Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
Date of Publication: March 31, 2014
Number of pages: 308
Word Count: 73,500
Cover Artist: Elaina Lee
Fortune has smiled on seventeen year old Aileen McCormick ever since Addison came back into her life, giving her the love she has so desperately longed for. That is, until a mysterious man slithers across her path and slips a spellbinding cameo around her neck. The cameo holds more than just the image of an enchantress who hungers for souls. It possesses a curse that strangles away every memory Aileen has of Addison.
Addison, a three hundred year old fugitive from the netherworld, recognizes the wretched woman inside the cameo and the curse she has cast on his unsuspecting love. The enchanted cameo has but one purpose: to torment Aileen with hints of love she can no longer recall.
Aileen cannot escape the deadly cameo. She runs for her life with the curse only a breath away. If she truly wants her memory back, the enchantress is all too willing to restore it. It will cost her, though. Cost her everything.
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Addison was completely
wrong for me, completely wrong for any living, breathing girl who had a
fondness for staying alive. The more I
knew we shouldn’t be together, the more I was drawn to him. Like a knot, the harder a person tried to
pull it apart the tighter it got.
I couldn’t remember the last time I had been afraid of the dark. It seemed like a lifetime ago, when shadows and demons consumed me at night, when the end of the world was but a breath away. That was all before I met
From the very moment I literally fell into his arms, I had fallen hopelessly in love with him. Hopelessly, carelessly, eternally in love with him. And he loved me back.
Addison Wake had become my entire life, my reason for living. I breathed in his love and exhaled his name. My heart beat a passionate rhythm to which only he marched. He danced into my dreams, stealing me away into the stars at the witching hour. Since he had come back to me we had been inseparable.
The last amber leaves of autumn waved goodbye to the worst and best year of my life. The year I lost my home, my friends, everything I thought I needed to live. The year I discovered a grandmother I hardly knew. The year I found new friends. The year I fell in love.
The calendar gloated that Christmas was less than a month away, but who cared? I looked forward to the first day of winter. Or rather the longest night of the year. Ever since finding out Santa was just a figment of my parents’ imagination, I didn’t have much use for the yuletide. But I had always loved that long and wonderful night.
Addison had already set a date for that night, promising
to take me to an air show in the day and onto the rooftop at night to teach me
It was kind of embarrassing, but I had never really learned the stars. Sure, I could spot the Big Dipper and hardly ever mistook the moon for a comet. But that was the extent of my celestial knowledge. Most of my time had been spent looking down rather than up, and I regretted that. Just one more regret in the long list I had been working on in my seventeen years. But all that was changing, and
Addison was helping me one regret at a time.
To say I appreciated everything he had done for me would be an understatement. He taught me how to drive a stick. He trusted me with his deepest, darkest secrets. He saved my life. He fell in love with me, maybe even more than I had fallen in love with him. If that was possible.
Mere words could do no justice for how I felt about
Addison. But that didn’t stop me from trying to tell
him, or show him. I poured my heart out
into haiku almost daily. I swirled his
initials into the thighs of my worn jeans in three colors of permanent
ink. I learned to say “I love you” in
My most recent declaration of love cost me an entire paycheck. I purchased a star. Not the
Hollywood kind starlets walked across in stilettos. An actual star, in outer space, where no man
has boldly gone before.
Bonnie Fay and Nicola had completely different reactions when I confessed what I had done. Bonnie Fay wrinkled her nose and squinted at me, forcing the kind of smile that told me I was lame. “Sounds kinda hokey,” she had said in her southern drawl. “Sugar, if you’re gonna tease him with something he can’t have, don’t let it be a star.”
Nicola, the polar opposite to everything calm and conforming, had a completely different reaction. She ached a sigh, crossed her hands over her heart, and fell backwards onto my bed. “That is just so…” She took a breath and clicked the heals of her combat boots. I prayed she’d say something other than “hokey.” “So… romantic.” Then she wiped away a hint of her sentimentality before it had the chance to smear her dark eye make-up. She had spent too long applying deadly Goth to have it ruined by a girly tear.
Yes, I bought my boyfriend a star. It was a little star – I didn’t make that much money – cleverly hidden in the Scorpius constellation. The website informed me the little speck could be seen near the horizon using a telescope the size of a small skyscraper. But the heavenly body, now and forever known as “Addison Wake,” was indeed there. It was my gift to him, a little piece of eternity that would smile down upon us every night until the stars all went out.
Okay, it was a little hokey.
But what could I have given to Addison Wake? He wasn’t exactly like the other boys at Redcliff High. To be perfectly clear, he was nothing at all like anyone on this mortal world.
was a phantom, a fugitive from the netherworld, casually walking among the
living as shadowflesh. He willed his
dark, mysterious ether into the tall, lean embodiment of perfection. An immortal soul, yet vulnerable shadowflesh.
And no, I didn’t need my head examined… or maybe I did.
To show my love for
Addison, I had to think of something as
unique, something as ageless as he.
Haiku hadn’t cut it. And it
wasn’t like I could burn him a CD of my favorite music and expect it to mean
anything in a year, or a decade, or a century.
But a star, it would be forever.
And when that long and wonderful night finally came and
showed me the constellations, I would surprise him with his star, pointing to
the part of the sky where the tiny speck was supposed to be.
I had no idea how he would react. Maybe he’d shrug or look at me as if I had lost my mind. Or maybe he’d arch one eyebrow higher than the other over his smoky blue eyes and kiss me. It would be cold, December nights get that way, so he would undoubtedly drape his leather flight jacket over my shoulders and wrap me in his strong arms, and I would kiss him back like I had never kissed him before, like I would never kiss him again. And perhaps that would be the night. The night.
I no longer feared the darkness. As a matter of fact, I looked forward it. The longest, darkest night of the year waited for me, and that should have been my happily ever after. But fate can be a funny, cruel thing.
Shawn Martin calls Springfield, Missouri, home. After graduating from Missouri State University with majors in Economics and Political Science, he bounced around the Midwest only to end up right where he started.
His day (and night) job is being a firefighter. Aside from rescuing cats in trees and removing burnt pot roasts from ovens, he spends his time finding the hardest way to do the simplest of things. The rest of his time is spent weaving words into another installment in the Shadowflesh Series. Visit www.shadowflesh.com for a look into the author and his work.