I am super excited to announce that my third novel, Lacey Patrick and the Wizard of Darkness, has been released today.
The novel is a bit different from my usual stuff – rather than horror, it’s more of a young adult fantasy book so I’m a little nervous about what my usual readers will think of it.
Anyway, here’s a little bit more about the book so you can see for yourself what you think:
Back Cover Blurb
When Lacey Patrick dreams of a hot stranger, her whole world turns upside down.
What she learns fill her with dread – not only must she process her whole new identity, but she must also find a way to save herself and her loved ones from a dark force that is stronger than anyone has seen before.
Who can she trust? How can she stop someone so powerful?
Time is running out and Lacey has to find the answers to those questions, and quickly – before it’s too late.
Prologue and Chapter One
Here’s the Prologue and Chapter One to give you a sneak peek of the book!
I walk along the long bare hallway. Everything is white. The floor, the walls, the ceiling. The only break from it is the slightly darker grey colour of the sealant between the floor tiles.
My feet are taking me towards the room I can see at the end of that hallway, without any input from me. They seem to know where they want to go and I let them take me. I feel powerless to stop them, but at the same time, I’m curious to know where they want to go.
I reach the end of the corridor and I enter a large room. It too is all white. It’s empty except for the imposing wooden throne which sits in the centre on a raised dais. On it sits a man.
The man stands as I enter. I feel my feet pulled towards him. I don’t fear the man but something tells me I should. I stand before him and he reaches out and touches my shoulder. He gives it a reassuring squeeze and takes a step back.
The man is tall, over six foot.
He has dark hair and tattoos up both of his arms. The tattoos intrigue me. They are a curious mixture of ancient looking symbols, symbols I’ve never seen before but somehow feel like I recognise. Intermingled with the symbols are a dragon, it’s tail snaking down around his wrist and its head just visible above the neckline of his t-shirt, and more familiar, Celtic symbols.
He’s looks about twenty- three or twenty-four and he’s extremely attractive with a chiselled jaw and cheek bones to die for. He is wearing ripped black jeans and a plain white t-shirt. I can see the outlines of muscles underneath his t-shirt. He’s not body builder muscly, but he sure looks like he works out.
He has an aura of charm but there is definitely something dangerous about him too. I feel attracted to him, like I want to reach out and touch him, but at the same time, I feel as though I want to run away and never look back.
I swallow hard as I stand before him, feeling him look me over as I do him.
I’ve never seen him before in my life.
“Lacey,” he smiles. When he smiles, his eyes fill with warmth and I can hardly remember why I thought he might be dangerous. “You have no idea how pleased I am to see you.”
“You are?” I ask. “Who are you? How do you know my name? Where am I?”
“Why you’re in your head of course. I wasn’t sure if you would be receptive to visitors.” He paused, thinking. “That’s something we’ll need to work on.”
“Who are you?” I ask again, ignoring his statement. It just didn’t make sense to me and I had so many questions, I figured I’d start with the simple ones. “What do you want?”
I still feel no fear, only confusion. I’m also starting to feel a little bit irritated. Why all the riddles? Why can’t he just tell me who he is and what he wants already?
“Allow me to explain,” the man said. “I am to be your mentor should you need help with your task. Your task is a little more complicated, but I’ll try to explain it as best I can.
“A long time ago, dark wizards and witches ruled the world. After much loss of life, we managed to over throw them and banish them to the Underworld. However, one remained. The most powerful of them all. He cast a glamour spell to change his appearance and lived amongst us peacefully without using magic. At least not in public. He trained his son and he his and so on.
“The current heir is the most powerful dark wizard to walk the Earth in many thousands of years. He remains in hiding, but his magic is too powerful to hide. We have tracked him to Boddington High School, but we are unable to discover his identity.
“We believed all was lost – and then you hit our radars Lacey. You and you alone have the power to reveal the dark wizard and to stop him before it’s too late. Prophecies from the ancient times speak of this dark wizard and how he will resurrect the old ones from their eternal torture and how they will once again rule the world. Unless of course you stop him.”
“Why me? I’m not magic, I’m just a normal girl. I really think your radar thing is mistaken.”
