Thursday, March 29, 2012

The One- Heather Self

All right, y'all.  Today I have the deets for the debut novel of a wonderful lady by the name of Heather Self.  Her novel doesn't release until this summer, but she's been kind enough to give us all a lil sneak peek to keep us going until then.  Here ya go!

Stranded on Earth four thousand years they’ve waited for the arrival of the One: some to save her, others to kill her. With her birth, the ancient prophecy could at last be fulfilled and the doorway between the worlds would open. Those who know the prophecy believe this event occurred almost eighteen years ago, and now, they'll stop at nothing to find her. Seventeen-year-old Eveline has lived her entire life on the move and she hates it. She knows her parents believe she’s the One, and they've done whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of those who want her dead. But Eveline isn't fully convinced that her parents' beliefs match her own. What she does believe is that Leadville, Colorado may be the chance she's been waiting for. The chance to be somewhere safe. The chance for her to make friends and have fun. The chance to finally date a guy. The chance to be a normal girl, at least as normal as possible for someone not human.

But that's not it, y'all.  Heather has also given us the first chapter.  Woohoo!


I took in the stone facade of my newest school and let out a sigh.  My sixth in less than four years.  I didn't expect Lake County High School to be any different than the previous five I’d attended.  I didn't expect to finish the year here, even though Dad said things would be different this time.  In the end, we'd be running.  Again.  As I looked at the students dashing into the building to get out of the cold, I continued to delay.  The cold didn’t bother me.  Pretending to be human didn’t bother me either.  But being the new kid?  I’d rather face down a legion of Nerada.  I sighed heavily as I continued to stare at the school and remembered the conversation with my parents from two weeks ago.
“Seriously?  We’re moving, again?!”  I was more than a little agitated sitting at the small kitchen table listening to the words that I’d heard so often in the last few years.  I had just finished the first semester of my senior year and had gotten my hopes up that I would get to finish it out at the same school.  I so should have known better given the pattern of the last few years.  We’d always moved around a lot, and I mean all over the world a lot.  Dad would crisscross back and forth between the States, Canada, and Europe.  Name a country and I probably lived there for at least a small portion of my life.  The last few years Dad dragged us back and forth between the two North American coasts, going as far north as Alaska and as far south as Mississippi.
            “Ev, “my dad said with a sigh, “We’ve been preparing you for this for years, sweetheart.  The cabin in Leadville is secluded and the climate is ideal for your transition. This should be the last time, and there will be other Kin there to help protect you. “
I snorted in response.  Mom’s lips quirked then quickly schooled back into a neutral expression.  Her sea foam colored eyes continued to sparkle, though.  My dad had been training me in martial arts from a very young age and Kin are significantly stronger than your average human.  I knew there wasn’t a guy on the planet who could take me.  The carrot on the stick was the presence of others like me. 
“So, there will be other Kin there?”  
Dad smiled and his blue eyes crinkled.  He knew he had me.  I’d only ever met one other member of the Kin race, my Dad’s best friend Gabriel, and so was curious to meet others closer to my own age, and I say my own age relatively speaking.   The Kin race had been stranded on Earth nearly 4000 years ago.  Gabriel and my dad were two of the original stranded members.  The Kin are what humans call dragons.  We’re actually where the myths of dragons come from except, ya’ know, we’re not a myth.  
“I know of several Kin individuals and a couple families who are in and around Leadville, “ my dad continued, “ As soon as we can we’ll get everyone together so you know who they are and who can be trusted.”
“Leadville?” I asked.  My mom took over, “Colorado, baby.  There’s a house near a lake, about 30 minutes from the town proper and will be nice and cold as it’s in the mountains and about two miles above sea level.  We’ve been moving towards Leadville for the last 4 years, Ev, and Dad has had Kin in the town for even longer than that.  There are hidden caves within the mountains that will serve as a good spot for your transition.”  
We tended to prefer a colder environment as our body temps ran a little higher than humans, and supposedly transition makes the want of a cold environment even greater. Transition is like dragon puberty.  It’s also when kin come into their elemental powers.  Depending on flight, or race, Kin could be fire, earth, or air users.  I’m a rarity as I am the first known Kin to have the blood of all four flights and according to some ancient Kin legend that makes me special.  Whatever.  It means my transition will probably suck because the more powerful you are the more difficult transition is.  With my mixed blood, I’m kind of a crap shoot, but because of the Legend my parents think I’m “the one” and will be the most powerful Kin on earth; I say that with much sarcasm and drama.
             I sighed and looked at both of them.  I knew I didn’t really have a choice and they were trying to help me feel like I had some sort of control in this.
 “You promise this is the last time?  I can actually have more than just acquaintances?”  I could see the sadness in their eyes before they even answered.  I clenched my jaw in frustration and stared at the table.  They each took one of my hands.  
“Eveline,” my dad said gently, but firmly to make me look up, “Until the Nerada stop trying to kill you, and until you transition, my first and foremost job is to make sure you are safe and can defend yourself.  If that means we have to move 100 times more, then that is what we will do.  There is nothing more important to me in this world than your mother and you,“ he paused and gave me a small smile, “however, there is a greater chance of staying put in Leadville as your mom and I will not be solely responsible for your safety.”  
Here I was, two weeks later, staring at the front doorof my new school, in layers of unnecessary clothing, and muttering words of encouragement under my breath, “I can do this.  Last time. Just get moving before your dad starts the--,”
