By Vicki Keire
A dying brother. A young man with golden planes of light on his back. A blind chess wizard. An insane angelic kidnapper in flamboyant red leather. A town with more secrets than stoplights. A cat that talks to spirits. Waking up with eyes the color of moonlight.
Before her world tilts towards impossible, Caspia Chastain thinks the only strange thing about her is that she sometimes draws the future. Only her brother Logan, fighting his cancer diagnosis, knows what she can do. When she draws a man surrounded by brilliant light, dark wings, and frightening symbols, she can only hope the vision won’t come true.
But when a stranger named Ethan appears, determined to protect Caspia and her brother from dangers he won’t explain, she’s not sure what to think. Strangers almost never come to Whitfield. They certainly don’t follow her around, frightening her one moment and treating her like glass the next. And they certainly don’t look exactly like the subject of her most violent drawing.
Ethan’i'el can’t deny the pull he feels towards this mortal with untapped gifts. Although he has come to guard her dying brother’s soul from the Dark forces that would claim it, he realizes Logan’s death will shatter her. Even worse, Ethan’i'el knows that choosing life with a mortal means eternal banishment from the Light and eventual descent into the Dark and madness.
Soon Caspia finds herself in the middle of a war between Dark and Light forces, where both Chastain siblings are targets. When she turns to her self-appointed guardian for help, Ethan must choose between devotion to the Light and an attraction that has already altered his world forever.
- Theme: Paranormal Romance
- Type: Self-Published Novel
- Length: 200 pages
- Pub. Date: January 1, 2011
“But… why? Why would someone take my drawing?” I demanded.
He was silent a long time, staring off at the patches of moonlight that crept in through the big bay window that took up most of my bedroom’s front wall. His eyes were a little unfocused, his head tilted as if listening intently. I studied his profile, thinking of him as lines and angles, of mysteries and secrets. My brother must have fallen asleep; the apartment was silent. The only noise was the faint sound of people and traffic from the square. “I don’t know,” he finally murmured, as if the silence had given him an answer. “I wish I did. But I don’t like it.” My scraped-up side pressed into the sheets beneath me. It throbbed dully, reminding me of other aches. Full-body tiredness crept across me like steam from a hot scented bath I suddenly wanted. I felt pleasantly foggy and slow.
“Ethan,” I murmured into my forearm. I wondered where he would go. Did drawings come to life have places to sleep? I imagined him picking random paintings from his imagination and stepping into them. “If I was a drawing come to life,” I said, swinging my legs over the side of my bed, “I would pick a different famous painting every night to sneak into.” He had moved, again without me noticing, to the very center of my bay window. He stared at the sky as if looking for something specific. I joined him there, leaning my forehead against the cold glass. “Starry Starry Night,” I sighed. “I’d like to sleep under a sky like that.” The full chill of October after dark hit me, seeping through my thin ripped t-shirt and chilling me all the way down to my toes. I shivered violently, but it didn’t break my dreamy lassitude. “Do you have a place to stay, Ethan?” I heard myself ask. I knew I should be horrified, giving a stranger-than-stranger the option to stay, but I wasn’t. I just shivered some more and looked at the sky, trying to see what Ethan found so fascinating up there. I could see only light pollution haze and a few pinpricks of white, meant to be stars.
Warm fingers draped a soft leather jacket around my shoulders. Behind me, he lifted my tangled dark brown hair from beneath the collar of his jacket and smoothed it so it hung across my shoulder blades. I leaned backwards into his touch as Abigail had nudged him for petting. Later, I would wonder at this. Later, I would be angry at myself for relaxing so completely and unwisely with someone who’d scared me senseless earlier that very day. But for now, I was conscious only of Ethan’s fingers untangling my hair and a growing sense of peace, stronger than anything I’d felt since before Logan’s diagnosis.
“What else, Caspia?” he almost whispered, warmth and the scent of new growing things all around me. “What other paintings would you visit, if you could?” His arms wrapped around me, tight with nervous care. Sleep pulled against me like waterlogged socks.
“I want to live in that Escher drawing,” I murmured. My eyes fluttered closed. “The house with all the crazy stairs.” I felt movement and warmth.
“Relativity.” He supplied the name absently, as if his thoughts were far away. I opened my eyes to find we were no longer by the window, but back on my bed. I lay stretched out on my uninjured side, covered with his jacket. He knelt by the side, his blue-green tinted eyes clear again and even with mine. I reached out for him but my hand felt so heavy I pulled it back under his jacket. I remembered feeling sedated when I first woke up, after meeting him for the first time in Mrs. Alice’s shop.
“Hey,” I tried to demand, but I sounded more like I’d been drinking. “Did you do something to me earlier? Outside Mrs. Alice’s shop?”
“Other than scare the hell out of you, you mean?” He snorted. “I sincerely hope so.”
“You are so not answering my questions,” I accused through half-closed eyes.
“You are so resistant to… routine persuasion,” he sighed. “I think you might be in danger.”
“Is that why I drew you? Why you came?” I asked.
He looked absolutely, positively grief-stricken. “I’m not here for you at all.” He visibly sagged after the words left his mouth, like he’d just admitted to the darkest sin of all. “But it didn’t make a difference, did it?” He laughed bitterly. “I… interfered. Like my half-cursed brothers. I’m no better.” He moved so quickly I couldn’t track him. One second he was staring at me by my bed, and the next, he was at the window, palms flat against the glass as if in supplication.
I tried to sit up but sleep threatened to drag me under like a drug. “How do you do that? Move so fast?” I complained. “And what do you mean, I’m in danger? Or that you interfered? With what?”
“How is it,” he countered, turning to me, his voice low and dangerous now, “that you’re still awake and asking questions?”
“I’m stubborn like that.” I tried to sound fierce, but I wasn’t very convincing. I could barely keep my eyes open and my vision was starting to fuzz. “And don’t forget your jacket when you get the hell out of my…”
“Keep it.” My eyes were mere slits, struggling to stay open against a sudden vivid light. “You might need it. It offers some protection against… cold, and… other things.” He sounded frustrated, and the light flared painfully. Still I tried to keep my eyes open, desperately curious about the light, about Ethan, about…
“Sleep, Caspia. I’ll see you again. Sleep.”