Today I have an extract from Wicked Woods for you and there is a giveaway too before we get to that though here is what the book is about.
It started when Briony had to move to Wicked Woods, Massachusetts to live with her Great Aunt Sophie after her family disappears on vacation. The woods at the edge of Aunt Sophie’s inn is filled with secrets and inhabitants both seductive and deadly. Among them is a beautiful boy name Fallon who saves her one night in the woods. As Briony gets closer to Fallon, she learns he has a secret, as do most of the residents of Wicked Wood.
Briony Patterson was in bed, unable to sleep, fearing that simply closing her eyes would bring forth the monsters she thought lived in the dark. Except for the full moon shining through the window of her room, it was dark. Very dark. So dark Briony could barely see her fingers in front of her. Scary things happen in the dark. Bad things happen in the dark. As far as Briony could see, there was a lot of darkness in front of her, laid out in acres over acres of woodland.
Briony could not close her eyes into blissful sleep, for this was the same house her parents and little brother had stayed in before they vanished forever, leaving her an orphan, leaving her alone, except for Aunt Sophie, who owned this little bed and breakfast at the edge of the Wicked Woods.
Briony turned, trying to make herself more comfortable in the rickety antique bed. It was the wrong bed. Briony’s bed was small, and comfortable, and hundreds of miles away. The Edge Inn was nice enough, but Briony still couldn’t think of it as her room. Thinking that would be like admitting that she would never be going back, that her parents and little brother weren’t waiting for her in her real home. Of course, they weren’t, but that only made it worse.
This wasn’t home, this old-fashioned little place in the town of Wicked, Massachusetts, even though her aunt was working hard to make it feel that way. It was too antiquated, with its exposed beams and its leaded windows, too isolated, and above all too different feeling. Had her brother had this room? No wonder Briony couldn’t get to sleep.
She closed her eyes for a second. It was still hard to believe her entire family was gone. Missing. Vanished. Into the woods, never to be found…into the very woods staring at her right outside the windows of this seemingly cozy little guest room.
Although Aunt Sophie was kind enough to take her in after her parents and little brother’s disappearance, Briony knew Aunt Sophie didn’t want her here to complicate her life. Aunt Sophie lost Uncle Pete in the same excursion into the woods that took away Briony’s family. The last thing Aunt Sophie wanted in her life was probably a teenager.
But Aunt Sophie was the only family she had now, and Briony was Aunt Sophie’s. Briony didn’t want to be here, away from her home in Florida, away from her friends, away from the life she once had. Briony took a deep breath. Adjusting to this new life would be hard. She missed her old life, she missed her parents, and even her irritating little brother Jake, but it sure beat being homeless. She experienced being that for about one week after her family’s disappearance, and her house was sold to pay bills she didn’t know about. Briony found herself without a home for nearly a week, staying with friends, then a shelter…until Aunt Sophie could claim her as her legal relative and move her over to Wicked. Somehow, there was a paperwork mixed up, which Briony couldn’t understand. Great Aunt Sophie and Uncle Pete had always been part of her family, but Briony had never understood her mother’s connection with Aunt Sophie, besides Aunt Sophie being a distant relative.
Briony got up and went over to the full-length mirror in one corner. Her honey blonde hair was a mess from all the tossing and turning she had been doing, trying to get to sleep. Her blue eyes were just starting to take on that hollow look that came when you went without sleep too long, making her normally pretty features look older than their sixteen years.
Outside the window, something howled. Briony was used to Florida, where the only sounds at night were of cars, and horns and occasional sirens. Now though, she found herself living next to about a thousand acres of woodland, complete with mysterious howling creatures. She didn’t even know if what was out there was a stray dog or a wolf deeper in the forest.
Briony moved over to the window, staring through the diamond pattern of the glass at the world outside. Even with the moon out, there wasn’t much to see here on the very edge of town. It was so much darker out here at night than in the cities she was used to. It took some getting used to.
She should have been getting used to it last month, when her family came up to stay with Great Aunt Sophie and Uncle Pete. It hadn’t sounded like much fun, even then. Slogging around in the wilderness wasn’t really for her. Thankfully, Briony’s parents had agreed, and she had gone off to cheerleading camp instead. That had been so much better, right up to the point when the phone call came through to tell her that her mother, father, brother and uncle were gone, just like that.
Something moved in the darkness, out beyond the window. Briony forced herself not to jump. It was probably just a small animal or something. Except that when it came again, Briony couldn’t see anything. Instead, all she could see were shadows, shifting as a deeper darkness on the edge of the trees around the inn. Oh yes, the Edge Inn, run on the edge of the forest by Sophie Edge and her husband. That seemed so funny now that there were things out there, didn’t it?