“Are you lost?” A deep, slightly accented voice asked me.  I looked up, and up to the face of the person who was speaking to me.  He was tall, at least six inches taller than my own 5’10”, with what I could only assume were broad shoulders and chest; the heavy jacket he wore made it difficult to truly tell. There were straight, dirty blond bangs peeking out from under his beanie but it was his eyes that truly captured my attention. They were a deep, sapphire blue--similar to my dad’s-- that had me wondering if he was Adari.  However, it was the chocolate colored ring around the outside of the irises that caused me to cock my head thoughtfully. Adari and Luros? Fire and earth? I’d only ever seen mixed eye colors on my parents and on myself.   A dimple peeked out from his left cheek as his lips turned up while I rudely stared and he waited for my reply.  It was of course brilliant, and the only thing I could think to say being so close to an unknown Kin for the first time, “Uhhhh...”
His grin widened in response to expose straight, white teeth and the indention in his cheek grew even more pronounced.  The smile slowly left his face as he leaned down a bit to speak more quietly as other students passed quickly by us, making their way into the warmth of the school, trying to beat the first bell.
“It would be best, Eveline, if we made our way inside so as not to draw attention. You’ve been standing here for some time and we’re already late.” 
“Um, you know my name.”
He smiled again. “Yes,” then started walking towards the front door of the building. 
I glanced over my shoulder to see my dad already gone.  He wouldn’t leave if I wasn’t safe so I took a deep breath and chased after the stranger.
“And you said it correctly,” I accused, following after him.  
He had pronounced it EH-vuh-leen.  No one ever got it right the first time. No one.  It made me slightly crazy and is why I usually went by Evy, easier to explain--it’s pronounced like envy without the “n”.  But THIS guy, whom I had never met knew my full name AND the correct way to pronounce it.  He chuckled and paused enough for me to catch up to him, then glanced at me as we continued on.  
“So?” I asked getting a bit miffed.  
He paused in front of the doors with his hand on the pull.  His face was very serious as he stated more than asked, “He hasn’t told you who I am, has he?”  
I blew out a short breath and watched it smoke in between us. I assumed the “he” being referenced was my father but I didn’t get the chance to ask as he opened the door and ushered me inside.  Lockers were slamming shut and the halls were emptying as the first bell of the day rang, making us officially late.  He led me to the front office and smiled at the middle-aged woman sitting at the desk, the 100 mega-watt smile that showed the dimple and the woman of course smiled back.  “Good morning, Ms. Little, did you have a nice break?”  
“I did, dear, thank you so much for asking, “she glanced over to me, “Who’s this you have with you?”
“This is Eveline Fallon.  I believe you have a schedule for her.”  
“Of course I do!  Welcome to Leadville, dear.  We don’t often get mid-semester transfers in, “she paused to chuckle, “transfers out is another story.”  
She placed my schedule on the counter in front of me, “This is the classroom number, then class name, then teacher name.”  
She pointed to each column as she showed me the schedule. “Your locker number and combination is at the bottom of the page.  Now, “she glanced up to my sidekick, but he started speaking before she could finish.
“I can show Evy to her locker.  It’s right next to mine and her first class is there as well.”  “Thank you, dear, “she beamed, “I knew I could count on you.  He’s so thoughtful, “she directed the last line to me and I finally looked her in the eyes causing her to gasp.  
My eyes had a tendency to do that to people.  They weren’t just one color.  They were all four Kin colors, and it made for a strange kaleidoscope of brown, blue, grey, and sea foam green.  Dad thought they might change after my transition to whatever element was my dominant, but no one was really sure what kind of freakiness would happen.  One of a kind, that’s me.  My self-designated tour-guide grabbed the schedule and herded me down the hall towards the lockers and my first class.  
“Thanks, Ms. Little, “he called back over his shoulder.  She was still in her same spot, staring after us.  It made me sigh.  I guess I couldn’t expect a normal reaction when it came to the strange affectations that were a result of my mixed blood but it would be nice if just once I didn’t have people staring at me in shock or surprise.  I froze with realization just as we approached the locker that was apparently mine.  It was already open, thanks to my friendly welcomer, and he had turned to open his as well.  
“You should probably take your winter gear off.  We’re already late for class.” He’d already placed his hat and jacket in the full-length locker and the hair was just what I expected; dirty blond, straight, a little shaggy in length, but neatly trimmed ends and it suited him.  He eyed me questioningly, “Is something wrong?”  
I quickly began removing layers and stowing them trying to avoid giving him an answer.  When I didn’t respond right away he paused and turned to face me, leaning one shoulder against the frame of his open locker.  He crossed his arms over what I could now see was a very broad, well-muscled chest, and waited for me to answer.  
“Where’s my first class?” I asked closing the door.  Not like I had any books to take yet. He pointed to the classroom just at the end of our row of lockers and raised one eyebrow, silently asking the question again.  I sighed. He wasn’t going to give up until he got an answer.  
“Who are you? You didn’t freak out when you saw my eyes.  Or now seeing this, “I held up the long multi-colored streaks of red, white, blonde, and blackish-blue that stood out from the rest of my elbow-length, dark brown hair, “Why? WHO are you?”
He picked up the strand of multi-colored hair and ran it between his fingers from the crown of my head all the way to the ends before placing it gently behind my ear.  I watched in frozen fascination as he placed his still gloved hand on the side of my face and looked into my eyes.  
“Eveline.  I have known you,” he paused and sighed, smiling sadly, “And loved you your whole life.”  
I stood there in shock as he closed his locker and walked away from me in the opposite direction to his own class. Who the..?  What the..? He turned around walking backwards, shooing me with his hands towards my classroom.    “Damn it,” I thought, “I still don’t know his name.”
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