#Giveaway: Where the Moths Dance by Kristah Price
Posted by brriske
Title: Where The Moths Dance
Author: Kristah Price
Genre: YA Paranormal
Sixteen-year-old Jessie Hale lives in the caretaker’s cottage at the bottom of Gum Tree Hill Cemetery. She feels more comfortable surrounded by the dead than the living, and the graveyard is her sanctuary, a place to escape from her troubled home life and from her mother’s despicable boyfriend, Conrad.
Elliott Rossi has found a way to come back from the dead. He needs to warn Jessie about a demon who can also access the living world and has his new prey firmly in his grasp.
When Jessie learns who has become the demon’s latest victim, she must enlist the help of her friends to battle the evil that has invaded her sanctuary, turning her life upside down and threatening to destroy everything she cares about.
Then there is the small matter of falling in love with a dead boy.
Kristah Price has always loved books and dreamed of being a writer since she was a teenager. After much dreaming, and writing in her spare time, she eventually took a year off work to write a novel. Although that novel remains hidden away in a box on the top shelf of a wardrobe, she went on to have several novellas published in magazines in Scotland, and her first full-length novel, Scrappy Cupcake Angels, was published in 2012. Where the Moths Dance is her first novel for young adults. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys scrapbooking, quilting, mixed-media art, and organic gardening. She lives with her partner, Nick, and their puppy, Finn, in the Art Deco city of Napier, New Zealand.
Author links: www.wherethemothsdance.wordpress.com
Purchase links: Amazon US
“Wanna dance?” The boy reached out a hand, running his fingers slowly down my cheek. His fingers were cold and I recoiled from his touch, trying hard not to let the disgust I felt show on my face. The last thing I wanted to do right now was upset him. Behind me, Mitch slid his arm around my waist and pulled me against him. Then he pressed his face against my hair and said, “I bet Goth girls like to party.” His breath stank.
I decided then that I had one chance to get out of this situation. If these boys thought that I was going to become a victim here, tonight, then they were even more brain-addled than they looked. Lifting my knee, I brought my boot down as hard as I could on top of Mitch’s foot, hoping that the wedged heel would do justice to the seething anger I felt inside. As he let out a series of expletives, I took advantage of his vulnerability and rammed my elbow back against his ribs, then twisted my way out of his grip. Finally free, I took off across the graveyard.
But I was unprepared for the quick reaction from the third boy, who until now had remained silent, watching from the sidelines. He quickly caught up to me, and in a drunken tackle, he had me face down on the ground, his body heavy on top of mine.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he spat down at me, as he straddled my back.
Choking back tears of disappointment, I turned my head away from the ground just in time to see a strange ball of light travelling at a rapid speed through the air towards me. As it approached, it seemed to gain in brightness and in mass, until it was upon the boy, knocking him off me with a force that almost took my breath away. I could only imagine what the boy on top of me must have felt. I was shaking so badly, it was all I could do to get to my feet. The boy, who moments ago had me pinned to the ground, now lay spread-eagled on the earth, his arms raised defensively across his face.
“What the—” His eyes darted around him in dazed confusion as the orb of light hovered a couple of feet away, pulsating strangely.
Relieved to be free, but scared of what might happen next, I backed away until I was far enough from the scene to observe from a distance the next strange events that unfolded before my eyes.
“So, what’s the deal with your dad?” Brodie asked, as we walked past the dead, gothic garden and through the black, iron gates. “It doesn’t look like you two get on.”
“Conrad’s not my dad,” I said, a little more harshly than I intended. I bit into my apple as we headed up the hill, stepping over the gnarly old roots of the gum trees that encroached onto the pavement. “He’s my mother’s boyfriend. And you’re right. We don’t get on.”
Brodie glanced sideways at me as he polished his apple on his jacket before taking a bite. He must have sensed from the tone of my voice that Conrad was a subject best left alone because he then changed the subject. “So, how long have you guys lived here?”
“Almost a year.”
“I guess you must know your way around the cemetery pretty well then.”
We turned off the pavement and climbed the stone steps to the graveyard. I nodded as I tossed my apple core onto the ground for the crows. “I spend a lot of time up here. It’s quiet; people don’t come up here much.” I didn’t tell him that most of the time I felt more comfortable hanging out with dead people than living ones. I glanced across at him and saw that he was looking at me curiously with a half-smile on his face.
“So, show me where you captured the vortex on camera.”
“Follow me,” I said, and I led him over to the caretaker’s shed. “It was right here, around the back of the shed.” I waited while Brodie walked around the shed, scuffing his shoes in the dirt and trailing his hand around the old wooden building. He stopped and looked up at the sky. It was cloudy; the sky was gray and cheerless and there was a damp chill in the air.
“Last night, do you remember where the moon was in the sky?”
I nodded. “It was directly overhead. I remember looking up and thinking how big and bright it was.”
