Chapter 8 in the voice in the forest and News

news!

The third and final book in The Grimm Star Saga: First Light is coming!

The title of this book is The Shattered Aurora, and I am so excited for you to see the culmination of Troylus and Zellendine’s story. After I share the cover with the newsletter, you all will see it here. And I have a lot more news about more books, more series, and shhh! A sale. I know that’s coming, but I don’t have the dates on it yet. What I DO have dates for is the release date of Shattered Aurora.

Drumroll!

It comes out on May 18th!

And maybe even better than that? I have so many projects coming up and so many coming out this year, I can’t wait to share them with you. 

For now, just know there will be more in the Grimm Star story world, and more than that in the world of my books. (Psst, next week you’ll get a sneak peek)

what you need to know before reading the sneak peek chapter excerpt:

Here we go, the next chapter of The Voice in The Forest

This is a BIG one.

— Reminder for the new friends to this blog: first of all, HI! So glad you’re here! Secondly, this story is in the alligator swamp it’s so far in the rough. But we’re writing it together here, one chapter at a time, so you can see how the sausage is made. And when it is all done and reworked in some ways and edited in a ton of ways, it will be available as a book. If you would like to get caught up on the story, look at all the past posts of the previous chapters. You can also see the cover for this book here too. 

And, as always, I would love to know what you think! Especially because I’m thinking about changing the characters names. Do you have a great idea for a name? Hit me with it!

The voice in the forest

Chapter 8

Ara took one measured, light step forward, gritting her teeth and silently begging the floor not to creak.

Don’t notice me.

The manor was eerie all the time, but now, in the silence that made even the stone of the exterior walls seem like they were waiting for something to happen, the place was seeping into her brain. It felt like the momentary lull of the wind and the rain right before a violent storm descends. In her mind the house itself was lying in wait.

She took another tentative step, latching onto the bannister next to her while her eyes scanned everything and her ears strained to find noises she only suspected were there. 

In her head she clung to the words from that place, words of reminder that it wasn’t real. The threat waiting in the air, the suspicion that if her home were a predator she was the prey, was a thought people shouldn’t have. It was thought she shouldn’t have.

But she swallowed around a throat gone dry and paused to take a deep breath in the hopes it would slow her racing pulse.All she had to do was make it a few more steps, all she had to do was get to the kitchen, grab some food, and head out the back door to her garden. 

Well, that, and manage not to run into anyone in the process.

Petra, Jameson, her mother, even Trenton.

Not one person that in theory would be a welcome face, was someone she wanted to deal with at the moment.

Placing her foot on the floor at the bottom of the stairs, the cool of the marble seeping through her thin shoes to tickle at the bottom of her feet, let her take a more comfortable breath and allowed her to see the house as it was. A place held in the embrace of a deep morning peace.

She allowed herself a small smile, but kept the laughter at her own fear inside.Just because she didn’t feel like the gazelle separated from the herd anymore, it didn’t mean she wanted to have a conversation with any of the people she was supposed to consider her friends and family.

Having a conversation with Petra or Trenton was bad enough. To have one with her mother or Jameson first thing in the morning? No. Didn’t want that.

Maybe the maids and butlers didn’t come this early in the morning, because she didn’t see any of them either as she made her way past the empty dining room and around the meandering path to the kitchen.

For some reason it bothered her that there were no servants around. Not that she thought they should be there every minute of the day, and she did hope they were all still asleep as everyone should have been at that hour. But since when did her mother not demand their presence in case an early morning emergency omelette was required?

Ara’s small smile turned into a grin and she bit her lower lip to repress the snorting laugh that almost popped out. Even though she was only making snarky comments about her mother inside her head and would never allow them to be said aloud, it still felt good on her petty bone.

“I’ve fed the petty in me, now I need to feed the stomach in me,” she whispered as she pushed open the kitchen door and peered around the room.