“Our radars are never mistaken. Come to me Lacey and I will explain further, but for now, I must leave you or you will be late for your first day back at Boddington High.”
Lacey groaned loudly as she rolled over and hit the snooze button on her alarm clock. She lay there for a moment, half awake and half asleep. Today was her first day back at Boddington High School after the long summer break and although she was dreading it, the sooner it started, the sooner it would be over.
She was entering her final year. The end goal was in sight.
Lacey yawned and stretched. She sat up and switched the alarm off fully. She got out of bed and stumbled through to her ensuite shower room.
She got into the shower and turned the water temperature up. As she stood shampooing her hair, she jumped suddenly, and her eyes flew open.
“Dammit,” she cursed as shampoo ran into her eyes. She turned her face up to the spray rinsing it away.
She had just remembered the dream she had had last night. It had felt so real. Of course it had been ridiculous, as if she, Lacey Patrick, average student and all round normal person, was somehow the saviour of the world.
She grinned as she imagined herself in a long black robe holding a wand and fighting a wizard. Her imagination was truly running away with her these days. Maybe she should abandon her plans to become a lawyer and become a writer instead.
She finished her shower and brushed her teeth. She was in a good mood. She kind of liked the idea of being a witch. Shame it was just a dream really she thought.
She turned and looked in the bathroom mirror. “Great,” she said out loud to herself. “Just what I need.”
Her eyes were red from the shampoo. She sighed. Nothing she could do about it now. If she was a witch she could magic the red away she thought with a smile.
“Abracadabra,” she whispered.
She went back into her bedroom. She blow dried her hair and applied her make-up. She dressed in her uniform. She quite liked the uniform. It was a short checked skirt with a white shirt and a black fitted blazer. She had seen much uglier uniforms from some of the other high schools in town and she was grateful that hers at least made her look like an actual person instead of a shapeless potato wearing a hat.
She stuck her feet into her black stilettos and stood before her full length mirror, turning this way and that. She looked pretty good she decided.
She checked the time as she fastened on her watch. There would be no time for breakfast, she needed to leave now. The man in the dream had been right about that. She would be late if she didn’t hurry up, and no one wanted to be the one who was late on the first day back. Especially when they knew they had a new form teacher.
She ran down the stairs and hooked her bag over her shoulder.
“Bye mom, bye dad,” she called as she rushed to the front door. She span back and picked up her car keys and headed for the door again.
“Don’t you want any breakfast?” asked her mom as she came into the hallway.
“No time,” Lacey said.
Her mom rolled her eyes. “Have a great first day honey.”
“I will, thanks,” Lacey called as she pulled the front door shut.
She got into her car and pulled away. She drove to school faster than she should have. She parked her car and got out.
She checked her watch again. She had managed to make up the time and she was actually fifteen minutes early. Score.
“Lacey,” she heard a voice shouting as she entered the front yard. “Over here.”
She looked towards the voice and spotted Keira, her best friend, waving her over.
Lacey smiled to herself as she started walking over. Keira’s sleek black bob was in perfect order, not a hair out of place. Her bright red lipstick stood out a mile. Keira always looked good. She even made the school uniform look like it had been designed just for her.
Lacey knew Keira was right to want to work in fashion. She was fashion!
“Hey,” Lacey said.
“Hey. Your eyes are all red Lace, what happened?”
Lacey had forgotten that she looked like a vampire in her rush to get here on time. “I got shampoo in them,” she said waving the concern away.
Keira laughed. “Only you. Did you hear the news about JT?”
Lacey shook her head.
“He’s single again. He ditched Amber last night.”
Lacey felt her heart miss a beat. JT was hot and as the star quarterback, he had a body to die for.
Deep down, Lacey knew she had no chance with him. Every girl in the school would want him and he would choose one of the hot girls, not plain old Lacey. But it didn’t hurt to dream. Actually, Lacey knew even if some miracle happened and he liked her, she could never be with him. He was hot, sure, but he wasn’t really her type.
Truth be told, Lacey had always thought he was a bit of an asshole. He had a huge chip on his shoulder, which Lacey was sure came from being adored by everyone; the guys adored him for his football, and the girls adored him for his looks.
