Book Jacket


rank 5911
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 Twenty Nine


Why in God’s name did I do it?  How stupid can I be?  I am going to be all alone at the Masquerade – a dance I hadn’t even wanted to go to in the first place—with Tom Wallace.  Every time he looks at me I usually bolt for the nearest exit.  Now I am going to have to spend the next several hours with him.

Tom makes me nervous.  I always have this insane notion he’s stalking me like a hunter does its prey.  My instincts tell me to run, to flee.  The wolf I think.  I think she started stirring that first day when I saw him in the lunchroomI’d always wondered what would happen if I let him catch me.  Now I guess I get to find out.

He looks at me the way I wish Devon would.  But no, Devon is with the hohag…just please, why does my life suck so much?  What sin did I commit in my past life that warrants the mess I’m in now?

I finger the lace on the bodice of my blue evening gown.  It’s very soft and demure.  The sleeveless gown hangs in straight shimmering lines down my body, ending at about a half-inch off the floor.  The blue mask was done in the same shade and there were feathers outlining the ends, making it almost exotic.  Emma took me to the mall and helped me pick it out.  Emma is almost as excited as Saidie.  Poor Saidie, she’d wanted to go so badly.  That didn’t stop her from cheering me on, though.  She also said it would serve Devon right to see exactly what he’d given up. 

She could be right.  I hope so.


Jason is pacing back and forth in the kitchen when I come down.  I frown.  He should have already left to pick up his date.

“Jase, you’re gonna be late to pick up Suzie.”

His head snaps up when he hears me.  His eyes widen and I think for a minute he might choke as he tries to pull air into his lungs.  “You are not wearing that, Alexandria Nicolette Reed!”

“Jase, get a grip.  There’s nothing wrong with this dress.  Emma picked it out.”

“He’s too old for you. Jason starts pacing again.  “I warned him to leave you alone and you just had to go and ask him out, didn’t you?”

“Tom’s your age, Jason,” I remind him.  “He’s only a year older than me.”

“He’s also my best friend, Alex,” he grouches.  “Do you have any idea how weird it is thinking about the two of you together?  And what happens when you two break up and he hurts you?  I’ll have to say something, do something…”

“Jason, you’re jumping the gun.  It’s only one date and besides, you can’t tell me who to date.”

“Yes, I can, Alexandria Nicolette Reed.  You’re my sister and ….”

“And nothing,” I interrupt.  He’s used my full name twice.  Not a good sign.  The boy is getting good and riled.  “I can take care of myself.  You taught me how remember?”

He stops pacing and sighs.  “It’s just that you’ve been through so much already, Alex, and I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“Been there, done that,” I mutter, thinking about how much Devon hurt me. 

“Do you want me to break Devon’s face, Sis?” he asks me.  “Just say the word.”

I smile at my brother.  He looks so serious and I have no doubt he’d try to hit Devon, but I think Jason would end up as the bloody, beaten one.  “Thanks for offering, but no, don’t break his face,” I say.

“Thank God,” he sighs.  “Devon would have kicked my butt from one end of the parking lot to the other, but I’d try.”

“I know, Jase, and that’s what counts.”

The doorbell rings

Dad answers it, glowering down at Tom.

“Mr. Reed, sir,” Tom greets him.

Dad stares at him, not saying anything.  It’s the same look he gives Jason every time Jason asks to borrow money.  O-h-h, best to get him out of here quick.

“Hi.”  I slide between him and Dad.  “Ready?”

“Not so fast, Alexandria,” Dad puts a hand on my shoulder.  “I want to speak with Tom while you go get something to put on.  You’ll freeze to death in that sleeveless thing.”


He gives me the Jason look and I fly upstairs to grab my black sweater.  It’s in my closet which cost extra seconds and by the time I run back downstairs, Tom is fidgeting, his face a nervous mask.  God, what did Dad say to him?  Jason is grinning so I know it can’t have been good.  Emma is glaring holes into my dad.  She must have come in from the kitchen while I was upstairs.  Why do parents have to be sooooo embarrassing?

