To finish up the celebrations for the month of my 5th publishing anniversary, I’m having one last giveaway for February, a signed copy of my young adult supernatural mystery novel, SIGHT, which is book 1 in the Delta Girls series. If you like shows like Charmed, Ghost Whisperer, and enjoy books with mystery, suspense, humour, sisterhood and family dynamics, and young love, then you might like this series!
Below I am sharing Chapter One of SIGHT to give you a “taste” (title of Book 4, no pun intended!) 😉
Hope you enjoy, and read below to the bottom of the page for details on how to win a copy…
SIGHT (THE DELTA GIRLS #1) – CHAPTER ONE:
I always thought I’d spend my sixteenth birthday at home with my four sisters and closest friends having the sleepover of all sleepovers with streamers and balloons overtaking the living room, a bottomless bowl of salt and vinegar potato chips, and enough chocolate to feed a small country. We’d watch movies, pausing occasionally to drool over hot actors, before turning up the music and dancing around like lunatics. My eldest sister, Talia, and her twin, Tamara, would probably bring out their Ouija board and freak the crap out of all of us. With our nervous systems on high alert for an impending ghost visitation, it’d be more like a no sleepover. Add the fuel of excess sugar and hormones to the fire of fear, and we’d be up all night for sure.
Instead, I spent my birthday fast asleep. In a coma, to be exact. Not exactly the picture I had in mind, and I doubt the picture my sisters had in mind either. As the youngest child in the family, everyone always treated me as though I was made of fragile glass; and as one of triplets, my birthday parties were always shared with Serena and Sasha. But, for the momentous occasion of my sweet sixteenth, we were separated by my inconvenient lack of consciousness. Not so sweet after all.
I wasn’t aware of my birthday taking place, or aware of anything for that matter. I only remembered the heavy, drowsy sensation after the anesthesiologist put the mask on my face, and then everything around me faded to black. It was a risky operation, no doubt about that. I’d been given the choice of living my life with the ticking time bomb of a brain aneurysm, or having surgery to hopefully repair the damn thing, giving me the possibility of a so-called normal life. As any teenager would have done, I reached for the hope of a normal life—that Holy Grail of adolescence and the need to fit in, to be accepted, and to figure out who the heck I was. The idea of walking around with a head that could explode at any minute was about as appealing as wearing the pink sweater with a trail of fluffy pom-poms down each sleeve that Grandma knitted me two Christmas’s earlier.
I was told to expect a shocking headache on waking after the operation, but what I didn’t expect was not waking up at all. There was no headache, no lights, and no doctors and nurses hovering around me—okay, there could have been, but I wasn’t aware of them. I was trapped in a prison of darkness with no way out.
That was until the fourteenth of April, two months after being wheeled into the operating room, when a strange jolt coursed through my body. Warmth flushed my skin, and a kind of bubbly sensation tickled me from the inside; and for the first time in a long while, I saw something. The image was as clear as day; I knew it was real.
And then I opened my eyes.
“Did you feel that?”
“I thought I heard…”
The sound of my sisters’ voices became apparent as light soaked into my aching eyes, drowning in a thick blur of white.
“Oh my God. Savannah!”
“Quick, someone get Mom!”
I wanted so much to sit up and hug them, feel that I was indeed alive, but my muscles were deaf to my brain’s commands. At least my ears weren’t. The mismatched symphony of sounds gnawed at my eardrums, but I didn’t care. I was alive. My family was with me. The familiar click- clack of my mother’s shoes grew near, followed by her soft breath and cold palm on my face before it was quickly replaced by a sharp light protruding into my eyes.
“Savannah, can you hear me?” an unfamiliar male voice asked. “Blink twice if you can hear me.”
I blinked. Twice.
“She really is awake! Honey, it’s Mom. Everything’s going to be all right.”
“I…know.” It was as though I was speaking for the first time. The words sounded like strangers hijacking my throat as it scratched and strained in effort. It felt weird, but at the same time, it felt pretty awesome.