Still, she thought, it would be nice to be noticed by a guy like that.
“How do you know? What happened?” Lacey asked.
Keira shrugged. “Louise called me last night. Apparently he told Amber he just wasn’t that into her.”
Lacey cringed. “Poor Amber,” she said.
“Never mind poor Amber,” Keira said. “She had her chance. Word is JT will be hooking up with someone new because Amber already moved on.”
“Already? You said they only split up last night.”
“Exactly. I tell you, that girl was never faithful.”
Lacey didn’t bother to ask how Keira knew all of this. She knew everything worth knowing about everyone in the school. If Lacey was going to hunt out a dark wizard, the task would be easy – Keira would know exactly who he was.
“Am I boring you?” Keira laughed.
“What? No. Sorry. I was in a world of my own. I was thinking about this weird dream I had last night,” Lacey said.
“Oh, do tell. Was it dirty?”
“No! It was just weird. There was this man. He told me I’m secretly a witch and I have to hunt down a dark wizard and basically save the world.”
“Well I’d better not cross you then,” Michael said with a grin as he joined the two girls.
“Yeah, watch it or she’ll turn you into a toad,” Keira laughed.
Lacey laughed along with them, but part of her didn’t really think it was funny. She couldn’t get past how real the dream had felt. And how she had somehow, almost, been waiting for something exactly like this to happen to her. Nothing quite as dramatic as being the world’s saviour, but something. Something that could explain certain things.
Lacey felt herself wandering into a world of her own again and forced herself to let it go.
“What have you been up to all summer? I’ve barely seen you,” Lacey said to Michael hoping to change the subject. She wished she hadn’t mentioned the dream.
“Not much,” he shrugged. “I was mostly working. I was helping my dad out in the store.”
Before he could say anymore, Keira grabbed Lacey’s arm. “Here he is,” she said dreamily. “Is my hair ok?”
Lacey looked in the direction Keira was looking in. JT, surrounded by his team mates, was coming towards them.
“Your hair’s fine,” smiled Lacey as she unconsciously ran her fingers through her own. Her natural curl always had an unruly look about it no matter what she did.
“Alright?” JT said in their direction as he passed. A couple of the other guys nodded in their direction too.
“Hi,” Lacey and Keira chorused together.
Michael rolled his eyes and Lacey smiled self-consciously. She didn’t even know why she was embarrassed. It wasn’t as though she liked JT. She was just being polite.
There was nothing self-conscious about Keira. “The things I could do to him,” she sighed watching him until he turned a corner and was out of sight.
“Have you been seeing anyone?” Keira asked Michael.
“No,” Michael said.
“Are you still pining over this unrequited love of yours?” Keira teased.
“Oh you so are. She sounds like a bitch,” Keira announced.
“She’s not a bitch,” Michael snapped.
“We should get to class,” Lacey said before the two of them got into a slanging match.
“Yeah,” Michael agreed still glaring at Keira. “See you at lunch.”
He walked off.
“What’s eating him?” Keira said.
“You I think,” Lacey said. “Can’t you just give him a break?”
“Look, whoever this girl is, she obviously isn’t interested. I’m just trying to help him move on.”
Lacey rolled her eyes. Keira just didn’t get it. It’s not that she was shallow exactly, more that she never really had any trouble getting the guy she wanted.
The girls started walking towards the school doors. “So, what have you heard about our new form teacher?”
“He’s meant to be hot,” Keira said.
Lacey laughed. It might be nice to have some eye candy at the front of the class for a change. Maybe this year wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Lacey took her seat in the second to last row with Keira beside her.
“Good choice,” Keira said appreciatively. “Never sit in the front two rows because then you’re expected to know the answers, and the back row means you get watched all the time.”
“So you said last year,” Lacey laughed. It was easier to go along with Keira’s theories than argue, but Lacey had to admit there seemed to be some truth to this one.
The classroom was filling up and the students chose the seats that would be theirs for the next year in this class. Louise hurried over to Keira and Lacey and plonked herself down beside Keira.
“So, I’ve just got a look at our new form teacher. He doesn’t look like a teacher; he looks like a model,” Louise said, her eyes shining with excitement.
