped around my neck. His small feet dangle down my hips. His salty tears soak through my sweater.
I hold on tight to him, try to comfort him to the best of my abilities. But my attention is split between him and the tall black creature with the jackal head, lingering over the body of the boy’s mother like a hungry vulture. His name is Anubis. He’s the ancient Egyptian god of the afterlife and, according to my mom, patron of all souls.
A crowd has gathered around us. Unlike me, they don’t pay attention to the creepy god. They don’t see him. Because unlike me, they aren’t crazy. Their minds aren’t broken, and their brains work just fine.
Anubis isn’t real, the voice of my psychiatrist thunders through my pounding head. Trauma is real, Nisha. Sometimes, when we can’t cope with reality, our subconscious conjures up hallucinations to protect our mind from the truth. There’s no such thing as ancient gods. Anubis doesn’t exist. My shattered mind is playing tricks on me.
I close my eyes. Taking deep breaths, I count to three.
One: He’s not real.
Two: He’s just a figment of my imagination. Made up by my subconscious to help me get over what happened last Devil’s Night.
Three: I blink my eyes open.
Anubis is gone. But the blood of the woman still seeps into my white Chucks, coloring them a dark sangria. The boy, latching on to me like a baby monkey, continues to cry for his dead mother.
I wish I could say a sight so gruesome scares the heck out of me. Truth be told, it doesn’t. I’m no stranger to death. The two of us have had a long and violent love affair, paved with bullets, knives, heart attacks, and suicides. Where I go, the reaper follows. He’s reliable like that.
“She’s not breathing,” an elderly woman shouts, checking the woman’s pulse.
Dead folks don’t need oxygen. The boy’s mother is beyond gone. I knew it the second the black Mercedes ran her over. The driver was speeding down the street like a lunatic. He hit her head on, lifting her onto his hood. Her head smashed against the windshield. The creaking sound of breaking bones echoed through the street. A moment later, she lay on the cold cement, crimson pouring out of her mouth, and the car had vanished. She stood no chance. Death wanted her, and so he got her.
“I’m calling an ambulance,” a random guy chimes in. Judging by his European accent, I’d say he’s a tourist. German maybe?
I want to tell him to call the medical examiner instead—even the gods in white can’t revive the dead—I keep quiet though.
Other bystanders pull out their phones. They snap pictures or make videos for their Facebook feed, hoping to get a gazillion likes and views. The ugly truth is: they probably will. Drama sells. Death and gore? Even better. I wonder if those people ever think of the victim’s family and friends? The woman isn’t just another casualty in a hit-and-run. Long before the black Mercedes crushed her bones and spilled her blood, she had been someone’s daughter, sister—I look at the sobbing boy in my arms—his mother. Her blood-stained purple coat had once been worn to church and on shopping sprees with friends. Her glazed blue eyes had reflected joy and sorrow. Her now lifeless body had strolled through the streets of Shepherdstown with grace and dignity. Don’t these people understand her tragedy isn’t for their entertainment?
Blaring sirens draw closer. “The EMTs will be here soon,” the old lady whispers, gently stroking the dead woman’s face. “Just hold on, honey.”
I swallow hard. By now the old lady should have realized she’s gone. She did, after all, check her pulse. Nevertheless, she seems to hope by some kind of miracle she can be saved. She probably prays to her god. Begs him, or her, or it—to let her pull through. Tells herself CPR has worked on worse cases.
“Clear the path,” a female cop yells somewhere in the back. “Let the EMTs through.” The sensation-seeking crowd couldn’t care less. They’re too busy finding the best angle to take the most horrific picture.
Two rather annoyed guys push through the horde, using elbows when necessary. They put their equipment down next to the woman’s body and go straight to work.
“No pulse,” the younger one, who looks like he could be a cast member of a TV medical drama, yells. “Get me the epinephrine.”
The older EMT doesn’t hesitate. Routinized, he reaches in his bag and hands the injection to his colleague. Then, he secures the pads of the defibrillator on the woman’s chest. “Ready when you are.”
TV-star EMT pushes the needle straight into the woman’s heart and shifts away from her. “Shock her.”
Three hundred joules of electric current rush through the woman’s corpse. The muscles around her rib cage contract, slightly lifting her upper body up. “No pulse,” TV-EMT barks while his colleague is giving her CPR.
I have no idea how long they keep trying. It feels like forever. More epinephrine. More electric shocks. More CPR. The woman stays dead.
“Holy Mother of Christ, have mercy on her,” the old lady mutters next to me.
She’s still praying, huh? I feel bad for her. Someone ought to tell her if there ever were gods, they no longer give a crap about humanity. They abandoned us. How else could one explain all the misery in the world—children dying of leukemia, natural disasters annihilating thousands of lives at once, war and terrorism killing millions? Most folks come up with lame excuses such as free will. I highly doubt a mother of a sweet three-year-old, in the prime of her life, woke up this morning thinking: Oh, today, I feel like dying in a hit-and-run. Nope. There are no gods. And if there are, they deserve an award for the most useless creatures ever.
TV-star EMT sighs heavily. “She’s gone, Bob.”
Bob’s gaze lands on the boy, clinging to my neck. He must have seen his fair share of dead people, but this one gets to him. It’s always harder when children are involved. “Let’s cover her up,” he says, voice grim.
Meanwhile, the female cop has successfully managed to push the bystanders back. She secured the parameter with all-too-familiar yellow crime tape. “Did anyone witness the accident?” she asks repeatedly.
At first, no one answers. They’re all either too busy filming or simply too shocked to form a coherent sentence.
The cop with the thick blonde ponytail wrinkles her nose in disgust. Judging by the grossed-out look on her face, she considers scolding the sensation-seekers. Would be pointless though. They’d continue nevertheless, and she can’t possibly confiscate all of their phones.
“She asked you a question,” her partner barks at the crowd. “Did anyone see anything?”
A girl in a red coat comes forward. It’s Lara from the antique store across the street. Her face is awfully pale. Her hands are shaking like crazy. “She saved that little boy,” she murmurs, pointing at me. “Jumped right in front of the car and snatched him away before it could hit him, too.”
All eyes and phones turn on me.
Earth, open up and swallow me. Pretty please. The last thing I need is another headline in the paper associating me with someone’s death. My life is miserable enough. I’m not sure I can handle more drama.
The lady cop with the pretty hair approaches me. Her gaze drifts from the silently crying boy to my blood-soaked shoes, and back to my face. “Are you okay?” She must be new in town, or else she wouldn’t give a crap about me.
I nod.
She waves the EMTs over. “Take a look at them,” she orders.
TV-star EMT gives me a halfhearted smile. “Can I take him?”
I nod again.
He tries to pull the boy away from me. No chance. The little monkey tightens his grip on my neck, screaming and kicking. “Mommy! I want my mommy,” he cries, and my heart breaks for him. He doesn’t understand his mommy is gone for good. Can’t possibly fathom how in a fraction of a second, a reckless driver has altered his future forever.
“Hey.” I rub his back like my mom used to do when I was a kid. “You’re going to be all right.” Sounds like a stupid mantra, but it also happens to be the truth. The pain of losing her will forever be a part of him. Yet his life will go on.
He looks at me, eyes puffy and red. “Mommy,” he whispers.
I force a smile that I don’t feel. “This nice man,” I say, tilting my chin at the ridiculously handsome EMT, “is going to make sure you’re okay. And then, he’ll take you to your daddy. Okay?” I sincerely hope there is a daddy.
TV-star EMT tries again. “C’mon, little man.” This time, baby monkey doesn’t put up a fight, and the young man carries him to the ambulance.
The other EMT, Bob, checks the scratches on my arms. “Is she okay?” Lady Cop asks, worried.
The ghost of a smile plays over Bob’s lips. “Just a few scratches. Nothing to worry about.”
Lady Cop’s eyes lighten up. “Glad to hear it,” she says, breathing a sigh of relief. She can’t be older than twenty-five, but there’s something maternal about her. Or maybe it’s just her hazel eyes reminding me of my mother.
“I’m Kathy.” She reaches for a small black notebook in the pocket of her shirt. “Can you tell me what happened?”
I don’t know, can I? One minute, the woman and the boy were standing next to me at the traffic light, smiling and joking. The next, I saw Anubis across the street, near the butcher shop. Then, the Mercedes appeared. I remember yelling after the two as they started toward the other side. I can still hear the jarring of the brakes while, somewhere in the back of my mind, a voice had whispered: You have to choose. And so I did.
I try not to look at the pink heels peeking out from underneath the white sheet covering the woman’s lifeless body. Do my best to ignore the crimson pool seeping into the cement.
Kathy’s hand lands on my shoulder. “It’s okay. Just tell me what you remember.”
My mouth is drier than the desert. “I…” I clear my throat. “I had to—”
“I’ll be damned,” an all-too-familiar voice barks. “If that isn’t Nisha Blake. Shepherdstown’s very own Angel of Death.” The chief of police moves closer, casting me a dark glance. “Why am I not surprised to see you here?” The man hates my guts and has no problem showing it.
“I didn’t do anything,” I defend myself.
One side of his mouth curves up. “Heard that one before, haven’t I?”
Kathy narrows her eyes at him. She doesn’t approve of the way he’s treating me. What she doesn’t know is I deserve every bit of animosity he throws my way. “Maybe”—she steps between us and gestures at all the phone cameras pointing at us—“we should take this conversation to the station?”
The chief’s edgy face slips into a frown. “Well, what are you waiting for, Officer Sawyer?” He nods at the patrol car. “Take her.”
He doesn’t have to tell her twice. Kathy seizes hold of my arm and hauls me through the crowd to the car. I keep my gaze on my blood-soaked Chucks, ignoring the cramps in my belly. The woman’s martyrdom is over. Mine has just begun.

