Genre: YA Paranormal
Word Count: 71,000
The hands Grady kills with are not his own. Mirrors reflect a stranger’s face. Even his name seems wrong, something foreign chained to him when Doctor Romwell trapped his soul in someone else’s corpse. As the few remaining memories of Grady’s former life and death slip away, he tries desperately to escape Romwell Academy so he can find the truth about who, and what, he really is.
Lauren Elliot believes her scholarship to Romwell Academy came because of her interest in marine biology. She believes the surgery that restores her younger brother Nate’s hearing is a miracle. A blessing. But Grady doesn’t fool her for a second. She knows he’s trouble. She just doesn’t realize how much.
At Romwell’s direction, Grady befriends Nate and torments Lauren. The good doctor believes the siblings will enable him to link life and death, and to gain control over a powerful being from the other side. Of course, certain sacrifices must be made – not that Romwell plans to get his hands dirty personally. He has Grady for that. In fact, completing the grisly task just might clear the way for Grady’s freedom.
When an unforeseen betrayal overwhelms Romwell’s ability to keep life and death separate, Lauren must convince Grady to help her and Nate survive – but survival will cost them all far more than they realize.
The night was nearly moonless, as it had to be, and the only sound in the graveyard was that of dirt slipping off a dozen shovels. Some were far enough away that Grady barely heard them, muffled by countless headstones and monuments, oak trees and gently rolling hills. Most were closer, slicing though the soft dirt and saplings of the public section.
Grady counted himself lucky. It was murder digging through the roots and clay that choked the older graves. Still, if he’d been further from the road he might have been allowed a flashlight. Given his failing eyesight, Grady ran the real risk of shoveling into his foot. He was not overly fond of his supervisor either.
“Stop resting on your shovel, boy.” Grady had not heard Nikolai approach, but then, no one ever heard Nikolai approach. His heavy accent whispered through an embroidered handkerchief held tight against his nose, probably to dull the stench of the open graves, though Grady couldn’t smell anything personally. “You are behind schedule again.”
“Shovel’s breaking, boss.” Grady hefted another load of earth. “Give me a break.”
Nikolai cursed in a language Grady did not know. A weight flashed across Grady’s back. Another whipping. If he didn’t steal more green thread soon his tattered army jacket would fall to pieces.
“Why do you do that?” he asked, emptying his shovel onto the ground above him. “You know I can’t feel it.”
“No.” Nikolai pulled back for another blow. “But I can.”