Saturday, December 13, 2014

"Wicka" by Christy Deveaux

The Chronicles of Elizabeth Blake
by Christy Deveaux

Wicka, the first book in The Chronicles of Elizabeth Blake, is suitable for ages 12 and up. This book blast and giveaway is brought to you by Mother Daughter Book Promotion Services.

While mourning the loss of a mother figure, Elizabeth Blake, a smart but socially introverted seventeen-year-old girl from Ann Arbor, Michigan, enrolls in an international school in the south of France to finish her final year of high school. Here she meets her true love, finds out that she is a witch from an ancient family, and discovers that her life is in danger.
Meanwhile, the Elders - the most powerful coven of witches in the world - have been tracking Elizabeth since her birth. According to an ancient legend, a battle led by "One barely born existing to lead" will cause the downfall of the Elders. Fearing that Elizabeth is the heir to this legend, the Elders try to destroy her before she can fulfill the prophecy.
With the help of her new friends, Elizabeth must travel to Greece to try and prove to the Elders that she is not a threat and to ask for their permission to exist in peace.
With the prospect of having to leave each other once the school year ends and return to their homes on opposite sides of the world, Elizabeth and her new love have to find a way to stay together. However, a rival love interest discovers their plan and causes the Elders to act against Elizabeth. As time runs out, Elizabeth must learn to use the powers she possesses to protect herself and the people she loves most.

