Author: Leanne Rathbone
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Good and Evil…two absolutes that every person is taught about from a young age but what if the lines between the two suddenly blurred, what if everything you believed you knew changed in the blink of an eye?
These are the dilemmas that 17-year-old Grace Ayre suddenly finds herself facing. One fateful night a brutal attack leaves her best friend dead and her life changes in an instant. She’s moved away from the life she had always known and thrown into the life of a loner in a remote village in the north of England.
An unnerving trip through a darkened cemetery sparks a series of events that make Grace question everything she knows about the world and more importantly, everything she knows about herself.
With her life in imminent danger will she discover enough about herself to change her future and will the elusive and mysterious Nate help or hinder her process?
Grace is a story of love, loss, friendship and discovering how one’s fate can shape existence and how the lust for power can destroy it all.
September 1st 1997 18:52
Kings College Hospital. London.
The smell…it was always the smell that did it. It stung his eyes and made his skin crawl. If his stomach wasn’t already bunched up in anxious knots of anticipation and dread, it would be rolling with waves of nausea from the cold, clinical scents that clung to the inside of his nose.
He’d always hated hospitals, avoided them at all costs. His lip curled in disgust as he asked himself for what felt like the millionth time what he was doing here.
He winced in pain, snapped from his self-pity as she dug her nails deep into the skin of his hand. That’s what he was doing here, it was for her. He would do anything for her. She was his absolute world.
He watched her face contort as she screamed in agony. It was an intense and raw sound that sent shock-waves of panic through his whole body. He felt like someone had reached into his chest and squeezed his heart to bursting point. He hated to see her like this, her face red and her brow covered in sweat from the effort it was taking. Twenty two hours in and it was finally coming to an end. Soon it would all be over and they would finally know for sure.
He’d been pacing uncontrollably, not knowing what to do with himself, when she had called for him, needing him for support. He wasn’t so sure though that he was fit for the job. His mind was still reeling, still trying to come to terms with everything that he had learned.
It felt like an age had passed since she had sat him down and told him…everything. He had spent such a long time in denial, convinced it was some sort of twisted and cruel joke, that it was just her sick way of trying to break up with him…but it wasn’t. He regretted that time now, the times he had spent sinking pints, drowning his sorrows in the bottom of a whisky glass. It was precious time he should have been spending with her, helping her prepare for this.
Such a lot had happened since then, so many decisions she’d had to make alone, and so many more that they had made together. He’d just been wrapping his head around it all when she’d made the call…to them.
She’d dealt with them solely on her own, though she had instructed him that once they knew, as soon as anything was confirmed he had to call them and let them know the outcome. His hand went unconsciously to the phone that was weighing as heavy as an anvil in his pocket. It felt like it was burning a hole there, like it was a slow ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any second and wipe out everything he knew and loved. It added to the nervous tension that coursed through him.
She screamed again, shattering his thoughts as the sound echoed through the sterile room. The woman in scrubs kept uttering words of encouragement which was something he just couldn’t bring himself to do, not with everything that he knew. He was worried, sick to his stomach and he knew he wasn’t hiding it well. She gave one last squeeze of his hand and then it was all over.
He wiped the sweat from her brow, laying a feather light kiss upon the crown of her head. That’s when he heard it. The first, gurgled screams of an infant clearing its lungs. The midwife whipped it away to a table and he averted his eyes. He felt like his heart had stopped, he was frozen in this moment of unknowing. He knew what he was looking for, she had told him it would be obvious, that he wouldn’t be able to mistake it but he now found that he couldn’t look for fear of it. It wasn’t long though before the midwife tapped him gently on the shoulder.
She handed him a small bundle, placing it awkwardly in his arms. He cradled it timidly, inexperience shaking his every breath. He was so scared of hurting this tiny being, like it was made of glass and could shatter at the slightest touch. He held his breath and looked down for the first time, into the swollen pink face of the baby.
The blanket fell from around her and he gasped loudly. His arms shook as he took in the tiny head full of soft, fiery red hair. His heart sank and he choked back a sob.
“Congratulations,” the midwife said. “It’s a girl.” She watched him as tears slipped from his eyes, like it was nothing new to her to see someone so overwhelmed and choked up, but she couldn’t possibly know the real reasons behind his pain. He looked across to the woman that he loved so much, his horror mirrored on her face.
“I have to go…I should go and…and make the…the call,” he mumbled, his heart breaking as he handed the perfect little bundle to her mother who nodded absentmindedly, too shocked for any actual words. He tried his best to conceal that sickening panic that was forcing bile up into his throat. He needed to stay strong now…for her.
Walking from the room he felt completely numb. They had talked in ridiculous detail about every possible outcome; they had known this might happen. Hell, it was what was supposed to happen! Hadn’t she told him all about it?! Wasn’t this exactly what they had been preparing for?! He knew now though that no amount of preparing or explaining could have gotten him ready for this. It didn’t matter that he had spent nearly nine months trying to deny it, it had happened, as it was supposed to and now he needed to get his act together. It was time to let them know.
Once outside he lit a cigarette, inhaling it deep into his lungs, hoping it would help settle some of his nerves. He pulled his phone from his pocket, his fingers shaking and his eyes pricking with tears once more as he dialled.
“It’s over. It’s a girl and…her hair…” His voice broke.
“Thank you for informing us.” He blinked as the call was abruptly ended and sighed, his heart heavy at the thought of what the future would now hold for the little girl with the red hair.
About the Author.
Leanne Rathbone was born and raised in Sheffield, England and still lives there today with her husband, three young children and one Husky. Having spent many years as an avid reader she turned her hand to writing, recently publishing her first novel Grace as part of a three book series called Revelations. Leanne hopes she can share her stories with as wide an audience as possible and hopes they get as much pleasure from reading them as she did writing them.
The author is also running a contest from March 10 – 15! Download your e-book and post a review. There are two $20/£20 amazon vouchers up for grabs if people email a screenshot of their review to her at leannerathbone_author@hotmail.