by Allie Jean
Published: May 2, 2012
Publisher: The Writer's Coffee Shop
Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo
Chantal Breelan is a ward of the state, living under the care of a woman who is cold and heartless. Her past is a mystery, and her future is even more uncertain. She can’t recall why she had been taken from her parents and so she’s left with nothing but an empty hole where her childhood should have been. When she awakens from her nightmares, she’s left with terrible, violent images, as well as a boy whose face is oddly familiar, yet can’t be placed.
Scared and alone, Chantal begins to confide in an imaginary friend – a shadow in the shape of a man who stands in the corner of her room. She is comforted when she believes he listens to her. On her eighteenth birthday, Chantal is forced to leave her foster home. She moves to New York City, but the start of her new life doesn't begin as smoothly as she’d hoped. One night at a subway station, Chantal meets a young boy who runs away from her, and she’s compelled to follow him down into the tunnels. But this Rabbit Hole reveals a world where reality is a nightmare.
Mathias is a descendant of a Fallen Angel and beholden to wage an unfathomable war against an ancient evil, spawned by greed and spite. A powerful fighter, he and his brethren of Warriors vow to pay recompense for the sins of their fathers by guarding the most precious, piercing light against the darkness – the females of their kind. The Warriors' pledge is to find and protect the Oracles, their sisters and kin. Long have they fought, shedding sweat and blood, hoping that their struggles are not in vain. Yet in his sacrifice and service he may find life’s ultimate reward – a love to surpass all time.
Chapter Eight Excerpt
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Chantal awoke from her dream, a layer of sweat covering her entire body. She sat up, disoriented and realizing she was in darkness.
Shaking off vague remnants of the horrible nightmare, she tried to regain her bearings.
“Hello?” she called, not expecting an answer. Perhaps somewhere in the back of her mind she hoped that Monica had come back to stay.
There was a small clanking noise from across the room. Maybe it was just the settling of the wood framing, she thought, knowing full well wood didn’t make that kind of noise. She swallowed hard against a thick lump in her throat, her hand trembling as she reached for the new bedside lamp she’d borrowed from Monica. She clicked the dangling cord, but the light didn’t come on.
Chantal panicked, clicking the cord a couple of more times in fast succession. Then, taking a deep, steadying breath, she fumbled with the nightstand drawer, trying to find the old flashlight she kept there as backup.
Finding it, she felt a small spark of relief. But the stupid thing didn’t turn on. She hit the side like she’d done before, but nothing happened. The old batteries had given out.
Why didn’t I pick up more batteries? She silently scolded herself
This felt unnatural, like one of her nightmares. It had happened before, when she thought she’d awoken from her dream, only to realize the nightmares had tricked her, trapping her in a horror film so twisted it had left her anxious for weeks.
The clanking came again, this time more forceful, and she hoped one of her friends from the subway hadn’t followed her home.
“You better be a rat!” she said, and squinted into the darkness, hoping her eyes would adjust. The street lamp outside her apartment offered some help, but the majority of her room was dark and gloomy, congregating by the kitchen where the damn noise came from.Choice Four
Hating that she felt so terrified and vulnerable, Chantal couldn’t help but look over to Nick’s corner. Maybe his presence would help alleviate her fear. There he was, with his head angled in her direction.
“The lights won’t come on,” she said, speaking to him aloud for the first time now that she lived alone. “I don’t know if that means some boogey man is coming for me, or my landlord needs to fix the connections.”
Silence greeted her, leaving a void both ominous and soothing, and she wasn’t sure if she preferred it to the clanking noise. She snuggled down into bed, pulling the covers up once more.
“You know, I would’ve said I was being ridiculous, but after today, I . . .”
She didn’t want to admit out loud what she’d seen because somehow it would make it all the more real. She glanced at Nick, feeling foolish and tired at the same time. She felt exhaustion from many sources, and she wished she could just sleep without the dreams, without the worries of the real world. Now, she had a whole new element to add to the scenario.