Chapter 1: My Escape
Alone. Horribly and utterly alone was the most positive feeling I could muster. I longed to be free from the despair that engulfed me. I could barely focus. Gwyneth, my best friend, had been excused from exams. When your mother dies, you’re afforded certain concessions. When your mother “figure” dies, you get to write exams.
I looked around at my peers, who were concentrating on their papers, trying to write as much as they possibly could before the clock ran out. Their pens moved furiously. I chuckled out loud at how insignificant the entire process was when the teacher cleared her throat and gestured for me to continue with my exam. To appease my intrusive teacher, I glanced back at my paper even though I knew there was no hope of concentration.
I found myself staring out of the window. It seemed to be a beautiful spring day. The sun was shining, leaves and flowers were blooming, and birds were chirping. Why, with such bright and beautiful prospects in front of me, did it feel so dark and cold?
The bell rang, startling me and bringing me back to reality—a reality where, upon glancing at the half empty pages in front of me, I had next to no hope of passing this exam. I wondered if it was even worth turning in. I didn’t care. I just wanted to leave but had nowhere to go. The teacher had to insist twice that student’s stop writing, I had already packed up my bag.
Up until two weeks ago, grade eleven was proving to be an amazing year. I was at the top of my class academically, my soccer team had just won the championship, and socially, let’s just say, I was no longer a pariah. Things were great.
Gwyneth wasn’t as athletic as I was, but we pretty much did everything else together. We lived beside each other, and our mothers were best friends. Our families were always together, and so, we felt very secure around each other.
That may have been why neither of us had ever really had a serious boyfriend. There was never a void that needed to be filled or a guy either of us liked enough to spend any real time with.
About six months ago, we overheard our mothers chatting about how lucky they were that we never got into any of that foolish “boy stuff.” It’s funny that we never felt abnormal; I suppose most people would have.
Our summer was set to be incredible. Gwyneth’s family had friends who lived in Bay City. They kept a boat at their local marina and had invited us to stay with them for a couple of nights. It was going to be our first road trip. We would drive up together, spend a couple of days on the boat, and catch a concert before heading home. We were so excited. We had never been away by ourselves before.
It had taken a lot of convincing by Clara Hill, Gwyneth’s mom, but my mom eventually conceded that my staying with family friends at seventeen wasn’t the worst idea in the world. Although she would never admit to it being a good idea, the best we could hope for was that it wasn’t the “worst” idea.
Gwyneth wanted to go shopping, insisting she had nothing to bring with her on our road trip. I didn’t like to shop but agreed to go with her as I always did. The longer I could go without having to enter a mall, the better. Gwyneth or my mom would always show up with a new shirt or pair of jeans when they felt I had sufficiently “loved” my current ones enough.
I brought a book to occupy myself with while Gwyneth tried on clothes. Vampires that wreaked havoc on normal societies while trying not be detected were my guilty pleasure. For some reason they intrigued me although I never understood why they didn’t just rise up and take over if they were so much more powerful than humans.
I wasn’t a chapter in when Gwyneth came out of the change room empty handed. Still looking at her phone, she said, “My mom just called. She wants me home for dinner. Apparently, our relatives from Greece decided to surprise us with a visit. She said for you to come too.” She was still staring at her phone as though she was in a daze.
“Gwyn, are you alright?” I asked, feeling like she wasn’t telling me everything. Snapping out of it and looking at me with what seemed like a forced smile, she said, “Yeah, I’m fine. Come on, let’s go.”
The entire way home she was unusually quiet, concentrating way harder than was necessary on the road. It was like she intentionally didn’t want to make eye contact with me; she seemed very uncomfortable. When we pulled into her driveway, she just sat there, staring at her house with the car still running. It wasn’t until I asked her again if she was okay that she smiled and turned off the car.
When we walked into the house, everyone was waiting for us in the living room. As soon as I walked in, I could feel the atmosphere stiffen. There were four relatives; all were men and all were very old. They were dressed in suits; I found this to be strange for an impromptu dinner visit. The youngest looking of them stood up and stretched out his hand to introduce himself. I shook his hand and thought I saw him shudder. He smiled and looked at Mrs. Hill who looked down uncomfortably, unwilling to return his gaze. I had never seen her lacking in confidence before.
He then returned his smile to me; it wasn’t warm. He said, “Hello, my name is Christopher. It is nice to meet you Elizabeth.”
“Yeah, thanks. You too,” I replied pulling my hand from his intense grasp. I found it strange that he didn’t acknowledge Gwyneth. He was still holding out his hand, staring at it. He looked up while wiggling his fingers and smiled, but it was more sinister than genuine. He then looked at the other three relatives and paused in their gaze. It was strange.
I really wanted to leave but was afraid to. Christopher answered my wish when he said, “Okay, Gwyneth, Elizabeth. You may go upstairs.” Giving orders in the Hill’s house, while they sat there and said nothing—it made no sense. If I hadn’t been so grateful for the opportunity to leave, I may have questioned it more. I turned to go, but Gwyneth didn’t budge. She just stood there, looking at her mother, fear and defiance outlining her demeanor.
Christopher elaborated and said, “We need to discuss…family business.” Gwyneth’s gaze never left her mother’s. Mrs. Hill stood and walked over to her daughter. While brushing the hair away from Gwyneth’s face she said, “It’s okay. You girls go and have fun,” she said. Her smile was warm, but she definitely wasn’t herself. A smug looked traipsed across Christopher’s insincere face. Gwyneth hesitantly turned to leave.
On our way out of the room, I told Gwyn I was going to go home. She didn’t discourage me in any way. She just hugged me and walked me out. It was the strangest interaction I’ve ever had with her and her family.
That night I slept very little. My dreams were plagued with monsters. Every time I would fall asleep, I would see terrible things inflicted by faceless people. Everyone was faceless except one: Christopher. His face was haunting me but in some unreal, paranormal way.
The third time I woke up it was in a cold sweat. I immediately blamed my recent vampire reading coupled with the strangeness of the real Christopher. In my dreams, though, he wasn’t a vampire, but he was torturing people—well one person actually. I couldn’t see who it was and didn’t really want to know; I was just grateful it was over.
I lay back down afraid to close my eyes again. I couldn’t get the image of him torturing that person out of my head. I couldn’t see him using anything to hurt his victim though. He was just standing there with his arms stretched straight out, his palms up, speaking words I couldn’t understand while his victim writhed in pain before his evil, uncaring eyes.

Praise for the Book
"I truly enjoyed Wicka, a paranormal fantasy with love, jealousy, betrayal, and of course, magic. Young adult-friendly, the book contains its own mythos that really added to the interest in the story for me. It has a truly original take on witch lore, with its own quirks and novelties, that enrich the existing idea of witchcraft. The interpersonal story here is also compelling, and it’s perfect for teens. All in all, fantastic." ~ Sam G.
"Mystery, suspense, love and a fascinating main character. I couldn’t put it down!" ~ Patricia Martin

About the Author
Christy Deveaux is the author of The Chronicles of Elizabeth Blake series. Her highly anticipated first book in the series, Wicka, was released May 2014. Inspired by traveling across Europe solo at a very young age, and many travel adventures since, the character and story line behind Elizabeth Blake was born. Christy majored in political science and earned a cross-disciplinary degree from the University of Western Ontario. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, three children and a fish named Cow.

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