Wrapping a thick robe over her nightclothes, Briony set off downstairs, knowing that there was no way that she would sleep yet. She had only gone to bed because Aunt Sophie had suggested that it might be good to get an early night, what with starting at Wicked’s High School tomorrow. Well, that and she suspected that her great aunt probably needed some time alone. It couldn’t be easy trying to be strong for Briony when Aunt Sophie had her own grief to deal with over the loss of Uncle Pete. Briony knew that her aunt would never show any hint of it around her, because that wasn’t the kind of thing Aunt Sophie did.
Briony tiptoed downstairs, determined not to wake anyone, though with no guests currently at the inn, there was only Aunt Sophie to worry about. Briony found her asleep in the lounge. She lay in an armchair, wrapped in a robe so voluminous that it made her look vaguely like a yeti and snoring in tones that probably accounted for the lack of guests. Two fluffy pink slippers poked out of the end of the robe. Her graying hair was tied back. It made Aunt Sophie look older than usual, showing all of her fifty years.
Briony crept quietly past her to the lounge’s television, turning it on with the volume barely audible. The local news was on, which was probably good. So little seemed to happen around Wicked that Briony would probably be asleep in seconds. Alright, so that was probably unfair. Even so, there didn’t seem to be much in the local news beyond the usual round of minor events. There was a Fall Moon Festival coming up, and apparently it was due to be the biggest for years. The local high school football schedule was announced, and people were urged to support the team on their big days. There were a few more announcements about tryouts for local sports teams, but again, it was nothing that seemed important.
When that was done and the news gave over to the weather, Briony decided that it was probably time to get back to bed. As quietly as she could, she switched off the TV and started to tiptoe back past her aunt, who was still snoring loud enough to wake the dead. Briony didn’t want to disturb her.
She had made it almost as far as the stairs when the doorbell rang. Briony didn’t bother looking around for a clock. She already knew that it was far too late for people to be showing up looking for a room. On the other hand, though, it wasn’t like there were any guests at the moment, and Aunt Sophie would probably be glad for the extra business.
“I’m coming,” Briony muttered under her breath as the doorbell rang again. “Can you not hold on one minute?”
Briony hurried for the door, but she was not as quick as her great aunt. In the time it took Briony to cross the hallway, Aunt Sophie managed to wake up, leave her chair, and place herself firmly between Briony and the door. Briony found herself smiling at the thought of the sight Aunt Sophie probably presented as she opened it in that huge, furry robe of hers.
She was certainly a contrast to the couple waiting on the doorstep. They were so glamorous that they could have passed for Hollywood celebrities, though possibly ones from the nineteen-forties, given the way they dressed. The man had slicked back blond hair, a suit that was complete with waistcoat and pocket-watch, and even old-fashioned spats on his shoes. The woman was resplendent in a red dress that matched her lipstick, while her hair fell loose in blond waves. Both of them seemed very pale to Briony, who was used to people who got out in the Florida sun. Also, there seemed to be something slightly odd about their eyes. Maybe they were wearing colored contact lenses?
“What is it you want?” Aunt Sophie asked. Her voice wasn’t friendly. She probably didn’t like having to answer the door dressed as she was in the middle of the night.
The man smiled. His voice, when it came, seemed a touch too smooth. “We’re sorry to call on you so late, ma’am, but we were just at a party. We have been driving back through the woods, but it occurred to us that we didn’t really want to drive all night. We were hoping that you might still have some rooms.”
The woman clung to his arm as he said this. She directed a smile at Briony.
“Oh, look, Philip. Isn’t she sweet?”
Briony was a little surprised when Aunt Sophie edged a little further in front of her, though not as surprised as at what she said next.
“I think it’s time you left. We don’t have any rooms. Try someplace else.”
“That isn’t very friendly,” the woman said, frowning.
“Like I said, try someplace else.”
Something about the couple changed then. They were still smiling, but to Briony, those smiles looked a lot more predatory. The way their canine teeth suddenly looked a lot longer probably had something to do with it. They started to take a step forward.
So fast that Briony barely saw it, Aunt Sophie reached into her robe and drew out two objects. One was a glass vial, which she waved as though the contents were dangerous. The other was, of all things, a large silver crucifix.
Very interesting, well you’ll be wanting to know about the giveaway now which is to win…
Kailin Gow loves things that are edgy, cool, bright, exciting, hopeful, glittery, and jaw-droppingly awe-inspiring. She loves writing, reading, and filming stories about people whose journeys take them beyond their boundaries – physically, psychologically, intellectually, and emotionally to arrive a point and a place of inspiration and hope. Her works have been recognized by the leaders in the industry in book publishing and entertainment to be “innovative” and “disruptive”, earning her awards from ALA, The IBPA, and festivals.