Book Jacket

 

rank 5906
word count 64056
date submitted 19.01.2012
date updated 06.03.2012
genres: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Young Ad...
classification: universal
complete

Awakening

Apryl Baker

Snap...crackle...pop. The sounds of bones breaking and shifting and of muscles tearing haunt Alexandria Reed.

 

For the last five years, Alex has been locked up at Compton Academy, a "school" for the emotionally challenged. She calls it the politically correct way of saying they’re all nuts and Alex has no doubts she’s insane. She comes home to Jacob's Fork to face the demons she left behind her after deceiving the doctors into believing she’s well. Soon after her arrival home though, news of her estranged mother's death brings her uncle back into her life and she and her brother, Jason, learn a terrifying secret about their family.


After questioning her sanity for the last ten years, she discovers the night terrors she's suffered for so long has become a reality. She and her brother are now being hunted because of the secret her family has killed to protect. Her world has been turned upside down, every belief she held true destroyed. Aided by her new friends, who have some dark secrets themselves, can she and Jason survive long enough to figure out the secret behind the secret?


Awakening is the first book in the series Bloodlines

 
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tags

, faire, fairies, fey, high school, mystery, paranormal, paranormal romance, romance, teen romance, teens, thriller, vampires, weres, werewolves, wicc...

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5

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5

Chapter Five

 

I claw my way out of sleep, my breath coming hard and fast, my body drenched in sweat.  I gaze around at the familiar confines of my room and the walls seem to shrink in upon themselves, becoming constrictive, oppressive. 

Every inch of my skin hums with an unfamiliar energy, pulses with on basic desire.  The need overwhelms me, overrides every other thought.

RUN.

I spring up, throw the covers off, and dash downstairs.  The kitchen door doesn’t even creak when I open it.  My bare feet touches the dirt and I almost weep with relief.  Every nerve in my body snaps to attention and an unknown force takes over.  I run.

It doesn’t register when I jump the four foot high fence in the back yard.  The familiar smell of the woods surrounds me, comforts me.  The wind sings its ancient song in my ears and I cry out with delight as I run headfirst into the night.  I can hear the startled sounds of the small animals and laugh when they scurry out of my path.

Alive.  For the first time in ten years, I feel alive.  Joy fills me as I run.  There is no dark cloud hovering.  It’s just me, the wind, and the dirt beneath my feet.  My skin is hot and the breeze only fans the flames and I burn hotter from the inside out.  My skin is stretching, twisting, screaming for release.  It doesn’t scare me.  I know it should, but I welcome it.  I’m free.  There’s no fear, no guilt, only sheer joy.

A howl sounds to my right and I shift in that direction.  The cells in my body explode with the need to find that lonely howl.  The fire intensifies in my blood, driving me towards the sound of the howl.  I run harder, faster.

I’m not sure how long I ran, but I stumble at last, exhausted.  The howl is still reverberating in my head and I can’t stop, can’t rest until I find it.

“Alexandria?”

That voice.  I’d know that voice anywhere.  I skid to a stop and fall.  My eyes focus on the dark angel coming out of the woods in front of me. 

A chorus of howls rise up into the silence of the night.  I stand, ignoring the pain from my bloody knees.  Everything in me is screaming to run, to flee.  Danger.

“Alexandria.”

My body freezes at the soft command and my head snaps back to where Devon Cameron is standing.  He’s no more than thirty feet from me.  I can see every detail about him with perfect clarity.  He is wearing a plain black tee shirt and a pair of worn, faded jeans.  A hole is starting wear through the right knee.  It’s tiny, almost unnoticeable, but not to me.  His hair glistens with blue streaks in the soft moonlight, but it is his eyes that hold me captive.  They glow in the moon’s soft light, their emerald color so brilliant, it almost hurts to look at them.  I can no more look away then I can stop breathing.

“Are you hurt?”

I can only shake my head, words escape me.  I try to say no, but what comes out sounds like a growl.  It should bother me, but it doesn’t.  It feels too good.  I feel good.  The fire inside blazes higher, igniting every nerve, every cell within.  I welcome the heat.  It chases away the dark, the nightmares, the panic and the fear.  I embrace the fire.

Devon approaches slowly.  His eyes glow brighter and I shiver under that intense gaze.  A cold wind surrounds me, envelopes me in an icy cloak.  The wind beats at me, slowly cooling the fire inside.  I fight it.  I need the heat.  It eats the darkness.

The cold intensifies and I whimper, afraid as the fire dims and the darkness reclaims me.

