Hawthorn by Jamie Cassidy
Series: The Darkling Saga book 1
Genre: YA Horror/Fantasy
A house on a hill.
A house filled with mirrors.
A house with eyes that watch your every move.
“I hate it on sight. It’s dull and large and clunky, a creepy old house with a creepy house smell.”
Learmonth Village has a history, a past that it holds dear, superstitions that it clings fast to. Learmonth House, however, is governed by its own set of rules, its own past. Gemma and her family are about to discover just what those rules are.
Learmonth has a pact with the darkness…
The darkness is hungry...
Amos Cassidy is the pen name for Richard Amos and Debbie Cassidy. Amos is a 31 year old Diva and Cassidy a 38 year old mother of three; well, four if you include the husband. A common love of all things Joss Whedon, Urban Fantasy, and a tug of war over Jensen Ackles, brought them together, and one cold February afternoon, over nibbles and coffee, their partnership was born.
You can find Cassidy hard at work in her fortress of solitude which has eaten up the majority of her garden, and Amos...well he's still trying to get the invisibility gizmo he got off a friendly alien in exchange for a pair of earphones to work. Funnily enough he hasn't been seen around much lately...
Frequent doses of Sugary snacks, coupled with regular injections of caffeine aid in their production of a unique brand of cross genre tales. They are always writing, but are happy to take a break to chat to their wonderful readers, so drop them a line at amoscassidy.com, or just pop over to see what they're working on and they'll bust out the biscuit tin.
I’m still searching when I spot the strangest looking tree. It’s larger than the others, but that’s not what makes it stand out. It’s the trunk that draws me, split in two in the middle and twisted at the top to make an aperture that looks like the eye of a needle. It’s wide enough to slip through. At least I think it is. I am overcome by the strangest feeling of familiarity. I take a step toward the tree, and then another, suddenly eager to find out if my theory is correct.
“I wouldn’t do that if I was you?”
I spin around in alarm to find the owner of the voice.
“Hi.” He is leaning against a tree, all casual-like. He’s tall, taller than Liam, with dark messy hair and dark eyes. He is striking to look at, the kind of guy you expect to see in one of those Cinderella story movies, or a character from a young adult paranormal novel. I stare at him, expecting him to disappear or grow some pimples or something, but he remains as gorgeous as ever.
Liam. I love Liam, I remind myself.
He holds out his hand. “Come on, those things can be dangerous.”
I look glance at the tree then back at him. “You have to be joking.”
“So you’re saving me from a tree?”
He nods sombre-like.
I feel a stab of irritation. Who does he think I am, some gullible twat from London or something? I step back and touch the tree and quirk a brow at him. Hah!
His smiles. “Maybe I just wanted to hold the pretty girl’s hand.”
I don’t know what to say to that.
“Nice to meet you, Gemma.” He flashes that smile again, all white even teeth and a dimple.
“You live up at Learmonth, right?”
“Yeah, what about you?”
God, he’s trying to be cute. I hate that. “Um, anyway, I best get going.”
“Why? You just got here. There’s some lovely spots to sketch. I can show you if you like.”
I frown. How does he know I sketch? My pad is in my backpack.
He cocks his head as if listening to something. “You have artist’s hands and an artist’s eyes. I see the way you look at things.”
Once again I don’t know what to say to that apart from, “You been watching me?”
He smiles. “I spotted you a few minutes ago. So, you coming?”
I hesitate. “I don’t know, you could be a serial killer or something.”
He nods. “True, but then we’re far enough from your house and the village for me to just grab you if I want.” He grins disarmingly.
I laugh. “Okay, you have a point. Lead the way.” He turns and I follow. This could be good. He looks my age, maybe a little older. Making a friend could be good, make starting college easier with a familiar face to look forward to.
I can’t help study his back, tapered down to his tight butt. Damn, now I’m checking him out. He does have nice arms, though, wiry and strong-looking even if he’s as pale as the moon. He doesn’t seem to feel the chill in the air.
I wonder if he’s wearing sun cream. I bet he burns easy.
I trip and stumble, but don’t hit the ground because he has me.
I don’t know how, but I have to ask. “Are you a vampire?”
He stares at me for a long beat and then bursts out laughing.
After a second I join in.
I realise he is still holding me, his hands warm on my skin. “Come on then, show me this place.”
He lets go of me and ambles off again. “Eyes on the trail now, Gemma.”