 

About Book of Souls:

They call me Angel of Death, but my name is Nisha Blake. I am Shepherdstown’s living urban legend. My life, a tale of the macabre.
People avoid me like the plague. Well, everyone but my friends. They don’t see the Angel of Death when they look at me. They see poor, broken Nisha—the bully victim, suffering from vicious night terrors and vivid hallucinations.
Things take a turn for the worse when Blaze shows up. He’s a too hot, tattooed, bad-ass MMA fighter from London, hell-bent on getting to know me. Since he walked into my miserable life, my hallucinations graduated to a point where I can no longer differentiate between fiction and reality.
I am insane.
Broken beyond repair.
Or so I think until—
I uncover a secret form the past—a link between all the deaths, my hallucinations, and my night terrors. It’s then I understand I’m not the Angel of Death.
I am something else.
Someone else.

Pre-order links:

Amazon

iBooks

Add it on goodreads and don’t forget to check out my Facebook Giveaway!

Holidays, Straitjackets, and Tequila. 

Nine days to Christmas and guess what? I don’t have shit. Most people would freak by now. Me? I’ve always been the last minute kinda gal. Yeah, I’m every retailers worst nightmare. You know, the chick that runs into stores on Christmas Eve, ten minutes before closing time, looking for all the shit I didn’t get over the course of a whole goddamn year.
I mean, let’s be real for a moment. It’s not like the holidays are an unexpected intruder who demands a bottle of wine in the middle of the night, right?! We’ve got over 360 days to get shit sorted and somehow I still mess it up.
I wait and wait and wait…Then, at some point (usually on the 24th) I realize damn I should really dress up and hit the city. By the time I come back home (I always manage to get stuff despite being so late) all I want is a bottle of Tequila, a book, and my bed.
Contrary to what you assume it’s not because I hate Christmas. I love the spirit of the season—giving back, loving each other, and all that heartfelt stuff I’m really terrible at. What really drives me crazy are people. You see, they run around, yell at those poor retailers, act as if the world’s about to end if they don’t get what they want (which by the way is their fault because like me they messed up and are way too late) and forget why they buy presents in the first place. I guess that’s one of the reasons I put shopping off for as long as humanly possible. I don’t want to see the hate. I want to walk into a store and see smiling faces because they get to be with their families. I want humans to be kind to each other because that’s what Christmas is all about. What I don’t want is a zoo of crazy pouring hate into the hearts of already stressed out folks.
Call me silly, but all I want for Christmas is for people to read the Christmas Carol and remember why they don’t need a new iPhone when they have a shot at talking to their loved ones in person. I want them to hug their families because they still can. But above all I want a straightjacket so I can tie them down and brainwash them until they get it.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is: Happy Holidays! Love as if there’s no tomorrow. Spread kindness until your dark heart vomits in your chest. And be happy because there’s always someone out there who will spend the holidays alone, hungry, and sad. It’s up to you to make their Christmas a little less awful and sometimes all it takes to accomplish that is a smile.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah!
Yours truly,
The Ice Queen.

Pre-Order Book of Souls now!

Book of Souls is up for pre-order on Amazon, guys!
It’s currently $0.99 rather than $2.99. ALL pre-order and first month royalties will be donated to the The Bookworm Box. Why? Because they do amazing things and I believe in giving back. Also, it’s almost Christmas and I like to believe helping others is what X-Mas is really about. So, go grab your copy and do good by supporting the BWB!
Blurb:
They call me Angel of Death, but my name is Nisha Blake. I am Shepherdstown’s living urban legend. My life, a tale of the macabre.
People avoid me like the plague. Well, everyone but my friends. They don’t see the Angel of Death when they look at me. They see poor, broken Nisha—the bully victim, suffering from vicious night terrors and vivid hallucinations.
Things take a turn for the worse when Blaze shows up. He’s a too hot, tattooed, bad-ass MMA fighter from London, hell-bent on getting to know me. Since he walked into my miserable life, my hallucinations graduated to a point where I can no longer differentiate between fiction and reality.
I am insane.
Broken beyond repair.
Or so I think until—
I uncover a secret form the past—a link between all the deaths, my hallucinations, and my night terrors. It’s then I understand I’m not the Angel of Death.
I am something else.
Someone else.
Amazon

Book of Souls Cover Reveal

All right, guys. Are you ready for the cover of the first book in my brand new YA-fantasy series?