Three Months Later…
I’d forgotten how delicious ice cream was. Since my operation, eating ice cream had always been rewarded with a sharp, cold headache, but not today. Today I was rewarded with the bliss of boysenberry ripple cooling my tongue and delivering a burst of sweetness to my eager taste buds. I wiped at globs of ice cream as they dripped down my chin and giggled. Serena, my older sister by two and a half minutes, eyed me strangely.
“What?” I asked.
“Huh? Oh, nothing.” She flicked her slender hand. “It’s just good to hear you laugh again, that’s all.”
Smiling, I stepped onto the beach, reveling in the luscious, warm sand oozing between my toes. People laughed and chatted around us, children squealed and giggled, and seagulls squawked overhead; all relishing the freedom of the summer holidays. Flags marking the safe section of beach in which to swim flapped in the breeze as lifeguards watched over the crowd. The five of us dawdled along, licking our ice creams and inhaling the salty ocean air that tickled our skin as it swept around us.
Talia stopped and glanced at her feet, her wavy locks tumbling over her shoulders.
“What is it?” we asked in unison.
Bewilderment creasing her face, Talia raised her head. “I don’t know. But being here…it reminds me of something.” As though giving up trying to figure out what that something was, she shrugged, causing a spaghetti strap from her maxi dress to fall off one of her tanned shoulders. She returned it to its rightful position and we continued walking.
A dull thud knocked my head sideways a tad. “Hey!”
My gaze darted to the beach volleyballers nearby who were now missing a ball. I tucked the tip of my foot under the offending item, sharply flicked it up, and caught it in one hand. Good to know my soccer skills hadn’t died along with the aneurysm. “I’d say that shot was out,” I called across to the group of golden-skinned teenagers.
“Ya think?” a boy about my age, maybe older, replied. His hand shaded his face, but when he removed it to reveal beautifully proportioned perfection, I almost dropped the ball. And the ice cream.
Gulp. Maybe moving here away from my friends wasn’t so bad after all.
“So, are you gonna give it back or what?” He frowned. “Or can’t you throw that far?”
I’d spoken too soon. What an ass.
“Here, hold this.” I thrust my half-eaten ice cream cone into Talia’s unsuspecting hand and turned away from my sisters.
“Savannah, what’re you doing?” Sasha, my older sister by six minutes asked, lifting her sunglasses onto her forehead. “Just give the ball back.”
“Oh, I’ll give it back,” I said, confidence raising my chin. Or was it the desire for payback?
“Savvy,” said Talia, in her I’m-your-big-sister-and-I- know-what’s-best voice. “Don’t do anything stupid. The doctor warned you not to overdo it. Come back.”
She grasped my arm, but I flung her hand away. “I had an aneurysm. Had. It got fixed. I’m not a freaking invalid!” Geez, my sisters drove me mad sometimes, especially Talia. They treated me like a baby before the condition, but now it was ten times worse. They might as well have covered me in bubble wrap and attached me to a leash or something.
Talia crossed her arms and twisted her lips to one side as I approached the beach volleyballers. I stood at the corner of their makeshift court and shot a laser glare at Mr. I’m- So-Hot-It-Hurts. He stood at the ready, shifting his weight from one muscled leg to the other. Luckily, soccer wasn’t my only forte. It’d been a while since I’d played volleyball, but I remembered how to do a mean serve. And I was determined that this would be my meanest.
My eyes pinned the location I was aiming for. I stepped back on my right foot and tossed the ball in the air, meeting it on its descent with the side of my thumb as my fingers clenched into a fist. Bam! The ball went over the net toward the incredibly gorgeous and incredibly infuriating guy, who lunged for it and missed. The ball left a kind of mini UFO crop circle in its wake on the sand. Sucked in, hotshot.
“Woo-hoo!” yelled a girl on my side of the net, approaching me with a high-five. “That was awesome. You’re welcome to join us if you like.”
I glanced toward Talia who tapped at her watch as if we were running late for something. The sun reflected off the silver and I squinted at the glare. Then I held up my hand and mouthed, “Five minutes.” I turned back to the girl. “Thanks, I’d love to.”
