Publication date: January 14th 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
When Vivian’s mother dies in a tragic accident, Vivian’s world is turned upside down. Her life, as she knows it, is over. A new life, full of her mother’s secrets, begins…
Sent away by her father to live with two eccentric aunts on the mysterious Tremaine Estate, Vivian comes to learn that a powerful curse lurks over her family – one that only she may have the power to break. With each day she spends in Misty Hills, Vivian uncovers more unsettling discoveries about the town, her reclusive family, and herself.
Can Vivian let go of every truth she’s ever believed and discover who she really is, before the dark secrets hidden within the supernatural town threaten to consume her and those she loves?
A couple of pots were bubbling atop the stove emitting delicious smells. My mouth watered, and I realized how long it had been since I’d had a home-cooked meal. My father and I had lived on ready-made meals since mother’s passing. I briefly wondered how my father would manage without me there to make sure he ate. I blinked back the tears that threatened to spill over.
“Have a seat at the table.” My aunt gestured to a cozy table along the wall. Two places had been set. With an efficient stride and swoop, she took a seat. “I’ve made beef stew with vegetables and rice.”
“It smells delicious.” Despite the lump in my throat and rock in my stomach, I salivated.
With a serving spoon, Aunt Agnes scooped rice onto my plate and added a healthy helping of stew alongside it. She did the same for her plate and then sat watching me as I raised a spoon to my mouth.
I took a bite and reveled in the taste. She smiled at my blissful reaction. The smile softened her face, making her appear kinder.
“This is amazing.”
“Thank you.” The smile disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. Her face clouded over again. “We take turns cooking here. Beatrice actually made that. Of the three of us, she’s the better cook.”
“I can cook too, if you like. I used to cook for my parents sometimes. Mom taught me some family recipes.”
Aunt Agnes studied me for a few seconds. “That would be nice. It’s good to give Beatrice a break from time to time.”
We ate the rest of our meal in silence. The beef stew filled my stomach and warmth spread across my body. In the cozy atmosphere of the kitchen, with pots bubbling across the countertop, I almost felt content for the first time that week. Before I could enjoy it for too long, my aunt spoke.
“You won’t be expected to go to school tomorrow. I’ve told them that you’ll start on Friday, so no reason to go and mix them up.” She frowned at me. “I don’t normally encourage slothfulness, but I supposed you could take the day to recover from your travels. If you’d like, you can explore the grounds. You can also go down to town if you wish.”
I nodded gratefully.
“Is there anything you would like to ask me?” Aunt Agnes peered at me down her thin nose.
“Yes.” I hesitated, not sure it was the right time to ask. Then I decided to take the plunge and pose the question that had been bothering me since I’d found out I was being sent to live with them. “Why didn’t my mother ever mention she had sisters?”
If I hadn’t been intent on observing her reaction, I would have missed the fleeting expression of anger and grief that crossed her face. But I was watching closely.
That expression disappeared quickly, and she looked back at me in disapproval, her face becoming more pinched looking. Her lips thinned to a white line until they almost disappeared. The silence went on long enough for it to become awkward. Soon, all I could hear was the loud ticking of the grandfather clock.
When I thought I couldn’t bear the tension any longer, my aunt finally spoke. “Your mother never mentioned us because she was desperate to break free. Mentioning us would have made her escape futile.” She looked at me with an intensity that made me lightheaded. “As it is, you are back with us, so she never managed to truly escape.”