Dad and Emma do the whole parent thing and take pictures.  It’s my first official high school dance and they want to commemorate it.  Tom stands dutifully by my side, giving Dad nervous looks.  Jason looks smug.  What did Dad say to him?

Tom holds my sweater while he waits for me to put on my coat and then escorts me out to his car.  It’s a green 2008 Chevy Cobalt.  He’d gotten the car as a present for his sixteenth birthday.  Jason had gone on and on about it in hopes Dad would take the not so subtle hint that he too needed a ride.  Dad of course had eventually gotten Jason a car – a blue 1997 Chevy Cavalier.  It was a little beat up, but seeing as how it was his first car, he treated it like it was a Porsche instead of an OLD second-hand car. 

I study Tom’s profile as he drivesHe’s a handsome boy with milk chocolaty brown eyes and brown hair streaked with blonde highlights.  He looks about as nervous as I feel.  What did Dad say to him?

“So,” I say.  “Dad didn’t give you too hard of a time did he?”

“No,” he shakes his head.  “You look really nice.”

“Thanks,” I stammer.  “So do you.”

“I wondered how long it would take you to stop running so I could ask you out.”

My face burns scarlet.  So he had noticed my mad dashes for escape.  “Was I that obvious?”

“Yeah, but don’t worry, it just made you look cute.  Anyway, Jason told me you were off limits, but I’d already decided to ask you out if I could get you to stand still long enough to do it.”

I look up at that confession to see him smiling at me.  He really is cute when he smiles




“I know you’re probably still pretty upset over Cameron and I know you only asked me to the dance ‘cause you were mad at Janna, but I don’t care.  I’m glad you did it.  Saved me the trouble of trying to corner you,” he winks.   “I promise if you just relax, you’ll have a good time.  I’m not so bad.”

I smile tentively at him.  Maybe he’s right.  Devon has made his intentions clear.  He cares, but not enough.  Tom really likes me and he seems like a genuinely nice guy.  I’ll give it a try, I guess.  I really love to dance anyway, so why not enjoy myself?

He parks the car and leads me into the gym.  I see Devon almost as soon as I come through the doors.  Felicia has dragged him over to get pictures made.  He looks perfectly happy to be there.  Tom’s grip on my arm tightens and I force my eyes away from Devon’s face.  Tom stares down at me with concern and I feel the first stirring of anger.  Am I going to let Devon ruin my first real high school dance?  So what if I’m here with Tom instead of him?  I can ignore him just as easily as he does me.  Maybe.

Tom had been right.  Once I stopped thinking about everything and let myself relax, I started to have fun.  Tom is really funny and I find myself laughing at his inane jokes.  He seems so shocked that I know about football.  My brother lives and breathes the sport so of course I know football.  I get bonus brownie points for that

It’s a couple hours later when I spot Devon again.  I’m just coming back to the dance floor when I see him.  He’s dancing with Felicia—a slow song.  He has her pulled close and she looks ecstatic.  Jealousy roars to life.  Vile hateful old hag.  Then he whispers something in her ear and she giggles.  Stupid, hateful Gypsy

He kisses her and I want to run.  Tears blur my vision at the pain in my heart just watching them.  I need to get out of here before Tom sees me.  He’s been so nice and I don’t want him to feel worse about my asking him out as a knee jerk reaction.

I escape outside and run around to the back of the building where no one can see me.  I lean against the wall and try to catch my breath.  The wolf stretches beneath my skin and I force myself to calm down.  It won’t do to lose control here.  My wolf seems to come out and play when I’m upset or angry.  She’s been quiet the last few days, but I’ve felt her there, just waiting. 

A cool breeze flows over me and I shiver as Devon’s power strokes my skin.    “Go back inside, Devon.”

“Are you alright, Cara?” he asks, coming to lean against the building beside of me.  “Your wolf is stretching.”

“I’ll deal with it,” I tell him shortly.

“You need help to “deal” with it, Alexandria,” he replies just as shortly.

“It’s not your problem, Devon,” I snap. 

He sighs.  “You are my problem, bellisima.”

“So I’m a problem now?”  I turn and glare up at him.  “If I’m such a problem why don’t you leave me alone?”