Devon moves closer, each step slow and measured until he is standing in front of me.  The fire inside burns out, leaving me cold and empty.  His eyes soften, their glow diminishing, and he looks away, breaking the hold he has on me.  I stagger away from him until my back comes to rest against a tree trunk.  My sanity starts to return in slow degrees.  With each second, I come back to the reality that is mine.  The cool wind remains, but it is only a gentle breeze.

I close my eyes and lower my head and die a slow death inside as I realize where I am and what I must look like.  I’ve been running through the woods in the middle of the night in nothing but my night shirt that barely covers my bottom.  I’m a mess, filthy and bleeding. Oh, God, what must he think of me?

“Alexandria?”

He moves closer.  I can feel the heat coming off his body. 

No, no, no, no, no!  This can’t be happening.  What is wrong with me?  He has to be thinking I’m as loony as everyone says I am.

Strong fingers grips my chin and forces my head up.  My eyes open and all I see is the blazing green of his eyes.  The ice is gone.  They aren’t cold or hard or even mocking as I’d feared.  Instead, they’re full of concern.

“Are you okay?”

“Cold,” I manage to get out.  With the heat gone, I’m freezing.  His fingers are the exception.  They are hot against my skin, almost like a brand.

“I can see why,” he grins and stares down at my bare legs.  “What are you doing out here at this time of night?  It’s almost 3am.”

“Running.”

“With no shoes on?”

“Apparently.”

“Do that often do you?”

I sigh and then my eyes widen with a sudden revelation.  The dream.  It was the dream of the wolf that had driven me out here.  All the emotions in the dream had still been with me when I’d woken up.  They’d morphed into the insane urge to run, hard and fast, through the night.

A small gasp escapes with another realization.  I remember my dream!  I never remember more than a few flashes and hazy images, but I remember the wolf.  A smile spreads across my face and then another thought slams into me.

“Why are you out here at this time of night?”  His face closes off faster than I can blink and his eyes harden again.

“I couldn’t sleep so I took a walk.”

He’s lying.

I start at the sound of the voice in my head.  That was definitely not my voice.

Calm down.

Oh, damn, there it was again.

“Alexandria?”

Don’t trust him.

“You’re as white as a sheet, Cara.  What’s wrong?”

What’s wrong?  Besides the fact that I’ve lost my mind and am hearing voices?  I’m just peachy.

“I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not fine,” Devon snaps.  “You’re injured.”  He points to my bloody knees.

I frown at the accusation in his tone.  It’s as if my getting hurt has offended him.  Well, excuse me for falling.

“I said I’m fine.”

He snorts.  “Come, I’ll see you home.  It’s not safe out here by yourself.”

Safer than with him.

This is so very not good.  Schizophrenia maybe?  I think hearing voices is one of the early signs of the disease. 

“It’s getting late, Alexandria.” Devon says, impatience clear in his voice.  “You need to get home.”

My eyes narrow.  There is just something about this boy that grates on my last nerve.  He’s gorgeous mind you, but he’s also irritating beyond belief and very, very bossy. 

“I can get home by myself, thank you very much.”

He reaches for my arm and I slap his hands away.  Slipping around him, I start walking.  It only takes him a few strides to catch up to me.

“You’re going the wrong way,” he tells me.

I swing around and start walking the other way.

“Are you always this stubborn?”

“Are you always this arrogant?”

“Yes,” he nods.  “I am always this arrogant.”

I burst out laughing.  I can’t help it.  It’s such an outrageous statement, but he said it so matter-of-factly.  At least he admits his flaws. 

“How did you know we were going the wrong way?” I ask after a while.  I don’t remember telling him where I live.

“I moved into the house below yours.”

“Oh.”

Great, just great.  He lives below me.  Hmm…I wonder if I can see his bedroom from mine?

We walk in silence until we reach my house.  My foot catches on the top steps of the back porch and I stumble again.  He reaches out to steady me and his scent invades my senses.  He smells of the night, of dark things, and there is a spicy undertone I can’t identify.  He smells familiar to me, too.  Not in the same way Morgan does, but familiar just the same.

“Good night, Cara,” he whispers against my ear.

I turn around and his eyes are glowing again.  I can drown in those eyes if I let myself.  Honeysuckle and the smell of freshly mown grass fill me and I’m able to break away from those eyes.  He chuckles and before I can say anything, he’s gone, leaving me with bloody knees and voices in my head.  What else could go wrong?

