by Liz Keel
Series: The Driel Trilogy #1
Publication: April 21st 2016
by FIre Quill Publishing
After losing everything, all seventeen-year-old Thea wanted was to be a normal teenager. Instead, she was attacked by a mysterious creature she thought only existed in fairy tales. Now thrown into the unknown realm of Faey, Thea is forced to determine the difference between reality and fantasy, in a world ruled by a dark elite and a society wracked by intolerance and prejudice.
With the support of her new friends and a mysterious dark haired, blue-eyed guardian watching her every move, Thea will discover that when it comes to Faey, nothing is what it seems. Will her courage and desire to save this new world from darkness be enough? Or will Thea be the next victim to fall to the dark whispers of fate…
“No!” I screamed. It had happened again. This was the fourth night in a row I had woken up with a start, beads of sweat dampening my forehead and a sick feeling swirling in my stomach. Rubbing my face whilst trying to sit up I thought back to the same terrifying dream that had been haunting me for weeks now. Not that I expected it to be any other way. I mean, watching your parents die in a car crash will have that effect on you. The difference was that I was supposed to have died. I know it sounds crazy but there was no way I should have survived that; yet I had, and I was sure that the only reason I was still alive was because of the bright light that had emanated from my body.
We were supposed to have been setting off on a three-month expedition around India, but only got as far as our local town in Montana before it happened. One minute I was sitting in the back of the car fiddling with my iPod and the next second I’d heard Mom screaming. I’d looked up just in time to see a car skidding along on the road before it hit us side-on, flipping us into a ditch. Even now the fear I’d felt at the time – the fear of what was to come – still swallows me whole. Time had seemed to slow down as I had watched my mom and dad being thrown around as the car had turned upside down. Our screams had been overwhelming and I’d been reaching my breaking point, when suddenly all went silent and
I had been engulfed in a bright, orange glow that had blinded me. Everything after that was hazy. I remember smacking my head on the window, which had been followed by an unbearable pain that had made my skull feel as though it would explode. I put my hand to my forehead, feeling a warm and sticky liquid trickling down the side of my face. Putting my hand out in front of me, I saw it was blood, but my fuzzy brain couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. It was at that point black spots started to creep into my vision, making everything seem blurry. Then, however much I tried to stay awake, the darkness won and I slipped out of consciousness.
I awoke to an incessant bleeping and hushed whispers of ‘So young’ and ‘Such a shame’ and it was at that point I knew both of my parents were dead. Upon opening my eyes, a numb feeling began to take over as I realised I was in the local hospital with doctors giving me sympathetic looks and calling me sweetie whilst a nurse asked me who they should contact. That was an easy answer: no one. My parents had both been only children and their parents, my grandparents, had died when they were young. There was no one else.
The shaking wouldn’t stop and my whole body seemed to react to what I had re-lived…again. This time the man started walking towards me whilst I was trapped in the car, angrily shouting a message he was adamant I was going to hear. I did.
I knew I must have woken someone up this time as my screams continued to ring out much longer than normal. Eli was the first in and padded softly over to my bed, a sympathetic look on his face. Just as he sat down, his mom popped her head around the door. “All okay?” she asked.
I nodded in answer. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you… I just….” I stopped, shrugging helplessly, feeling embarrassed.
“It’s okay, just let me know if you need anything,” she said, sharing a look with Eli as she left.
“So the same again?” he asked.
“Yes, but there’s more,” I whispered apprehensively as I crawled into his lap. Hoping he wouldn’t think I was crazy, I told him about the man in the dream. I waited as he sat there thoughtfully rubbing the morning stubble that had appeared on his chin.
“Tell me again what he said.”
“That I had ruined everything and I was still going to die,” I said, my breath coming out in short gasps. I jumped up and began pacing around the room. “It seemed so real and I can’t shake this feeling that I know him from somewhere, or that I’ve met him before.”
As I stared distractedly out of the window into the pitch black night, I felt Eli’s arms come around me in a warm embrace. My shoulders sagged. His touch had the calming effect I needed and I let him lead me back to bed. Once again I snuggled into him and began to breathe more normally.
“Thea, it’s going to be okay, I know it may not seem it, but it will. I’m here for you, I….” And then he stopped. I felt like I knew what he was going to say and didn’t know if I could handle that right now, so I turned and gave him a weak smile, quickly thanking him before he could finish his sentence.
“It’s the first day of school tomorrow so we better get some sleep,” Eli replied, returning my smile. “Good night,” he said, kissing my forehead before he left.
Leela stared at me wistfully over the breakfast table. “But I wanna come,” she sniffed. “So does Buggles, don’t you?” she said, making the rabbit’s head bounce up and down.
“Not long until it’s your turn,” her dad said, ruffling her hair as he walked by.
“Ready?” Eli called to me as he came down the stairs.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” I laughed and grabbed my bag, heading for the door.
“Have a good day!” Mrs Thompson said, kissing us both on the cheek, “and be safe,” she continued, giving Eli a meaningful look. I gave him a puzzled glance as she turned away: it was only school, after all. But he just shrugged and walked down the pathway with me in tow.
It was about a fifteen-minute walk to our bus stop down a long winding track, past the forest I loved so much. We started off in silence, both caught up in our own thoughts, and it wasn’t until we were at the turnpike that I got the uneasy feeling we were being watched. I glanced into the forest, trying to see if there was anything out of place, but all I was greeted with was the dense undergrowth. I think Eli noticed it too because he seemed to tense up, and put his arm protectively around me, which brought me to a stop.
In the next instant, three men dressed in black jumped out from the bushes. Two of them went straight for me whilst the third put out his hands towards Eli. Somehow, without even touching him, he managed to throw Eli backwards about ten feet, where he hit the floor and skidded to a halt. My screams for help were drowned out when one of the attackers clamped a cold, calloused hand over my mouth. I bit down hard, which elicited a shout in a foreign-sounding language. Luckily this was enough for him to release me, and I felt some sort of inner victory knowing that I had managed to hurt him, even if it was only just a little bit.
~About the Author~
I live in Surrey, England, a short walk from the beautiful Windsor Park, with my husband Richard and our two gorgeous children Noah and Olivia. For me, writing is nothing short of an addiction and I often find myself sneaking out to my writing shed for just a few minutes, which can often turn into hours of pure, unadulterated bliss catching up with my characters and continuing their story. In-between writing, I teach in a primary school where there’s never a dull moment! I will also often be found Kindle in hand, reading a wide variety of genres but with YA fantasy and paranormal romance at the forefront of my reading list.
Although I’m currently writing the second book in the Driel trilogy, other characters involving all things fantasy, paranormal and YA romance are jockeying for position, wanting me to write their story next, so watch this space!
It is such a privilege to share my stories with you the reader. Thank you enough for taking the time to find out more about me.
Liz’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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