Well, ready or not…Here you go!

 

BookofSouls_Amazon_iBooks

About:

They call me Angel of Death, but my name is Nisha Blake. I am Shepherdstown’s living urban legend. My life, a tale of the macabre.

People avoid me like the plague. Well, everyone but my friends. They don’t see the Angel of Death when they look at me. They see poor, broken Nisha—the bully victim, suffering from vicious night terrors and vivid hallucinations.

Things take a turn for the worse when Blaze shows up. He’s a too hot, tattooed, bad-ass MMA fighter from London, hell-bent on getting to know me. Since he walked into my miserable life, my hallucinations graduated to a point where I can no longer differentiate between fiction and reality.

I am insane.
Broken beyond repair.
Or so I think until—

I uncover a secret form the past—a link between all the deaths, my hallucinations, and my night terrors. It’s then I understand I’m not the Angel of Death.

I am something else.
Someone else.

Coming: 9th of February, 2018

Excerpt:

I look at the desert rose in my palm. It’s small and fragile, yet it weighs down my arm as if I carry the weight of the world in the palm of my hand.
“You belong to me,” he says. I don’t need to see his face. I know it’s him. The conqueror. He’s been haunting my dreams forever and a day.
The sand takes ahold of me, pulling me down into the cold darkness. “What do you want from me? Why are you doing this to me?”
“Because I love you,” he whispers. “I always have, and I always will, my love.”
I’m dreaming. I know I am. I will my eyes open, but it doesn’t work. It never works. Something in this foreign world holds me captive. And it’s not just the sand and the conqueror. It’s a part of me, too. The part that knows it belongs here, belongs with him.

Add it to Goodreads

Win a trip to Germany and hunt some ghosts with me!

What if I told you, you could walk a mile in Alex and Jesse’s shoes—hunting things, hitting the road to find the supernatural? What if I told you, you’d be doing that in Germany—a country known for Frankenstein Castle, poltergeist, a notorious witch history, and the exorcism of Anneliese Michel (aka the Exorcism of Emily Rose)? And what if I told you, you won’t have to spend a single dime on airfare, hotels, or travel costs? Would you like to join me then? Well, you can. Because I’m offering you a once in a lifetime opportunity to go on a ghost hunt with me in December 2017, in Germany. We will hit the road and visit some of the most haunted places. Like any good ghost hunter we will record our findings and live stream them on Facebook. Interested? Okay, so here are the rules:

  1. Anyone can enter, but you have to make sure that you can enter Germany (check visa regulations for your country).
  2. You MUST take a pic of your “Soulmates” copy (ebook or paperback) and post it on Facebook with the hashtag #SoulmatesGhostHunt. Then share the link to your post in the comments.
  3. You MUST be a liker of my page.
  4. 3 BONUS entries if you post a review of Soulmates and share the link here in the comment section.
  5. 1 BONUS entry if you share this giveaway on any social media sites (again link for tweets or IG posts must be shared in the comments).
  6. This giveaway will run on FB and IG. Meaning: you can double your chances by entering the FB and IG giveaway. Same rules apply on IG—you MUST post a pic of your Soulmates copy with the hashtag #SoulmatesGhostHunt.

 

Sound good? Great. ‘Cause I’m dying to hunt some ghosts with one of you.

 

Giveaway will be open till the 10th of May. Giveaway is international (must be able to legitimately enter Germany). Airfare, hotel, and tickets to locations are included. Facebook is not associated with the giveaway—it’s all me.

ENTER FB HERE: Facebook #SoulmatesGhostHunt Giveaway

ENTER IG HERE: Instagram #SoulmatesGhostHunt

Soulmates Chapter Reveal & Giveaway

Chapter 1

Jerking my eyes open, I’m blinded by the bright sunlight creeping through my chiffon curtains. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Alex’s favorite Guns N’ Roses song, blares through the speakers of my digital radio alarm clock. Awesome. As if jerk-face haunting me in my dreams isn’t bad enough. The universe seems to give a shit about the deal I’d made with my ex-lover. Or why else would it torture me with those fucking nightmares?

“You’re such a slut!” Chelsea, aka the Nun, aka roommate from church-hell, yells from the living room. The walls of our three-bedroom apartment at Green House are too fucking thin.

“Oh yeah? And what are you, Jesus with boobs?” Bonnie, my best and only friend, barks.

Pressing a pillow over my head, I try to block their voices out. This isn’t how I pictured my new life at NYU, and it sure as hell isn’t what I had in mind when I’d given up my old, carefree life as a witch. I’m so over their senseless fights. They’ve been living together for a while now. They still can’t ignore each other. Granted, it’s hard to turn a blind eye to the Nun. If she isn’t demonstrating against abortion, or writing a blog post about Evil Women Who Scream Rape When They Practically Asked For It Because They Wore A Too- Short Skirt, she’s determined to make Bonnie’s life a living hell.
“That’s blasphemy, Bonnie!”
“Sue me.” The fighting continues.
That’s it! I’m going to kill ’em. With a headache from hell and still half asleep, I stumble to my door and yank it open. They’re standing in the common room, which consists of an open kitchen and a small living room. “Shut up! Both of you!”

Bonnie’s eyes almost pop out. “Did you hear what she just said?” She sounds offended.

“The whole freakin’ floor heard you guys,” I snap.

They shoot daggers at me. I don’t care. Running a hand through my disheveled hair, I walk to the fresh brewed coffee and pour some into a dirty cup. Why can’t these girls wash up?

Chelsea glares at me with an I’m-so-much-better- than-you expression, rolls her eyes, and heads to her room. The girl knows what’s good for her. Have to give her that much.

“I want her out!”

Jesus! “And I want you to stop yelling, Bonnie. I’m not deaf.”

She lowers her voice. “I’m serious. I can’t live with her.”

You don’t say? I take a drink of the black gold and pull myself onto the kitchen counter. “We’ve already tried to get rid of her, remember? But like it or not, all residence halls are full.”

Bonnie puts a hand on her hip. It’s paradoxical. Usually, I’m the one with temper issues. Lately, I couldn’t care less about bitch fights. “Did you have a good night?” I ask, trying to take her mind off the Nun. Bonnie’s pained expression fades, and she flashes me a bright smile. “I had a date with Cappuccino Guy. He was…” She pauses. “Wow. Just wow. I can totally set you up with one of his buddies. Just say the word.”

