Book Jacket


rank 5918
word count 64056
date submitted 19.01.2012
date updated 06.03.2012
genres: Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Young Ad...
classification: universal


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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Chapter Thirteen


    I hear voices as soon as I come through the door.  My dad’s study is just ahead, right off the entry.  The sounds are muffled, but I can make out snatches of conversation.  I know that voice but I can’t place it.  Deciding to play Nancy Drew, I knock on the door.

    “Come in.”

    The man standing by the fireplace is the first thing I seeHe’s darkly handsome with copper tinged black hair that frames a strong face.  My own eyes stare back at me.  They are the same shade of midnight blue, faintly tinged with another color no one has ever been able to identify.

    There’s no mistaking who this man is.

    “Hello, Alexandria.  I’m your uncle…”

    “Sabien,” I finish for him.

    “You remember me?”

    “No, not really.  There are pictures of you in the family album though.”

    He smiles sadly.  “I wish I were here under happier circumstances.”

    A strangled sound draws my attention.  My dad sits hunched over his desk, his face buried in his hands.

    “What’s wrong?” I ask, concerned.  Dad’s…crying.

    “It’s your mother, Alexandria,” Sabien’s voice is quiet, gentle.  “She died a few days ago in Paris.  There was a car accident.”

    A deep, wrenching sob is torn from my father.  I stand staring at him, wanting to go to him, to try and help him, but I can’t. 

    Dead?  She’s dead?  She can’t be dead.  Not yet.

    “I’m sorry, John,” Sabien’s voice is soothing.  “The hospital assured me she didn’t suffer.  They said she died instantly.”

    Dad mutters something, his shoulders heaving.

    Sabien turns to look at me, his eyes full of sadness.

    “Look at you,” his smile is off.  “The last time I saw you, Alexandria, you were all of five years old.  Alecia told me you and I looked alike, but I just never realized.  You do favor our side of the family, the Deveraux’s.  Judging by his picture, I have to agree with your mother that Jason is the image of his father.  He has our eyes, though.  There wasn’t a day that went by she didn’t talk about all of you.”

    “My mom talked to you a lot?”  How dare she?

    “Yes, almost every day.  Her family was very important to her.  You were all she ever talked about.”

    Yeah, right.

    His next question is directed to my father.

    “John, I brought her back with me from Paris.  I knew she would want to be put to rest here with her family,” he pauses.  “Would you like to me help with the arrangements?”


    “Don’t worry, Dad.  Jason and I will help Uncle Sabien make the arrangements.” 

    Sabien looks at me curiously.

    “Where’s Emma?” I ask.


    “She’s at Marion’s,” Dad whispers, his voice hoarse.  He still loves my mom, even after all these years.  I know he loves Emma, too, I just never realized how much he still loves my mother.  She left us and he still loves her.  He needs Emma right now, though.  She’ll be able to help him get through this.

    “If you’ll excuse me, I need to go fetch Emma.”

    “Alexandria?”  Sabien stops me.


    “Are you alright?” 

    I can hear the concern in his voice.

    “Sure, I’m fine,” I shrug.  “If you’re worried because I’m not crying hysterically, don’t.  I decided the day my mom left that crying wasn’t going to change anything.  It was true then and it’s true now.  I’ve shed all the tears over her I’m going to.”

    “Despite what you may think, Alexandria, she loved you.”

    “Really?”  I ask in a mocking tone that could rival Devon’s best.  “Doesn’t matter.  That won’t bring her back either.  Now, I need to get Emma.”

    Closing the study door, I leave the house.                                                              

    My mother.

    God, how I hate her.

    It has been eight years since I’d seen her.  Eight years since she left us.  Pain turned to anger, anger to hate, and hate to rage. 



    I remember very clearly, even now, the day she walked out of our lives.  She put her bags in the car and kissed us all good-bye like she was going on a trip.  Jason stood stone-faced and Dad worked hard to keep a forced smile in place.  I cried and begged my mama to take me with her, not to leave me.  I remember running after the car as it pulled away until I fell down so hard I bloodied both knees, all the while screaming for her to come back.

It was my brother who picked me up and brushed the dirt off my clothes.  He told me not to cry anymore, that he loved me and would never leave.  We would always have each other.   

Neither one of us have cried a single tear since that day over the woman who so callously abandoned her family, her children.

I open the door to Marion’s house without knocking.  Marion is seven months pregnant and Emma always goes over and lends a hand with the chores that requires a lot of heavy lifting.


“I’m in the kitchen, Alex!”

She’s standing on a chair pulling everything out of the kitchen cabinets.  The table is covered in a mixture of plates and papers.  Marion is nowhere to be seen.  I figure she’s probably resting. 

“What are you doing?”

"Mark didn't have time to deposit his paycheck yesterday.  Why his company doesn't use direct deposit I'll never understand.  He said he tossed it in the cabinet.  He failed to tell Marion which cabinet.  This is the second time, I've gone through them and I still can't....Aha!  The little rascal was hiding behind a bowl."  She steps down off the stool and turns to look at me.

I wonder what my expression looks like as I watch the concern start to grow on her face.  

“What’s wrong, honey?”

“I’m fine.  It’s Dad who needs you.”

Even I heard how cold and empty my voice sounds.

“Why would your father need me?”

“Uncle Sabien’s up at the house.  Mom died a couple days ago in Paris.  There was a car accident or something.”

“Sweetheart, I’m so sorry.”

I shrug.  I wasn’t.

“It’s okay to be upset,” she tells me in a gentle tone.

“Upset?” I cock my head.  “Why would you think I’m upset?”

