Monday, August 13, 2012

Excerpt & Giveaway: The Weight of Night by C. J. Stegall

When her mother is taken from her in a terrible accident, Alexis finds herself facing some previously unknown truths. Her best friend, Keats, is her only confidante when she is faced with an apparent stalker who claims that Alexis’ entire life is built around a lie. Alexis is suddenly thrown into a whirlwind world of danger and secret agendas, of demigods and deities.

When a brutal, self-righteous god decides that Alexis is his best hope for retrieving an ancient artifact, she finds herself on the self-discovery journey of a lifetime - tracking a killer and a kidnapper - and facing conniving and dangerous foes along the way.

She will have to come to grips with who she truly is and just what she might be capable of if she is to survive long enough to save the one person in the world for whom she cares most.

Ancient Greek mythology comes to life in this unique coming-of-age tale that spans the globe and the heart of a girl who only wants to be normal. But, just what is normal in a world like this?
CL Stegall
Excerpt Time!
The halls of the Eighth Ward were stark and clean, in direct contrast to the minds and souls of the patients who resided within its austere walls. The smell of antiseptic and medicine permeated the air as Dr. Marcus Hough made his way to Room 823.
Hough, a former child psychologist who was now a professor at New York University, held onto the file and clipboard so tight that the knuckles of his left hand were white. His expression was of controlled anxiety that melded into a forced smile as he approached the security guard sitting outside the room.
"How we doing, Leon?" he asked, his voice quiet but friendly.
"Oh, I'm just peachy, Doc," the guard replied, and then jerked a thumb toward the door he guarded. "As for that one, I can't make any promises."
"Understood," Hough said, nodding. "Give me a few minutes?" Leon grunted as he coaxed his considerable bulk from the chair to retrieve his keys and unlock the door. Before he moved aside to allow Hough entrance, he glanced at the doctor.
"You be careful in there. Okay, doc?"
"You bet, Leon," Hough replied.
The deadbolt on the private hospital room door slid open with a thunk. Peeking around the thick door into the stolid white room, Hough edged inside as the door shut and locked behind him. With wary eyes he scanned the room.
The blinds of the windows were open only far enough to allow knowledge of the approximate time of day, with sparse lighting provided by the overhead fluorescents. There was an undisturbed hospital bed and several machines on either side with wires and tubes trailing to and fro. The heart monitor, which stood on the nearest side of the bed, beeped with monotonous regularity. Wires fell from the monitor along the cold tiles of the floor and up to the final machine, a regulator for the intravenous drip. The wires then extended to the young raven-haired girl who sat, head lolling, in the wheelchair situated near the center of the room.
Hough dragged a visitor's chair over to sit facing the girl. He paused, his eyes focused on her with intense curiosity. Removing the cap from his faithful Montblanc, he began to jot notes on the paper, glancing once or twice at the contents of the file. He leaned forward toward the girl, who had just had her fourteenth birthday, and turned his face to hers.
"Heather," he said, making his first attempt to gain her attention through the flow of sedation. Her eyes flickered a little at the sound of her name, but she remained far from lucid. "Heather? Can you hear me?" he asked, knowing full well that she could. He kept his voice low, as if hesitant to frighten or even disturb the girl.
The heart monitor beeped a half beat faster and Dr. Hough's eyes widened, staring at the teenager in worried anticipation. He saw her lick her lips and the fingers on her right hand, which rested palm up in her lap, twitched. The doctor sat back in his chair, regaining his composure, scribbling a few more notes on the pad, as the regulator spit out a string of squiggles on a length of computer paper, the fluid in the I.V. increasing one drop per minute. Hough cleared his throat.
"Heather," he said, "do you think we could talk for a few minutes? I'd really like that. Would that be okay?"
"Why?" Heather's voice cracked on the small word, as if she had not spoken in some time. It was soft but intelligible.
"Do you know why you're here?" Hough asked. He had asked the same question twice before on his previous visits. A small nod was her response. "Do you know why you're sedated?" Another nod. He hesitated before the next question. "Do you remember how your mother died?"
The beeping from the monitor sped up and the regulator spit out some more squiggles as Heather raised her head to look at Dr. Hough with crystalline blue eyes that made him sit up straight, a cold chill running the length of his spine. "Yes," she replied. Her voice was stronger now.
Hough glanced over at the regulator without thinking and when he looked back at Heather she wore a knowing expression. He scribbled more notes. The beeping on the monitor resumed its normal pace and Hough stared at the girl who, though still heavily sedated, appeared to regard him with clear and lucid eyes.
"Are you feeling okay today?" he asked.
"Do you want to talk about what happened?"
"Why not?" he asked, his pen gliding across the notepad.
"Won't make any difference." She kept her gaze connected to his. She didn't blink.
"Any difference to what, Heather?"
"My fate."
"You believe you have a fate?" he asked, his curiosity overriding his self-preservation instinct. It was a side-effect to his training as a psychotherapist. In this particular case, he was trying hard to suppress it.
"We all do," she replied. "Whether we like it or not."
"Do you know your own fate, then? That seems unusual. No one knows what the future holds, right?"
"We make our own fate."
"But, that's contradictory, Heather."
"Is it?"
"What is your fate then?" Hough's attention was drawn to the heart monitor whose beeping began to increase. "It's okay. Everything is fine."
"Nothing is fine," she said, as the regulator began pumping more sedative into her veins. "Nothing is fair. I didn't choose this. I can't handle it all. Father will be so disappointed." Her words began to slur with the influx of sedative. She stared at Hough with saddened eyes.
Hough thumbed through the file and found no record of any father. She appeared to be illegitimate. He reached over to pat her leg but hesitated just before contact, thinking better of taking such a risk.
"Heather," he asked, careful in his tone, "Who is your father?" He heard the monitor begin to slow to a crawl and her words were barely audible.
"The skies and storms."
Hough watched as she fell into unconsciousness. The regulator was designed to keep her from becoming too self-aware, both for her own safety and that of those around her.
He stood and replaced his chair in the far corner, knocked on the door for Leon. Glancing back towards Heather, Hough realized that he was in over his head with these abominations. He needed a better manner in which to deal with this; something with which he could distance himself. After this one.
As the door closed and the lock snapped shut, Heather sat alone, lost in her subconsciousness. Even as her eyelids flickered, the words escaped her lips in a breath:
"Skies and storms."
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  1. This was an EXCELLENT book; one of my favorite Indie reads! Superb writing!

  2. My favorite book would probably be The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

  3. My favorite is Coveted by Shawntelle Madison.

  4. Oh gosh, so many favorites. I'm gonna say my current favorite is The Hunger Games Trilogy.

  5. My favorite book is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It's so good.

  6. ooh, that excerpt! :D but I do not have a favorite book. I have yet to find one that i can irrevocably claim as my favorite.

  7. Angelfall by Susan EE


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