By C. Elizabeth
Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy, 457 pages
Cover art by Trisha FitzGerald
“Lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil.”
These words ring true for seventeen-year-old Saydi Gardiner upon discovering her ancestry. But if she has any doubts, further confirmation is forthcoming and it comes in the form of a wickedly gorgeous Nathanael Braxton, when he steals her heart and cuddles into her sole – the last place the boy should be.
Nineteen-year-old Nathanael’s unrelenting good looks aren’t the only thing that make him dangerous – and he knows it! However, his caring half-human self struggles with a loyalty – a loyalty that binds him to the hunt for the soul that will give his family the power they seek. There’s only one problem: When he finds her, Nathanael falls in love with his prey – Saydi.
The house could have been featured in a magazine and was easily something for the town to brag on. A staircase rose in front of me that led to a landing which went both ways at the top. On my left, old dark wood pocket doors opened to a room full of kids. On my right, the same kind of doors opened to another room, also full of kids, but was also filled with floor to ceiling bookcases. A hallway lay off to the side of the stairs that led to the back of the house. It was in perfect order—not one box, carton or piece of newspaper anywhere.
My attention was drawn to the bookshelf room, and in hopes of finding my friends, I snaked through the people, working my way to the back. Not one friend was to be found and instead of fighting the crowd again, I used the door in the back of that room. It, in turn, stopped me in my tracks. It wasn’t the hallway as I had anticipated; it was another room, not quite as big as the other one, but much more beautiful—to me, anyway.
The earthy scent of leather coated my senses. Shelves upon shelves were filled with leather-bound books of all colors and shapes.
“Wow!” slipped from my mouth as I walked closer to a glass cabinet that displayed some old scroll-like papers written in a different language. Then my gaze moved on to the other bookshelves that lined each and every wall, all had to be at least sixteen feet tall, some displaying special treasures.
With each book spine I could reach came an overwhelming desire to touch and read them. Some were written in different languages and some sounded incredibly interesting—especially one. In simple type, the spine read: The Two Thousandth Year War of the Spirit Light. Even though it was obvious the room was supposed to be off limits, I couldn’t help myself and gently pulled it from its resting place, touching the cover. I knew from research that the oil in people’s hands could deteriorate the pages in an old book, and so, being even more nosey, I pulled my sleeve over my fingers and opened it. The writing was English and each letter swirled with curlicues, like old English script. There was no dedication to an author, nor a date of publication. Only the title graced the first page. A few pages later came the first chapter: “The Discovery.”
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
I jumped; the booked slipped from my fingers and landed on the floor with a light thud. “I’m sorry!” For a second I hesitated, wondering if I should make a break for it and just leave the book there—but my conscience wouldn’t let me. My hand shook as I picked it off the floor and prayed that upon inspection, there wouldn’t be any rips, tears or bends.
Nathanael stepped further into the room, holding a drink. “That’s father’s favorite book,” he said, tipping his glass slightly my way.
Great! “I’m sorry,” I repeated, pushing the book back into its rightful spot. I moved quickly toward the door, not looking at him when I passed.
“Where are you going in such a hurry?” he asked.
“I should go home...I’m sorry. Truly...I usually know better. Bye!”
The front door couldn’t be in my sight quickly enough. Forgetting about my friends, I burst through the people on the porch and ran down the sidewalk. Stupid! Stupid! When I reached the front gate, that’s when it hit me...how stifling the house felt, almost like being cloaked in a blanket!