I knit my brows. “Nah. If I need a date doctor, I’ll call Hitch.” Downing the rest of the coffee, I get on my feet. “I need a shower.”

Bonnie throws her cute curls over her shoulder. Her shiny cognac eyes fill with concern. “Did you have another nightmare?”

I lean my hip against the counter and close my eyes. The vicious dream pushes through my subconscious. The images are so fucking vivid, it’s as if I’m still trapped in it.

****

The wind rattled the leaves of the massive trees as plants wove around my ankles like poisonous snakes. I looked up. The sky closed in on me. Black wings beat the chilly air. Ravens owned the firmament. Hundreds of them blocked the faint light from the crescent moon.

Quickening my pace, I reached an old, savaged cemetery. My pulse jackknifed in my neck as I stared at an inverted cross leaning against the king-sized iron gates. I moved closer and read the inscription carved into the black wood: Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate. My Italian was rusty, but I knew Dante by heart. “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” With a jarring sound, the gates opened.

Don’t do this.

Too late. It felt as if a magnetic pull lured me into the cemetery. I passed through the gates of hell.

Ravens perched on crooked gravestones, throwing spooky shadows on the burned grass. The tang of sulfur engulfed me, stinging my nostrils.

This was insane. Turn the fuck around and walk away.

Every cell in my body wanted to listen to the voice in my head. I couldn’t. The place had me under its spell.

“Amanda!”
Bonnie? I turned, trying to locate her.
“Amanda.”
Hysteria tinged my voice. “Bonnie, where the fuck are you?” Desperate, I faced one of the ravens. “Where is she?”

The bird’s charcoal eyes pierced me. Then it spread its wings and flew toward a shabby mausoleum. A single black candle burned on the steps. There it was again, the magnetic pull. In a trance-like state, I stumbled toward the old tomb and the door swung open.

“In here.” Bonnie’s honey-colored skin was wrapped in a white toga. She looked like a Greek goddess, but her beautiful cognac eyes were white and empty.

I blinked. “What the hell is going on?”

A crooked smile on her lips, she yanked the door open farther. “Come and see for yourself.”

“What the—” Peeking over her shoulder, words stuck in my throat. My heart stopped. “Alex?” He laid on a mortuary table.

Was he—

No! I tried to push past my best friend, but inhuman and terrifying laughter pulsated through the eerie night.

“He’s gone, Amanda,” a dark voice whispered.
An ocean of black feathers covered the ground.

Ravens croaked in agony as a shadowy figure in a dark cloak crushed them with its boots.

Dread infected my system and I had trouble breathing. I wanted to run, but the black feathers turned into rattling snakes. The creatures hissed, and I knew they’d attack if I made a wrong move. “W-who the hell are you?”

The demon laughed. “Ah, love. ‘What is in a name?’” The snakes crawled left and right, opening a path for the cloaked creature. “‘That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet,’” the black shadow said, advancing toward me.

I should have been shocked by the fact a demon quoted Shakespeare, but my gaze drifted back to Alex. “What did you do to him?”

The shadow figure stopped inches in front of me and ran its blazing hand over my cheeks. “All in good time, love.” Then Bonnie slammed the mausoleum door shut, trapping Alex’s lifeless body inside.

****


“Amanda?” Bonnie’s voice draws me back to the present. “Did you have another nightmare?”
I run an index finger over the dark circles beneath my eyes and nod. “They’re getting worse.” “Worse how?”

I trace the scar Walter’s bullet left on my chest, not sure how to describe the uncanny feeling. “They’re way too real. I’ve slept eight hours, yet I feel like I was up all night, running a triathlon.”

Bonnie grabs the coffee pot and pours me another cup. “Did you call Alex?”

Did Cappuccino Guy screw her brains out? Alex, aka jerk-face, is the last person I’d give a buzz. Twenty- one months ago, hunter-heroic barged into my life and made me believe we had a chance at happiness. For the first time, I indulged in the fantasy love wasn’t just an illusion. When the witch hunter learned I was his favorite kind of prey, things turned ugly fast. He threatened to kill me, and if it wasn’t for his brother Jesse, he would have gone through with his threat. Then, three months ago, he walked back in my life with a proposal I couldn’t pass up. His brother had gone missing, and if I helped him, he would never bother me again. We found Jesse and saved a bunch of kids abducted by a bokor and his pedophile asshole friend, Walter. Alex honored his promise and didn’t contact me again.

“Why would I call him? Jesse is safe, I paid my dues, and he hasn’t bothered me again. Everything is perfect.”

Bonnie arches a brow. “You don’t look so perfect, Amanda.”

“Really?” I grin, or at least I try. “I thought I totally rocked this American Apparel underwear.”

“Amanda.” She folds her hands over my shoulders. “We both know he isn’t just any guy. He’s the f—”

Anger rises through me like toxic smoke. “Don’t you dare,” I warn her. “You promised you’d never bring this up.”

She plays with a strand of her rebellious curls. “I’m sorry. It’s just… I’m worried. Ever since you went on that stupid road trip, you don’t date, don’t screw.” She draws a deep breath. “Fuck. You don’t even live.”

I’m so not up for this conversation. I put the cup in the sink and stalk to our tiny bathroom next to my room. “Don’t wait on me,” I hiss, slamming the door shut.
“You’re such a bitch,” she barks. I couldn’t agree more.

****


Working the dayshift at Lindy’s Diner, I refill the

sticky sugar bowls. It’s been three months since I said goodbye to my past. Two months without reading cards. One month of respectable work as a waitress, and two fucking weeks of nightmares. Goddammit, I feel like a freaking member of AA.

“Amanda!” Lindy calls from the kitchen.

Hands shaking, head thumping, I put the sugar down and turn around. “Yeah?”

Deep lines on her forehead, she raises a brow at me. “New customer. Table two.”

God, I miss my old life. I straighten my apron and grab a menu. Approaching table two with a half-hearted smile, I put the menu down. “Welcome to Lindy’s Diner.” I point to my tag. “My name is Amanda. What can I get ya?” The sentence is branded into my brain. You wanted this, I remind myself. Yeah, but back then I hadn’t known a normal life was equivalent with becoming suicidal.

“What would you suggest?” my new customer asks. He’s about twenty-five, wears a fancy black suit and expensive leather shoes. Not exactly a typical Lindy’s Diner customer.

I pull the pen out of my ponytail and reach for my notepad. “Pancakes are nice. Apple pie is great. Everything else pretty much sucks.” Joe, our Italian chef, is freakin’ amazing, but Lindy likes to keep her costs low. Even Joe can’t turn shit into gold.

