Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hidden (Hidden Series Book One) Excerpt

Sixteen-year-old Leah Grant has given up on being normal. She’d settle for stopping the voices in her head, intrusive visions of the future, and better odds of making it to her seventeenth birthday.

That’s the thing about pretending to be human in a world where magic used to exist – at any moment, her cover could be blown and she’ll be burned to death like the rest of the witches.

Everything changes when she loses control of her powers and flees the orphanage she grew up in. She desperately wants to be invisible but finds her face plastered on every news channel as humans panic over the possible resurgence of her kind. And now the hunters won’t give up until they find her.

Making friends for the first time in her life and falling in love with one of them drives her to discover why she is unlike any being she’s ever met – human or otherwise. The dangerous powers inside of her that would repel Nathan, her new, handsome reason for living, are priceless to some. The locked up forever kind of priceless. And to others, they are too dangerous to allow her to live.

Let’s hope she can stay hidden


Only once have I wanted to make a friend. I was seven, and he was a cat. This old, gangly thing the other orphans called Mr. Crusty. I would watch him hobble around, no feline grace left in his bones, wanting to play with and talk to the other pest at St. Catalina. Like I knew his pain and he knew mine.
Birds swarmed his carcass the day he died, before I ever worked up the courage to approach him. We found him out in the courtyard, getting pecked at, his pain and death meaningless to the hungry birds and everyone watching.
I still had a lot in common with Mr. Crusty. Especially now as Sienna and her flock circled me. They’d jumped at the chance to torture me as soon as Sister Margret left class for a bathroom break.
Sienna snatched last week’s Chemistry test from my desk. I hadn’t turned it over. I knew it was a D minus.
She cackled and passed it around.
“Leah, you would think someone who spends most of her time alone would have better grades,” she said. Her birds laughed on cue. “What do you do all day? Obviously not study.” She gasped slowly like she’d gotten a revelation in that blonde head of hers. “You fantasize about us, don’t you? You probably sleep in Whit’s old bed to feel close to her.”
Laughter spread around the room like an airborne disease. Disease. I shivered. That was an intriguing thought; I could almost hear the sound their bodies would make against the floor when it hit.
“Leah, come on. Say something. Scream at me, it’s been a while. At least cry,” Sienna said, laughing and leaning into my desk, closer to danger.
I didn’t cry. I never cry. And if I were going to, it wouldn’t be because of Sienna. I had bigger problems. I’d just broken a promise I’d made to God to not think about hurting His people, His children. And today was not the day to piss Him off.
My old roommate, Whitney Nguyen, graciously returned my test as she cackled with the rest of the birds. She liked the idea of me pining over her, but she knew I didn’t spend my free time thinking about her or sleeping in her old bed. After fourteen years of hard labor as my roommate, she’d given up on being friends or me being remotely normal. The current theory to explain my oddness was that I was in love with all of the girls and consumed by lust.
As long as they didn’t know it was magic.
I’d always known it was real. Everyone did. And I knew, along with the rest of the world, that it was evil, satanic, and had coursed through the veins of the creatures that tried and failed to take over the world.
I was afraid of them until four years ago, when I got disgusting magical powers and changed from a shy twelve-year-old into one of the monsters from everyone’s nightmares. That was shocking considering all of the creatures were executed after the botched apocalypse. I discovered that the government missed one on a Tuesday afternoon when I wished I could skip the walk to my dorm. When I opened my eyes, I was there, in my room, seconds after standing in an empty classroom.
I stuffed my test in my bag, bracing for the rest of their stunt. Even with my head down and eyes closed, I knew Sienna had taken a mask they’d spent hours decorating out of her bag. And I knew Whitney had covered her mouth while she giggled in anticipation.
She’d wanted to be Sienna’s friend since Sienna was the blonde toddler named Esther. Before the nuns learned our real names, we all answered to the one they’d given us from the bible. It took them a few years to identify the orphans who had been left to them after the world nearly ended. They thought Sienna was charming and our little leader, our queen. I struck them as weary. Whitney’s name used to be Abigail. I’d had to listen to the passage she used as evidence of being a king’s wife countless times, just like her idol and future best friend Esther.
Eventually, most of the girls put aside their bible names and went with what their records showed. I’d been Leah for eight years already, so I didn’t ask to be called Christine Grant. It didn’t matter to me then, but after the powers came, it felt like blasphemy to have a name with Christ in it.
Sienna cleared her throat, getting on with the prank, and I kept my head down. I’d seen this moment as I stepped out of the shower last night during one of my annoying and useless visions of the future. I couldn’t avoid much of what I predicted. I’d promised God I wouldn’t use magic.
“So, friz,” Whitney said, referring to my hair – that was curly, not frizzy, by the way. Hers was a slick black, almost blue, that she’d chopped to her chin after moving out. Her reasons: she couldn’t stand the silence anymore, she wanted real friends, and a dozen other complaints I’d tuned out during her rant. Then she stormed out – a few times to get all of her things – and climbed to the top of the social ladder overnight, propelled by what the rumor mill turned into an epic fight that ended in me groveling on my knees for her to stay.
I didn’t even get out of bed, didn’t say a word, didn’t even look at her while she packed.
Whitney tapped her purple nails against my desk. I still didn’t look up.
“I know you never go to dances, or anything really, but we figured out a way to help you so you won’t miss out tonight. Just put this on and we won’t know that it’s youfeeling us up in the dark. Plus, you can hide your creepy trance face when you numb out. We put glitter on it and everything.”
They cackled as the mask swiped the side of my face and landed on my desk. I exhaled slowly, silently, and brushed the mask to the floor. I developed a sudden interest in my textbook, and they finally flapped away from my desk.
This was their idea of fun, but my heart was black and I didn’t have a soul, so my idea of revenge wasn’t as funny. It would involve the creepy trance face she hated so much.
“Back to your seats. Settle down,” Sister Margret said, slamming the door behind her. “Act like civilized humans.” They didn’t settle down. Sienna and her flock were still in hysterics about their prank. The others were sitting on desks, tinkering with cell phones. I was seated quietly, pretending to be a civilized human. “Settle down, or you’ll lose mingling privileges for a week,” Sister Margret said. They rushed to their seats then.
God forbid their precious, unsupervised time with the boys from St. Mathew, the male orphanage next door, be revoked. The nuns used that threat for everything. It worked on them every time because they were human and had nothing else to worry about.

Hidden Book One available Free: Barnes & Noble, Apple ibookstore, Kobo, and in all formats on Smashwords
For more information visit my website

Book Two Lost: Available Soon. 


Debby said...

Some things are hard to hide and tend to reveal themselves at odd moments. Sounds like a great story.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Jennifer Wilck said...

Great excerpt. Good luck!

M Lathan said...

Thanks so much!!