Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: October 26, 2012 by Cranmer Publishing
Length: 250 pages
“When an infamous criminal is unleashed from his prison, it has consequences for everyone in Carwick. Temperance Levinthal in particular…
Temperance is satisfied with her ordinary life. Dealing with her eccentric, childlike parents is all the excitement she needs. That changes when Alastair Byron returns home.
After a failed matchmaking attempt by her father, sparks fly between her and Alastair-just not the good kind.
They are forced together though, when they are implicated in a grisly murder. Their search for the truth leads them to a secret world beneath Carwick, filled with werewolves, wizards and other magical faey.
However, uncovering the truth is far more dangerous than they’d ever imagined.
There are secrets within secrets.
Even Alastair may be more than he seems… “
From Chapter 1
Temperance glared down at the thumbtack. It rolled away across the muted grey carpet and under a towering bookshelf. Flexing her stinging finger, she dragged the fairy lights across the book display. She tore off strips of masking tape and pressed them across the electric cord. The lights were crooked. They were already sagging down onto the bookshelf below as the tape started to peel away. She thumped it back in place. It would have to do, she was sick of injuring herself on the thumbtacks.
Behind her, her father pushed back his thinning blond hair before climbing up to squeeze his tall frame into the front window of the bookshop. He hummed as he propped a snowman up against a stack of books, then stepped back onto a rickety wooden stool, teetered and leapt down.
“Excellent teamwork, just like every other year!” he said, digging into a dilapidated box.
“Well not really, we’re earlier this year than usual,” she muttered.
“You heard Adora’s tarot prediction, the butchers will have a snowman on their canopy by tomorrow!” Pratchett gasped at her. “Haven’s always the first with its decorations!”
Temperance pressed her lips together, wishing she hadn’t mentioned it. She’d never admit to either of her parents but she didn’t believe in her mother’s predictions.
Pratchett returned to his work. He ducked his head back through the cardboard flaps and hauled out more knotted ornaments. The corners of his blue eyes crinkled with delight. Temperance just stared at the jumbled mass. She jerked her thumb at a fake spider-web stuck across the corner of the stockroom door.
“Don’t you think that’s more for Halloween?”
“Not at all,” Pratchett grinned at her. “It’s for Boris! We can put his presents there!”
“Do spiders celebrate Christmas?” Temperance frowned.
She hated when he talked seriously about Boris. He was, by her father’s own serious admission, a ghost spider. The ghostly aspect was convenient, she had to admit. It explained why no one else could see him.
“Have you taken your medication today?”
“Yes,” he muttered.
He avoided her eyes. Instead he stared at his knuckles as if something was scuttling along them. He lifted his fingers to the fake web.
“There now, Boris.”
With a sigh, Temperance reached for her jacket resting on the counter by the till. She bundled her small frame up for the cold weather, tucking her thick brown hair into the folds of her scarf, and tugged it up over her face until only her wide hazel eyes were visible. She inched towards the door. Her father trailed after her.
“Cyprian was in yesterday…”
Temperance stopped and glanced back with a scowl. She didn’t know why but she’d never liked Cyprian. “What did he want?”
“He said that his nephew, Alastair Byron, is coming to stay with him.”
Temperance rolled her eyes. “You’re only excited because you think he’s been on all these wonderful adventures while he’s been travelling abroad. You’re always dreaming of having a life-less-ordinary, but there’s nothing wrong with this one.”
She pointed her finger at her father. “Plus, all his globe-trotting means he obviously doesn’t have a stable job to speak of.”
“Don’t be silly, Temperance! Anyway, I’ve put mistletoe over the door in case he comes while you’re in the shop,” Pratchett wiggled his eyebrows at her.
“Sometimes I wonder what age you really are,” Temperance sighed.
She waved goodbye over her shoulder at her father.
“Ah, young love,” he sighed.
“I don’t even know him!” she said. “I’m warning you, don’t say anything embarrassing!”
“I only want the best for my girl,” he called after her. “You might see him today. He’s transferring to Carwick University. Think of all the adventures you two could have together!”
Leaving him listing out exotic countries he thought had good adventure prospects, Temperance slipped away. The jingle of the shop’s bell rang out into the early morning air.
The town was quiet. A thin layer of frost covered the windscreens of the cars parked along the road. The metal shutters were still pulled down over the other shop fronts. Temperance nestled down into her scarf and hurried up the deserted street. The lamp lights were starting to turn off as the sun began to rise, casting a hazy glow over Carwick. The only people already at work were her father and the office workers in the town hall. Bright lights shone from the old building. One morning like this was enough to exhaust her for weeks; she didn’t envy them their early starts.
Temperance glanced back from the end of the road. Even though it had taken a few hours of work, it had been worth it. Her father was happy and Haven looked very festive with its artificial ivy and cotton wool snow.
As she turned the corner, a horrific sour smell hit her, like the putrid odour of an unwashed body mixed with stale mould. Lurching back with a gasp, she slid on a patch of ice near the gutters. A hand clamped onto her shoulder and stopped her fall. The stench got worse. An acidic wave of vomit-tinged hot breath hit her face. She strained away from it, pressing her sleeve over her nose and stumbling back.
A man was hunched over against the cold; his shredded clothes no protection against the weather. His skin was grey and lined with dirt. A long tangled beard and strands of greasy hair were plastered to his face. His eyes pierced through her and he shuffled closer. Another wave of his foul odour wafted over her. She gagged.
Temperance coughed and her eyes started to water. She stepped back and put up a hand to ward him off. She hadn’t thought he’d heard her, but he growled and stalked forward.
Temperance gritted her teeth, trying to stop from dry heaving. She threw up her fists, remembering what she could from the one self-defence class she’d ever attended.
The man froze.
He lifted his chin, sniffing the air. A strangled whine erupted from his throat. The hair on the back of Temperance’s neck stood up. With no warning, he loped back down the road and disappeared.
Temperance dropped her arms and rearranged her scarf, her fingers came away wet. When she brought them closer, she saw blood. She whipped the scarf off and threw it away in a panic. There was no telling what she could have caught from him. Her heart-sped up as she struggled to scrub her hands with a tissue. Biting her lip, she glanced down the way he had disappeared.
She wondered how badly hurt he was. Maybe that was why he had approached her; to get help. She could only hope that he would find it somewhere else. Taking a deep breath, she hitched up her bag and hurried away.
4 ecopies of LEGEND UNLEASHED. Giveaway’s international.