The dude leans back, and his lips curve up at the corners. “Pancakes and pie it is, then.”
I jot down his order and walk to the kitchen. After handing the paper to Joe, I nibble on cookies until my phone vibrates in the back pocket of my jeans. Peeking through the kitchen door, I check if Lindy is nearby before pulling it out.

Bonnie’s name flickers across the screen. I hadn’t expected to hear from her after our little argument that morning, but the girl doesn’t just love me at my best. She also accepts me at my worst. And in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been nothing but at my worst.

Still mad? she texted.

Maybe, I sent back, not ready to let her off the hook so easily.

Suck it up. Double-date tonight nine. Dress up, he’s hot!

Has she lost her mind? I look like one of the zombie strippers. Hot on the outside, rotten and dead within. No!

Yes!

Bonnie had made up her mind, and the girl is like a pit bull when she wants something. I’m bound to lose a WhatsApp argument with her, so I decide to talk her out of it later. We’ll see.

See you in Penrose’s class?

Yes. I hit the send button and put the phone away before Lindy catches me texting.

I return to the counter and see the guy with the fancy leather shoes holding up his cup. “Table two,” Lindy snaps.

“I’m not blind.”

“Then move your lazy ass. The coffee ain’t serving itself.”

Grabbing the pot, I stalk toward him. “Anything else?” I ask, filling his cup. I don’t mean to sound like a bitch, but I just can’t help it.

He studies me with big, arctic-blue eyes. There’s something about them that gives me the creeps. I just can’t put my finger on what it is. I try to read his aura, but the colors are blurred. I haven’t had a clear reading since the damn nightmares started. I’ve tried, God knows I have, but it’s like I’m constantly glaring at a fucking rainbow. What good is it to be a witch if you can’t use your gifts?

“I’m Legend, by the way.”

Sure, and I’m Jada Pinkett Smith.

“Would you, maybe, care to join me?” He sounds casual, not pushy.

“Sorry. Can’t,” I grumble.
He holds my gaze. Chills ripple through me. Oh no. Not here. Not now.

****

The way too familiar scent of rusty iron and death hung in the air as Legend stood in the living room of the comfy family home. He’d been told by the first responding officers the scene was barbaric, but the word couldn’t adequately describe what he saw. Vicious crimson stains covered the walls, part of a liver lay on a white leather sofa, and a bloody hand print decorated the large flat-screen TV.

Legend drew a deep breath and focused on the disfigured corpse. The weird symbol carved into his head bugged Legend a lot. Four people slaughtered, and all wearing the same mark.

“Sir,” a young officer said to him. “The coroner is here.”

“Give me a sec,” he ordered, scanning the crime scene. No sign of forced entry, no murder weapon, and he’d bet his ass there’d be no DNA or fingerprints.

The young officer glared at the corpse. His face slightly green, he looked sick to his stomach. “What animal would do something like that?”

Animal was the keyword. The rib cage of the poor bastard was torn into pieces, most of his organs removed, the body had been twisted in an unnatural way, and the victim’s face unrecognizable. “I don’t know,” Legend said. “But whatever killed him won’t stop.”

“Whatever? You mean whoever, right?”

Legend pulled a pack of cigarettes out of his jacket and went to the door. “No. I meant whatever.”

****

My knees are like jelly as the sickening vision fades. The symbol carved into the man’s head had been a sigil. In other words, a demon’s calling card. Every demon has its own. But this one, I had seen before. It had been carved into the chest of Mister Sinister, the guy who’d attacked me in an alley. The dude Alex thought I’d iced.

“Are you all right?” Legend sounds genuinely concerned.

My hands tremble. “Just a little dizzy.”

He loosens the collar of his shirt. A weird tattoo crawls over his neck. Looks like some sort of symbol. “Sure you don’t want to join me, Amanda?”

Before I can answer, Lindy shouts, “Amanda!”

For once, I’m glad my boss is a freaking tyrant. “Sorry. Gotta go.”

About Soulmates: 

Alex is a righteous witch hunter. I’m a stab-worthy witch. We loved each other once. Now, we can’t stand to be near each other. It’s my fault. We are natural born enemies, after all. I had to help him save his brother from a psychotic voodoo priest, though. What can I say? I like Little Remington as much as I pretend to dislike Alex. Besides, he promised to never bother me again after that.  

He kept his end of the bargain. I left my dubious life behind and started over. All is well. Until—  

The truth about a deal with hell is revealed. I have to choose between the ultimate sacrifice or losing jerk-face forever. One will live, one will die. Who, solely depends on my selfishness

Pre-Order Now: 

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Kobo

iTunes

Add it to your TBR: 

Goodreads

Giveaway:

Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon GC and a Kindle Fire. 

Soulmates Cover Reveal & Giveaway

I’m so happy to finally show you the Soulmates cover! I’ve been dying to share it with you guys!

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About Soulmates: 

Alex is a righteous witch hunter. I’m a stab-worthy witch. We loved each other once. Now, we can’t stand to be near each other. It’s my fault. We are natural born enemies, after all. I had to help him save his brother from a psychotic voodoo priest, though. What can I say? I like Little Remington as much as I pretend to dislike Alex. Besides, he promised to never bother me again after that.   He kept his end of the bargain. I left my dubious life behind and started over. All is well. Until—   The truth about a deal with hell is revealed. I have to choose between the ultimate sacrifice or losing jerk-face forever. One will live, one will die. Who, solely depends on my selfishness

Pre-Order Soulmates:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Kobo

iTunes

Add it to your TBR:

Goodreads

Of course, we have to have a giveaway to celebrate right?! For a chance to win a $50 Amazon GC and a Kindle Fire enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

Soulmate ARC sign up form is up!

With the release of Soulmates (Drag.Me.To.Hell. #2) around the corner comes the chance to read and review it ahead of everyone else. Interested? Great. All you have to do is fill out the form. Just follow the link Soulmates ARC sign up form.

About Soulmates:

Alex is a righteous witch hunter. I’m a stab-worthy witch. We loved each other once. Now, we can’t stand to be near each other. It’s my fault. We are natural born enemies, after all. I had to help him save his brother from a psychotic voodoo priest, though. What can I say? I like Little Remington as much as I pretend to dislike Alex. Besides, he promised to never bother me again after that.

He kept his end of the bargain. I left my dubious life behind and started over. All is well. Until—

The truth about a deal with hell is revealed. I have to choose between the ultimate sacrifice or losing jerk-face forever. One will live, one will die. Who, solely depends on my selfishness.

One will live, One will

 

Soulmates (Drag.Me.To.Hell. #2) Release Date

And we finally have a release date for Soulmates. Strap in guys it’ll hit the stores on the 10th of March 2017.

