Authors: Holly Hood
Tags: #General Fiction
Books by Holly Hood
Scattered and Broken
Prison of Paradise
Letters to you
Back to life
Ink (Volume 1)
Love Hurts Series
The killing of Rose (Volume 1)
Heart of Gypsies (coming soon)
Boonville Series (coming soon)
Road to Ruins (coming soon)
For more information about the author or upcoming books visit
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used factiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2011 by Holly Hood
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For my family, with gratitude and love.
Huge thanks to all of the ereader fans of my work. I greatly appreciate the feedback and support!
Another thank you to my family. I have the best family, I love you all very much. You keep me sane! And you make me very happy and love my life.
Also to all the great social networks, book groups and indie authors that I have met through writing. I wish you all greatness!
Another thank you to my best friend since third grade, Brandi. You were with me on this journey, listening to all my gripes, rants, and ideas for this story. Without your editing and thoughts I probably would have stalled more times than started!
And to Katie Hughart for being part of our writing group, you keep me thinking. And you always are so upbeat about writing! I love our chats.
And to my husband, you sparked ideas that I never even thought of. And, I swear, one day I will write that story you keep hounding me about. I love you forever and always!
he crowd parted ways at the concert in Henry Park. It was a hot summer, the humidity noticeable on the skin of the huge crowd. If you looked close enough at the midnight sky you could see a dark storm brewing. He knew it wouldn’t be long before all of the bands were hurrying to pack up their equipment and hit the road. He was sure there would be some trying to score some drugs, or maybe a lady for the night, and even more of them hoping to make their night just a little more exciting.
Jumping down from the stage, he gained his footing. Paying close attention to winding up the wire, he worked quickly, his tattoos apparent at each swift swing of his arm. He wasn’t an innocent guy. He was just as much a part of them even if he never liked to admit it.
One swift shove sent the plastic container into the side compartment of the tour bus—he was done for the night and only looking forward to getting a couple hours of sleep. But as soon as the screams of hundreds of fans broke through his mindless thoughts, he knew that would never happen. He gave a powerful sigh, one that proved just how tired he was getting at this gig. He shoved the task at hand aside, jumping out of the way just in time as the whole stage crashed beside him, metal and stray grass spilling out before him, smoke looming off in the distance in quiet little clouds.
They were there. There to destroy everything in their path. He knew it was ill will to think anything that they did would ever turn into anything more than just a disaster. And as he watched the sick, twisted ‘beast’ suck the life of their victims, he tried to hold it together. It was part of life after all. No, he took that back. It was part of his life, his sick upbringing.
Looking down at his arms pained him. His throat constricted with the horrifying realization that he was the same. Dropping his cigarette on the gravel he took in the twisted metal, scraping and whining as it hit the ground.
Taking off into a sprint, he crept across the grass like a well-trained athlete. His shirt becoming a little bothersome so he shrugged it off carrying on.
That’s when he spied her, a young girl. She couldn’t have been more than seventeen at the most, probably experiencing her first live concert. But all he felt on the inside was searing rage, a hunger that crawled out from someplace so dark he didn’t even recognize it. Her eyes grew large as he approached and her deafening scream filled the air. Minutes later all was still and a peculiar stillness settled back on the park.
He shot up in bed. All was silent, the music in the park barely audible from the bus. The rain started falling steadily against the window. It had been a nightmare, an eerie dream that had been replaying in his mind for months.
He rubbed the back of his neck, trying to get himself motivated enough to start packing up the band. Just because he wasn’t at his best didn’t mean he could get out of his job as stagehand.
olly Parton’s “Jolene” blasted throughout the car. I closed my eyes, resting my head in my palm as my dad sang along to the lyrics. It was a little difficult to take him seriously when he sang along to a song about a woman taking another woman’s man. He was a man for Pete sakes.
Almost there guys,” Dad said, digging into the bag of chips nestled between the two of us in the front seat.
I sighed. I wasn’t at all looking forward to the move, or the new house. Even if Dad said it was right next to the beach. I just wanted my old home and my previous life.
Dad, can we buy surfboards as soon as we get there?” Elliot, my younger brother, asked.
