Awake at Dawn (A Shadow Falls Novel)

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9780312624682: Awake at Dawn (A Shadow Falls Novel)
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Step into the world of Shadow Falls, a camp that helps teens tap into their special...talents. Once you visit, you'll never forget it―and you'll never, ever be the same.

From the moment Kylie Galen arrived at Shadow Falls Camp, she's had one burning question: What am I? Surrounded by vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, fairies and witches, Kylie longs to figure out her own supernatural identity...and what her burgeoning powers mean. And now she'll need them more than ever, because she's being haunted by a new spirit who insists that someone Kylie knows―and loves―will die before the end of the summer. If only she only knew who she was supposed to save. And how...

But giving Kylie the most trouble is her aching heart. Gorgeous werewolf Lucas left camp with another girl, but he's still visiting Kylie in her dreams. And Derek, a sexy half Fae who's always been there for her when she needed him, is pushing to get more serious―and growing impatient, especially when Lucas returns. Kylie knows she needs to decide between the boys, and it's tearing her up inside.

Yet romance will have to wait, because something from the dark side of the supernatural world is hiding in Shadow Falls. It's about to threaten everything she holds dear...and bring her closer to her destiny.

Awake at Dawn is the second installment in C.C. Hunter's young adult fantasy series.

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About the Author:

C.C. Hunter is the author of the young adult fantasy series Shadow Falls, including Born at Midnight. She grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she's not writing, she's reading, spending time with her family, or shooting things--with a camera, not a gun.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One
 