Here’s the blurb:

Alex is a righteous witch hunter. I’m a stab-worthy witch. We loved each other once. Now, we can’t stand to be near each other. It’s my fault. We are natural born enemies, after all. I had to help him save his brother from a psychotic voodoo priest, though. What can I say? I like Little Remington as much as I pretend to dislike Alex. Besides, he promised to never bother me again after that.

He kept his end of the bargain. I left my dubious life behind and started over. All is well. Until—

The truth about a deal with hell is revealed. I have to choose between the ultimate sacrifice or losing jerk-face forever. One will live, one will die. Who, solely depends on my selfishness.

One will live, One will

New Adult Scavenger Hunt!

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THE HUNT IS OVER. WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON! 

Thanks everyone for participating <3

 

Hey guys! I’m Nadine Nightingale aka Dini, your hostess for this part of the hunt. I’m the author of Karma , the first book in the Drag.Me.To.Hell. series, published by the Wild Rose Press. It’s a paranormal romance about Amanda Bishop (a stab-worth, infuriating, and arrogant witch), and Alex Remington (a righteous, honest, and caring hunter). They used to have a thing, but that was before he learned she’s a witch and tried to kill her. Eighteen months later, he’s back in her life and they have a deal; she’ll help him save his brother and he’ll disappear from her life for good. But karma can be a real bitch…

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Welcome to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt ! This biannual event promotes  new adult authors and offers a great opportunity for fans to see the latest and greatest in new adult literature. At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive bonus material from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt, and a chance to enter giveaways for fabulous prices.

How to hunt: 

Pick a team! Since you’re reading this you did the right thing and picked #TeamOrange. Okay…okay…#TeamGreen #TeamPurple are equally awesome.

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Read this post! I have the honor to host the lovely Eleanor Lloyd-Jones who is going to share a sneak peek from her second novel Scattering Elephants. 

Look for my lucky number & write it down! You’ll find it at the end of this post and I’ll make sure you won’t miss it. Make sure to enter the extra Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of the page for a chance to win a $10 Amazon GC.

Click the link at the bottom of the post so you can continue the hunt within that same team. Repeat all steps until you have visited all the authors for one team. Add up the numbers that you collected from all the authors of one team (if your a mathematical failure like me, I suggest using a calculator).Visit ENTER HERE and submit your entry. You must submit your entry before Sunday, October 30th at 12 p.m. US EST.

Got it? All right, let’s hunt!  

Today, I’m hosting the lovely Eleanor Lloyd-Jones on my website for the New Adult Scavenger Hunt!

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Author Biography:

Raised in a little village in North Wales, a fierce love of books and reading was instilled in Eleanor by her parents from a very early age, and she has vivid memories of reading secretly under the blankets with a torch for hours after lights out, often getting caught! She was blown away by The Borribles Trilogy – Michael De Larrabeiti at nine years old, and it was then that she fell head over heels with idea of imaginary worlds.

A persistent and professional daydreamer, something she still prides herself on being, she spent most of her early childhood inside her own head making up stories or scenarios, climbing trees, building dens or doing anything arts and crafty. Music also played a huge part of her young life. Growing up on The Beatles, U2 and Status Quo, her obsession with Top of the Pops and vinyl twelve inches grew into a love affair with music that has only grown and expanded over time: there is rarely a moment where music is not playing in her life, and in turn, rarely a time when she is not singing, even if it is in her head!

She had always thought she would write a book some day – it has been an ambition for as long as she can remember – and has always been told that she ‘has a way with words’. Over the years, she’s dabbled in the odd piece of prose, helped friends to write letters and résumés and prides herself on her hilarious lyrical genius when composing poems for friends birthdays! Life, however, got in the way and her dream was stored on the back burner as she put herself through university and started a family. It was only when she was nearing the ‘forty’ milestone that she decided it was time she got some of the ramblings and chatterings in her head down on paper.

A creative, guitar-playing mum of one boisterous, but pretty damn cool boy, she classes herself as a Yorkshire gal now after moving to Leeds when she was eleven. Eleanor works full time as a teacher, but grabs every spare minute she can to write; be it on the train, lunchtimes at school or foregoing sleep for an extra hour or two in the evenings. Her hope for the future is for people to fall in love with her characters as much as she does. Not a big ask really!

To find out more about Eleanor, you can keep in touch with her in all of these places:

Website: www.eleanorlloydjones.weebly.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/eleanorlloydj

Facebook Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/eljelephant

Instagram: instagram.com/eleanorlloydjones

Twitter: @EleanorLloydJ

Pinterest: pinterest.com/eleanorlloydj

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/14242868.Eleanor_Lloyd_Jones

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Exclusive Content

 

Eleanor’s debut novel was Housing Elephants (blurb can be found on Goodreads and on her website) and she is currently working on the next book in the story, a continuation of Billy and Eve’s story. This is a work in progress, but here is a snippet of what is to come…

Scattering Elephants by Eleanor Lloyd-Jones © 2016

All Rights Reserved

Unedited and subject to change.

 

Chapter ONE

Sitting in the back of the van, Billy pulled his feet towards him, pressing the flats of his soles together, and lolled his head back against the cold metal. Guitar cases and drum sticks lay at his feet and a lazy smile pulled at the corner of his mouth. The sound of the traffic rushing past wrapped around his head and, staring out of the window, he watched the blur of coloured lights from cars and street lamps.

From somewhere in the darkness, an arm swept forwards offering him another toke on the giant spliff that had been passed around for the past ten minutes. It would be his turn to roll soon, and he wasn’t entirely sure his fingers would work nimbly enough to manage it. He reached over and took the joint, pulling on it deeply and filling his lungs to capacity holding the drug laced smoke there. This was a different feeling to that of the burning of cigarette fumes that he used to crave so badly; that burning in his chest that would whip his thoughts away for a few seconds. This feeling was smoother and ran the length of his body, oozing into every vein, every capillary, leaving him relaxed and carefree. This was the feeling he needed to forget it all, to bury every ounce of pain he was carrying around with him, every single day.

Some of it was released as he poured it all out on stage, night after night, crooning till his heart ached of lost love and painful goodbyes, but this time of day, when the rush of adrenaline had subsided and the high of the crowds had filtered into the night, this was the release that helped him sleep at night. They were on week five and there were at least three left before the tour was officially over.

Aside from his fears of alcohol and how he might react with a skin full of it, the idea of dealing with hangovers that he had witnessed his father battling with had always been enough to put him off drinking. Not anymore. The last few weeks, the heartache of home had been too painful to bear without some sort of numbing effect.

Billy had slipped into the gigging lifestyle smoothly and comfortably on the surface. He was making all the right noises at all the right times, nodding and laughing with the guys, but it was the drugs and alcohol that were keeping him afloat.

That and the performing.

The nightmares would wake him sometimes, but he was able to push them aside lazily and return to his foggy, thoughtlessness with his bloodstream bubbling with marijuana.

