When a supernatural freak of nature forces her family to separate, seventeen-year-old Charlie Page must turn to her frustrating (yet gorgeous) neighbor, Seth, to help reunite them. Seth whisks Charlie to Ellauria—a magical world filled with the creatures of myths and legends—and tells her of the Fellowship, the group charged with protecting mystical beings from human discovery. (All except Bigfoot: that attention whore is a total lost cause.) But when Charlie learns that she's under the Fellowship's protection herself, well, "stressed" is an understatement.
Ellauria should be the safest place for Charlie while the Fellowship works to find her family, but things in the mystical realm aren’t what they seem.
Magic is failing, creatures are dying, and the Fellowship insists Charlie holds the key to saving everyone. With her family still missing and the danger in Ellauria growing, Charlie doesn't know who she can trust. She's dealing with a power she never asked for, falling for a guy she can't have, and being forced to choose between her destiny and her heart. And if she chooses wrong, she could destroy magic forever.
Charlie may be in over her head.
Releases July 29, 2014 from Spencer Hill Press
“Hmm?” My nails dig into his arms.
“You can look now,” Seth says against my forehead.
I squint open one eye and then the other before slowly releasing my grip and easing away from him. I stretch my fingers as I lower my hands. This flicker was longer than the others, and I sway a bit on my feet. I grab Seth’s forearm to steady myself. “Where are we?” I ask.
He raises his eyes and makes a sweeping gesture with his hand. “The edge of Ellauria. This is the Wisteria Tunnel.”
Wisteria. Twisted vines arch over our heads, each one dripping with cascades of flowers and creating stripes of pastel colors that stretch the entire length of the tunnel. White. Blue. Purple. Violet. Pink. An intoxicating sweetness hangs in the air. It’s straight out of a fairytale.
And I don’t have my sketchbook.
“What is it?” Seth asks.
I frown at him. “You’re supposed to tune me out, remember?”
He smiles with his lips closed. “Sorry. I forgot. I told you it’d be an adjustment.”
I nudge him and smile. “I’m just sad that I don’t have my sketchbook. This place is gorgeous.”
He tips his head down to mine and whispers, “I’ll bring you back.”
All my thoughts scatter when his breath mingles with mine. I open my mouth to say something, but I have no words—at least, none I feel brave enough to say just yet. I could go on and on about his lips and his eyes and the way his smell makes me want to bury my nose in his chest, but I won’t.
“Shall we?” He holds out his arm, and I close my mouth.
Pull yourself together, Charlie.
I curl my hand around his elbow as we tread beneath the flowering vines.
I try to watch Seth without watching him, admiring the way he moves. Every now and then I sneak a direct glance at his face, and I catch his eyes before they dart in a different direction.
It’s quiet and peaceful here, like Seth and I are the only two people in the world. It’s easy to forget that there’s anything else at all—nothing to cry over, nothing to fear. Just sweetness and splendor, created by the very hands that created me. I run my hands along the blooms and bring my fingers to my nose, inhaling their scent. Seth watches me and smiles when I catch him.
“I knew you’d like it,” he says.
Of course I do. I could fill an entire sketchbook with drawings of this place alone. Colored pencils would work. They’d capture the variance in the pastels completely.
When we’ve walked so far that I can’t see either end of the tunnel, I pull on Seth’s arm to make him stop, and he turns to face me. “I needed this,” I tell him.
Seth nods, looking upward. “So did I.”
He pulls a long strand of violet wisteria from the vine over his head and loops it around my wrist. It’s so silly and perfect it makes me giggle, and he smiles. My laughter fades, and neither of us find words to fill the silence. I look from his eyes to his lips.
His very soft-looking lips.
Something shifts in his gaze, and there’s a gleam, a tiny spark of life that tells me he’s still tuning in. The fact that he knows is both exhilarating and terrifying. I want him to kiss me, but I want it to be his idea. Now, I feel like my emotions are making the first move.
Stop looking at his lips.
Don’t look at his eyes, either.
Just stop looking at him altogether.
My eyes dart to the wall of flowers beyond his shoulder, and Seth laughs softly. He trails the backs of his fingers from my shoulder to my wrist, and then pinches my shirt at my waist, pulling me closer. My heart beats faster, so much that I’m sure he can feel it. I watch my hands slide up his arms like they have a mind of their own. They move across his shoulders and drift to his chest.
His other hand cups my chin and tilts my face upward as he dips his head closer. When his lips are a breath from mine, he stops. He looks at me, silently asking permission, and I nod. His eyes are mostly closed. His lips part, and he freezes. He blinks, and his forehead creases before he drops his head and backs away.
No. Not again.
I know he was going to kiss me; I may not be an empath, but I know he wants to. What’s stopping him?
When he raises his head again, he looks so lost I can’t decide if I want to hug him or wring his neck for bringing his lips so close to mine without sealing the deal.
I step toward him, then change my mind and take another step back.
“Forget it,” I say. It’s the second time he’s pulled away from me in two days. I can take a hint.
“It’s fine.” I feel my blood pressure rise as heat branches out from my chest throughout my body. Oh no. I’m about to start saying stupid things. “I don’t know why I keep getting so flustered around you. And I get that it’s weird for you or something.” The words come faster and faster. Oh my God, Charlie, shut up. “It’s just sometimes it seems like you want me close and sometimes you don’t.” Stop talking. Just. Stop. Talking. “But I get it. You’re not interested.”
Seth flinches. “Is that really what you think? No, Charlie. That’s not it at all.” He moves toward me again until something behind me catches his eye. His face pales and he croaks, “Alexander!”
I spin around. The enormous founder stands a few feet away with his arms clasped in front of his belt.
“Seth.” That’s all he says. One word so full of judgment I nearly crumble beneath its weight myself. I glance at Seth, but his eyes are locked with Alexander’s.
What’s happening here? Seth wants to kiss me, but he doesn’t, but I’m wrong, and then Alexander’s here, and now I’m pretty sure I’m missing a giant piece of the equation.
“I’d like to take Charlotte to work on her powers now,” Alexander says, raising his eyebrows and staring down his nose. Somehow, he appears even larger than normal. “I assume you two are all finished here?”
“Yes, sir.” Seth’s gaze falls to the ground. “We’re finished.”
The founder’s lips set into a thin line, and he lifts his hand to me, beckoning.
I twist my bracelet around my wrist. Whatever’s happening, Seth must be in trouble. I can’t tell if I am, as well. Maybe we weren’t supposed to be out here. I try one last time, but Seth won’t look at me.
I walk to Alexander, my legs quivering with each step. When I reach him, he takes my arm and we disappear.
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Megan Whitmer loves all things Southern, and has a soft spot for football, kissing scenes, and things that sparkle. Aside from her personal blog and weekly vlog series, she's also a contributing blogger for YA Misfits and All The Write Notes.
She lives in Kentucky with her family. Also, she writes books and talks a lot. You can learn more about her at www.meganwhitmerwrites.com.