 

 

 

Chapters

5

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Jehmka wrote 707 days ago

Apryl,
Awakening was a shocking surprise for me. How is it that a book, this well-written, can be so poorly neglected by authonomy readers? I have just finished sampling two other books, ranked among the top 100, which I could not in all good conscience back.

OK… Now that I got the rant out of my way…

Awaking is compelling.
The writing is clean and crisp, with a contemporary feel. “I taste blood as I stare into hell.” There's a good balance between narrative and dialogue throughout, both of which are convincing. It’s easy to read, and kept me continuously engaged. I immediately liked Alex Reed. She brought to mind Susanna Kaysen, the MC in Girl Interrupted.

I can’t leave anything un-nitpicked though.
“Very weird.” I have a tendency to do this in my writing too – adding these little bits of telling. “Very bizarre.” I would delete these and see how it reads, see if you lose anything. I don't think they're needed.

““Long story.” I shift in my seat. It isn’t something I want to go into. I don’t know Saidie well enough to spill my secrets. It’s a miracle…” It feels to me like you're saying too much here, spoon-feeding the reader – telling.

That’s it! That’s all I could find to complain about.

I give Awakening the full six stars. I’ll certainly recommend it to others too.

Philthy wrote 724 days ago

Hi Apryl,
I’m here for our read swap. So sorry it’s taken me this long to get here. Below are my findings/comments. They are of course my humblest opinions so take them for whatever they’re worth and feel free to disregard what you don’t agree with.
Chapter One
Great opening-line hook.
“Just calm down.” If you mutter it, I think it ought to be in quotes.
Not sure “looms” is the best word there. It makes it sound like it appears out of thin air.
“behind those doors almost as bad as the storm…” I’d add “is” after “almost” to avoid fragmenting.
“overheard” should be “overhead”
Your language is very strong and you have a great sense of building tension. I think at times you get excessively wordy, however. Sometimes it seems like you’re trying to add to the drama, but in reality, the extra wordiness has the opposite effect. It also steers you sometimes more toward telling as opposed to showing. For instance, “But that person is gone, I remind myself forcefully.” How does the MC remind him/herself forcefully? That’s kind of vague. Instead, show us an action or expression so we can see the MC reminding himself in a forceful manner.
Otherwise, this is a great start. You have a great YA voice and strong dialogue, which makes for solid characterization. A likeable MC, too. I can see this doing well here.
Best of luck!
Phil
(Deshay of the Woods)

Edwin P. Magezi wrote 746 days ago

This is intriguing. It has a strong narrative voice in Alex. I loved the way you described your characters, very vivid and almost personal.
The prose is clean as far as my untrained eyes can see and I barely found any errors to nitpick.

Chapter 1
-> She just looks way to perky -- (too)

You should start campaigning for your book to get it noticed. I'm sure it will pick up backings from the YA writers and more.

Highly rated and will keep it on my w/l till I have space to shelve it.

Edwin - The First Oath.

Oriax wrote 775 days ago

Apryl,
This isn’t my usual kind of read, but I’ve enjoyed the story so far. You have a very fluid style and a great sense of detail. I’m not sure about the opening, I’d be tempted to go straight into chapter one. The prologue just tells us vaguely what we are going to find out in the first chapter anyway. I’d change the word eulogy to epitaph, since she isn’t really giving herself praise.
I like the way you have the storm mirror Alex’s mood. Your descriptions of the new people Alex meets are extremely well done. I have very definite pictures of all of them.
The pace of the story is good too, keeping the background until chapter three so it doesn’t hinder the action. You hint at The Event and Alex’s breakdown, without giving away the details. You then make the transition to a dreamlike sequence with Alex as a big predator, which is clever in that we assume this is something to do with her problems of rage control. Maybe also the mysterious event.
The only thing that didn’t work particularly well for me was all the exchanges with the three boys. There’s a bit too much staring going on and shivers up and down the spine for me. Add the unique eye colours, blue-black hair and you’re heading a bit too close to cliché.

You write very well, the story is appealing and well-paced, with a strong hint of mystery and fantasy. There’s a strong budding romance too, and the threat of the bully from the past bringing Alex’s nightmares back to the surface again.
Well done. I’ve given this five stars and think it will do extremely well with its target audience.
Jane

Shelby Z. wrote 787 days ago

I read to 25 and boy has it gotten crazy.
I not normally do I care fore these types of stories, but there is something about it I like.
Good work.

