Jason stared into the distance.
I eased my face into a smile. “I can help. It’s not easy to deal with the undead.”
He licked his lips and lowered his face so his hot breath brushed across my forehead. “Leave, or I’ll kick you and your friend up the road.”
I held my ground but raised my hands in mock surrender. He licked his lips again. He had to be lying. If a zombie undead had attacked someone last night, they would already have turned. He hadn’t seen Carrie at all, let alone an undead Carrie. The kids wouldn’t survive two days without food. They were either already contaminated, in which case time made no difference, or they had to be freed and fed.
We needed a good diversion to distract these guards from their purpose.
Who is this? a disembodied voice sounded in my head. Shorn hair and dressed like a boy, but not what he seems. Meagan. The voice deepened. What a charming name.
A prickle spread up my neck and across my scalp. The dead didn’t know everything. They couldn’t know my name unless I told them, or they already knew me. I gripped the Athame hanging from my belt.
“Not now.” I muttered the words under my breath. Whoever it was, they had to wait.
It is Meagan, isn’t it? The voice rang out as distinct as if the speaker stood before me. It was nothing like the whispering and murmuring I normally heard from the dead.
The words formed in my head as if I had thought them. But I hadn’t. Something uninvited danced in my brain.
I built your home. You may call me grandfather.
I swallowed back a hard lump in my throat. There was no mist, no gossamer light, nothing to suggest a spirit had raised by itself like my father’s had. “Quintus Mundy? Where are you?”
In your head. Let me help you.
I turned away from the guard so he wouldn’t hear my muttering. “Not now. This is important. I—”
That’s why I’m here, my dear.
Hoof beats echoed from the road behind me. A cantering horse carried a lean man in a flapping leather jacket. He slowed and called greetings to the guards and the Westall workers.
Jason nodded to the rider. He stared down at me. “Are you stupid?” He pushed my shoulder. “I told you to piss off.”
I stumbled backward. Frustration swirled around inside me and coalesced into sharpness. My body was a bow, ready to launch black arrows of raw emotion.
Raw power I could do. Not long ago, I’d hurtled a zombie and a grown man off their feet. That had been in anger, anger and fear. Something subtler was needed here. A sharp pain in his leg or in his gut might be enough to distract him or convince him to leave his post to find a replacement. Damn it, I needed to understand my own power better, needed to understand how to use it.
Subtle is for cowards. Hurt him. You know you can.
A sharp groan burst from my mouth. Quintus was in my head, sensing my fears.
Jason raised his eyebrows at my sound. He strode to me, nostrils quivering, hands curled into fists. I stepped backward too late. The force of his fist connecting with my shoulder sent me tripping back toward the people circling the fire.
I had to get inside the cottage somehow.
Book One: Path Unchosen
When eighteen-year-old Judy Hudson discovers she’s a necromancer and sees firsthand the pain her powers can cause the dead, she wants to deny who she is. The zombie plague is long over. She wants to find a more normal life, a challenge when a beautiful, otherworldly man who claims to be her guardian saves her life.
But as Judy tries to set right the harm she inflicted on the spirit she raised, new zombies attack–zombies raised from among the long-time dead. Someone else just like her is out there, and he’s not trying to set anything right.
Now, to save her own life and protect the innocent inhabitants of the nearby town who’ve become her friends, Judy must figure out who’s raising the dead and why. She must also learn to control the darkness inside her–a seductive darkness that promises her power beyond her wildest dreams.
Meagan Greystone, a new necromancer who grew up orphaned and homeless, has finally discovered a community where she belongs. But as she settles in at Ravenswood Manor, her ancestral home, a strange voice in her head unravels her newfound peace.
The source of the unsettling communication is Quintus, Meagan’s distant ancestor, known for his brutality and incredible power. When she attempts to enlist her father’s help by raising him from the dead, it’s Quintus who regains a foothold in the land of the living. Now reborn, he vows to obliterate everything Meagan treasures unless she joins him in his quest for power.
Meagan must overcome the heartbreak of unimaginable betrayal and fight in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation. Will she find the strength she needs to defeat the power of darkness and save the people and home she has grown to cherish?
Kim Cleary is the award-winning author of Path Unchosen, the first title in the Daughter of Ravenswood series, which earned a bronze IPPY award in 2015. She grew up in Birmingham, United Kingdom, studied medieval history and psychology at Adelaide University in Southern Australia, and has worked all over Australia and in London.
Forced to leave a successful career in marketing after multiple sclerosis damaged her hands and prevented her from typing, Cleary learned how to write using voice software.
A self-described chocoholic, Cleary loves writing, gardening, cooking, playing with her dogs, and spending time with friends. She lives with her husband and two dogs, an adorable cocker spaniel and a mischievous moodle, in Melbourne, Australia.
Buy the Books
Path Unchosen on Amazon
Truth Unveiled on Amazon