Title: Darkness Watching
Author: Emma L. Adams
Series: Darkworld #1
Publication: October 10th, 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press
Category: Upper Young Adult/New Adult
Genre: Paranormal | Urban Fantasy
Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits—and the darkness is staring back.
Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere—little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.
All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life—but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is.
In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be ...
It started out as yet another exam dream. I sat in the school hall, looking at an unfamiliar paper, as all the other students began to write with frantic enthusiasm, pens racing down the page.
I didn't revise this at all. Panic rose within me. I looked around desperately. Everyone else scribbled away. The clock ticked, seconds passing. Minutes. Shit.
I felt a familiar surge of dizziness; my breath stuck in my throat, my heart pounded. I stared at the back of the seat in front of me, which seemed to waver and shimmer before my eyes, turning to blackness―
And a face grinned at me. Sharp teeth formed a malevolent smile. Violet eyes stared at me, unblinking. I could see nothing else for the smoke, which completely obscured everything before my eyes.
Then my chair tipped backward of its own accord. In slow motion, it leaned back, teetered for a moment. The demon grinned as I sat there, powerless to move.
The panic inside my chest spilled over and I tried to cry out. But I couldn't move my jaw, couldn't open my mouth. I was frozen to the seat as it hit the floor with a soundless thud.
I couldn't move.
I couldn't feel anything.
And I couldn't speak, couldn't scream.
I lay on my back, and around me, people continued to write, like robots programmed to scribble endless pages. No one spared a glance for me. I was trapped there on the floor, and no one even knew I was trapped.
The eyes blinked, then vanished.
My heart restarted with a jolt, hammering in my ears. I fought to escape the trap. My eyes felt as though something heavy weighed them shut, but I managed to force my eyelids apart. The sight of my digital alarm clock greeted me, sideways; I'd fallen asleep at my desk, my head resting on my laptop, the cold edge digging into my face.
I tried to lift my head, but I couldn't. I tried to open my mouth, but my jaw remained locked.
Impossible. I'm awake. Trapped again, this time for real. Not a muscle in my body responded to my pleas. I couldn't feel my hands, but I knew my right hand rested under my chin where I'd used it as a pillow. I couldn't feel my face, either.
I'd lost all feeling in my entire body, as if something invisible laid on top of me, pinning me down.
I tried to cry out, but not a sound escaped.
Move! I thought, trying to lift my head. The weight continued to press on me. I recalled one of those websites I'd browsed had mentioned poltergeists that sat on people in the middle of the night, leaving them unable to move. This felt just like it. Terror washed over me, cold and merciless.
Every short breath hurt my chest. Let me go. Please. Please―I'll do anything, just let me move.
What do you want from me?
Somehow, not being able to see the speaker made it a thousand times worse. It felt like a thousand invisible hands gripped me all over, numbing all sensation. At the edges of my vision, I thought I saw dark shapes, but no eyes, no mouth for the voice.
Finally, the messages between my brain and nerves seemed to hit home, and I managed to raise my head, to lift my arm an inch. Slowly I regained feeling in my limbs. I shifted, twitched my hands, my feet.
Even then, I knew they watched me.
That day, the fear began.
Emma L. Adams spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal for young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).
Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of the fantastical, mythology, and video games. Emma also writes supernatural fantasy novels for older teens and adults. Her next book, Darkness Watching, is the first in the upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and will be published in September 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.
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