Today I launched DAWN OF DESTINY, my sequel to Back by Sunrise. Therefore, I’m giving away book one, and also book one in my Allie Strom trilogy (since they’re in the same universe (The Dark Strayes Saga).
First day, went pretty well. I got to see my two giveaways side-by-side (see the pic). Pretty cool at 3 and 4, and only going up from here!
But of course, the focus is on Dawn of Destiny. So if you can support me and get it for only $0.99, that would be awesome. Please leave a review, so others know what you think. If you really can’t spend the money, let me know and I can send you a review copy. Thanks in advance!
It’s been a year since Brooke spent a night as a bird, and now she’s beginning to wonder if it ever really happened. She still grieves her father, but has her family and her new friend, Clarice, to keep her happy. That joy is replaced by confusion when two of her dad’s old Army buddies show up asking about a necklace.
Could they be after the same necklace that magically turned Brooke into a bird?
She thinks surely not, but when she overhears them saying that they’re all doomed if they don’t find that necklace, her worries are confirmed. It gets worse when another person shows up asking for the necklace, shadows move in ways they should not, and Clarice is put in harms way.
Will Brooke be able to navigate this storm of confusion and chaos? She’ll certainly use everything in her arsenal to try, and may see a little magic along the way.
Young Readers (7-12).
SAMPLE (CHAPTER 1):
A soft breeze blew the tall grass that surrounded the gravestone before Brooke, bringing with it the warmth of spring and memories of the time she could fly.
It seemed a dream, that distant memory of being trapped as a bird. She almost couldn’t believe it had been a year. Had the anniversary of her father’s death really come and gone already? The memory still hurt, but the experience of being a bird and learning to rely on the love of her family and friends dulled the ache in her chest. It would never stop hurting, but at ten she had already learned to live life with the beautiful memory of their time spent together, and the hope that one day they would be reunited.
It had been right here, in this cemetery, where she’d fought the raven Trollay, taken back her necklace, and returned to her form as a girl. She glanced over at the tree line where her memory told her it had happened. Part of her pulled at the thought, flooding her mind with doubt.
How could a girl become a bird? The magic necklace, sure… if magic existed. Nothing had happened since, and none of her friends and family had seen her transformation. Her brother Paul had been there when the note had changed but somehow asking him if he remembered it felt wrong, and that had only been such a small piece of the magic anyway. For all she knew, her childish mind had made it up as a way of dealing with her father’s death.
She rested her hand on the headstone and stifled a sob.
“I miss you,” she said to her dad. She closed her eyes and smiled at a memory of him holding her, spinning her in the air as he made swing dance music noises with his mouth. A laugh worked its way up, and she allowed it.
With a heavy sigh, she turned to look for her friend, Clarice. There she was, over by the car, reading on her phone while her mom waited in the car.
“Thanks for waiting,” Brooke said as she approached.
“No biggy.” Clarice smiled and showed her a picture on her phone of two cats staring, large-eyed, at the camera. “You didn’t send me this one. Had to find it on Facebook.”
Brooke laughed at the image of her cats, Oreo and Creamsicle. “I figured posting it there would be enough. When’s the last time you didn’t check my page?”
“Fine, I’ll give you that. But this is too adorable.”
Brooke shrugged. She was glad Clarice was keeping the attention off of the visit to the grave. They came here often, after a day of hanging out together. Clarice got that it was part of the routine, not something to question or dwell on.
“Know that guy?” Clarice asked, motioning with the phone to a group at a funeral in the distance.
Sure enough, a man at the edge of the group had been watching them, but turned away when he saw them looking. He didn’t stand out otherwise—just a man in his early thirties or so, wearing a black suit and holding a cane.
“Should I?” Brooke asked.
“Don’t know. He was looking your way almost the whole time you were over there.”
“Maybe he knew my dad.” Brooke frowned, a knot in her gut telling her it wasn’t the case. “Or…. I don’t know.”
She stared, and when he looked back, he smiled and waved.
“Wait a minute,” Brooke said, squinting to better see his face. “Doesn’t he teach at our school? A sub, I think?”
“Wouldn’t know or care.” Clarice pocketed her phone and opened the car door. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Deal,” Brooke said, with an unsure wave back at the man.
They got in the backseat and Clarice’s mom drove them away, flashing a caring smile in the rearview mirror. Clarice’s dad had left them when she was young. While it wasn’t the same situation as Brooke’s at all, she and her mom kind of got Brooke. And Brooke got them, almost. There was no way she could ever understand a father leaving his daughter by choice. She understood the longing that a daughter would feel, regardless of the reason for either parent’s absence.
Clarice came over and the two played with Brooke’s old Lite-Brite, a toy her mom had played with when she was a child. Somehow the little colored lights still lit up when put in their holes, like magic after all this time. The two cats kept interrupting, jumping all over the girls, rubbing their backs against them while purring, and then running off.
“They really love you,” Clarice said. “My cat just sits on the windowsill and eats our flowers.”
Brooke laughed. “We’ve shared some awesome times.” She looked at the acorn cap-wearing toy mouse on her nightstand, a necklace with a broken stone around its neck.
Clarice spared a glance as well, then looked at Brooke with a raised eyebrow.
“I mean, just….” Brooke often toyed with the idea of telling her best friend everything, but, once again, she decided against appearing crazy. “I just sneak them food under the table, especially on fish nights.”
They smiled, and for a moment Clarice turned back to the Lite-Brite, but then a knock came at the front door. Ever since that day when the news of her father had come, Brooke hated that sound. Call first, she thought. Or better yet, don’t come at all.
She stood and glanced out the window, frowning deeper when she saw a man and a woman in Army clothes—full-on camouflage gear. Whatever this was, it wasn’t normal.
“Come on,” she said, motioning for Clarice to follow her. They stopped at the door, cracking it open so they could hear.
“We just need a few words,” a woman was saying. “It’s about your husband.”
Brooke shared a nervous look with Clarice, then opened the door further. She wasn’t going to miss a thing.
“Haven’t you people had enough to do with my husband?” Brooke’s mom said.
“We’re so sorry about that,” the man said. “Believe me, we miss him dearly.”
“But….” The woman seemed to be struggling with how to get the words out. “There was something of his, something we need.”
“And you thought you’d come here, bring up old memories, and take it?” Brooke’s mom walked across Brooke’s line of sight, hands on her hips. “What? What exactly could be so important?”
The woman turned and saw Brooke listening. She looked like a kind woman: stout, and with crow’s feet that showed this sorrow on her face wasn’t the norm.
Brooke pulled back, horrified, and retreated into her room without even waiting to see if Clarice was following.