“Because your mother just died, sweetheart,” she frowns, staring at my eyes, unsure of what I am thinking.

I decide to tell her.

“I really don’t care.”

“Alexandria Reed!”

“What?” I ask.  “She left us, EmmaShe left Us.  We didn’t leave her.  She made her choice a long time ago.  So why should I care now when she didn’t care about what happened to any of us?”

“That’s not true, Alex.  Your mother loved you.”

“No, she didn’t.”

“Yes, she did.  No matter what choices she had to make in her life, she loved you.”

I sigh.  I can see from the look on her face that she will never understand. 

“Don’t worry about me, Emma.  I’m okay.  I always am.  It’s Dad I’m worried about.”

“Of course I’m worried about you.  You’re standing here telling me your mother is dead and acting as if nothing’s wrong.  Something is wrong.  Don’t you feel anything?”

Oh yeah, I feel something.  My voice burns with the force of my rage.  “Yeah, I’m disappointed I’ll never get the chance to tell her how much I hate her.”

Emma stepps back, responding to the anger in my voice and on my face.  I don’t think she’s ever realized the full extent of my feelings towards my mother before, but she’s seeing it now.

“You’re wrong,” she says at last.  “You don’t hate her.  If you did, you wouldn’t be so angry.”

I turn, seeing my reflection in the shiny silver of the toaster.  My face wears a harsh expression and my eyes flare with that strange color.  I watch, fascinated, as they almost glow.


Emma distracted me from my reflection.  She can’t understand.  It’s too hard of a concept for her to grasp because she’s such a good mother.  I’m not going to try and explain it to her.  No way am I up for that.

“I just wanted to come and get you.  Like I said, Dad needs you.  He’s a mess.”

Emma’s lips thin into a straight line.

“I suppose you’re right,” she nods.  “Alecia probably didn’t love you.”

I flinch, not expecting that.

It’s hard to hear someone else say what I’ve always known.

“But what if you’re wrong, honey?  What if she really had no choice?  What if leaving broke her as badly as it did you?”

I frown.  What is she getting at?

Emma forces me to sit down and she takes a seat opposite me.

“I knew Alecia was leaving even before she told John.”

Well now, what is this?  I’d forgotten Emma and my mother were friends.

“She asked me to come over to help plan your father’s birthday party.  It was supposed to be a surprise.  I found her in the kitchen crying hysterically and thought at first something had happened to John or you kids.  She wasn’t making much sense.  Once I’d gotten her calmed down, she told me she had to leave.   I didn’t understand and tried to make her explain.  She wouldn’t tell me very much, only that her past caught up with her.  She said she had no choice but to leave.”

“No choice?” I laugh bitterly.  “There’s always a choice.”

“Yes, Alex, there is always a choice but sometimes the right choice isn’t the easy one.  In your mother’s case, the right choice cost her everything,   including her family.  She told me it tore her apart, but she had to go.  Leaving would keep her family safe.”

“Safe?  Safe from what?”

“I don’t know.  She wouldn’t explain it, but she was terrified.  That much I could see.  She made me promise to never say anything about it, that it might put everyone in danger.  I’ve kept that promise all these years, but now it’s time you knew the truth.  It wasn’t easy for her.  She loved all of you so much and knew her decision would hurt her children and that not being able to explain would make it worse.  I know how deeply it hurt her to go.  I saw the pain in her eyes and held her while she cried.  Hate her if you must, Alex, but never doubt for a moment that she loved you or that she wanted to leave.”

I look at her uncertainly.  If all of this is true, why had Emma never said anything before?  I am confused.  I had thought for so long that she’d left us because it was something she’d wanted to do.  Now, Emma is painting a different picture.  Could it be true?

“Alex, you’ve been angry with her for so long.  Don’t you remember anything besides the anger?”

I remembered everything. That’s the problem.  It was why I’d hurt so much in the beginning.  Compton had helped me realize that.  My mother had been wonderful.  She was kind and loving, with never a hurtful word for her children even when she scolded us.  She would read to me every night and listen with patience as I told her of all the grand adventures I was going to go on.  She always knew just what to say when I was afraid or hurt to make everything better. 

I had felt like the most loved little girl in the world until the day she left me crying and broken in the middle of the street.

Tears prick my eyes at the remembered pain.  It washes over me with a force I don’t expect.  It crashes into me as fresh and real as the day it happened. 

It’s too much. 

It hurt too much and I can’t stop the tears once they start.

“Shh, honey,” Emma pulls me up and wraps her arms around me.  “It’s okay.  You can let yourself feel grief and pain and still be angry.”

“Why did she leave me?” the words tumble out, unbidden.  “Why?”

“Shh,” she croons, crying herself. 



I don’t know how long we stood there like that.  It didn’t matter really.  She’d accomplished what she’d set out to do—making me remember my mother as she used to be.  She eventually led me home and settled me into my bed. 

I hear her mumble something about having to tackle Jason.  Emma is well aware of the fact that he feels the same way about our mother as I do.

    God help him when she gets a hold of him.

    My eyes close and for once, I fall asleep to blessed silence.  The nightmares leave me alone.







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Jehmka wrote 710 days ago

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 727 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!
(Deshay of the Woods)

Edwin P. Magezi wrote 749 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 778 days ago

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.

Shelby Z. wrote 790 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 792 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 792 days ago

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 794 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.

Tower of Paradise

Marisa Elyse wrote 794 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.

Tower of Paradise

Shelby Z. wrote 796 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 803 days ago


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 819 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 824 days ago

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

Lenny H wrote 824 days ago

On my WL

Wavy3 wrote 825 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 825 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.