Leaving was supposed to fix things—to make things easier… so he continued to tell himself that, lest he crumble under his own mistake.

“Bill.”

His lids lifted heavily from his eyes at the sound of Matt’s voice. “Hmm?”

“Get rolling. We’re pulling up in a minute to get snacks before we park up for the night.” Matt handed him the tin of weed and a packet of giant Rizzla. Billy nodded and took them from him, watching in a cloud of haze as Matt and Greg jumped out of the back of the van before it even screeched to a halt.

“Get me a can of coke or something,” Billy shouted through the open van doors with little conviction, unsure if he had even been heard. As he turned his head to watch out of the window again, a vibrating in his pocket had him reaching inside of it to pull out his phone. It took him a few seconds to focus on the display, but his face contorted into a grin when he saw Dobo’s name flashing across it.

“Dobo, my man. How goes it?”

“Hey, Bill. How you doing?”

“I’m good, man. Pulling up for the night soon. Tonight’s show was fucking awesome. Rammed it was. Chicks all over the place.”

The line went quiet except for Dobo’s breathing, and Billy closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose. There was no fooling his best mate: this bravado wasn’t necessary at all.

He took a deep breath. “How is she?”

There was more silence and Billy waited patiently as Dobbo gathered his thoughts.

“She’s ok, Bill. Considering. I haven’t seen much of her this past fortnight, but I know Rach has been there for her. I popped round two nights ago, but Rae wouldn’t let me in, so I just left them to it.”

Billy nodded, a pain searing through his chest as he tried to block out the images of Eve that came flashing to the forefront of his mind. There was nothing to say really, so he sucked in another breath and changed the subject. “So when are you going to get your arse down here to watch me play, eh?”

“Soon, bud, soon. I promise. How long have you got left?”

“About three weeks I think. But there’s talk of us staying longer, so who knows at this stage. If I’m honest, I am just living day to day. I’ll let you know more once we have things finalised though. You’d better book that train ticket, dude.”

“I will. Listen, I’ve got to go. Mum needs some help with the garden in the morning, we are digging a fucking pond or something. God knows why, but she’s been watching Alan Titchmarsh on YouTube and has gotten herself some crazy landscaping ideas. Need to get some sleep cos it will be manual labour tomorrow.”

Billy chuckled and smiled to himself at his memories of Mo and her kindness. “Ok, buddy. Speak to you soon. Take care and…” He trailed off, unsure of what it was he wanted to say.

“I know, Bill. I will. I promise.”

The line went dead and Billy stared blankly at the empty screen for a few moments before tucking his phone back into his pocket.

A clattering of metal and high pitched screeches had him almost screaming out as the lads came barging back inside the van, thumping their fists on the sides and howling like werewolves as they charged past it.

“You fucking idiots! Frightened the life out of me.”

They all laughed and Matt slapped him on the back as he handed him a litre bottle of coke.

“How much do I owe you?”

“Nah, call it a bonus! You’ve been awesome these last few weeks. The crowds love you, so call it a ‘thank you’ for warming them up for us.”

Billy felt himself beaming from the inside out. It was praise and moments like this that reassured him he was doing exactly the right thing for himself. And that’s what the trip was all about—it was about doing stuff for him. He’d spent so long shouldering ever other fucker, and this was his time. It was time to shine as Billy Taylor the man, not Billy Taylor the son, or Billy Taylor the carer—it was time to shine as Billy Taylor the independent man who needed to put his life back together. And that’s what he was doing. Or at least it was what he was telling himself he was doing.

The engine roared to life and the guys headed out to a spot they had been using to park up and sleep in the van. There wasn’t much room for them all in the back, but they had become accustomed to sharing the small space. It wasn’t ideal, but that was kind of half the fun. They all had sleeping bags, and the floor was lined with a couple of old duvets to soften it up a bit. They took turns to sleep in the front seats, which although were a bit more secluded, were not comfortable in the least, and, without the body heat of the others, could get really fucking cold. It was Billy’s turn in the front that night, and as he crawled out of the back, sleeping bag under his arm, his thoughts once again turned to home and in particular to Eve.

The last time he had seen her was as she ran into the station, a bunch of balloons wrapped around her wrist, her face pale and worried. He knew Dobo thought he’d already gone. Truth was, he deliberately didn’t get on the train he was originally planning on. He’d needed to gather some thoughts together and he had a feeling that she would come looking for him and needed to see her just one more time.

He’d been sitting in the window of the coffee shop that sat above WHSmiths and he’d watched as she fell to her knees.

That was the moment his heart had broken in two for real.

He’d looked on as Dobo took charge of the situation, and as soon as Rachel had appeared on the scene, he knew it was okay for him to go. It was okay for him to leave her because she would be fine. She would be loved and she would be looked after. The phone call he had just shared with Dobo only moments before was a reassurance that she was still in good hands and he hoped that would be enough to help him get to sleep for the night.

He opened the passenger side door and stood to the side as Jason slid out to join Matt and Greg in the back.

“Sleep tight, sweetheart.” Jason pulled Billy into a hug as he passed him, and the lads laughed as Billy squeezed Jason’s shoulder.

“Night, bud.”

He claimed the passenger seat, slamming the door behind him and felt down the side of it for the lever to tilt it back. It didn’t lie completely flat, but it was enough that you felt like you were at least half lying down. He glanced over at Dylan who sat steely in the driver’s seat, a cigarette hanging from his mouth, his eyes squinting at the outside. Billy was a little apprehensive where Dylan was concerned. He couldn’t quite read him and that made him nervous. He was the drummer for Eboracum Rain and he was intense. He was a man of few words and rarely got involved when the guys were goofing around or doing drugs.

“Night, dude.” Billy gave him a sideways glance. Dylan barely moved. He sucked harder on his cigarette and nodded, his eyes never leaving the windscreen.

~~**~~

Rachel sat with her legs tucked underneath her on the sofa, flicking aimlessly through the channels on the television. She’d ordered Eve to go to bed two hours before and hadn’t heard from her since so was holding out hope that she’d managed to drift off to sleep. Living with Eve in the last few weeks had become a delicate dance of avoidance tactics: avoid any discussion that might be misconstrued as molly coddling, or love, or life… or anything that wasn’t related to mundane household tasks or uni work. It was tiring, but Rachel was stubborn and decidedly determined to get her best friend back on track.

Her phone chimed and a text message from Dobo flashed on her screen.

How is she?

It was pretty much the same message as she got from him most days, and her reply would be almost identical to the one she sent him the night before.

Broken. But I’m not giving up.

