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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Pretas: Excerpt #nanowrimo

Hi loves,

I thought I would share a little bit of the WIP I've been playing with for NaNo this year. The working title is PRETAS, and it features a younger protagonist than I usually write, but I'm enjoying the story. I've gotten to delve a little deeper into Asian folklore and mythology for this one, which is always fun. I don't want to say too much and give anything away, but let's just say that Gabriel has not been a good boy! 


At seventeen, Samara McDowell knows all about making difficult decisions. She'd had to do so every day since her father died in a car accident and her mother began drowning her sorrows in a bottle, leaving Samara to care for her little brother, Sammy.

But nothing ever prepared Samara to deal with Sammy's disappearance... or her suspicion that Gabriel Hall - the gorgeous new boy across the street - had something to do with it. Nor is she prepared to deal with the fact that she's falling in love with Gabriel despite her better judgment.

Strange things happen when he's around. Frightening shadows haunt his steps. Animals refuse to go near him. And that's just the beginning. Gabriel appears out of nowhere. His eyes are coal black. His skin is like ice. And sometimes, Samara swears she can see right through him. 

When she learns who, and what, Gabriel really is and what he's doing in her small town, she realizes she has no choice but to let him help. He may be the only one who can save her little brother. But doing so will destroy any hope Gabriel has of ever becoming human again.
Can she trust him to make that sacrifice and help her bring Sammy home, or will Gabriel betray her in the end?


Cicada song and the sticky Southern heat hit me like a wall the moment I opened Granny Anne's front door. Within seconds, my red Piggly Wiggly polo clung to my body, trapped against my skin in a vacuum seal of humidity and sweat. I grimaced, stepping out onto the front porch. The old wood wobbled beneath my feet, but held firm.
One whole step on the porch had splintered, leaving a steep gap right through the middle. The pavement beyond had long ago broken apart. Tufts of dying grass and withered weeds hung limply in the cracks and crevices, pitfalls waiting to trip those brave enough to traverse the ruins in the dark of night.
Lucky for me, the early summer sun still sat low on the horizon, slowly sinking toward its nightly cradle. Sadly, the dying day had done nothing to ease the pervasive heat. Not that I was surprised or anything. Even nights were miserable in mid-June in Arkansas.
"Thanks for watching Sammy," I called over my shoulder to Granny Anne, holding the door wide for my little brother.
He poked his head out, his green eyes full of discontent behind his wire-rimmed frames. His strawberry blond hair was mussed atop his head. A spot of chocolate dotted his freckled nose. He held the half-eaten cookie clutched in his hands. His Spiderman backpack was slung across one shoulder, the bottom bulging beneath the weight of whatever he'd crammed inside.
"Anytime, Samara," Granny Anne shouted back from the depths of her worn little house. "Tell your mama I said hello."
"Yeah, right," I muttered beneath my breath, letting the storm door screech closed behind me.
"Mama's home?" Sammy perked up, his frail shoulders going back as he lifted his head from his sandwich.
I shrugged, unwilling to get his hopes up. I'd learned long ago not to even bother counting on her to be present, but Sammy was only eight. He hadn't quite come to terms with the fact that she preferred the company of Jose, Jim, and Jack to her own children. At seventeen, I had no such illusions. She'd been a functioning alcoholic since our father died in a car accident almost four years ago.
Sammy didn't really remember Dad, but I did. He'd been the backbone of our family. Loyal, hardworking, honest… he'd actually cared about us. And laughed. Our mother had been pretty decent then, too. But things were different now. He was dead, and Mother was a ghost of the vivacious woman she'd been then. She cried a lot. Drank even more.
After two years, I no longer held out hope that would suddenly change.
Sammy's face fell, his little body seeming to fold in on itself.
My heart twisted at the sight.
"Hey," I said, reaching out to tug a lock of his overly long blond hair. "We'll watch Johnny Test and eat ice cream."
"Watched it today," he mumbled, shuffling his feet as we traversed the rickety porch.
I waited until he jumped across the broken step before following him down.
"We'll think of something to do," I promised him, false cheer in my voice.
This time, he shrugged.
Granny Anne's dog, Rufus, sat up as we approached the only shade tree in the yard, his tail thumping against the ground. He focused hopeful eyes on Sammy's dinner, panting.
Too late.
Sammy tossed the half-eaten peanut butter sandwich to Rufus, who barked once in thanks and then inhaled it in two bites, his tail wagging.
"Granny Anne said not to feed him scraps, remember?" I said to Sammy.
"Forgot. Sorry."
I opened my mouth to fuss at him, then closed it again, not bothering. The kid loved Rufus, and Rufus loved scraps. There was no stopping the inevitable.


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