I felt confident, powerful—alive. Hottie kept hitting the ball in my direction and only once did I miss. “I missed that on purpose,” I said. “Thought I better let you have at least one point.” He pretended to laugh, and I forced myself to look away from the silky ripple of a smile on his cheeks. I had to admit, he was pretty tough competition, but the thrill of opposing his every move sent a rush through my body I hadn’t felt in a long time. Not since… Oh. My. God.
I stopped. “Um, thanks guys, but I have to go now.” I waved awkwardly to the group then rushed over to my sisters who’d actually been cheering on the sidelines.
“What’s wrong, Savvy?” asked Talia, her brow furrowed.
“Nothing. But…I saw this.” I gestured toward the volleyball match. “Everything that just happened, I’ve already seen it. Back in the hospital, right before I woke up.” I placed my hands on my denim-clad hips and panted, catching my breath; from the exercise or the realization, I didn’t know which. Silence followed as they were probably trying to process what I’d said.
Talia stepped closer to me, her height making me tilt my head up slightly. She nibbled on her bottom lip as though she was trying to work out a nice way of saying, “You’re crazy, little sis.” But she didn’t. Quite the opposite, actually. “So did I. Only, I didn’t see it, I felt it. The sand giving way under my feet, the warmth of the sun on my skin, the ice cream cones in my hands. Right before you woke up,” she confessed.
My gaze locked on her intense blue eyes. I glanced at my other sisters who shifted awkwardly on the spot. At least if they thought I was crazy, my eldest sister would share the load with me. She’d felt this moment. I’d seen it. That was a fact, crazy or not.
Serena cleared her throat and scratched her cheek. “Me too,” she whispered, stepping closer in alliance. “Moments before you woke, I heard you giggle, just like you did back there.” She pointed to the ice cream van and squinted at the sun, crinkling her freckled nose. “I thought it was just a vivid memory at the time. I also heard the pop of the volleyball against everyone’s hands, only I didn’t realize what it was until now.”
My heart rate kicked up a notch. And as though encouraged by our revelations, Sasha and Tamara looked at each other curiously and nodded.
“I could taste the ice cream,” said Tamara, tucking a curly tendril of hair behind her ear, her round cheeks rosy under the heat of the sun.
“Wow, this is unbelievable,” said Sasha. “I could smell the salty air and the sunscreen lotion.” She shivered, despite the warm temperature.
The noise of the crowds and the splash of the waves subsided like we were the only people on the beach. My sisters’ words floated through my mind, crisscrossing into a weave of realization. The five senses. One for each of us. “So what you’re saying is, you all sensed this moment, in one way or another, right before I woke up?”
“Holy crap.” I ran my fingers through my dark, bobbed hair until they met the hot sweat at the back of my neck. How could this be possible? “What were you doing at the time?” I asked, my mind searching for a plausible explanation.
Talia threaded her fingers together then stretched and wrung her hands. “We were thinking you might never wake up, and Serena started crying. She wouldn’t let go of your hand,” she explained.
“Then Talia put her arm around me,” Serena added, glancing briefly at our sister.
“And we all joined hands around your bed,” Talia said. “Next thing I knew, I could feel sand under my feet and this wonderful, warm sensation came over me.”
“Me too, just as I heard Savvy’s laughter in my mind,” Serena piped up. “And I felt kind of…I dunno…” She circled her hands as though trying to summon the sensation back into her body.
“Bubbly?” I asked, tilting my head a little.
Serena’s jaw opened, and she gripped her smooth, dark ponytail, which hung over her shoulder. “Exactly! As though soda was inside me, bubbling up from my toes to my head.”
“How the hell?” Tamara shook her head from side to side, her curls bouncing around her face. “Amazing.”
“Do you think it’ll ever happen again?” Sasha asked, crossing one foot over the other and placing a manicured hand on her hip.
I flashed a grin and held out my hands. “Only one way to find out.”
*Copyright Juliet Madison.
Read the rest of SIGHT, and all 5 Delta Girls books, here:
~ Amazon (ebook, paperback, audiobook)
~ Book Depository (paperback, free worldwide shipping)
> ENTER TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF SIGHT! Plus some gemstone earrings… Head over to my Facebook page and follow the instructions on the post titled ‘GIVEAWAY!’ and dated Feb 23. Winner drawn 1st March.