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

Shelby Z. wrote 789 days ago

Read to chapter 9.
You have a great style to develop your story and characters.
I want to read some more later.
Good luck.

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

katjay wrote 789 days ago

Awakening
Hi Apryl
Sorry to be late getting back to you – I’ve busy editing. Have just read the first few chapters of Awakening and I’m impressed. You have an easy, natural writing style. Some fine, descriptive passages and the dialogue is natural and totally suited to the setting and your target market. Alex is an engaging MC and it’s great to see her overcome her doubts and fears. I loved it when she first stood up to Janna: ‘Then again, if I had been in a psycho ward all these years, making me angry might not be the brightest idea, either.’ Well done!
Kat x Hens from Hell

Marisa Elyse wrote 791 days ago

Reading your first few chapters, I did connect with your MC. Your writing is good and descriptive, haunting if I were to describe it. Seeing as how this is a YA Romance story, I expected the almost instant connection between the MC and the guy, so be careful of not making it too cliche.

Also, be careful of info dumps when it comes to explaining something. The tiny bit before the beginning of the first chapter was really good and set the tone of the story, but I think you can ax the whole 'I am MC, and this is my story', since we'll find out it's her story when the first chapter starts.

Besides those quirks, I do find the story you have interesting, and will look forward to reading more from you in the future.

Cheers,
Marisa
Tower of Paradise

Marisa Elyse wrote 791 days ago

Reading your first few chapters, I did connect with your MC. Your writing is good and descriptive, haunting if I were to describe it. Seeing as how this is a YA Romance story, I expected the almost instant connection between the MC and the guy, so be careful of not making it too cliche.

Also, be careful of info dumps when it comes to explaining something. The tiny bit before the beginning of the first chapter was really good and set the tone of the story, but I think you can ax the whole 'I am MC, and this is my story', since we'll find out it's her story when the first chapter starts.

Besides those quirks, I do find the story you have interesting, and will look forward to reading more from you in the future.

Cheers,
Marisa
Tower of Paradise

Shelby Z. wrote 793 days ago

I read just chapter one, but I fine it really interesting. The way you put it in first person is really creative. It makes the reader feel all your main character does.
It moves at an easy pace here, but that is good since it is to introduce things to to the reader.
You really did a good job here.
Great work!

Shelby Z./Driving Winds

Dianna Lanser wrote 800 days ago

Apryl,

I too read the first three chapters of your book. I am very impressed at your writing style and your abilty to bring your characters to life. Very easy and enjoyable reading. I especially was aware of the gift you have of describing people, especially their eyes - unique words and colors. Alex seems like a strong girl despite her difficult past, but she has a suportive family to help her through. I believe you have built the background story very nicely and to tell you the truth, I don't want to stop reading but I have to go my daughter's Valentine Party at school. Six stars and I'll be back to read more.

Dianna Lanser
Nothing But The Blood

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 815 days ago

Dear Apryl

I have read the first three chapters of "Awakening" which is a well observed tale, perfectly pitched for your YA audience. Your writing is very clear, vivid and easy to get along with. Many of the references pass me by, but that hardly matters: a great read.

All the best

Fran Macilvey, "Trapped"

Dilettante wrote 820 days ago

Well written, and an engaging main character. This is a good story. Well done, Backed and recommended.

Lenny H wrote 821 days ago

On my WL

Wavy3 wrote 821 days ago

Wow, your writing style is impressive. It's very haunting, and reflects the tone beautifully. The opening scene really drew me in, and then when the first chapter started it had the same feel of just jumping straight into the story. You hint at a background, but don't throw it in our faces, which makes me want to read on.

ozhm wrote 821 days ago

Fantasy and YA wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice, but this is compelling. The reality of everyday teen concerns balances the fantasy angle so well that I accepted the whole without a blink.

I like the short pitch, but I wonder if the long pitch is could be tightened somehow. You’ve given us what amounts to a précis, and I’m not sure whether hints might be better than spelling it out. Breaking it up into short paras would help too, I think.

Alex is a great MC. I’m drawn into her life immediately, her hopes and fears are completely believable and you’ve revealed her circumstances and back-story at very satisfying pace.

I’m also impressed with your writing and style. On a sentence level, (sorry, very nit-picky!) there are a few typos etc, but I’m sure you’ll sort them out on the next edit. The same applies to your use of tense. I like the idea of using past and present as you have, but you may need to check that you haven’t slipped from one to the other where you shouldn’t have.

Good luck with it. It deserves support.
Helen Meikle
Six Weeks in Summer.

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