“Told you,” Keira said to Lacey. Lacey laughed. These girls were man mad. He was probably just the only staff member under forty Lacey decided.
“Are you seeing anyone Lacey?” Louise asked, leaning forward to talk to her around Keira.
“No,” Lacey said. “Not since Kevin and I broke up.”
“You need to move on girl,” Keira interjected.
“I’m over him,” Lacey said. “I just haven’t met anyone else yet.”
It was mostly true. Lacey didn’t want to get back with Kevin, but she just didn’t want to get into the mess of dating again.
“Hmm,” Louise said. “Maybe you’ll meet someone at my party on Friday. You are coming right?”
“Of course,” smiled Lacey. It would be good to catch up with everyone outside of school, and if there was one thing Louise knew, it was how to throw a party.
Louise looked like she had been about to say something else when the door burst open and the new form teacher walked in.
“Hi, I’m Mr Hartman,” he announced as he walked to the front of the class. “I’ll be your form teacher this year. It’s good to meet you all.”
Keira and Louise exchanged gleeful smiles. Keira obviously felt Mr Hartman measured up to Louise’s description.
Lacey felt the colour drain from her face as she stared at Mr Hartman. He was as hot as Keira and Louise had described. He looked too young to be a teacher, and the tattoos up his arms didn’t exactly scream teacher. But that wasn’t what made Lacey stare open-mouthed at him.
It was him. Mr Hartman, her new form teacher, was the man from her dream. She had no idea what to think or how to process the realisation. Part of her wanted to get up and run from the classroom, and part of her felt a thrill of excitement. Could it be true? Of course not, she reasoned. But then how had he been in her dream?
There were so many questions, none of which she had any answers for, but she intended to find them.
She was jerked back to the present by an elbow to her ribs.
“Ow,” she said turning to glare at Keira.
“I’ll take that to mean you’re present Lacey,” said Mr Hartman.
Lacey realised Mr Hartman had called her name as part of the roll call and Keira had been trying to get her attention back into the room.
“Seriously Lace, stare harder if you want,” Keira smiled.
Lacey felt the colour rush back into her face in a deep blush. Great start she thought. She may as well put her hand up and announce to Mr Hartman and the class that he’d somehow had a starring role in her dream last night. And Keira wouldn’t be the only one to assume the dream had been dirty.
“I don’t think Lacey will be finding a date at your party Lou,” Keira whispered. “I think she’s got her heart set on being teacher’s pet.”
“Something you’d like to share with the class Ms Leighton?” Mr Hartman said from the front.
“No thank you Mr Hartman,” Keira smiled, her voice dripping with charm.
“A secret huh?” he said.
Lacey could feel herself squirming. She knew Keira – she was likely to tell him exactly what she had said if she thought she could get a rise out of him.
“Not a secret as such, more of an observation,” Keira said.
“What a shame it wasn’t a secret,” Mr Hartman said. “It would have tied in nicely with what I wanted to talk to you all about today.”
Lacey felt herself relax. He wasn’t going to push it. Keira wouldn’t blurt out her thoughts on Lacey wanting to be teacher’s pet.
“You all have known each for quite some time now,” Mr Hartman went on. “And in that time, you have gotten close to each other. You have made friends, good friends, the sort of friends you will hold onto for the rest of your lives.”
Lacey and Keira glanced at each and shared a smile. He was describing their relationship perfectly. They had met on the first day of school, and within the first twenty minutes, they’d just known they would be friends for life.
“Some of those friends will come to feel like family, and you will think you can tell them anything,” Mr Hartman went on. “Your deepest, darkest secrets. The crush you have that you would never tell anyone else about, your dreams and hopes for the future.”
Lacey winced inside when he said dreams, although she was sure he meant dreams of their futures, not actually dreams you have whilst asleep. Right?
Was this a code that she was meat to understand, because if it was, it was wasted on her.
“But ask yourself this,” he went on. “Can you ever really trust a person? What if you tell your best friend a secret that no one should ever know and they don’t believe you? What if that secret leads you down a path you never expected to have to walk? And in turn, what if that path leads to you and your friend not being as close anymore. Would they talk? Would they tell anyone what you’d told them?