“Why did it come after me?” she asked, staring toward Nick as if his unchanging figure would have all her answers. “What did that . . . boy . . . mean when he said the shadows were coming for me?”
Nick, ever her faithful, silent companion, didn’t offer her anything but something to focus on. The fact that she depended on him was silly, but she couldn’t find it in her to care.
The clanking noise started again, this time in a steady, unwavering beat.
“That’s it,” she said, pulling the covers off her and headed in the direction of the main light switch. She’d figure out what caused the noise once and for all, but as she passed by Nick’s shadow, something caught her attention.
The head of the shadow had moved, as if following her, and she could have sworn she saw what looked like a pair of eyes, and she gasped.
There was a menacing laugh coming from the same direction as the rhythmic noise, and she backed away, terrified. A large shadow that hadn’t been there before took up the majority of her small kitchen. It moved and swayed to the beat of the clanking, like a tree caught in the breeze.
She bit the inside of her lip, a test she did often to make sure she was awake. This felt too much like a nightmare to be real, but the sharp sting and metallic taste of blood told her she was, in fact, awake. Her back met the wall behind her as she spread her fingers out against the plaster, bracing herself and wishing she could find a way out of this.
“It’ssss time, my dear,” an evil voice said from across the room, making the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. She didn’t know what to do or where to go. The door to the hallway was on the opposite side of the apartment, and it was impossible to get there without getting closer to that shadow.
She glanced back in Nick’s direction, not knowing what to do, but he stood there, offering no help, those almost clear eyes holding her gaze. She wanted to tell him to do something if he was real, but an almost imperceptible shake of his shadowed head kept her silent. She bit her bottom lip to keep it from trembling.
“What do you want from me?” she asked the moving shadow, her voice quavering in fear.
“Your death,” the thing said, taking a step out of the darkness. “Or the equivalent would be niiiiice.”
It was a grotesque creature wrapped in a thick, dark cloak, and it shuffled from side to side as it moved, its three-toed feet offering a wide base, its bald head holding no eyes or features but a yawning, empty mouth filled with rows of razor-sharp teeth.
The clanking noise got louder as it moved closer, and Chantal noticed something hanging from the front of its robes.
“You like it?” it asked, laughing and holding up the long chain of dangling things that clanked together as it moved. They looked like little baseballs in the dim lighting, but something inside told her they were far more horrendous. “These are the heads of your kin. The ones I found while they were still in infancy.”
She covered her mouth, trying to avoid being sick. The skulls of babies hitting one another produced the sound, and she couldn’t help but let out a little cry. It laughed at her, holding up the makeshift belt so that she could get a better view.
“Don’t feel bad for them, my lamb. They had it easy, probably didn’t even feel a thing. You, on the other hand . . .”
It pulled out a long serrated blade, the edges of it coated in what looked like dried blood. Chantal moved along the wall frantically, trying to find a means of escape.
“Why? Who are you?” she shouted.
“I’m The Sssseeker, my dear. I’m the one who finds your kin and wipes them out.”
“There must be a mistake,” she said, frantic. “I’m not who you think I am.”
“Oh, but you are. I can smell the scent of Grace on you a mile away.”
The creature came closer, its stench nauseating. Chantal wanted to scream but didn’t, not wanting to alarm her neighbors. She wouldn’t drag them into her nightmare.
She had the urge to fight him off but didn’t have any sort of weapon within reach. She could hear Natalie’s voice in her mind telling her countless times to make sure she bought a gun once she reached the city, but Chantal had always brushed the warning off. Now, she wished she’d listened. Hell, even a baseball bat would do right now.
The thing came closer, shuffling steps dragging it across the floor. She glanced toward Nick, hoping that he’d pop out of the shadow and come to rescue her, but he wasn’t there. His silhouette had disappeared, along with any hope she had beforehand.
She scrambled across the wall, heading toward her bed, hoping she could find something to defend herself. She pushed herself across the mattress, keeping the thing in view as she reached for the lamp. He laughed, both of them knowing she was pathetic. He raised his blade as his oozing mouth formed a horrifying smile.