No one was in there either, it looked like someone was in the middle of prepping something to be cooked. There were chopped bits of tomatoes on a cutting board on one of the islands, the juice pooling in the grooves around the edges of the board.

On the same island a container of eggs was missing two and small bits of other things that had also been chopped up were scattered on the counter near the rest of it.

“Where did they go?” She asked the empty room, leaning forward to peer around an open door into one of the walk in pantries.

She didn’t spot anyone, but she was likely running out of time before someone woke up, or needed to use the kitchen.A massive refrigerator in the corner held more than what she was hoping to find. Juice in a bottle so she could take it with her, a hard boiled egg, and a banana muffin, she collected all of it on the counter and started eating before she even shut the fridge door, picking off a chunk of muffin and popping the sweetness into her mouth.

Closing her eyes on the flavor, letting it soak into her tongue, she decided that it didn’t matter how creepy the house could be sometimes, or how crappy her familiar faces were to deal with, she was happy to be out even if only for the food.

Ara hopped up onto a stool around the section of counter and took a moment as she drank her juice to listen again.

There still wasn’t a sign of anyone else being around, there still wasn’t any reason for the silence, and no one had come back to finish chopping their tomato. But every bite and every sip made her care less about the answers to her questions and believe in what the doctors had said more.

Until a scraping sound came from the area of the kitchen where the shadow had moved the day before.She froze with her half eaten egg part way to her open mouth.

“Don’t look. It’s a mouse,” she whispered, her voice barely above the hum of the appliances, even to her own ears.

“Good morning, Arabella,” Petra said, coming into the kitchen with Jameson on her heels. Ara swallowed, her eyes popping open, before she shoved the rest of her egg in her mouth and nodded to them, her chewing exaggerated. Even if she looked ridiculous, it was better than thinking of something to say.

“Where are the servants? I’m starving,” Petra whined.

The only thing Ara could do was shrug and not look at Jameson.

He hovered behind Petra, chewing on his bottom lip and looking longingly at the door behind him every other second.

It was good to know he didn’t want to be there either. Ara wondered why he was there. What made him think it was a great idea to come here? Why had Petra come?

She tried to plaster a smile on her face around her continued chewing, the taste of the egg in her mouth long since gone to a glompy textured form of cardboard. There was no way around it, she needed to swallow soon.

“Did you get your breakfast yourself?” Petra asked, her mouth in a line of distaste and her nose turned up as she eyed the remains of Ara’s meal.

Ara nodded and swallowed the egg turned to paste, the coating of it thick on her tongue.

“Fine, I guess we’ll have to go find someone. See you later Arabella,” Petra said with a dismissive wave. She turned and ran into Jameson who let out a breath in a whoosh and nodded toward Ara.

“It’s… Um… Nice to see you out of that place and doing better,” Jameson said, his deep voice slamming into her with the force of all her memories of him, the hospital, and the terrible fact that his pity was heavy in his voice.

From behind her, the figure of the young man from the dining room walked to within an inch of Jameson’s face, sneered, and said, “My word, but you are a worthless fool.”

Ara felt as the blood drained from her head and pooled in her toes, her stomach following the same path. Because neither Petra, nor Jameson reacted to his presence. They stared through him to her, their eyes widening as she almost fell over.

This wasn’t a mouse or a moving shadow. It was happening again.
Tada!

I hope this latest chapter of The Voice In The Forest made you excited to read it next week. Remember, if you missed a chapter you can find all the past ones here on the blog. It’s all here for you whenever you want to go back and read them again. If you would like to be the first to see them, sign up for the newsletter. Don’t forget to tell me what you think about the names, or anything else about the story thus far. I want to hear from you, this is the best part of writing the story this way, you all can give me feedback. You have a chance to maybe get your way in a story. Listen, the number of times I’ve wished I could have told a writer that their plan for a character gave me fangirl rage, is a lot. So here it is. For you. A chance to tell me I’ve lost the plot and tell me what your brilliant idea is.
As always, Thanks for reading everybody!

— Everly

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