“Jake,” I whispered, hoping he was messing around. If he was, I would be angry. I lifted one leg after the other and slipped my high heels off, holding them both so I could tiptoe through the half-constructed mansion without making noise.
Jake didn’t answer, but the footsteps had stopped from the moment I whispered.
The scary movie marathon we’d had before Rachel died flashed through my head, bringing ideas and memories with it. I tiptoed around the corner, brushing my Frankenstein’s bride dress on the rough edge where the unfinished walls met. The drywall scraped against me, making me wince as I hurried along the corridor to the back deck. Whoever was in the house with me was either moving silently too or they were standing still, listening.
Either way, I had a terrible feeling this wasn’t a game.
That meant one thing: Jake was injured or hiding.
And I was alone.
My heart raced, my eyes burned from not blinking—fearful I would miss something—and my mouth was as dry as a mouthful of popcorn.
The floor creaked.
“Sierra,” someone whispered into the dark.
My skin crawled when I realized it wasn’t Jake. It wasn’t his whisper. I’d heard that enough times, always in the dark, to know it wasn’t him.
“Sierra, don’t be scared.” It sounded like something it couldn’t be, but I didn’t believe. I stayed perfectly still, waiting for the moment I needed to run to the back deck and jump down onto the sandy beach.
What had the girls in the horror movies done wrong? What could I avoid? My mind raced, remembering the runners always got caught. They always got stabbed. Usually in the back. The thought of it made my skin burn where I imagined the knife would slice.
The hiders always got caught. They were the ones breathing too loudly or hiding in stupid places.
“Sierra, I won’t hurt you if you come to me.”
I squeezed my eyes shut for half a second and waited for the answer, the right choice, to pop into my head.
A dog barked, making me jump and open my eyes. The sound was joined by the creaking of the floorboards again.
With gentle breaths and controlled movements I crept along the hallway, entering the spot where the kitchen or master bedroom would likely go. The house was freshly sealed with windows and doors, but it was still in the drywall stage with plywood floors.
The massive back deck was through the white French doors, facing the beach and open ocean. The moon offered light, enough to make shadows move with me.
I hurried to an alcove I assumed would one day be a nook for a breakfast bar or maybe the ensuite soaker tub. I pressed my back against the wall and stared at the bright white French doors. If I could make it to them, I was free.
If only I had my cell phone, I could call the police or Jake or Vincent. Someone would come and help me. Even Ashton might answer.
But that wasn’t an option. I scolded myself for my weakness in me and forced my focus to be on the doors. They were my answer. They were my hope.
As I exhaled and plotted my moment to run and everything I would do from that point on, the floor creaked in the hallway behind me.
It was now or never.
Live or die.
I took one more breath and pushed off from the wall…
Title: Summers Shadow
Series: The Hunters trilogy: Book 2
Author: Sara J Bernhardt
Publisher: Lavish Publishing, LLC
Cover designer: Desiree Scott
Genre: YA mystery
Release Date: 3rd Septemeber 2018
Aidan Summers, a seventeen-year-old, stunningly beautiful genius, somehow finds his way into the life of Jane Callahan; a lovely girl trapped in soggy North Bend, Oregon. In this new Tale by Sara J. Bernhardt, Aidan relates his side of the story. All of his dark secrets are revealed and all of his motivations behind his strange ways become known as the story unravels in a captivating narrative of suspense, romance, courage…and murder.
Sara J Bernhardt is an author and poet who has been writing since a very young age
and is a winner of several poetry and short story contests.
It is clear that Bernhardt writes in a realistic tone while still creating the enthralling feeling of fantasy.
Her writing puts readers in a world that they will truly love to be a part of.
|Date of publication||July 9th 2018|
|Cover designer||Desiree Scott|
|Publisher ( if used one)||Lavish Publishing|
Jane Callahan is a reclusive, seventeen-year-old high school student dealing with the death of her beloved brother. Her home in Southern California with her mother is a constant reminder of her loss and pain. In hopes of escaping her painful past she moves to North Bend Oregon to live with her father. There she meets a beautiful, boy named Aidan Summers. Jane is intrigued by his looks as well as his unusual ways of attempting to get her attention. After months of unusual conversation and frustration, an uncertain romance brews between Jane and Aidan, but Aidan has a ghastly secret that can destroy everything
|I glanced in the side view mirror and peered over my shoulder.
“What is it?” His voice had completely transformed from the tension a moment before; he sounded completely content.
“That car,” I answered. “It’s been behind us since we left the school.”
“Hmm,” he grunted, glancing quickly over his shoulder at the black Mustang. “Strange. You don’t recognize it?”
I shook my head. “No. Should I?”
“No. I’m just expecting Rudy to do something stupid again.”
“You would never hurt him, would you?”
“I let him beat the crap out of me, Jane, without moving to fight back. What do you think?” He chuckled. His emotions were inconsistent, as usual—the most unnatural thing about him.
I just nodded. “Right.”
I looked behind me again. The car was still following us even after we had turned.
“Where are you going?” I finally asked when I noticed he had passed my street.
“Testing this guy.” His voice was quiet and swelled with tension again.
“Can you actually see him?” I asked, glancing over my shoulder again.
“Stop turning around!” he snapped. “He’ll figure out what I’m up to.”
“Can you see him?” I asked again.
He nodded. “Barely.”
“Please,” he demanded, cutting my sentence short. “Don’t ask any questions. I promise everything will be all right.”
That was a dead giveaway he was worried. I was thinking that maybe he could read the stranger’s mind or something like that. Should he be worried?
I leaned back in my seat and closed my eyes. It was strange; I could barely even make out a shape behind the tinted windows of the car, but Aidan seemed like he actually knew who it was.
“Aidan?” I whispered.
“Shh. Really, Jane. I’m trying to concentrate.”
Concentrate on what? I didn’t ask. After about fifteen minutes of silence, Aidan turned, and the Mustang kept going straight. I thought I saw the stranger’s shape in the car turn and stare at us as he drove by.
Aidan sighed and pulled over on the side of the road and put the car in park. He squeezed the bridge of his nose. “I did the only thing I had tried to avoid.”
I didn’t answer.
“All I wanted to do was keep you safe, and now I have endangered you.”
“I didn’t want us to be friends because I wanted you to be safe, but if I leave you now, you will never be safe.”
“Aidan, what’s going on?”
“The license plate of that car…” he paused.
“Did you see it?”
“I saw there was a seven and I think a B?”
He nodded. “Yeah, tacked to the end of the letters S-E-V-R-N.”
I froze for a moment but recoiled. “It could be a coincidence.”
He shook his head.
“I thought you didn’t believe in them.”
“Yes, I said that.” His voice dropped. “I lied.”
“Yes, Jane, I lied. Let’s not make a big deal about it, okay? I know The Sevren exists. I know for a fact.”
“Because you’re one of them!” I yelled out instantly after his response.
Sara J Bernhardt is an author and poet who has been writing since a very young age and is a winner of several poetry and short story contests. It is clear that Bernhardt writes in a realistic tone while still creating the enthralling feeling of fantasy. Her writing puts readers in a world that they will truly love to be a part of.