He was fourteen and only cared about himself most days. I was the oldest in our family at seventeen, and I was counting down the days until I made it out of my house and into whatever college would accept me. I hoped it would be a decent school. I wasn’t the most studious of kids my age, but I really did worry about my education.
Dad ran his hands through his mop of brown hair. “Anything you want, sport.”
Elliot was pleased and I knew that was enough to keep him quiet the rest of the ride to Cherry, California, where our beach house awaited us all. I rested my legs on the dashboard of Dad’s beat-up van, staring out the window as we passed the green sign on the freeway. Fifteen miles left it warned me in passing.
I felt Dad pat my leg as I pretended to sleep, he knew I wasn’t happy and he would try everything to make me that way. That is, of course, until later on in the night when he started drinking, then he wouldn’t have a care in the world. And then it was a fend-for-yourself arrangement.
He cranked the music back up, howling along to the lyrics of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” I couldn’t help but open my eyes at this one. This one had become a favorite of mine. My mom had a habit of singing it when she cleaned our house back home.
I started singing along to the music, shouting it out as loud as I possibly could to beat Dad’s voice. He chuckled, shutting up and letting me do a solo. I swayed back and forth, my hands drumming a beat along to the music, Elliot and Easton in the back seat taking a break from acting like typical teens to enjoy the antics of Dad and I.
Dad turned the music off, growing serious. “You’re going to enjoy this school.”
I nodded, my smile fading away rather quickly. “What’s it called again?”
He dug around in his shirt pocket, pulling out a slip of paper, and handed it to me. “Ashwilder School of Performing Arts,” I read aloud, brushing my hair behind my ear.
I guess when I thought about myself, I was a bit different. I was blessed with a great singing voice, the ability to dance, and long, slender fingers that loved grazing piano keys. So if anything sounded a bit hopeful, it was Ashwilder, a place I could pour my passions into while studying the normal classes. I did hope that one of my many talents was enough to turn a college on to me. But I wasn’t sure if I was exceptional, or just ordinary. There were lots of kids with great abilities. That was why they made a whole school for them.
We were coming to Cherry from Jonesville, Georgia. My life, my friends, they all were there while I was whisked away to California. Dad had promised it would be good for us all after the torment we had been through because of him and my mother.
It was no secret that our mom decided she had enough of Dad. She got tired of all his drinking and late night gambling with friends from work. And soon enough she just packed up her things and took off.
About a week later we found out she was dating someone. Pete. He was the TaeKwon-Do instructor in our neighborhood. My youngest brother, Griffin, who actually was still living with my mother, well, he was Griffin’s teacher. That was when Mom must have fallen for him, during all the sessions.
I wasn’t that hurt that she left. I had always been partial to my father in some ways. He was the nicer one. He liked to listen to us kids and he wasn’t too worried about the typical things most parents worried about with their children.
So Mom took Griffin and moved away with Pete. She said Griffin needed her, and she gave us the choice. I didn’t like the idea of any other man in my life but my dad so I decided to stay with him. I felt he needed me more. As for my other two brothers, they were boys—twins—and Elliot and Easton both agreed that the only place they would be happy staying was by our dad’s side.
A month later was when Nona, my eccentric grandmother, told my dad about her old beach house in California. Nona had moved to Cherry years before. She once ran a ballet studio and finally decided to retire. And with retiring came Cherry and Claude, her French boyfriend. Claude was twenty years younger than Nona, and it was a bit disturbing.
Anyway, Nona talked Dad into taking off to Cherry to be closer to her. She offered up her old beach house and even secured Dad a job working for Claude’s company. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was Dad would be doing, but he swore the pay was great so I didn’t ask many questions. He did offer up it was along the lines of advertising, which Dad had previously done in Georgia.
So there we were, minutes away from our new home. One I knew nothing about, really. And one I was sure would take some
getting used to.
ur van came to a stop in front of Nona’s old beach house,
being the key word. I threw open my door stepping out onto the sandy ground, sand immediately filling my tennis shoes. Elliot and Easton raced off, quickly
climbing the front porch. I took my time, not in a hurry to make it inside. I was nervous to see my new living quarters. Staring up at the cracked
dark wood porch, I was sure it housed a bee’s nest of some kind in one of the corners.
Dad put his arm around me giving me a soft squeeze. “We will have it looking better in no time.”