“I can see you all sat shaking your heads. Thinking of course they wouldn’t, they’re your best friend. Some of you will be lucky. You won’t find the bonds of your friendships being tested. Some of you won’t be so lucky. Always think twice before you share your secrets, especially before you have the full story.”
Lacey felt like he was talking just to her. He was warning her not to tell anyone about him being the man from her dream. He was also warning her that the path this dream would lead to her walking down would become a wedge between her and Keira.
What nonsense, she chastised herself. He hadn’t really been there. He had no idea about the dream, or the stupid message. And even if he did, she could trust Keira with anything. Couldn’t she?
Lacey decided to keep a close eye on Mr Hartman. He had been in the room less than ten minutes and he already had her doubting her friendship with Keira.
He did make a good point about someone not believing you though. Who would believe she had had a dream about Mr Hartman before she even met him?
Lacey thought hard, trying to think if she had caught a glimpse of Mr Hartman somewhere before. She couldn’t have dreamt of him so vividly, even down to the tip of the dragon’s tail she could see peeking below his cuff.
She couldn’t imagine a time when she had seen him before. He wasn’t the sort of person you’d forget seeing, even if it was only for a fleeting second. It wasn’t just his good looks and taut body. It was his natural charm and the aura of confidence he projected.
And the way he could make you feel as though he was talking just to you.
Lacey shook away the thoughts and focussed on Mr Hartman’s words. He was still talking about the dangers of over sharing. From the puzzled expressions on many of the student’s faces, it seemed to Lacey he really was talking only to her. She seemed to be the only person that understood what he meant.
“Any questions?” Mr Hartman said.
No one spoke.
“Don’t be shy,” he smiled. “I promise I won’t turn any of you into frogs.”
Lacey took a sharp intake of breath.
“What’s up with you,” Keira mouthed.
“That’s what you said to Michael earlier about me,” Lacey whispered.
Keira frowned. “It’s a common expression.”
Lacey knew she had to stop putting words to her crazy thoughts. Keira was already looking at her like she was deranged. She knew then that Mr Hartman was right – some secrets weren’t meant to be shared, and her dream was one of them. She wished again that she had never mentioned it.
She shrugged the thought away. Keira would be over it soon enough. It was only her that was dwelling on it. She needed to get to the bottom of it, but how, she didn’t know. She could hardly go up to a stranger, a teacher no less, and ask him what he was doing in her dreams.
The bell rang loudly. Lacey and the others began quickly gathering up their things. The classroom rang with the sound of chair legs scraping across the tiled floor, and the chatter between the students started up again.
“What class do you have now?” Lacey asked Keira and Louise.
“Math,” Louise said wrinkling her nose. “What about you?”
Lacey checked her class schedule which she’d left out. “Ugh, history,” she answered.
“Me too,” Keira grinned. “Let’s see how long we can distract Mr Pullman before he gets to start rambling on.”
Lacey laughed as Keira slipped her arm through hers. Of course nothing would come between her and Keira. She was her best friend.
As the girls reached the classroom door, Lacey heard Mr Hartman’s voice.
“Lacey Patrick?” he said.
Startled, she turned around.
“That’s me,” she told him.
“I know,” he smiled. “I need to see you back here after school.”
“O, Ok,” Lacey stuttered out.
The students who were still milling around gave Lacey a chorus of “Oooohs.”
Louise laughed. “Looks like you’re in trouble already Lacey.”
Lacey forced a laugh and rushed from the classroom as quickly as she could without drawing attention to herself. Keira and Louise, who didn’t seem to notice her rush to escape, followed.
“Maybe this crush goes both ways Lace,” Keira laughed.
“There is no crush,” Lacey muttered.
“Yeah, yeah,” said Keira still grinning.
Lacey didn’t think Mr Hartman had a crush on her. She thought it might be much worse than that. She had a feeling that this meeting would change her life forever.
With a shake of her head, she pushed such thoughts away. It would be a simple business, something school related, she told herself. As if it could be anything else.
Find out what Michelle from Rockin’ Random Mom thought – read her review here.
What did you think? Let me know in the comments 🙂