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Second Place - Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012 Clarissa Johal’s novel BETWEEN is a “haunting” paranormal novel that will have you on the edge of your seat!
How far would you go to redeem yourself?
As a young girl, Lucinda was able to see spirits, a gift that didn't come without its problems. Now, a dedicated young veterinarian, she is committed to the idea that every life can be saved. After a devastating accident, Lucinda tries to escape her past by moving to a small town. There, she meets a newcomer and feels an immediate connection with him. But there is another mysterious stranger to the small town, one that stirs within her a mixture of unease and desire. As Lucinda is drawn into a bitter tug-a-war from the forces around her, she is likewise pulled into a dangerous twist of past and present events. Forced to make difficult choices, she finds that the two men are locked in not only a battle for her life...but a battle for their salvation.
Ignoring him, she ran blindly toward the cliffs and down the steep, narrow path. The wind blew around her in great gusts. Her long hair swirled around her face, blocking the cliff’s edge from her view.
Cronan quickly caught up with her midway and grabbed her arm from behind. He pulled her around to face him. She teetered at the edge as he gripped her waist.
“I want everyone to leave me alone!” Lucinda yelled. “All of you people! I want to be left alone!” The wind gusted, drowning out her voice. From the corner of her eye, Lucinda saw the woman, making her way down the path toward them. “Oh God!” She turned and covered her eyes, sinking down to the ground. “I can’t do this anymore!”
She felt Cronan kneel behind her, his arms stealing around hers. Lucinda opened her eyes. The cliff side tilted up dizzyingly in front of her and she could see the waves crashing below. Her breath came in shallow gasps as they both perched at the edge. She felt the weight of his body pressing against her before he stiffened and pulled her back with a tug.
“Lucinda,” he whispered into her ear, “she is gone.”
“What?” Lucinda panted. He paused, his arms tightened.
“She already fell.”
Still looking down the drop off, Lucinda’s mind reeled. The height and Cronan’s affirmation pulled the thoughts and breath from her. Rain began to spatter. Panicking, she struggled out of Cronan’s grip and scrambled to stand against the cliff side. Laying a cheek on its cold, jagged surface, she heard her own breath rattle in and out as the wind howled behind her.
Cronan followed. Placing his hands firmly over hers, he intertwined their fingers together. His lips, close to her ear, whispered insistently as he pressed himself against her.
Foreign words pulled at her memory, words she couldn’t decipher. Words from long ago. She felt her body tremble against him. Her mind, her thoughts flitted in and out of focus. Coldness forced its way into her as the heavy weight of his body stilled her shaking. The sound of the wind began to fade, and her heart and breath slowed. Her head fell back onto his shoulder. Cronan’s breath merged with the rhythmic pounding of the waves and her slowing heartbeat.
“No!” a voice roared from off in the distance.
Lucinda felt a sudden, painful pull from behind her. There was a rush of cold air, and she stumbled to the ground, gasping. The sound of the wind returned.
“Leave her, Cronan!”
“Lucas.” Cronan grimaced. “I wondered when you would show.”
“You have no business with her, Cronan.”
“Neither do you, anymore.”
Lucinda flattened herself against the cliff, leaning heavily against the damp rock. Staring wildly at them both, she began to shake. “What’s going on?”
“Well, Lucas?” Cronan raised an eyebrow. “You heard her. ‘What’s going on?’”
“Go, Lucinda. Just go.” Lucas stood to one side on the path. “I’ll take care of him.”
Cronan laughed without mirth. “Oh, how gallant.”
Lucinda edged away from Cronan. The rain was now a steady drizzle, dampening her hair and clothing. She stood between the two men, clutching the slippery cliff face.
“Yes, Lucas,” Cronan mocked. “Why?” He took a step toward Lucinda.
The smirk on his face died. “You should have never broken the rules.”
Lucas moved forward quickly and pulled Lucinda toward him. Lucinda was crushed into his chest and felt the pressing weight of both men — Lucas pulling her toward him and Cronan approaching from behind. She closed her eyes tight and felt Cronan leaning in. He pressed on her heavily and whispered something into Lucas’s ear. She felt him slide a hand over her hip as Lucas tightened his grip on her shoulders and murmured something unintelligible back.
Cronan suddenly gripped the back of her neck. A shock went through her body, and everything went black.
About the Author:
Clarissa Johal has worked as a veterinary assistant, zoo-keeper aide and vegetarian chef. Writing has always been her passion. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing or taking photographs of gargoyles. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters and every stray animal that darkens the doorstep. One day, she expects that a wayward troll will wander into her yard, but that hasn't happened yet.
*Member of the Author's Guild
Coming May 19, 2015 from Permuted Press
VOICES, a paranormal psychological horror
*Indie Book of the Day Award
*Nominated for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2014
*Second place in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll 2012
*Paranormal Reads gives BETWEEN 4 out of 5 Bats
*Second round finalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award Contest 2012
PIGEONS Susurrus Literary Journal
THE ROPE Susurrus Literary Journal
A WAY OF LIFE The Sacramento Bee newspaper
Praise for BETWEEN:
Paranormal Reads gives BETWEEN 4 out of 5 Bats
Escape Into a Book "I loved how original the idea was for this book, I haven't read a book like this one...fast paced and kept my interest till the very end."
MommaSez "Creepy, scary, haunting–just up my alley...gothic romance that makes the hair stand up on my neck!"
Musings from an Addicted Reader "It was haunting, unpredictable, and intriguing. All the characters were unique and draw you in from the first chapter. Excellent read."
Shut Up & Read "I love a good ghost story, and this one did not disappoint...I've heard the saying painting a picture with words, and that is exactly what the author does here. Each sentence is vivid and alive."
Happy Tails and Tales "I would recommend it to my fellow ghost lovers, Gothic lovers, and historical paranormal lovers alike. There are some interesting paranormal characters...I wasn't expecting them...a really well done plot twist. "
Demons Do it Better "Between kept me guessing. I had no clue where the story was going to end but I made a couple of guesses along the way and I was wrong."
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How did you come up with the idea for BETWEEN?
Three years ago, I was working on a sequel to a fantasy novel when I had this weird “calling.” Two characters came to me in a rush; Lucas and Cronan from BETWEEN. They weren't fantasy characters nor they didn't fit into what I was writing but they wouldn't go away. I kept setting them aside but they’d come back, stronger than ever. I put the fantasy sequel on hold, wrote non-stop for a month, and finished the first draft. That never happens! It usually takes me months to finish a first draft. A year later, my edits were finished, and two months later, BETWEEN was picked up by Musa Publishing. I've got my feet firmly planted in the Otherworld now, the ideas come faster than I can write them down.
What first inspired you to become a writer? And what compels you to continue your career as an author?
I wrote my first short story in grade six. I was asked by the teacher to read it aloud to the class, which terrified me. After I was finished, I realized that I actually had everyone’s attention! I was shy and we moved every year, so I was always the new kid. When you’re in that situation, it’s kind of like being invisible. Finding my voice through story-telling made me realize how powerful writing could be. As far as continuing—truthfully? I think I’d go nuts if I didn't write.
What made you choose the genre of paranormal gothic horror?
I started out writing fantasy fiction. I was working on the second installment to my PRADEE series when there were two characters that kept showing up on the page, over and over. They didn't belong in fantasy novel, nor did they belong in my story! But their backstory came to me so vividly, that I set aside my series and wrote my first paranormal novel, BETWEEN. I've been pulled into the Otherworld permanently now. The ideas come faster than I can write them down.
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