This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Then one day, Steven finds a little girl lying unconscious, perilously close to the woods. As the two get to know one another, Steven experiences real friendship for the first time—and gets closer than ever to knowing the darkness that skulks between the trees.
He dedicates himself to keeping his new friend safe, but the tranquility of their fragile hidden world doesn’t last long. When an act of cruelty pushes Steven to his limits, his secrets—and those of the dark woods—come close to unraveling, threatening to destroy the one thing making his teenage life bearable. Can Steven save everything he’s built from crumbling under the pressure?
Feeling a bit more courageous, Steven rolled her skinny body to face the sky, and her right hand flopped to the ground next to his knee. He brushed the hair off her face, revealing her pink little lips. Her skin looked pale against the dark soil. An idea occurred to him, and he ran back to the tree house.
When he returned five minutes later, he was holding a tarp and a cloth. He dropped the tarp on the ground, dipped the cloth in the stream, and gently wiped her face clean. The girl had the face of a baby; Steven guessed she was no more than six. Tucking the corner of the damp cloth into his pocket, he unfolded the silver tarp and spread it on the ground. He rolled the girl onto the tarp and pulled it toward the base of his tree house.
Fifteen yards on, the tarp lacked tension and weighed little more than the shirt on his back. Steven turned around to find the girl curled on the ground, still unconscious, while his hand gripped the empty tarp. He let go of the corner he was holding and rolled her back onto the tarp before pulling it again. Finally he reached the tree, his breath quick and uneven. He was sweating again.
“Hey,” he said, tapping her face. He checked her breathing once again before sitting down on a protruding oak root. Wiping the sweat off his brow with a forearm, he reached for the damp cloth tucked in his pocket and wiped her hands and legs. He ran to the creek twice to wash the cloth, and every time he did, he wondered if what had happened to the little girl would happen to him if he ever decided to cross to the other side. As he gave the cloth a final rinse, he looked up at the woods and watched the maple and elm branches as they swayed in the wind.
There were no open wounds or blood on any part of her body, just a few scratches on her hands and blisters on her feet, probably from crossing the creek. She could have been running away from something in the thicket beyond the creek. Something or someone could have chased her in there. Steven shook his head and blocked his mind from thinking about it, at least for now.
When he finally sat on the root again to rest, sharp pangs of hunger struck him, so he ran up the ladder to retrieve his chicken sandwiches and a bottle of water. He perched the container on his knees and ate two of the five sandwiches he had brought. He drank some water, and when the girl still didn’t wake up after five more minutes, he sat watching her.
Rosemary lives in a small town in Malaysia and travels as often as possible to broaden her cultural horizon. You can find out more about her books, giveaways, and new releases on:
Her debut fiction Pork can be found at Amazon.
a Rafflecopter giveaway