“There would have been a direct flow of cosmic energy between the moon and the vortex.” Brodie frowned as he stared past me, and I turned to see what he was looking at. Across the graveyard, a few wispy, gray strands of mist drifted slowly through the air.
“It’s often foggy up here.” I watched the mist as it moved slowly away from us and eventually disappeared. “Even on a clear day when you can see right out over the town.” I gave a nervous laugh, knowing that what I was going to say next would sound silly. But then, pretty much everything I had told Brodie today had been bizarre.
“I usually try and avoid getting too close to the fog. Sometimes when I’m near it, I feel kind of depressed, gloomy. Does that sound weird? It does sound weird, doesn’t it?” I remembered the first time I had encountered the foggy mist. I had reached out and touched it, expecting my hand to meet with damp air. Instead, it had felt like touching thick cobwebs, and as my fingers dragged through it, I had felt an intense sense of despair. From that day on, I had made a conscious effort to avoid it.
Brodie just smiled at me. “This is turning into a pretty weird day. Right now, nothing you could say would shock me.”
It was drizzling at lunchtime, which meant that I was confined indoors. Usually I preferred to sit outside and eat my lunch. I hated the rowdy, claustrophobic atmosphere of the cafeteria. Braving the crowds, I slid into a seat next to Violet Parslow.
“Hey,” I said, smiling.
“Hey. Did you see the fireworks on Saturday night?” Violet took a big slurp from her coke. “What was that all about? There were skyrockets exploding all over the beach.” She spoke in a lazy drawl. Some of the other kids thought it meant she was slow, but to me it just sounded as though every word was well thought out and planned.
“It was a memorial for Elliott Rossi,” I said, staring at her. I had noticed a glint of silver when she talked. “Hey, you’ve had your tongue pierced!”
“Uh-huh.” Violet grinned, then stuck her tongue out and waggled it in the air.
I screwed my nose up at her. “Just when I was getting used to the whole nose piercing thing.” It was what I loved about Violet—her individuality. She had a dyed, purple streak down the side of her short, black hair and an impressive row of piercings down each ear. Her dress style also reflected her uniqueness; miniskirts, in shades of purple and blue and emerald green, worn over black leggings, and accompanied by Doc Marten boots. Around her neck, a silver pentacle hung from a thin, black, leather cord; a symbol of her Wiccan beliefs.
I guess you could say that Violet and I were friends, although we never socialized outside of school.
“The science club sent Elliott’s ashes up in the sky rockets,” I said, unwrapping my packed lunch.
“Really? Wicked!” Violet’s black-rimmed eyes widened in delight. “I hope they give me a sendoff like that after I die. Maybe I should join the science club.”
I laughed. “Hopefully this school will be a distant memory by the time you die.”
Violet nodded agreement. “Besides, when I die, I don’t want to be cremated. I want to be buried in a black cardboard coffin that will perish so my body can decay back into the earth; somewhere with atmosphere, like that really old cemetery at the top of Gum Tree Hill where you live.”
“Why is that?” I looked at Violet curiously.
“Because there’s so much history at the top of that hill. People have been buried there for centuries.”
“Since 1874, to be exact,” I said.
Violet nodded. “And the old gravestones are so awesome. The modern cemeteries are unbelievably boring in comparison. Nobody ever goes up to Gum Tree Hill Cemetery, and nothing ever changes. It’s like time stands still. What a great place to end your time here on Earth.”
“They don’t bury people up there anymore,” I told her.
“Okay, well, I still want to be buried though. I want to know what it feels like to have worms crawling through my fingers and toes. Do you think it would tickle? And I want my skeleton to still be here in a thousand years, as evidence of my life here on earth.”
Violet liked to say things she thought would shock people. I was tempted to tell her what was really in the graveyard, but I wasn’t ready yet to share my secret with anyone.
“Besides,” Violet said matter-of-factly. “Being cremated is so final.”
As I settled back down on the couch to watch TV, the picture faded and the snowy screen crackled with static. The lights went crazy then, flickering off and on at random, and I grabbed the remote control and turned off the television. When I heard a sizzling noise, like electricity sparking, I began to get scared. Just as I was beginning to wonder if there was something wrong with the wiring, a movement caught my attention across the room.
My heart began hammering in my chest when, caught in the intermittent flashes of light, I saw someone standing in the doorway to the passage. Leaping from the couch, I backed towards the front door, shining my flashlight in the direction of the figure, while fighting to control my trembling.
“No way!” I whispered under my breath, as across the room, Elliott began to manifest before my eyes. By now the lights were going truly crazy, the air was electric, and with each burst of electricity that charged the room, Elliott grew stronger, until eventually he took on the solid form of an actual, living human being.
“Elliott?” Although my initial fear of an intruder had dissolved, my heart was racing as I edged closer to the door.