“Excuse me,” a male voice said from behind the cloaked figure, making both the creature and Chantal pause. A man stepped into view, grayskinned, dark-haired, dressed in only a black pair of jeans with those distinct eyes Chantal had seen in the alleyway. “I think the??????????????????????????????????????? lady’s made it clear she wants you to back off. Besides, you’re kind of gross.”
The creature lunged at the gray-skinned man, thrusting his blade toward his bare torso. The man spun, melting into the darkness, becoming part of the shadow again. He reappeared behind the creature, yielding a blade of his own.
They fought ferociously as Chantal sat frozen on her bed. Each had the ability to move like lightning; each could disappear into the darkness.
“She will die, Warrior, no matter how many you send to protect her,” the creature said, spitting his dark venom onto the floor as he whipped around in attempt to slice at the man’s lower torso.
“Not by your hand, and not while I’m still around,” the gray man said, hacking his blade through the air and just missing the creature’s melonshaped head.
“You protect her in vain,” it said, landing a punch to the man’s flank.
“She’s survived this long,” the gray man said, plunging his blade deep into the creature’s abdomen. It sputtered, spraying black liquid onto the floor. “And she will survive tonight, just like I said she would.” He twisted the blade, causing the creature let out a gurgled cry, and a torrent of fluid poured from the creature’s terrible mouth, leaving a puddle on the floor.
The thing melted in front of her, joining the filth on the floor. Once the creature had dissolved, the remains sizzled like acid and then disappeared.
The man stood, his blade held out at an angle, the length of it covered in black ooze. His eyes were vacant, his mouth moving as if in prayer. Chantal watched him, horrified and amazed at the same time.
“Nick?” she said. He glanced up and captured her with his angelic eyes.
Upon reading the synopsis and seeing the cover of this book, I immediately signed up for the review tour. Well, it's because I also love reading books about dreams and mysteries. The first chapters of this book gave me the chills. Especially the scene at the altar. Oh boy, that gave me a nightmare. Literally. I even thought about stop reading it because of the experience. But I told myself, NO. I have to finish this. I just have to. I guess I just have to open all the lights when reading at night, since that's only the time wherein I can really focus on reading. XD
I was so scared of the monsters in the book, the horror it gave me, if only you can imagine it. Reading this book is like watching a horror film as well. Images would fill your imagination. I feel like I'm in the shoes of Chantal, even though the book wasn't written in the first person point of view. The writer did very well in bringing the readers into the world of the main characters. WOW.
And then there goes my favorite part in reading: the handsome and gentleman (slash warrior) that would always save the day and make me giggle and blush to myself. I was surprised to meet him while reading, since he wasn't mentioned in the synopsis.
Nick (I also prefer to call him that) is just amazing. He is a fallen angel, who turns to step out from the shadows everytime our dreamer (Chantal) seems to face danger because of her strange and mysterious dreams. His appearance also gave clarity to Chantal's true identity. I just hope he's real. I wish for a hot angel that would always comfort me everytime I''m having bad dreams.
The part where there were little girls who were having the same condition as Chantal broke my heart. The fact that shadow warriors like Nick, longed to see them after their fights melted my heart. I just love that part. I always admire badass-looking guys cuddling cute little children. They make them look gentle, not soft, and still handsome.
This book is a great read. It's a total page turner especially for those who seek mystery.The author totally captivated me and I am looking forward to read the sequel!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allie Jean was born with an overactive imagination. She spent her childhood inventing stories and telling tales. Her mind never shut down, even while she slept. Vivid dreams containing extensive, elaborate plot lines of good overcoming evil villains captured her nightly visions, lingering into her waking hours and filling the pages of her well-loved bounded diaries. She was encouraged by her parents, even at a young age, to write down her tales, and it has remained a somewhat secret hobby. As a busy wife, mother and critical care nurse, Allie’s love of storytelling has been reborn through the adventures of her unforgettable characters.
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