 
“You have to stop it, Kylie. You have to. Or this will happen to someone you love.”
The spirit’s ominous words flowed from behind Kylie Galen and mingled with the crackle and pop of the huge bonfire about fifty feet to her right. The frigid pocket of air announced the spirit’s presence loud and clear, even if the words were only for Kylie’s ears and not for the thirty other Shadow Falls campers standing in the ceremonial circle.
Miranda stood by Kylie in the people chain, completely unaware of the ghost, and gripped Kylie’s hand tighter. “This is so cool,” Miranda muttered, and looked across the circle at Della.
Miranda and Della were not only Kylie’s closest friends, but also her cabin mates.
“We give thanks for this offering.” Chris, or Christopher as he referred to himself tonight, stood in the middle of the circle and raised the sacred goblet up to the dark sky as he blessed its contents.
“You have to stop it,” the spirit whispered over Kylie’s shoulder again, hindering her concentration on the ritual.
Closing her eyes, Kylie envisioned the spirit the way she had appeared to her several times now—mid-thirties, long dark hair and wearing a white gown—a gown covered in blood.
Frustration bounced around Kylie’s already tightened gut. How many times had she pleaded with this spirit to explain, to tell her who, what, when, where, and why? Only to have the dead woman repeat the same warning.
Long story short, ghosts just coming out of the closet sucked at communication. Probably as bad as beginner ghost whisperers sucked at getting them to communicate. Kylie’s only option was to wait until the ghost could somehow explain her warning. Now, however, wasn’t the optimal time.
I’m kind of busy right now. So unless you can explain in detail, can we chat later? The words formed in Kylie’s mind, hoping the ghost could read her thoughts. Thankfully, the chill running down Kylie’s spine evaporated and the night’s heat returned—Texas heat, muggy, thick, and hot, even without the bonfire.
Thank you. Kylie tried to relax, but the tension in her shoulders remained knotted. And for a good reason. Tonight’s ceremonial event, sort of a show-and-tell, was another first in her life.
A life that was so much simpler before she knew she wasn’t all human. Of course, it would help if she could identify her non-human side. Unfortunately the only person who knew the answer was Daniel Brighten, her real dad. She hadn’t known he existed until he’d paid a visit to her a little over a month ago. And he’d obviously decided to let Kylie deal with her identity crisis all on her own.
He seldom visited anymore, bringing a whole new meaning to the term deadbeat dad. Yup, Daniel was dead—died before she was born. Kylie wasn’t sure if they offered parenting classes in the hereafter, but she was tempted to suggest he find out. Because now, when he did drop by, she would catch him watching her and just when she started to ask him a question, he’d fade away, leaving only a cold chill and her unanswered questions.
“Okay,” Chris said. “Release your hands, clear your mind, but whatever you do, do not break the circle.”
Kylie, along with the crowd, followed his directions. Yet as she released her hands, Kylie’s mind refused to clear. A whisper of wind picked up a few strands of her long, blond hair and scattered it across her face. She brushed it behind her ear.
Was her deadbeat dad afraid she was going to ask for sex advice or something? That always had her mom disappearing from a room—running around in search of another give-this-to-your-teen pamphlet. Not that Kylie had actually asked her mom for sex advice. Honestly, she was the last person Kylie would go to for that kind of advice.
Why, the mere mention of her being interested in a boy sent her mom into a panic as the letters S-E-X practically flashed in her mom’s eyes. Thankfully, since Kylie had been shipped off to Shadow Falls Camp, the supply of sex-related pamphlets had declined.
Who knew what she’d missed this last month? There might have been a few STDs discovered that she didn’t know about. No doubt her mom was stockpiling them for when Kylie went home for a visit in three weeks. A visit she wasn’t looking forward to, either. Sure, she and her mom had sort of mended their not-so-good relationship since her mom had confessed about Daniel being her real dad. But the new mother-daughter bond felt so fragile.
Kylie couldn’t help but wonder if their relationship wasn’t too delicate to actually spend more than a few hours together. What if she went home and found things really hadn’t changed? What if the distance between her and her mom still existed? And what about things with Tom Galen, the man Kylie had perceived to be her real dad all her life, the man who had walked out on her mom and her for a girl only a few years older than Kylie? Kylie had been mortified at seeing him sucking face with his way-too-young assistant. So much so, she hadn’t even told him.
A late-night breeze brought the smoke from the roaring bonfire into her face. She blinked the sting from her eyes, but didn’t dare step out of the circle. As Della had explained, to do that would have shown a lack of respect to the vampire culture.
“Clear your mind,” Chris repeated, and handed the goblet to a camper on the other side of the circle.
Closing her eyes, Kylie tried again to follow Chris’s directions, but then heard the sound of falling water. Jerking her eyes open, she looked toward the woods. Was the waterfall that close? Ever since Kylie had learned about the legend of the death angels at the falls, she felt driven to go there. Not that she longed to come face-to-face with any death angels. She had her hands full dealing with ghosts. But she couldn’t kick the feeling that the falls called her.
“Are you ready?” Miranda leaned in and whispered, “It’s getting closer.”
Ready for what? was Kylie’s first thought. Then she remembered.
Was Miranda freaking kidding?
Kylie stared at the communal goblet being passed around the circle. Her breath caught when she realized it was only ten people away from being placed in her hand. Drawing in a deep smoke-scented gulp of air, she tried not to look disgusted.
Tried. But the thought of taking a sip from a container after everyone had smacked their lips on the rim landed somewhere between gross and nauseating in her mind, but for sure the biggest yuck factor was the blood.
Watching Della consume her daily nutrition had gotten easier this last month. Heck, Kylie had even donated a pint to the cause—supernaturals did that sort of thing for their vampire friends. But having to taste the life-sustaining substance was a different matter altogether.
“I know it’s sickening. Just pretend it’s tomato juice,” Miranda whispered to their friend Helen standing on the other side of her. Not that whispering helped in this crowd.
Kylie looked across the circle of supernatural campers, their faces cast in firelit shadows from the bonfire. She spotted Della, frowning in their direction and her eyes glowing a pissed-off gold color. Her acute hearing was only one of her gifts. No doubt Della would call Miranda on her “sickening” remark later. Which basically meant Kylie would have to convince the two of them not to murder each other. How two people could be friends and fight so much was beyond her. Playing peacemaker between the two was a full-time job.
She watched another camper raise the goblet to her lips. Knowing how much this meant to Della, Kylie mentally prepared herself to accept the glass and take a sip of blood without barfing. Not that it stopped Kylie’s stomach from wanting to rebel.
Gotta do this. Gotta do this. For Della’s sake.
Maybe you’ll even like how blood tastes, Della had said earlier. Wouldn’t it be cool if you turned out to be vampire?
Not, Kylie had thought, but wouldn’t dare say it. She supposed being vampire wouldn’t be any worse than being werewolf or shape-shifter. Then again, she remembered Della practically crying when she talked about her ex-boyfriend’s repulsion to her cold body temperature. Kylie preferred to stay at her own temperature, thank you very much. And the thought of existing on a diet that mainly consisted of blood...? Well, Kylie seldom even ate red meat, and when she did ... cook that cow, please.
While Holiday, the camp leader and Kylie’s mentor, had said it was unlikely for Kylie to start exhibiting any huge metaphysical changes, Holiday had also said anything was possible. Truth was, Holiday—who was full fairy—couldn’t tell Kylie what her future held, because Kylie was an anomaly.
And Kylie hated being an anomaly.
She’d never fit in the human world, and damn it if she wasn’t a misfit here, as well. Not that the other campers didn’t accept her. Nope, she felt closer to these supernaturals than she did human teens. Well, she did as soon as she learned that no one here was dying to have her for lunch. Why, Della and Miranda were now her two major best friends—there wasn’t anything she couldn’t or wouldn’t share with them. The blood donation pretty much proved that fact.
Okay, there was one thing Kylie couldn’t share with her two best friends. Ghosts. Most supernaturals had a thing about ghosts. Not that Kylie herself didn’t have a thing about them. But it didn’t stop the pesky phantoms from regularly popping in for visits.
Nevertheless, whatever type of supernatural she was, being a ghost magnet was her gift. Or ... one of them. Holiday believed that g...

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