“Hi, Jess.” Elliott’s voice sounded faint, as though he were talking from a distance. He lifted a hand in greeting and grinned at me, before looking down to check out his body. He seemed almost as surprised to see himself as I was.
“Wow!” I was stuck for words. All I could think was, I wish Brodie were here. I suddenly felt nervous. Not only was I uncomfortable being alone in the room with a dead boy, but I had barely known Elliott when he was alive. It was one thing to see a ghost in a graveyard; it was quite another to have one standing in your living room, literally as large as life.
“Brodie totally believed you could do it,” I said. “That you’d find a way to come back.”
Elliott frowned as he looked at me uncertainly. “Yeah, it’s taken me a while, but I had to do it. I had to find a way to come back and talk to you.” With his coal-black eyes fixed on me, he seemed as unsure of me as I was of him.
“But why me?” I moved slowly across the room towards him, stopping short a foot away. If I wanted to, I could have reached out and touched him. I was tempted to; just to see if my hand would pass right through him. But I refrained. After all, that would just be too weird. “Out of all the people you could have visited—your family, your friends—why did you choose me?”
“Because you believe in ghosts,” Elliott said matter-of-factly. “You were always hanging around the graveyard, talking to dead people. I knew that you were the one person I could rely on not to freak out if you saw a real dead person.”
“Why the serious look?” Violet asked, breaking into my thoughts.
I glanced at her, debating whether or not I should tell her about the goings-on up at the graveyard. I knew that she believed in spirits and the afterlife, and it occurred to me that with the knowledge she had from her Wiccan beliefs, she might just be able to help. But I still didn’t feel ready to share my secret, at least not until I knew a little more about what I was dealing with myself. I decided to keep it vague, to keep Elliott’s name out of it.
“This might sound weird,” I said, while Violet looked at me curiously. “But I’ve had this creepy feeling lately around the graveyard.” I lowered my voice; I didn’t want anyone else listening in on our conversation. “It’s like there’s some sort of malevolent energy lingering around.”
Falling silent, Violet scanned my face with her piercing, blue eyes, until I began to wonder if she thought I was crazy. Then she leaned forward and said, “Do you just get the feeling in the cemetery, or is it in your house as well?”
“It’s in the house as well.” I was relieved that she seemed to be taking me seriously.
Violet nodded. “It makes sense that with your house being beside a graveyard, it might have dark energies hanging around. But there are loads of things you can do to protect the inside of your home. You can hang garlands of calendula around doors and windows to keep out evil. Or thread juniper, rowan, or holly berries and string them around the house. They all have strong protective properties. You can burn incense, too. Frankincense and sandalwood will rid a home of unwanted spirits.” She paused as she studied me from beneath her black fringe, as though to gauge my reaction. I obviously looked suitably captivated because she continued then, her enthusiasm evident.
“You can brew a tea from basil or angelica, and sprinkle it in the corners and around the edges of the rooms to keep out evil spirits. And if it were me, I would hang sprigs of fresh herbs all around the house.” She continued to stare at me intently. “You should scatter a few under your bed, just to make sure. You can get the herbs and incense from Sapphires & Stardust—that shop beside the old church that was turned into a vegetarian restaurant. Gretchen, the lady that works there, is really nice.”
“Thanks, I might go there after school.” I smiled at her, feeling a little happier now that I knew there were steps I could take to protect our home. Until recently, I might have considered everything Violet had just told me to be a load of hocus pocus.
Until recently, I had never believed in demons, either. If one existed, then I had to believe in the other.
Jess is like every girl in high school that isn’t popular. She goes to school, hangs out with her friend Violet at lunch and comes home and does homework. But Jess lives on the outskirts of town in the Caretakers cottage which is at the bottom of the Gum Tree Hill cemetery. One night Jess is up in the grave yard watching the rockets go up with a classmate’s ashes in them and finds herself in a bad situation. Luckily she was saved, but by a ghost. This ghost is Elliot, the classmate whose ashes went up in the rocket and he is here to give her bad news. Her mother has been possessed by a demon who escaped through the vortex that Elliot opened to let his friends and family know he’s ok. Luckily she brings Brodie, Elliot’s best friend, into the picture and they help Elliot develop his manifestation more and also find peace for his family. Well Jess and Elliot find a way to rid her mom of the demon? Will Elliot’s family and friends who he came back for understand or will the think Jess is nuts? Read it!
I absolutely love Jess and Violet. Being a non-popular girl in high school I was happy to just blend in. Unfortunately Jess had to have a traumatic experience to find that people did notice her. Jess is a very strong and smart girl and the book described her perfect! My favorite scene is when Elliot and Jess are in the shed. Great scene and very well described!
If you like ghost, paranormal, demons, or a simple love story this is great. Teen and up is what I would advise for readers.
Reviewer for Paranormal Romance and Authors that rock and Kristah Price.