“I have never in all my born days encountered such a stubborn girl as you,” he glares back

I gasp.    “Oh you look here …”

I’m only speaking the truth, Alexandria.  He gives me one of his patented bored looks.  I so want to hit him.  “You cannot control the wolf.  I can.”

My hands ache to slap his beautiful face.  “Leave Me Alone!”

Instead he pulls off his jacket and holds it out for me.  I want to tell him where he can shove it, but I’m freezing.  It’s about forty degrees outside and I’d fled the gym without my sweater or coat.  I take the jacket.

“Sometimes I wonder if I made a mistake,” he says at last, his voice low and rough.  My heart leaps with hope.  “Should I have just stayed away, kept watch over you from a distance?”  He dashes my hopes and my shoulders slump.  “It would have been so much easier.” 

“Devon, I’m sorry I’m such a bother.  I don’t know why you don’t just leave...”

Like my mother.  She left.  Yeah, she had a reason, but she still left. 

“I will never leave you, my Cara,” he whispers.   His power ghosts across my skin, sending shivers through me.  He has no right to do this to me, to make me feel like this. 

I look up into his eyes and forget to breathe.  A deep and aching loneliness is hidden in their emerald depths, an ageless wound.  It is a reflection of my own soul or at least what it had once been.  Morgan healed so much of that old wound with his presence as had Devon.  As much pain as I feel right now, I owe him for helping to heal the old scars my mother left behind.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not pissed.

“Why do you say things like that to me?” I demand.  “I know you don’t want me.  You made that clear.  Sure you say you care, but not enough, not like I want you to care!  So why?”

He lets out one of those long suffering sighs he usually reserves for Connor. 


“No, don’t you ever call me that again,” I snarl, fighting tears.    “I am not your beloved.”

His face softens and he reaches out a hand towards my face, but lets it fall back to his side.  “I am sorry, Cara.  This is my fault.”

You got that right buster.

“Just go back inside and dance with the hohag,” I tell him and slouch against the wall, sniffing his jacket.  God, but it smells good.  I don’t know what kind of cologne he wears, but it should be labeled as a lethal weapon in regards to women. 

A smile flirts with his lips.  “Hohag, Alexandria?”

“It’s not funny, Devon,” I glare and he laughs.  The sound of his laughter wraps around me like a glove.  “Please, Devon just go back inside and leave me alone.”

Another sigh.  “You were not mistaken, Alexandria, when you thought I cared about you the way you wanted me to.  I do.”

What kind of game is this?  “Devon, I’m not in the mood.”

“No, I need you to understand.  I did not want to hurt you, but it was necessary.  I cannot be with you as you wish me to.”

“Why the hell not?” I demand.  Crap, he made me cuss.

He purses his lips.  “There are things that I cannot explain to you.”

“That’s not good enough, Devon,” I growl.  “I’m sick to death of all these little cryptic remarks you make.  It’s not fair!”

“Life is not fair, Alexandria.”

“Fine, don’t tell me anything,” I glower at him.  “If you won’t go and leave me the hell alone, then I’ll do it for you.”  I push away from the wall and try to leave.  He reaches out and catches my arm and yanks me back.

“We’re not done, Cara.”

“Oh, but we are,” I fume and yank my arm.  It’s like trying to pry out a rock embedded in concrete.  Impossible.  “Let go of me.”

“No,” he whispers and pulls me closer.  “I will never let you go.”

“I don’t belong to you.  You made that choice already.  Remember the hohag?”

“Yes, I remember the hohag,” his smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes.  Those beautiful emerald orbs are sleepy with another emotion.  My stomach tightens and the magic in my blood begins to tingle, to flare.  The buzzing in my ears hums louder as I stare up at him.  My magic calls to him, begs him to touch, to taste.  It scares me.


“If you only knew how badly I want to let myself do what I really want to,” he whispers and pushes me back against the wall, his body pressing into mine, trapping me.

“What do you want to do?” I ask him softly.


He kisses me.





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Jehmka wrote 707 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 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!
(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 776 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 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

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.

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.

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


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 816 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 821 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 822 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 822 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.