Rachel and Dobo were like chalk and cheese, and if she was to be completely honest about him, he infuriated her. He was like a lost puppy half the time: a bit dopey, always there, and never with the right thing to say. If there was a way for Dobo to put his foot in his mouth, you could be certain he would find it. He had taken it upon himself to call round as often as he thought would satisfy his job role as ‘chief carer’. That’s the role Billy had given him when he left, even though Rachel was quite adamant that she was the chief and only carer that Eve would ever need. It wasn’t that she didn’t like Dobo. He was harmless. It was that he was just under her feet all the time whenever he was around.  It seemed obvious to Rachel that Dobo would be a constant reminder to Eve that Billy was no longer around, and she was getting to the point now where she felt she needed to pull him aside and ask him not to visit anymore, or at least not so often, or not for a while. She had no idea how long it was going to take Eve to heal from the shit storm that had whisked its way into her life over the past couple of months, and having Dobo around couldn’t possibly be contributing to the process.

I know. I’ll pop round tomorrow at some point. Night.

Rachel sighed and contemplated telling him there and then that it wasn’t the best idea, but she couldn’t bring herself to. She threw her phone to the end of the sofa and got to her feet, walking to the kitchen to make herself a drink.

Whilst pottering around, the sound of the stairs creaking had her watching the kitchen door for the arrival of her best friend.

Eve pushed open the door and padded across the tiles to where Rachel stood pouring hot water into a mug.

“Hey, lady. Can’t sleep?”

Eve shook her head gently and lifted her mouth into a tight smile.

“Drink?”

“Please.” She pulled her cardigan around her and folded her arms across the front, leaning against the counter as she watched Rachel make tea.

“Want some sugar in this?”

“Yeah go on. Push the boat out.”

The girls smiled at each other and Rachel handed Eve her mug. “There’s a film starting soon. A comedy I think. Fancy curling up with me? Might help take your mind off not sleeping and relax you a bit?”

Eve nodded and looked Rachel in the eye. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry? What the fuck for?”

Eve shrugged. “Just for this. The whole thing.”

“Give over, y’lunatic. You’re my best mate. Nothing to be sorry for. Come on.” She nudged Eve and led the way back into the living room where the girls curled up on the sofa together. Eve lay her head on Rachel’s shoulder and watched the television screen as it flicked from one mindless programme to another, Rachel searching for the right channel.

The opening credits were just starting to roll and the pair of them adjusted their eyes in silence to take in the blockbuster movie that promised side-splitting laughter.

Laughter is the best medicine: that’s what they say. Well that’s all well and good if you can laugh. What if you can’t? What if your laugh has gotten lost or been locked away and you have forgotten where the key is? That best medicine isn’t available to you then, is it?

~~**~~

Eve woke up with a crick in her neck, the television still on and Rachel snoring lightly in her ear. She sat up and manoeuvred herself out from underneath her friend, trying her best to not wake her. Checking the clock above the mantle piece, she sighed, rubbing her hands over her face.

It was the same every night. It had been the same every night since that day. She would fall asleep out of pure exhaustion at strange hours of the day only to wake, alert and with her mind whizzing only a few hours later. This cyclical nightmare didn’t seem to want to stop. The more sleep she missed out on, the more exhausted she became, but the less she slept because her tired brain would play tricks on her, wake her at ungodly hours and quite frankly prolong the horrific reality of her situation.

Eve’s university lecturers had been understanding when she had made the phone call to tell them that she needed some time to herself.

Despite staying away from the place, keeping busy had been the only answer. She continued to draw at home, her art still the one thing that kept her going in all circumstances, but keeping busy with a pencil in her hand was a repetitive activity every day. The only thing she could see in front of her was Billy. All she wanted to draw was his face, his eyes, in case she forgot what he looked like. So as much as Rachel was doing her damnedest to help Eve forget about Billy and move on, all her efforts were counteracted and erased as soon as Eve put pencil to paper. One step forwards, three steps backwards. There were days where Rachel coaxed her out of the house and they would go for a walk, or grab a spot of lunch somewhere, careful to avoid places that she thought would remind Eve of him. Little did she know that Billy was the only thing that filled Eve’s mind, regardless of where they were, despite what was going on around her. Rachel in fact had no idea that Eve was reminded of Billy ever second of every day.

The truth was, Eve was a shell of her former self.

The need to run and hide was gone now. Since her mother’s revelation, everything she had ever known had fallen into place, and she no longer needed to run from the things she had forgotten. Instead, she wandered around aimlessly with no purpose. She was completely lost, and so were her emotions.

She managed the odd smile when Rachel was around, who had this uncanny ability to keep her grounded whenever she was near her, but without her, Eve would merely go through the motions of staying alive. She would remember to shower and eat, albeit only morsels. She would remember to hoover the carpets and wash the dishes. She would sit in front of the television and watch the news or stare out of the window.

Grabbing the blanket from the arm of the chair, Eve covered Rachel up and walked quietly into the kitchen to put the cups in the sink, refraining from switching the lights on so as not to disturb Rachel. At three am, the house was still dark, but Eve had done laps of the place so many times at that time in the morning, she was able to move around without a problem. Shoving her hoodie over her head, she opened the back door and stepped out into the cool night air, sitting herself down on the step.

She gripped her phone tightly in her hand as she raised her eyes to the inky sky, wishing that everything that had happened could be erased, rubbed out, like her drawings could. Glancing down, she swiped across the screen and scrolled to Billy’s name. There were voicemails and text messages from him saved, and Eve now knew them all by heart. Listening to his voice crooning in her ear was the only way she could get through each day. Reading his words that told her how much he loved her was the only way she was able to carry on going through the motions.

Every single night, she bottled out of calling his number, and every night became just another discarded and lost opportunity to try to get to him. Every single night, she closed her eyes after re-reading his letter that was now worn and tattered, and hoped that time would speed up until the day where his heart would be mended and would be ready to find hers again.

It had taken her a little while, but she understood the meaning of the whole thing now: she was at peace with it. Even though her heart burned every time she thought of him, even though she couldn’t bear her life without him, she understood… and she knew he would come back for her. It was just a matter of time.

So she waited.

And while she waited, she lived her life on the edge of something intangible, something neither here nor there. She lived in the dark with the dripping of the kitchen tap when then house was still. She woke up with the owls and took comfort in the stars, and she sang a song from her heart to Billy’s heart—a song that would eventually bring him home.

Now that was pretty awesome, wasn’t it? Well, I’m hooked.  

Congratulations! You survived my weirdness and endless chatter, got to read an exclusive excerpt from Scattering Elephants by Eleanor Lloyd-Jones, and damn well deserve a reward. And let’s be honest, what could be a better prize than a ton of books by many other awesome authors? To win them you need to know that my lucky number is 14.  Add up all the lucky numbers of the authors on #TeamOrange and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

CONTINUE THE HUNT
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!
Don’t forget to enter my additional giveaway of a $10 Amazon Giftcard below!!! Just click on the Rafflecopter link!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway